Tag Archives: film photography

Digital is Better than Film: 5 Situations

[tweetmeme]I hate love film… I really do. But there are occasions when I opt for my digital camera over my film cameras (shh… don’t tell them I said that).

I know, most of you might be thinking “digital is always better than film”. And certainly, the word “better” is open to interpretation. But my point here is that digital photography has certain advantages over film photography for specific situations. I plan to post a follow-up article that explores the situations when film is better than digital (and I might post it on my film photography blog, naturally).

[UPDATE 4-12-2010] I posted a Film is Better than Digital article on my film blog.

So here are 5 situations when digital is usually better than film.

WHEN YOU NEED TO SHOOT A LOT OF PHOTOS

And when I say “need”, I don’t mean shooting a thousand photos on your stroll down the road. I’m talking about situations that require you to photograph hundreds or thousands of photos for some type of event or job.

2010 Parker 425 Car #1532

I can think of several such events that I recently shot with my digital: The Parker 425 race, the Green Man T-Shirt event, the Long Beach Grand Prix, and I’m sure there are others I’ve done. The point is: these types of events (whether you’re shooting as a professional or as a hobbyist) will require that you take many hundreds of photos. Others that come to mind are weddings, concerts, sporting events, product shoots, fashion shows, races, and many more.

It’s not to say that these situations can’t be shot with film, but it becomes very tedious and expensive with ultimately fewer results (unless you’re downright awesome).

WHEN LIGHTING CONDITIONS CHANGE RAPIDLY

One of the major inconveniences of film is the fact that you can’t change your film sensitivity on the fly — you either have to finish the roll or wind it back up and write down where you left off. Digital cameras overcome this inconvenience by allowing you to change the ISO setting at any given time.

We Have Liftoff Moray Eels

One such situation that comes to mind is at a theme park or zoo. One minute you’re outside in the sun, then you’re inside a dark aquarium, then you’re back outside, then you’re back inside, etc. Pain in the butt if you’re shooting film. And again, things like weddings and concerts might have rapidly changing lighting conditions that will require a quick ISO change.

WHEN TRAVELING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME

At just a “few” shots per roll of film, you could really accumulate a collection of spent film on a long trip. This poses two problems: the cost of the film and developing, and the space needed to lug it around. Digital photos, on the other hand, don’t take up much space — especially if you’re packing a laptop or other mass storage device.

My baby stash. 1,629 shots.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Hillary Stein

Again, not saying that you can’t (or shouldn’t) shoot film on a lengthy vacation, but I wouldn’t leave the digital behind. When traveling, I bring both film and digital cameras, but I always pack way too much film. That’s the other downside to film — you bring more than you need, “just in case”.

WHEN YOU NEED A QUICK TURNAROUND

Not all paid shoots will require a ton of photos, but some will require a quick delivery of images. In this case, dealing with the film might be more work than it’s worth.

Even for personal stuff, sometimes you just need a quick shot of something that you can toss on the web. This is true for things such as blogs, eBay or Craigslist postings, quick family/friend emails, and other such situations. Obviously, digital rules in this area.

If you want to send a film photo through the interwebs, you have to shoot the entire roll, develop it, let it dry, chop it up, scan it, process it, and finally output it for the web. Digital… shoot, download, process, downsize, done. Hell, you could even shoot it on your cell phone and upload it straight to Flickr or Facebook. At any rate, film just takes a bit longer (and more money) to process and digitize.

WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY

There is certainly an ongoing cost associated with shooting film, and that’s not always a bad thing when you can pick up a camera for less than $50. But not every situation you encounter will justify that film & developing cost.

I shoot a lot of film, even for personal stuff and family get-togethers. But sometimes I just don’t see the benefit of going analog. If you know you’re going to be taking a lot of personal shots that you’ll never have time or money to develop and/or print, just take the digital camera. Or maybe you’ve been shooting a lot of film and falling behind on developing and scanning — shooting digital for a while can be a nice break and allow you to catch up.

WHAT DID I MISS?

Besides the default “digital is always better than film” answer — that doesn’t count (and I’ll prove it wrong with a follow-up post).

Feeling Negative? Check Out This New Film Photography Blog!

[tweetmeme]OK, so this thing has been in the works for many months now. I’m pleased to announce the launch of a new blog aimed at film photographersFEELINGNEGATIVE.COM

As many of you know, I’ve been heavy into film photography for the last few years. I post a few film-related things here on Epic Edits from time to time, but I never felt really comfortable pushing a ton of it because we have a mixed audience.

This new blog will give me a chance to write about film photography uninhibited. And the best part of this new blog… I’m not doing it alone. My good friend Tomas Webb will be joining me as an equal partner/mastermind. We’ve been brewing ideas and organizing this thing for several months and I’m confident that we’ll be able to provide outstanding content in this particular niche of photography.

WHAT DO WE HAVE IN STORE?

