Film, the Story So Far
I wish there were a general film talk forum here. I dont want to post to either the color or b & w forum because those forums are much more on the processing/developing side. I have some general comments on film and will drop them here in the Industry forum because that seems to attract such comments, right or wrong.
So after this weekend I shot 3 more rolls of Fujifilm Acros, bringing the total of rolls spent on hand at 6. These will go into the lab today and hopefully will get them back Friday.
For some reason, today I looked at the cost of this. 6 rolls developed @ $3.50/roll. I'm not sure what I paid for the film, lets just say $3/roll. $40 for all this film, bought and processed. Wow. That's a lot for 96 images. Even though I have lived in China for 3 years now, I still cant get used to thinking in their currency so I pay for things with "funny money". The cost never hits home. My wife hates that.
$40 for one week's worth of images. That's a lot of money, but money that I have and can easily spend on this. But is it wise? That is a much harder question. I have 2 kids to put through college. Film is looking like an awfully big luxury now.
Of course, developing my own will cut down the costs and I'll get there one day soon. Almost ready to start that. But I still am amazed at how expensive film is. Perhaps a detailed spreadsheet of my digital habits vs film would make it look better. The problem is, I am doing both, not just film. So I am also spending money on digital gear, computers, hard drives, etc.
The cost of this hobby can be sobering.
Then I think of why spend all this money on film? Certainly I like shooting film and the images I'm getting are good, but are they THAT much better than digital? Different yes, better? If only I could print my film optically. I KNOW that then the film images would wipe the floor over the digital ones. That is what I crave and what I cannot yet get here in China. And that would mean even MORE money. Sigh. Right now though, I shoot film and end up with a digital file and a digital work flow. This causes me to doubt the whole idea of shooting film in today's world.
What I'm left with is the enjoyment of the film process. Others have mentioned that many times. I liked being limited to 16 shots/roll. I find that I shoot waaay more intelligently than when with a digital camera. I like having negatives in a binder, stored neatly. That is a wonderful archive compared to some damn hard drive.
And I LOVE the film cameras. I think 50% or more of what I like in my film images is all due to the lens on my Fuji GA645. Slap a digital sensor in that camera and I'm sure that I would LOVE it just as much, maybe enough to forget film. The lenses on some of those old Fuji's are just wonderful; a joy to shoot with.
So picking up film again has not resulted in some sort of panacea for me. I enjoy it, but am left with lingering doubts, questions, and uncertainties. I am going to keep moving foward for at least as long as I am in China. But once I am back in the US, paying with dollars, that will be the real test.
Thanks for reading!