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Film photography- still valid?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by roobarb, May 23, 2011.

  1. roobarb

    roobarb Well-Known Member

    Technology will, of course change, but with that the expense of processing film will do so as well. Similarly, the cost of film scanners will increase as demand drops. Also, the comments that film is going to "keep" beyond digital are erroneous because however one keeps their negs, they are going to deteriorate- nothing lasts for ever.
  2. filmlover

    filmlover Well-Known Member

    No it won't last forever, but the fact is I still have b&w negs from the mid-sixties still as printable as they were then, a valuable record of those times..how many digital files will survive that long?...Many of my early digi files, saved to disc, have already gone corrupt, after about 7-10 years.
    Also there are some photographers who prefer non-battery reliant mechanical film cameras, because they could be away from battery charging points for days on end. Even the most sophisticated digi becomes useless junk around your neck when the battery goes and the charge in your spare has drained away.
  3. AGW

    AGW Well-Known Member

    I guess you didnt look after your digital files as well as your negatives.

  4. roobarb

    roobarb Well-Known Member

    Agree with AGW, the fact is that if you leave your negs in a musty old box they'll deteriorate more quickly than if you have them filed neatly in pristine conditions. Similarly if you properly file and back up your digital files and keep your software updated then there's no reason for them to be corrupted. Sadly, i keep my old negs in a musty old box and have a digital filing system that is the stuff of nighmares:p

    It is also the case that there are few places in the world where you would find yourself away from charging points for days on end and in which case perhaps one could buy some more batteries (a battery takes up the same space as a roll of film).
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  5. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    ... or a solar charger. :)
  6. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Are glass based plates more stable than film?
    For something really durable shouldn't we have some technology based on etched platinum? This is not for the family snaps but for serious history to be preserved for posterity. I am thinking of stuff to last longer, by several orders, than the dead sea scrolls.
  7. filmlover

    filmlover Well-Known Member

    Would not advise relying on a solar charger for camera batteries. Wife bought one, found it pretty useless. Remember most folk would need to charge overnight.....What use a solar charger in the dark?

    As for the comment about not many places where you'd be away from a charging point......Try long distance footpaths, where there is sometimes a need to camp out overnight because of the distance between walking points.
    Like I mentioned on another string, I didn't come across battery charging points on the Offa's Dyke Way when I walked it.
  8. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    There was a London based postman at the turn of the 19th>20th century who was a keen photographer. His prints were treated in embalming fluid after processing.

    They WILL last forever.
  9. roobarb

    roobarb Well-Known Member

    So take more batteries? This really isn't a decent argument for mechanical cameras over electronic (and in any case the point was film vs digital).
  10. roobarb

    roobarb Well-Known Member

    Nothing lasts forever.
  11. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    Apart from the fact that they last longer. Anyone like to bet that there will be many turn of the century digital cameras still working in 2050? There are plenty of mechanical cameras 50+ years old that are still working.
  12. filmlover

    filmlover Well-Known Member

    Exactly.....already there are digi cameras just ten years old propping up "old technology" scrapheaps, along with old computers & TV sets, in parts of West Africa.....plus of course, all that waste plastic becomes an unpleasant environmental hazard.

    After ten years....mechanical Leicas, Rolleiflex's, Nikon FM2's etc., are still working as sweetly as ever.

    As for the "take more batteries" suggestion...you're obviously not an experienced walker. For long distance footpaths, the golden rule is travel as lightly as possible, hence digi cameras, with their need for spare batteries, chargers etc. are a no no......Mechanical film cameras, with their ability to operate in all weather conditions, plus non reliance on battery power, are King.
  13. John King

    John King Well-Known Member

    Unreservedly - yes!

    Apart from all the hassle and cost of setting up the computer and the printer and the software which goes out of vogue quicker than a pick-pocket can relieve you of your wallet (some similarity there) the quality of a negative has so much more information on the silver base than would ever be available from a digital negative.

    I don't mean actual information that can be seen via a computer, I mean the aesthetic appearance of a print made via the old traditional way in a darkroom. There is so much more 'roundness' and 'feeling' and it is not clinically perfect which is the result from a digital image.