I assure you, we have a bunch of great topics and themes that we’ll be talking about over there. The site is organized into five main sections: Camera Bag, Darkroom, Digital Darkside, Community, and Other Stuff. Each main category has several sub-categories yet to be announced, and they’ll roll out as we publish more articles. At launch, we have one article per main category to get you started.

In the first few weeks, we’ll also be talking about the various ways you can get involved with the new website. One of our main goals is to create a thriving community of film enthusiasts, and we’ll have plenty of ways for you to get in there and take part. Right now, you can join the Feeling Negative Flickr Group and contribute photos that will be exhibited on the site.

You might also notice that the site design is somewhat mild… we’ll work on that eventually. Our thought was to get the content rolling and focus on the frilly stuff later.

WHO IS THIS SITE FOR?

This one is pretty simple: anybody that is already or wants to be involved with film photography. That includes everyone from beginners with a small interest, way out to the seasoned pros with tons of experience.

For the beginners, we’ll be covering the basics of shooting, developing, printing, scanning, etc. For the ol’ timers, we’ll be digging into alternative techniques, various pieces of equipment and film stocks, DIY stuff, and new ways of working with an old process. I’m hoping we can keep a wide variety of photographers engaged in the discussion.

LAST THOUGHTS…

I don’t want to run on for too long about this thing, so get over there and check it out. I would encourage anybody interested in film photography to give it a chance and watch how it “develops” over the next few weeks and months. We have a lot of stuff to talk about over there and it’s going to take some time to get everything up and running.

Again, if you have any inclination toward film photography whatsoever, please check out the site and/or subscribe to the RSS feed:

FEELINGNEGATIVE.COM WEBSITE

FEELINGNEGATIVE.COM RSS FEED

What do you guys think? Is this a good idea worth the effort, or are we just wasting our time in a diminishing medium?

Also feel free to leave any comments, questions, concerns, etc, right here on this post. And have no fear, Epic Edits will continue on as it always has.

What Would You Like to Learn About Film Photography?

Most of you know that I’m a big fan of film photography and I’ve posted a few articles here on the blog. I started with digital, but I’ve been doing the film thing for about the last 2 years now. At this point, I’m fairly comfortable with discussing most film photography topics from shooting to printing and everything in between.

The poll this time around will be another open-ended question because I’d like to get some open-ended feedback from you guys. I know that quite a few of you are film buffs and/or upcoming film enthusiasts, and I know that there are a lot of questions out there on the topic. So open it up and ask away! What film photography topics, tips, techniques, and methods would you like to learn more about?

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT FILM PHOTOGRAPHY? REALLY… ANYTHING!

Seriously… don’t be shy and don’t blow it off. I can’t answer if you don’t ask. And for those of you interested in film, stay tuned for a BIG announcement next week.

Cross Processing Tips and Suggestions

XPRO

It’s no secret… I love film photography. But if there’s one thing I love more than film, it’s cross processed film. There’s something so intriguing about it — adding a touch of unpredictable to the imperfect nature of film. Many photographers tend to either hate it or love it. Some love it so much that they attempt to recreate the look with Photoshop.

I’ve had this article on the half-finished backburner for a while. I figure we’ll take a slight detour from the photo backup series and get this one out there. One reader recently commented on another cross processing article, asking some questions about it. So I’m guessing that at least one person will find some of this useful.

Here are some tips for choosing films to cross process, exposing the film, getting it developed, and color correcting it. So grab a cheap film camera start cross processing!

WHAT THE HECK IS CROSS PROCESSING?

It’s a beautiful thing… simply put, you shoot a roll of film (most commonly slide film, or E-6) and develop it as if it were something different (most commonly color negative film, or C-41). Intentionally processing a film in the wrong chemicals. Doing this with slide film works out well for several reasons: the results are very cool and C-41 processing is much more available than E-6.

DIFFERENT FILMS = DIFFERENT RESULTS

Darkness Creeps InWe Have LiftoffThe Wind CatcheruntitledjesusLanterns

The largest differences in the outcome of your cross processed photos have to do with the film you’re using. Each film has it’s own unique look, and they can vary drastically. The most obvious difference is the color cast produced during development. Here are some results from those that I’m most familiar with:

Kodak EktaChrome (or EliteChrome) = very green
Fujifilm Velvia 50 = green + some blue
Fujifilm Velvia 100 = very red + some magenta or yellow

And here are some others that I have yet to try:

Fujifilm Sensia 400 = blue + green
Fujifilm Sensia 100 = red
Fujifilm Provia 400 = green + yellow
Konica Centuria 100 = little color cast

It’s also worth noting that different developer solutions will have slightly different effects on the outcome of the film. For any given slide film that can be cross processed, I’ve seen a vast array of colors show up from different photographers.

