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Why I've pulled out of film photography.

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by peterkin1010, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. alexham36

    alexham36 Well-Known Member

    Well, Peterkin, nothing has changed from the time I was shooting B/W in late 1980s. High street processors produced mediocre prints. Professional laboratories produced superb prints, but at "superb" prices. Even with the most advanced equipment, negatives and prints have to be visually assessed, especially when colour is used. When one is printing thousands of prints every day, one soon acquires the necessary skill, but when a B/W or colour negative film comes in once a week, the skill is soon lost and and the quality goes out of the window.

    If you want to persevere with film cameras, you have to develop and print yourself, but the results are often not worth the trouble because even better mobiles can equal 35mm negative with little skill and no cost. The professionals have all gone digital some years ago; the holiday snappers went over even before the professionals and what is left is not enough to support film industry. The film may linger on in third world countries where computers are not owned by everyone and some of that production will remain available to those hooked on nostalgia.
     
  2. thornrider

    thornrider In the Stop Bath

    Film still works best for black and white IMHO. I use Ilford XP2 in a Nikon F100 and a Nikon F2 Photomic with a yellow green filter and get it processed only at Palm Labs in Birmingham. XP2 scans brilliantly in a Nikon Coolscan film scanner driven by Silverfast SE Plus software - far better than non-chromogenic films like TriX and HP5 Plus. The resulting pictures then look like black and white was always supposed to lookrather than the halo blown stuff that inexpertly used Silver EFex produces. That way you can still use film without the print shop bring everyones results down to the lowest common denominator.
     
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler


    Must say that personally, I've always considered chromagenic B&W films to be the lowest common denominator, with no real character - I would much rather shoot digital than use the stuff. Now there is no digital substitute to HP5 in Rodinal.
     
  4. thornrider

    thornrider In the Stop Bath

    Yeah Benchista - I used to love the smelly sessions with TriX and D76. Got into trouble with the missus in the end with the utility room windows blacked out with polythene and masking tape. I got into using XP2 with the scanner from a Roger Hicks suggestion - there's no grain cloud to cause interference with the scanner beam. I have any amount of digital black and white conversion but it looks too perfect - like it was printed on glass - to my eyes anyway.
     
  5. MickLL

    MickLL In the Stop Bath

    Forgive this nostalgia.

    Back in the latefifties and early sixties I regularly used to get a holiday job at a company called Munn Brothers in Birmingham.

    They used to collect film from hundreds of chemists and provide a D&P service. I had a number of jobs from film developing through printing. I loved that job. The smells were wonderful, quality control was high and seeing thousands upon thousands of pictures was fun (even though 99.9999% of them were rubbish).

    Pay was OK (for a student) as well.

    MickLL
     
  6. Mark101

    Mark101 Well-Known Member

    If anything I'm heading in the other way. I find film photography more of a thoughtful process and more rewarding. As for quality, I gave up on high street labs years ago except for neg development. I produce prints either via my epson film scanner or a pro lab.
     
  7. John King

    John King Well-Known Member

    No I have not pulled out of film photography, exactly the reverse! It saddens me to hear and read of so many people who are so interested in photography have had such bad results from photo labs. I personally have never used a Lab, being in the position, having the time and the inclination I have never been without a darkroom (of sorts) since 1965.

    I have tried digital but to be honest it 'doesn't float my boat' one little bit because there is simply no challenge in getting things right. If a film goes wrong it is down to me and I have to put in that extra bit of effort to make sure it doesn't.

    Colour negative, Black and white and yes even transparency all make me sit up and take notice. whilst colour prints and to a certain degree B&W, from digital camera produces almost flawless prints time after time after time. That get's boring. As for colour projected images, I have yet to see one projected onto a 6' screen that is as sharp or saturated as a good colour transparency original.

    The only time I give my digital camera precedence is when I go off touring Europe on my Motorcycle. On return I print each image I want to on A5 matt paper and then re-photograph them using 2 flash heads and using colour transparency film - usually Velvia 100 and the end result is a set of perfectly exposed, slides that will stand against any slide original.
     
  8. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    You're not on your own John! I agree entirely with your sentiments. I love my darkroom and I love the 'craft' involved. I don't mind digital, but it's all too easy to end up acquiring a cauliflower arse by spending too much time in front of a monitor. That's the one thing I never hear of in praise of the traditional darkroom - it's more of a physical process than digital, especially in my case as I've never had access to running water in my darkroom. That means (if I'm following the Ilford recommended archival process) I have to pelt downstairs as quickly as my 52 year old knees will allow and bung my freshly made print in the wash. Couple that with an hour long soak/dump wash sequence involving manually filling my washer unit from a big bucket and you get some sense of what I mean. Very labour intensive but enjoyable as well. I don't mind digital and I use it quite often, but the resulting prints hanging on my wall, although very nice (IMO), don't engender the feelings of pride or ownership that come with my hand-made prints. A happy and prosperous new year to you and all my fellow darkroom-dabblers. Regards, T.
     
