Moving from Digital to MF With Bronica ETRSi
I am new to Film and have been using digital for some time. I have been offered a Bronica ETRSi at a good price and thought that it was about time I tried my hand at analogue.
I will be scanning the negatives with an Epson V750 when I order it.
For those that have used or are still using both systems (Digital and Analogue) and scanning and printing negatives, I was wondering if you could tell me what it is about film captures that you personally like over Digital.
I am unsure at this early stage as to what differences the film camera is going to give me over my Nikon D3s printed on my Epson R-3880.
First the V750 as good as it is will not get all the info out of the neg (film flatness etc...). The 6x4.5 neg should be able to outresolve your D3
Second: What I like about film vs digital is easy film is organic digital is not take a look at a sensor curve and you will see that they lack character which is great if you want to fiddle for hours in the lightroom. Also since film is organic I see it as being closer to not only human perception but also to humanity with all it's flaws. Film is also much more versatile than digital at the picture taking stage furthermore each image looks the grain is randomized whereas the pixel in digital have the same arangement on every photo. Film gives therefore more unique images than digital.
Film is archivl digital not so much or to quote Jeff Rotheberg ""Digital documents last forever—or five years, whichever comes first"
But all in all I prefer Film's humanity
I don't like film better than digital - from others, when printed with inkjet.
Originally Posted by IanBarber
What I like about film is not technical at all, it is something that appeals to my sensory system. I have tried to like digital photography, having tried digital SLRs for extended periods of time, I have a V700 Epson, and owned a decent Epson R2400. But even though I was able to make nice print, I just didn't like the work flow. It was a boring method to me, where I never really wanted to use the digital equipment. Every time I did I yearned to be in the darkroom, making silver gelatin prints.
The process of photographing using film is something that makes me think more about what I'm doing, because there's a cost and a bit more thinking involved with each exposure. Processing film is not something I'm very enthusiastic about, but it's a necessary evil to get to the point of printing, which is where most of my passion lies. I relish the challenge of understanding the whole process from beginning to end, to work with my film development until I have negatives that work well with my chosen printing materials. To spend time in the darkroom, fine tuning prints feels like a luxury every time, even though it's a physically rather uninviting section of my basement, with less than ideal temperature situation, and a bit smelly and funky.
So I can't point to anything in the output of digital that I find objectionable compared to film. It is clearly different from film, but not better or worse, I think, especially color photography.
Just jump in, have fun, and don't spent too much time reading on the internet. It's best to explore the capability of one emulsion and one developer, to the fullest extent, before exploring other materials. I recommend picking one single film and one developer, and not give up with it until you have good results. There is a lot more to learn from fully understanding a single emulsion than to try to discern differences between different films and developers. Please don't make the mistake I did years ago and start experimenting wildly without actually knowing what you're doing.
Enjoy the ride! Hope it's a great adventure for you.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Although film can provide some technical advantages of digital in terms of resolution and colour range, it's not why I shoot film.
I like film because of the feeling that I am pursuing a craft, and I'm learning about that craft every time I use film, and more recently every time I develop a negative.
I also like film because often the cameras are beautiful, there are very few beautiful digital cameras.
I like the simplicity too, the delayed gratification, the feeling of achievement when things go right, the feeling that I'll do things better when they go wrong.
It would seem to me that film photography is a hobby I can enjoy, and digital isn't. They are obviously similar, but like swimming in the sea and swimming in a pool, one I'll happily do and the other just bores me.
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I love my Bronica ETRS. The lenses are sharp as tacks and make some pretty darn nice crisp images.
I don't know what kind of view system yours will have, if it has the waist level finder you might find it a bit odd to use at first coming from digital. But, the prism finders are easy and you should fall right into the fray without any problems.
I'd say snap shots with the digital as you learn the camera and compare the two results as well.
Have fun with the Bronica!
Without wishing to directly contradict Thomas (whose counsel is worth listening to), it's worth saying that while this is excellent advice for someone who enjoys doing one thing until it is perfected, it can be a bit stultifying for someone who likes to try new things or is easily bored.
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
If you feel like trying different films and developers, do go ahead. The down side of doing so of course that consistency is harder to come by.
Very interesting comment MDR. The bit about the V750 does worry me slightly though. Are you saying that having gone to all the trouble of capturing an analogue file, I am going to be dissapointed with the results. I have read that people do use the better scanning holder but I do not like the idea of dropping another £100 on a holder.
For me, [negative] film captures a bigger range of light and dark in photo than digital can, no blown highlights, etc like every shot is HDR without looking nasty... I also like the results from vintage equipment, lenses, etc as they were intended, not cobbled onto a digital camera, though there's nothing wrong with cobbling / macgyvering at all. I think photo equipment was at it's peak in the 40's/50's and has mostly gone down hill since only improving for speed, cheapening, technology integration, but rarely in improving actual results for single photos. With a little work, film and old equipment, we can do the same or better than the masters who have household names, but will we?
The Epson 700/750 is a good scanner, but mostly for LF use. It's good for MF, but not high end. The Nikon 9000 is higher end, but not available. This isn't the forum to elaborate since it's analog only here.
It's worth remembering that film was not designed to be processed digitally. It was designed to be wet-printed, and forcing it into the strait-jacket of a "digital workflow" is necessarily going to incur some compromises.
Originally Posted by IanBarber
However trying to prejudge whether you are going to be disappointed is difficult if not impossible.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to find someone with some MF negatives and a 750 and seeing what the results look like for yourself?