UNDER-EXPOSE BY ONE STOP

Color slide film has a lower dynamic range than color negative film. On top of that, cross processing tends to boost the contrast between highlights and shadows, thus requiring that you properly expose your shots. But cross processing (in my experience so far), tends to over-expose the film by about one stop. The first few rolls I got back were overexposed — some being unusable. So I figured out that if I underexpose the shots by one stop, I got better results with the exposure of the developed film.

To underexpose by one stop, you just have to set your ASA/ISO value to double what it should be (assuming that you have a light meter on your camera). So if you’re shooting with ASA100 film, set the camera to ASA200. This makes the camera “think” that you have a faster film loaded, so it lets in less light.

FIND A GOOD PHOTO LAB

Cross processing requires the C-41 process, and most of us aren’t equipped to do this ourselves. However, just about any lab that develops film will have this capability (since it’s the most common process for consumer film). The tricky part is finding somebody who will cross process your E-6 film as C-41 film.

When film is developed, a lot of chemical reactions are taking place. The end result is a stable piece of film with an image on it and a bunch of extra “stuff” that gets left in the developer solution. Developer solutions have to be changed out on a regular basis to continue to work properly.

From what I understand, developing slide film in C-41 chemicals can leave behind stuff that normally isn’t left behind. I don’t think this does a great harm to the solution or to the other film being processed in the developer, but shops with less-experienced technicians will shy away from cross processing because of this. You’re better off finding somebody who knows their stuff.

It’s also recommended that you find a shop with a higher volume. Developers that are used more often have their solutions changed out more often. For example, I’ve got a place downtown that changes the solution every day, and they have no problem cross processing as much as I want. But my local place has a lower volume and they only change out the solution once per week. They’ll cross process for me, but they ask that I don’t bring in more than a couple rolls at a time.

CORRECT THE COLORS WITH WHITE BALANCE

As I mentioned above, cross processing can produce some very strong color shifts in addition to other things. Sometimes these color shifts work really well with the subject and you’ll want to keep them. But other times, it’ll be too much an you’ll want to back it off a bit. This section is aimed at those of you scanning your film and processing the digital files (but this can also be done in the darkroom).

The best tool that I’ve found for this is the white balance adjustment found in software such as Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. A color curves adjustment in Photoshop might be slightly better, but the white balance is so quick and easy in comparison.

For photos with a strong green color shift, increase your “tint” into the magenta region (or away from green). Depending on the film and the specific color shift, you may also need to adjust the “temperature” toward yellow or blue to take care of secondary color shifts left behind.

For photos with a strong red shift, move your “tint” into the green region (away from the magenta). Again, you may have to adjust the “temperature” to clean up the rest of the colors.

The same rules apply with yellow and blue color shifts — just move adjust the white balance in the opposite direction. So basically, you’re just evaluating the color shift of the photo, finding that color or combination of colors in your white balance adjustment, and compensating for it by negating the colors.

Another thing that works well with Adobe’s raw processor is the White Balance Tool even with cross processed film scans. Just find something in the photo that “should” be a neutral gray and sample it with the tool. This will adjust the white balance for you, then you can fine-tune it from there. I usually like to leave a bit of color shift in my photos (and sometimes all of it) — if you go too far with the white balance adjustments, you’ll start to see weird colors showing up in those neutral gray or white areas.

JOIN AN XPRO FLICKR GROUP

If you’re on Flickr, one of the best ways to get excited about a topic is to join a group dedicated to that topic. Seeing the photos and reading the discussions is a great way to get inspired and educated. Here are a few cross processing groups:

XPRO CROSS PROCESSING
Cross Processing – XP – XPRO
Kodak Xpro
Cross Process Masterpieces
Cross Processing Anonymous

Other than that, all I can do is suggest that you get out there and try things out for yourself. Try different films, different cameras, different developers, etc. Cross processing can be quite interesting, as it adds to the “unknown” factor already inherent in film photography.

For you seasoned cross processing film photographers out there, what other advice would you give to photographers just getting into this stuff?

PHOTO PROJECT: The $50 Film Camera

Alright! It’s time for another super-fantastic photography project here at Epic Edits! This project is truly shaping up to be of epic proportions. The theme will be film photography, and we have a couple of big-league sponsors and experienced judges rooting us on. This one will require a little more effort on your part, but I’m hoping that we can all get excited about this little adventure we’re about to take on.

[UPDATE] The results of this project have been posted — be sure to check out all 80 film camera reviews that we received.

Those who have been following the blog are aware of my recent love for film photography — so this project should be of no surprise! The project will be open through mid-September due to the requirements I’ve set forth. Be sure you read through this announcement and if you plan on participating, you’d better get moving!

THE SPONSORS

I’m so excited to announce that we have not one, but two really awesome sponsors supporting this project! Lomography and ILFORD Photo have decided to pitch in some goodies for a few lucky contest winners at the end of the project.

