Beginner, looking for film tips

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Stormhammer, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. Stormhammer

    Stormhammer TPF Noob!

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    Hello. I posted this topic over in the Welcome section last week but to date haven't received any replies yet. I'm new to photography and at the moment, am interested in shooting on film. I understand a lot of people don't shoot on this format anymore for various reasons, but I've always liked it, if for nothing more than the feeling I get that takes me back in a nostalgic way and the process of taking the pictures, getting them developed, then seeing what you came out with. I've also always really loved the look of film in general.

    I've got an old Canon Sure Shot AF35M II that used to belong to my parents back in the day that I'll be using for a little while until I get something nicer with more features, but my main questions were regarding things such as the film stock itself, and developing and finishing techniques that can be done at home. Since there are so few places anymore that develop and print film (and many now do not return your negatives), I have been looking at getting a kit to develop at home and possibly a negative scanner with a high DPI to scan my developed negatives into my PC.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for film as far as color and black and white, and which are some good, reliable brands and/or types? Also, any recommendations as far as negative scanners and even photo printers themselves would be great, as an upfront cost for these would be outweighed in a short amount of time by the cost required to just take rolls of film to someone and have them developed. At any rate, any help is appreciated.
     
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  2. JonA_CT

    JonA_CT TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I, too, am fascinated by film, and I started about a year ago with some advice from here.

    As far as the actual film goes, I've had really good luck with Kodak Tri-X 400, Ilford HP5, and Ilford FP4 on the black and white sides of things. I've also used and liked Kodak Portra 400 and Agfa Vista Plus 200 and 400. The Agfa is super affordable...like 3 or 4 dollars a roll.

    I don't have the space in my house to maintain a photo scanner, so I've send my film out. I've been incredibly happy with Old School Film Lab out of Dover, NH. Old School Photo Lab - Film Processing, It's what we do! They will develop, scan, and return your negatives for about $15. That includes prepaid shipping to them. Other people here have other mail-in labs that they like too.

    While I don't have any experience developing my own film, many people here do, and I'm sure they'll give you some great advice. Either way though, I might suggest sending the first few rolls out to a pro anyways, just to isolate variables if nothing else. It's good to know sometimes what is your fault as a photographer, rather than the mixture of a photography and a lab rat.
     
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  3. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Welcome. For film choice it requires trying a few to see what you prefer. Color; I like Ektar 100 for landscape, flowers. Porta 160 for portraits. Fuji Xtra 400 for indoors. B & W HP 5+ for street and general. Acros 100 for good light medium format, TMax 100 for good light 35mm. Tri X or XP2 for Holga. At the end of the day, I could just use Ektar for color, HP 5+ for B & W.

    Epson scanners v6xx or v7xx are solid.

    D76 is a good start for bw. Unicolor kit for color.

    Photo printer, I just use a local place or send out. I get frustrated enough scanning with a cheap flat bed. Printing at home takes frustration to a whole new level.
     
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  4. Stormhammer

    Stormhammer TPF Noob!

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    Thank y'all for the recommendations on photos and the places to send the rolls out as well. I'm definitely going to have a look at that site and see about maybe sending a bulk of photo rolls in at one time to be developed. I shot a roll of 24 on some Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400 yesterday and am going to take that to a local place this afternoon just to see how the camera performed and if there are any issues. I also have some Ilford HP5 Plus B/W film coming in the mail soon. I wasn't sure what to get as far as film stock goes, so those were the two I went with on Amazon because they were on the cheaper side of things, but I will definitely have to try the ones you both recommended as well.

    Do you guys have any preferences as far as cameras themselves? I don't have a ton of money to spend on a camera, but the good thing (at least from what I've seen so far) is that used film cameras can be had for relatively cheap these days. I was looking at maybe a Canon A-1 or something, but I honestly don't know too much about any of them in general. I'm a complete novice when it comes to the technical aspects as well as far as features (f/, ISO, etc), but that's part of the appeal for me...learning about them and using them while shooting.
     
  5. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    This guy goes through his camera's and is reasonably priced. He is honest and goes that extra mile to make sure your satisfied. It's not perfect looking but it should be a great start that works. The thing is, you don't have to worry about light seals, meters working, etc. He has gone through all that and you get a lens and camera that is ready to shoot. He usually has better condition glass offerings but he is a little low right now.The shutter speeds are fantastic on the camera.That 50 f2 looks rough but if he says it has good innards, I believe him... it is a nice sharp lens, with good color saturation, and contrast.

    Nikon FE 3315425

    Nikkor 3510553, 50mm f/2 AI normal lens
     
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  6. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Welcome!