    Apart from anything else it is the actual knowledge that goes into making a good film image then to print it. There is no automatic process involved Apart from the camera exposure|) so you need to know what you are doing. So when you get a really good picture at the end of your labours, if you are like me there is certainly the 'wow' factor and feeling that you have done well.

    MY ex wife had a saying which is very true even today and that was 'Digital prints just have no soul'. Too mechanical, is what she meant. I liken it to the difference between building a piece of furniture from a flatpack kit, to making a similar item from the bare necessities and using the skill and tools that I have developed over the years.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  14. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    Why do film camera lovers have to keep on justifying their preference?

    I've using cameras for the last fifty-five years and obviously for a goodly part of that time they were film. I also used to do all my own processing from film to print both B/W and colour.

    For a while I ran film and digital side by side but as digital gradually improved I dropped 35mm first then two-and-a-quarter square.

    I switched totally to digital about three years ago.
  15. roobarb

    roobarb Well-Known Member

    Sorry but this is just cack. A spare battery takes up no more space or weight than a roll of 35 mm film and can be charged in advance. Mechanical cameras are just as prone to problems in extreme cold as digital ones are.

    Sure the older cameras still work and will only become obsolete when film eventually does. I'll never part with my old OM10 (which incidentally needs a battery).
  16. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Ummm. The SR44 type button cells which manual cameras with electronic meters (and maybe even electronic shutters) need are indeed small and light but the lithium cell packs used by DSLRs are bigger than a 35mm cassette and weigh a great deal more than that ... probably more than a 5 pack of 35mm films.

    And they definitely do not do as well in cold temps as mechanical cameras - I've used an OM-1 at -35C and it worked just fine; the life of the battery in my Canon 5D at -10C is two or three shots before needing to be rewarmed.

    Having said that, there is no doubt from the technical point of view that (at a similar price point) digital is superior in all respects except for certain specialised applications where reciprocity failure is a bonus (recording transient events in low lightb conditions e.g. meteor photography, nigh-time lightning photography). Film is still much more satisfying to do, though - it's not the handling of the camera, it's the magic of seeing an image appear in the developing tray that digital can't and never will get close to replicating.
  17. dachs

    dachs Well-Known Member

    yup, agree all that - bit like saying oil paints are dead now we have acrylics, and I for one love slides in spite of all the faff (and they do scan OK if you learn, so you then have both camps available). Isn't all the cinema movie film still mostly film? There's be a reason for that I guess?
  18. dachs

    dachs Well-Known Member

    As well (he puts his tuppence in) there is a quality thing here; till recently the only way you could shoot thru' Leica or Zeiss glass was using film, exceptions such as the fabulously pricey digi-backed Hass'es.

    And I for one would not give that up, nor can I now afford an M9 with all its limitations.

    OK the Nikon 18mm and some Canon specialist 'L' sports optics do come into class but they are even more out of financial reach, they were designed originally for film but I guess that doesn't stop the latter being on a 5D mark II.
  19. roobarb

    roobarb Well-Known Member

    This just isn't true. As far as weight goes we're talking grammes but a 5 pack of film is at least equivalent to 2 spare batteries (which equate to several hundred shots). The satisfaction on indulging in a rerospective medium is another thing alogether...
  20. dachs

    dachs Well-Known Member

    we're all gently agreeing to disagree here; where is the raging abusive argument that I so desire?:cool:
    I looked at the cult of folk on Flikr (gawdelpus) who use folding Zeiss Nettars and similar (I have an interest as I started that way), and the quality of imagination and composition is sometimes astounding. When it is, I love it that they used the old warhorses but it doesn't matter - the pix are what they are, a Swiss camera with scanning back, an i-phone, or a Speed Graphic: to me the picture is what I look at. That I like all the technicalities and tactile stuff of film is secondary.

    Sorry to bang on but just occurred to me; a nice person was explaining techniques used by Old Masters in a Venice museum, and the painting methods were indeed fascinating, but the primary impact was the fabulous powerful compositions.

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