Lomography will be contributing 3 Diana+ cameras! Dating back to the early 1960ʼs, the all-plastic Diana camera is a cult legend – famous for its dreamy, radiant, and lo-fi images. The brand new Diana+ is a faithful reproduction and a loving homage to the classic Diana – with a few new features tossed in. This is an amazing addition to any film photographer’s collection. Lomography is a globally active organization dedicated to experimental and creative snapshot photography. Boasting more than 500,000 active members across the world, the idea of Lomography encompasses an interactive, democratic, social, cultural, vivid, blurred, and crazy way of life. Totally cool people in my book!

ILFORD Photo

ILFORD Photo (part of Harman Technology, ltd.) will be contributing 6 bricks of 120 format black & white film to go with those Diana+ cameras! That’s 30 rolls of pure gold my fellow photographers! We’ll be splitting up 10 rolls each of their HP5 Plus, XP2, and Delta 3200 between the three contest winners — which also happen to be 3 of my favorite black & white films (Coincidence? I think not!). For over 125 years ILFORD Photo has set the standard for the highest quality photographic products and achieved legendary status throughout the worldwide photographic community. Today, ILFORD Photo offers a wide range of exceptionally high quality black and white photographic materials all featuring very high image quality, ease of use and consistently reliable results.

In total, we’ve got over $300 worth of prizes to split up between 3 contest winners! So if I’ve piqued your interest with these snazzy prizes, read on and find out how you can get some for yourself!

THE CONCEPT

This project has many different intents, and all of them revolve around learning and exploring new mediums. First and foremost, this project should be fun and exciting for any photographer to participate in. For those who have been brought into photography after the start of the digital age, this is a great opportunity to learn a little about the history of our hobby and pick up some new skills by shooting film. For those already familiar with the days of film, this is a great opportunity to get back to your roots and rediscover the magic of film photography. And for those already shooting film today, this is a great opportunity to share your knowledge with others and maybe pick up a new toy!

My main objective for the project as a whole is to show other photographers that film photography can be very inexpensive and exciting. For whatever reason, there’s a popular belief that film photography is expensive and tedious. But through your participation in this project, we can disprove that point and show everybody just how great film can be.

THE REQUIREMENTS

If you’re planning on participating in the project (and especially if you want to participate in the contest), pay careful attention to the following requirements. This is a multi-part project, and it’s going to require self-publication of a little writing and a little photography. Also – the links scattered throughout these requirements will prove to be useful.

  1. Find a Film Camera for Under $50
    That’s right, I’m asking you to spend money on this project (gasp!). Actually, you have two options here: 1) go buy a film camera, or 2) use one that you already have. I would encourage everybody participating to pick up a new camera, but if you’re strapped for cash and you already have a cheap camera, go ahead and use it. You can use any type of camera as long as it’s a film camera (and under $50).
  2. Shoot Some Film With Your New Camera!
    Go grab a couple rolls (or packs) of film and run ‘em through your new toy! Get acquainted with your camera and make note of the ins-and-outs of your particular equipment and film you’re using.
  3. Write a Review of Your Camera
    Once you’ve gotten comfortable with your camera, I want you to write a review of it. The purpose of this is to educate other photographers on that piece of equipment. Tell us where you got it, how much it cost, some of the cool features, some of the not-so-cool features, how to use it, what you love about it, etc. The sky is the limit here, and what you write is totally up to you.
  4. Publish a Photo of Your Camera
    To go along with your mini camera review, I’d like to see a photo of your camera. The photo can be taken with any camera of your choice — I just want to see what it looks like. This part is important, because your camera photo will be the link to your project entry when I post the final results (so make sure we can actually see your camera!).
  5. Publish an Entire Roll of Photos
    Hey, this is a photography project right? So let’s post some photos! Along with your review, I want to see an entire roll of film that was taken with your new camera (and it doesn’t have to be your first roll). Why an entire roll? Because it’ll be neat to see any mistakes along with the gold nuggets.
  6. Submit Your Link Here
    I know, it may seem like I’m asking for a lot here, but there’s really not too much work involved. To enter the project you will need to have a single URL link that will take me to your review, your camera photo, and your roll of film. There are plenty of ways to go about this — so no excuses!
  7. DEADLINE: SEPTEMBER 12, 2008

Based on our project history here at Epic Edits, I’m expecting some very high quality project entries!

THE CONTEST

All project entries will be automatically entered to win one of three prizes from our sponsors (and all three prizes are the same). Two judges will each choose their favorite project entry based on the quality of the review and on the photos presented. The third winner will be a “people’s choice award” decided by a poll when I post the final results. Here are your two judges:

Jim Talkington is a professional photographer of 20+ years, has had experience with advertising, photojournalism, editorial, catalog, darkroom technician, retail photo sales, writer, and many more facets of photography. He also has a strong history with film photography.

Udi Tirosh is a fellow photography enthusiast and photography blogger. He’s got a DIY attitude and he’s all about cheap and affordable photography equipment. Since this project is based around cheap old film cameras, I thought he’d fit right in as a judge.