    I still shoot a good amount of film and here is what ill say on it.

    There are not as many film stocks as there once were but there are still plenty out there, everyone has their go to but that is often a personal choice. Get a few rolls of each and see which ones YOU like then go from there. The big names in my experience these days are Kodak and Ilford and both stocks are great (I really like the ilford 100 for landscape and daytime street shooting).

    You can process BW at home but you will need some tanks, graduates, and a dark change bag or a completely blacked out room to load the film in. Color is a bit harder to process at home due to the temperature ranges that need to be kept. That being said it can be done but your money is better spent having it processed at a lab.

    As for cameras, the skys the limit. Used film gear is an excellent deal right now and you can get pro gear for junk shop prices if you look hard enough. I shoot Nikon digital and subsequently Nikon 35mm film stuff so that all my lenses are interchangeable. I really like the vintage feel of my Nikon FT, its built like a brick and shoots great. You can get any of the early Nikon SLR's (FT, F2 etc) for under $200 if you are really patient and hunt local antique shops and flea markets you can get them for under $100. They are all great cameras but may need some light cleaning and fresh seals, both things you can do at home. I had a Cannon A-1 pass though my collection at one point, it was a nice unit and they are held in very high regard I just don't have much experience with them.

    Your other option is to shoot medium format (120 film). You can get a lot of really nice TLR's for a great deal out there. Your run of the mill yashica can be had for under $100 and you can even find some clean Rolliechords in that space too. If you want to be able to change lenses you can get something like a Bronica or Mamiya for under 300.


    Regards
    Dave
     
  7. nickgillespie

    nickgillespie TPF Noob!

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    I think that the easiest (most forgiving for people just starting out) would be either porta 160 or 400. You can overexpose the crap out of them and you can barely tell. You can even underexpose by about a stop and still get decent results.

    As far as bw goes... the most forgiving (and cheapest to develop) would be the kodak c41 black and white film. You can overexpose that quite a bit as well and still have good results. True black and white film... triX is awesome as well as a ton of others.

    I'd try the c41 stuff first and see if you LIKE shooting film before dropping hundreds on Amazon only to find out that ... "****... developing film is really expensive and I actually like shooting digital more."
     
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  8. Stormhammer

    Stormhammer TPF Noob!

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    Thank you everyone for all the input. I have seen a number of videos using at-home techniques for developing color film and they did mention the temperature requirements for developing. My question is...since the mixture of chemicals can be used for about 8 rolls or so (as per the instructions), how would you go about achieving those same temperatures again for subsequent developments after the first? I haven't seen any videos on black and white development but if that's easier, it would probably drive me towards shooting more black and white pictures.
     
  9. nickgillespie

    nickgillespie TPF Noob!

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    Seriously... if you are just starting out with film, the last thing you want to do is dive in with dark room stuff or developing your own film.

    Shoot film for little bit, make sure that you really know your exposures. If you start developing your own film right now and you get wonky results, you won't know if it was a mistake in the exposure or a mistake in the development. The FIND lab in Utah offers basic scans of both MF and 135 for pretty reasonable. Once you develop your film you'll have to do something with it. Scanning is a whole 'nother process that a huge time suck and a total pain in the ass if you have anything else to do in life (like work). Trust me... start off just shooting film and let a lab do the rest.
     
  10. Stormhammer

    Stormhammer TPF Noob!

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    Oh yeah, definitely. Developing at home is just something for future consideration for me, not something I want to get into right at the moment. I don't even know enough about the rest of how the higher-end cameras work to even begin to start something like that, but it is something that if I were to get more serious about in the future I would definitely consider for both time and money savings.
     
  11. nickgillespie

    nickgillespie TPF Noob!

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    If you want to get a 35mm camera... get whatever brand you already have lenses - if you shoot canon digital, get a Canon 1n. If you shoot Nikon, go for a f3 or something like that.

    If you want to get into MF, the cheapest and easiest 645 that I've used is the Pentax. 6x6... Mamiya c220 (very bright screen and easy to focus... the 80mm is the "normal" lens)

    Ignore anyone telling you to get expensive gear; you don't need that. Also ignore anyone telling you to get the Yashica 124. That thing is extremely dark and a piece of crap. The c220 is light years better for the same money.
     
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  12. Stormhammer

    Stormhammer TPF Noob!

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    Well, right now all I have is my Canon Sure Shot (AF35M II), which is just a point-and-shoot without any kind of way to attach anything else. I guess I'm not opposed to any brand in specific, but I have always enjoyed my other Canon cameras and in the future I'd like to get a Canon DSLR, funds permitting.
     

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