  9. Praktica Man

    Praktica Man Member

    Unfortunately you did not complain to the processing lab s concerned, perhaps you should tell the lab not to colour correct your prints at time of P+P as they can stop this function on their printers I have always stipulated this for many years when I have prints done commercially.

    Well, I have gone from digital back to film ( I still use a Fuji S7000 bridge) MTL 50
    29mm Pentacon, 28mm Clubman, 200mm Super Paragon, 75-205 twin-touch Vivitarplus a Praktica 1600 auto flash bought recently from various sources and just not from E Bay quite cheaply as i found that a Carl Zeiss Jena 135 f3.5 on E Bay goes from £70-£125 which is not worth it due to wear and tear issues (29mm Pentacon and a Super Paragon both for £15 from a pawn broker and I only buy mint equipment that i have previous knowledge about if anybody goes digital a least keep your 35mm lens they work well with the digital adapters.
     
  10. frank1

    frank1 Well-Known Member


    You really do need to lay off the Praktica I think it's gone to your head.
     
  11. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    Poundland in Lancaster are selling Agfa Vista colour neg at a quid a roll (36exp). Got myself 10 rolls for..well.. a tenner. Add to that the fact that Spielmans just round the corner processed a roll for me in just over half an hour and charged me only £2 for process only. Have to admit, they did a very good job - no finger prints etc and the results on a par with pro labs. The resultant negs (although I suspect not optimised for scanning) scanned in quite easily and after a bit of tweaking produced rather good images. Just thought I'd let you know
     
  12. DavidFlechard

    DavidFlechard Well-Known Member

    I don't know what trend I may be bucking, but I am using more film now that I was five years ago. I have not had the poor experiences with film processors some are reporting, though I have also been processing my own for about fifty years.

    My local Boots processing is good, so too is that of the local independent photo dealer (who has, it can be said now, seen off the local branch of Jessops).

    I have used my digital cameras a great deal -- I was never a participant in the tiresome format wars of yesteryear -- but have renewed my use of film because I prefer the results. It's not a matter of quick turnaround or economics for me : the final image is what I want and once it's framed and hung, the cost of putting it there has been forgotten. So my old Canon dSLR languishes on the shelf, and my Hasselblad (bravo to the pros who adopted digital and made it affordable for me!) is sending streams of photons to the film plane once more.
     
  13. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Well with Jessops going that hurt me for film, used their E6 service.

    Thank goodness did not have anything in process at this time.

    Now need a replacement service. :(

    Still got rolls of E6 to shoot yet.
     
  14. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Me too. I use Genie Imaging online.

    The old Colab are still going under the name Vision Imaging. Think they are doing E-6.
     
  15. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    As a sponge for information - and probably why I can't always recall past info & facts to the satisfaction of Benchista - did you know{M.Caine impression voice} that you can stand develop Vista for an hour & get mono negs? Not a lot of people know that!
     
  16. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    This Vista is made by Fuji, it is not the old Agfa emulsion.
     
  17. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    What in? I'd give it a go. Would that remove the orange mask? If it didn't it'd be problematic with Multigrade papers.
     
  18. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Rodinal. This is one recipe: http://filmdev.org/recipe/show/8114

    I believe the other I saw was on one of the mono sites like FADU or Analogue Photography. If I was you, I'd do a test - as always - before using it for anything important. I haven't used it myself but with B&W film rocketing in price at times {not hard to pay £6 or £7 from some sources} it seems a tactic worth keeping in reserve for some situations.

    In my experience of shooting colour neg for colour, I have found that 'orange' film mask varies in colour from make to make & film type to type and processor to processor. It is usually orange dominant but has been brown at times and, occasionally quite pale, tending to yellow or even pinkish in hue. FWIW, with XP2, I have had some very strange results including the filter colour used in front of lens at exposure coming out on the processed film, ie. the mono film had behaved as a colour film but only as far as the yellow filter was concerned. :confused:

    I have printed mono from colour neg on Ilford Mgrade RC Gloss (and possibly Pearl) with results varying from get-away-able with-just, thru' slightly odd up to very acceptable indeed. The mask effect seems to be to distort the paper's tonal response to a lesser or greater extent.

    The mask colour - I guess - if very orange takes the edge off any Magenta you may have dialled in for contrast increase with MC/VC papers. How much a brownish orange mask affects contrast I don't know; perhaps very little. What both do, especially the brown, is lengthen the print exposure. Brown is, after all, a recommended Ilford safelight colour!
     
  19. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Yep. I think we worked that out sometime back from someone who had just shot a roll. It's still labelled Agfa, uses their RMs/TMs, etc. and, as far as I know is sold by the company rather than another using the Agfa name under licence. Don't know if Agfa eventually sold their colour manufacturing division. Do you? It was on the market for years.
     
  20. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    These Agfa products are actually marketed by a company called Lupus Imaging, iirc. They presumably bought the Agfa name and rights. As for the colour manufacturing division nothing seems to have resurfaced.
     

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