So like I said, these two guys will each be choosing one winner to receive a Diana+ camera from Lomography and 10 rolls of film from ILFORD Photo. The third winner will be chosen by the blog readers. Good luck everyone!

THE ENTRY FORM

Before you enter your project, double check the requirements and rules posted above. If you don’t meet the minimum requirements, I’ll ask you to revise your entry. If you do meet them, I’ll send you a confirmation email.

[UPDATE: Here are five project entries from week 1 that stand out as good examples]

IMPORTANT: When submitting your project entry, please provide the link to the specific web page for your camera review (and be sure that the photos are accessible from your review). A link to you website, blog, Flickr stream, etc, won’t cut it. Please submit the page link.

[UPDATE] The results of this project have been posted — be sure to check out all 80 film camera reviews that we received.

10 Things I Love About Film

love / hate
Creative Commons License photo credit: ron.richardson

OK, so my recent article on the “10 Things I Hate About Film” went over with mixed emotions. Let me just get this cleared up: IT WAS A SARCASTIC SATIRE/PARODY actually aimed at the shortcomings of digital photography. Some readers saw this immediately, and even added to the humor with their comments. Other readers took the article seriously and proceeded to attack me as a photographer and a writer. You can see some of the comments on the post and on the Digg page for the article.

If you’re not convinced that I have a basic understanding and love of film, here are some photos as evidence (here, here, here, here, and here). You can also see my film scans on Flickr. You can also try clicking some of the links left throughout the original article — most of them lead to articles about film photography that I’ve written in the past.

I understand that my idea of humor may not be yours, and I also understand that not everybody will “get it” when it comes to my flavor of sarcasm and jokes. I also get the feeling that many people were turned off and immediately dismissed the blog as “crap” — buy hey, you can’t win ‘em all. So if you didn’t “get it” in the last article, here it is in plain and serious English (the italics are the quotes from the other article):

1. DIRTY DIRTY GRAIN

Seriously, this has to be one of the things I hate most about film. That grain you get all over the photos is absolutely terrible! And the worst part is that you can’t entirely get rid of it with Photoshop — so you’re stuck with it. Those awful little specks show up all over the photo and add unwanted texture and inconsistencies. I don’t know about you, but if I want grain in my photo for “artistic reasons” I’d like to be able to at least have the choice of adding it in during post processing. That’s why digital is the way to go.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE FILM GRAIN! I actually shoot with Neopan 1600 and Delta 3200 at all times of the day just for the grain. The added texture and inconsistency is what makes grain so special. Yes, we can add it in post with digital, but it’s not the same as real grain.

2. FILM CHOICES

You walk into a photography store that carries film and what do you see? About 3 million different types of films hogging all that wall space. I mean, really, who needs 14 different types of black and white films? What’s the difference? And don’t even get me started on different film formats. It’s confusing as all heck, having to decide between a bunch of different film that supposedly does the same thing. That’s the nice thing about digital — you get one sensor, and you know that it’s going to produce consistent results with each photo.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE ALL THE DIFFERENT FILMS! When I buy film, I buy 2 or 3 rolls of about 10 different films rather than boxes of the same film. I love to experiment with new films and see how they all result in vastly different photos. Though I’m starting to prefer certain types of film for certain cameras of mine, I’m certainly not excluding any specific type of film. This is another point that digital can’t reproduce with Photoshop.

3. COST OF FILM

Yikes, that stuff is outrageously expensive! The cost per photo skyrockets compared to digital, and the price of film makes you have second thoughts about taking useless photos. I think we’re definitely better off spending all that money on new digital bodies, super-fast glass, new computers, software licenses, and backup hard drives. Because you know that $3 to $5 per roll can add up really fast — especially since we all love to grab about 500 photos each time we go out with the camera.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE THAT FILM PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT REALLY THAT EXPENSIVE! When you can buy a fully functional film camera for under $50, the cost of film photography compared to digital can be very cheap indeed. Sure, the film costs money, but you also don’t need to drop $800 on a camera.

4. DYNAMIC RANGE

A lot of people will tell you that the broad dynamic range of film is a huge benefit over digital. They’re just crybabies when it comes to setting the exposure on their camera. If you ask me, those film photographers just need that extra dynamic range because their ancient cameras can’t meter the scene correctly. Oh, but what about those really high contrast situations? Hey, silhouettes are always in fashion.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE THE DYNAMIC RANGE OF FILM! I’ve pulled off some pretty amazing shots with b/w film — shadows, straight into the sun, and water reflecting sunlight all in the same frame. Right now, digital can’t keep up.

5. DEVELOPING TIME

So not only does film cost money up front, but then you have to get it developed (and likely spend more money) before you can actually see the photos? Sure, there are places out there that can develop your film in under an hour, but who has time for that these days? Not only that, but while you’re getting the film developed, you might encounter another human being and be forced into a social situation. Personally, I’d much rather spend 10 to 20 minutes watching my photos download onto my computer from my full 8GB Compact Flash card.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE THE PROCESS OF WAITING FOR DEVELOPMENT! I also love going into the film store and chatting with other photographers and the folks that work there. And while I’m waiting for my film to be developed, I typically bring a camera and go mingle with other photographers floating around outside the store.

6. DEVELOPING CHOICES

This whole developing thing is such a pain! It cost money, it takes time, and get this… more choices that you have to deal with. There’s all these different chemicals that you have to decide on. Plus, you have the option of under-developing and over-developing the film — how confusing is that? Then you get these yahoo’s that think cross processing is some kind of toy to play with. Honestly, I take comfort knowing that once I press the shutter on my digital camera, the exposure is set in stone and the image “developed” without having to think about it.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE THE CHOICES WE HAVE FOR FILM DEVELOPING! I think it’s great that there are a number of choices for developing film. I’m personally a fan of cross processing slide film, and I’m always amazed at how different films react to the process. Another thing that’s cool about processing film — you can actually push or pull the exposure beyond what the label says. Awfully handy for extremely low light situations. The thing about digital is that once you press the shutter, your exposure is set in stone. With film, it’s not set until it’s been developed and printed.

7. NO INSTANT REVIEW

I love my LCD on the back of my digital camera. I can check each photo I take for correct exposure and composition. No need to spend the extra 3 seconds getting it right the first time — if I screw up, I’ll see it on the LCD and just take another 3 or 4 photos of the same scene. I don’t know how those film photographers can live without seeing their photos immediately. I mean, what if you mess up an entire roll of film? You won’t know it until a few days down the road, and that might be too late.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE HOW FILM MAKES YOU WAIT! Sure, being able to review images on the fly could help you save some shots, but it’s largely not necessary. Shooting film teaches you how to get your shots without excessive trial and error. It can also prevent you from missing the shot because you’re too busy checking your histogram. Besides, playing the waiting game is fun.

8. TANGIBLE RESULTS

I pride myself on being able to take more photos than anybody else when I go out with other photographers. If I were shooting film, I’d need to have an entire room just to file the negatives, not to mention the prints. I don’t know what the old photographers did with all that used film. Some people have this “thing” about holding and touching the photo, but what’s that all about? I think photos look their best on my 22″ widescreen display. Who needs to “hold” it? It’s a piece of paper, not a baby.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE HOLDING FILM AND PRINTS! And no, I don’t pride myself in being able to take more photos than anybody else — that’s not how I photograph. (Get it? I was poking fun at that type of mentality that some digital photographers have). Holding the negatives, checking them out, putting them in their sleeves — all part of the process that I love. And prints… prints are amazing. If you’ve never held one of your prints at large format, you’re really missing out on something special.

9. OLD CAMERAS

Have you ever seen one of those old film cameras? They’re like metal bricks. Those things will probably be around after the cockroaches go extinct. It’s like they never die, and they just end up getting churned back into society through places like eBay. Hey people — it’s old technology! It doesn’t belong here anymore! But those digital camera manufacturers got it right — build a camera that only lasts 3 or 4 years, and you won’t have to worry about outdated technology lingering about.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE OLD FILM CAMERAS! I have six film cameras ranging in origin from the 50′s through the 80′s. I don’t have any film cameras that are newer than about 25 years old. Those things are great, and I’ll bet they’ll all outlast even my newest digital camera.

10. A BAD CROWD

If you’ve ever encountered those film photographers, you know what I’m talking about. They are not the type of people you want to be hanging around. Showing up to photowalks with their old cameras, talking about different films as if they were fine wines, trying to be all “artistic”, and thinking they’re better than everyone else just because they can take photos without batteries. If you see one of these film photographers walking the streets, hide your camera and walk the other way — they might try to talk to you and get you roped in to hanging with the wrong crowd.

TRANSLATION: I LOVE THE FILM CROWD! They are certainly a special group of photographers, but they’re not at all bad people (at least the ones that I’ve met). Sure, we go places with old cameras, talk about film, and some of us may be artistically quirky. But film photographers are still photographers just like anybody else with a camera and a love of photography. We’re all on the same team here.

Hopefully this article cleared a few things up. It does kind of bother me that so many people read the last article and dismissed me as being whiny, uneducated, inexperienced, stupid, lazy, and a baby (yes, somebody called me a baby). The funny thing is that the people who made those kinds of comments actually made themselves look silly to those who understood the article. My guess is that some people read the title and the main headings, then proceeded to comment. The moral of the story: make sure you read the article (and the other comments) before you make your own comments and challenge somebody’s integrity and intelligence.

10 Things I Hate About Film

love / hate
Creative Commons License photo credit: ron.richardson

Film is a four-letter-word. It’s a hideous part of our photographic past, and we’ll be better off once it’s been eliminated from society. I’m ashamed to admit that I tried film once, but I quickly learned just how disgusting it really is and I’ve been clean ever since that occasion. Just take my word for it — FILM IS BAD (mmmkay). Here are ten things I hate about film:

1. DIRTY DIRTY GRAIN

Seriously, this has to be one of the things I hate most about film. That grain you get all over the photos is absolutely terrible! And the worst part is that you can’t entirely get rid of it with Photoshop — so you’re stuck with it. Those awful little specks show up all over the photo and add unwanted texture and inconsistencies. I don’t know about you, but if I want grain in my photo for “artistic reasons” I’d like to be able to at least have the choice of adding it in during post processing. That’s why digital is the way to go.

2. FILM CHOICES

You walk into a photography store that carries film and what do you see? About 3 million different types of films hogging all that wall space. I mean, really, who needs 14 different types of black and white films? What’s the difference? And don’t even get me started on different film formats. It’s confusing as all heck, having to decide between a bunch of different film that supposedly does the same thing. That’s the nice thing about digital — you get one sensor, and you know that it’s going to produce consistent results with each photo.

3. COST OF FILM

Yikes, that stuff is outrageously expensive! The cost per photo skyrockets compared to digital, and the price of film makes you have second thoughts about taking useless photos. I think we’re definitely better off spending all that money on new digital bodies, super-fast glass, new computers, software licenses, and backup hard drives. Because you know that $3 to $5 per roll can add up really fast — especially since we all love to grab about 500 photos each time we go out with the camera.

4. DYNAMIC RANGE

A lot of people will tell you that the broad dynamic range of film is a huge benefit over digital. They’re just crybabies when it comes to setting the exposure on their camera. If you ask me, those film photographers just need that extra dynamic range because their ancient cameras can’t meter the scene correctly. Oh, but what about those really high contrast situations? Hey, silhouettes are always in fashion.

5. DEVELOPING TIME

So not only does film cost money up front, but then you have to get it developed (and likely spend more money) before you can actually see the photos? Sure, there are places out there that can develop your film in under an hour, but who has time for that these days? Not only that, but while you’re getting the film developed, you might encounter another human being and be forced into a social situation. Personally, I’d much rather spend 10 to 20 minutes watching my photos download onto my computer from my full 8GB Compact Flash card.

6. DEVELOPING CHOICES

This whole developing thing is such a pain! It cost money, it takes time, and get this… more choices that you have to deal with. There’s all these different chemicals that you have to decide on. Plus, you have the option of under-developing and over-developing the film — how confusing is that? Then you get these yahoo’s that think cross processing is some kind of toy to play with. Honestly, I take comfort knowing that once I press the shutter on my digital camera, the exposure is set in stone and the image “developed” without having to think about it.

7. NO INSTANT REVIEW

I love my LCD on the back of my digital camera. I can check each photo I take for correct exposure and composition. No need to spend the extra 3 seconds getting it right the first time — if I screw up, I’ll see it on the LCD and just take another 3 or 4 photos of the same scene. I don’t know how those film photographers can live without seeing their photos immediately. I mean, what if you mess up an entire roll of film? You won’t know it until a few days down the road, and that might be too late.

8. TANGIBLE RESULTS

I pride myself on being able to take more photos than anybody else when I go out with other photographers. If I were shooting film, I’d need to have an entire room just to file the negatives, not to mention the prints. I don’t know what the old photographers did with all that used film. Some people have this “thing” about holding and touching the photo, but what’s that all about? I think photos look their best on my 22″ widescreen display. Who needs to “hold” it? It’s a piece of paper, not a baby.

9. OLD CAMERAS

Have you ever seen one of those old film cameras? They’re like metal bricks. Those things will probably be around after the cockroaches go extinct. It’s like they never die, and they just end up getting churned back into society through places like eBay. Hey people — it’s old technology! It doesn’t belong here anymore! But those digital camera manufacturers got it right — build a camera that only lasts 3 or 4 years, and you won’t have to worry about outdated technology lingering about.

10. A BAD CROWD

If you’ve ever encountered those film photographers, you know what I’m talking about. They are not the type of people you want to be hanging around. Showing up to photowalks with their old cameras, talking about different films as if they were fine wines, trying to be all “artistic”, and thinking they’re better than everyone else just because they can take photos without batteries. If you see one of these film photographers walking the streets, hide your camera and walk the other way — they might try to talk to you and get you roped in to hanging with the wrong crowd.

By the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet there’s a hint of sarcasm in a few of the points above. But seriously, stay away from those film photographers — they’re bad news!

UPDATE: IF YOU FIND YOURSELF ANGRY WITH THIS ARTICLE, YOU MIGHT TRY READING THE TRANSLATED VERSION.

Is Film Dead?

Film Noir
Creative Commons License photo credit: ~*Leah*~

Sure, digital photography is king right now… but is film photography really a thing of the past? Will film have nothing but a cult following, or is it actually back on the rise?

There may not be a straightforward answer to these questions, but I’m curious to hear the thoughts of other photographers. As I stated in a recent PhotoNetCast episode, film is probably more popular in the artistic community rather than stock, wedding, corporate, family snapshots, etc. So I’m sure we’ll get a lot of different answers based on each photographer’s niche and experience.

But, in general, is film dead? Is it completely out the door as of right now? Or is it on it’s death bed? Perhaps you feel it’s come to a steady equilibrium. Or maybe you’re seeing an increase in film use. Let us know…

Final Destination
Creative Commons License photo credit: RO-BOT
{democracy:50}

And if you haven’t seen the results from the last poll on Defining Fine Art Photography, it’s definitely worth a look. We had 14 very insightful comments about this foggy topic.

Ten Reasons to Love Cross Processed Film

XPRO

First of all, film is great. You guys are probably going to get sick of hearing about film from me over the next couple of months — I just bought two more film cameras (yes, both are Minoltas) and a gob of film to run through them.

I’m fairly new to film, but I’m already starting to set a few personal preferences. I’ve shot two rolls of color film: one roll of Ektachrome cross processed and one roll of Velvia not cross processed. I should’ve cross processed the Velvia too.

Don’t get me wrong, standard color film photos have their place and I’m not knocking them. But for my own artistic preferences, I find the cross processed photos to be more interesting and captivating. Here are some reasons why I love cross processed film — and I’m not talking about the Photoshop Cross Processing Technique — this is the real deal!

1: CLASSIC STYLE

Combine cross processing with the quirks and character of an old camera and glass, and you’ve got a winning combination. These photos can have such a classic look to them, often appearing as if they came from a different era altogether.

kim cathers
Creative Commons License photo credit: kk+

2: DEEP AND DARK

Cross processing tends to darken the shadows of some photos while really pushing the saturation up. This results in a very rich image with deep shadows approaching pure black. A great way to add a dark mood to your photo.

Aiming high
Creative Commons License photo credit: bricolage.108

3: BRIGHT AND COLORFUL

Colors become brighter and bolder than usual when cross processed. Blues, greens, and yellows tend to stand out the most. Additional color casts can also produce wild and unnatural results.

One sign fits all
Creative Commons License photo credit: neil-san

4: SUBTLE

Not all cross processed photos have massive color shifts, huge amounts of contrast, or extreme colors. Sometimes they turn out very subtle. That’s the fun of cross processing — you never know exactly what you’re going to get.

Jess
Creative Commons License photo credit: auer1816

5: OBVIOUS

On the other hand, some cross processed photos turn out with extremely heavy color shifts and very obvious tints. Some even appear to be duotone in nature.

...
Creative Commons License photo credit: mentitore

6: GREEN

The green shift is very common, and it’s a classic cross processed look.

Hell's Angel
Creative Commons License photo credit: Chick Dastardly

7: BLUE

Blues are also pretty typical, giving a slightly different feel to the photo. Blues and greens can often be found together.

Calcio malato
Creative Commons License photo credit: boskizzi

8: RED

Reds are less typical, but can be produced by using the right films and chemicals. Magentas also usually tag along with the reds.

west pier sunrise
Creative Commons License photo credit: slimmer_jimmer

9: YELLOW

I see even fewer yellows than reds, but the effect can be brilliant.

footsies
Creative Commons License photo credit: johnnyalive

10: EXTRAORDINARY

The coolest thing about cross processed film is that you can take a photo of something fairly ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. The new textures, colors, and contrasts bring a whole different view to the image.

What Happens In Boracay
Creative Commons License photo credit: bullish1974

So seriously, if you’re like me and you start shooting film after digital, grab a few rolls of different color films and have them cross processed. You’re not likely to be let down by the results!

What’s Your Favorite Film?

Chroma/luma
Creative Commons License photo credit: piXotroPic

I finally started shooting film — and it’s great! Seeing as how I’ve only shot digital in the past and I’ve been completely ignorant of film photography, I’m now finding myself uneducated about many aspects of film technologies.

One of my biggest unknowns has to do with the actual film — I have no idea which ones I should use or try. I walk into the photography shop and I felt like a kid at a candy store, except I’ve never had candy before. What did I do? I picked up about 10 rolls of different stuff… Ilford Delta, Ilford Pan F Plus, Ilford XP2, Kodak Ektachrome, Fujifilm Velvia, Fujifilm Superia, and a few others.

So in the poll this week, I’d like all you film people to sound off and tell us about your favorite film. I’m sure there are plenty of films I’ve never heard of or seen, and I’d like to have some indication of what is worth trying out. I’ve seeded the poll with a few films, so if you don’t see yours in the list you can add it yourself. I expect the list could get pretty long, so check if yours is in there before you add another.

{democracy:42}