Film as a learning tool...

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by cepwin, May 20, 2012.

  1. cepwin
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    cepwin New Member

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    After seeing some awesome film work at an arts fair yesterday I was wondering if it might be cool to play with a film camera. Is that a good use of time for someone just learning photography or is my time/money best spent focusing solely on digital. Part of me want's to pick up a film camera on ebay and have a play with it the other part is saying that would be a waste of time/$$ at this stage. It does seem like a good tool for instilling discipline. I should add I had some exposure (no pun intended) to B/W processing growing up both in summer camp and at one of my friend's houses.
  2. dxqcanada
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    dxqcanada Well-Known Member

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    Well ... as film lengths are limited to a max of 36 exposures it does cut down on the shoot and hope technique.
    If anything, it will slow you down ... which may be a good thing.

    Photographers should shoot film for the pleasure of using the silver medium.

    Different films have their own characteristics ... though negative film should not be underexposed and positive film should not be overexposed.
  3. BlackSheep
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    BlackSheep Well-Known Member

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    I'd really like to hear what made the film work awesome in your opinion, I think that's an important point in deciding whether going over to film would be a good use of time and money for you or not. What did you like about what you saw?
  4. Sw1tchFX
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    Sw1tchFX New Member

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    Absolutely, just don't take it to a 1 hour place like rite aid, and overexpose a stop or two.
  5. Derrel
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    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    For a person "just learning photography", I think film is an utter waste of time,effort,and money.
  6. cepwin
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    cepwin New Member

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    Thanks for the responses. Well I bought several prints that I fell in love with. The first was a print where the artist got some lovely effects using a process where he paints additional chemicals on the negative by hand. The other three were from a fellow who does long exposures and gets some brilliant colors.. I don't know I think what peaked my interest is both that it's different and the discipline it imposes (the 36 shot/roll...no spray and pray.) There is also something to be said about the fun of the medium as dxqcanada said...it is a different medium than digital. My guess is, if I were to go that route I'd get a tank and do the negatives and then scan them in on a film scanner (which I checked are not that expensive.) I included two of the images I purchased ....they're from my phone as I took them so I could show friends at dinner last night. The one on the left is from the fellow I purchased three small images from. THe seocnd is the image I purchased from the fellow who uses the special chemical processes. Hopefully you can see what I loved about them.

    $4-AE2F9A5A-1406177-800.jpg $4-CA15FF0E-535932-800.jpg
  7. dxqcanada
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    dxqcanada Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you want to go back to the experience of film.

    I too am going back ... I started with film, transformed to digital ... but my roots have pulled me back to silver.
    There is something about the feeling of developing to printing of that medium.
  8. cepwin
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    cepwin New Member

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    It's something different....definitely a different experience than shooting digital both physically and psychologically. It's kind of like when I played a bit with hand tools (I didn't keep it up probably because I didn't have the room for a proper shop.) I'm sure there's the aspect of "new and shiny" (or perhaps better said "old and shiny")
  9. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    I suggest you give medium format a try.

    I only shoot film, but honestly - if you're just shooting 35mm, film probably won't blow you away. Medium format (or larger) on the other hand, yes - that does blow digital away, IMO. There's just something about negatives the size of a wallet size print... :lol:

    edit
    And if you think 36 frames per roll will slow you down, think about what a mere 10 (6x7) or 12 (6x6) exposures per roll (at roughly the same cost per roll) will do.
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
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  10. Chris R
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    Chris R New Member

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    I'm not sure if it's a good learning tool for everyone but it definitely made me a better photographer. Having a limited number of exposures really makes me think things out before pressing the shutter button which makes my film photos, on average, better than my digitals. Digitally is probably better if you truly want to learn but most people fall into the "spray and pray" mindset where they shoot the same shot 10 times using different settings until they get something worthwhile...sure you can learn this way but a lot of people don't even bother.
  11. maris
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    maris Member

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    Film use is absolutely essential if you want to learn how to make pictures out of light sensitive materials. Some people call this photography. On the other hand if you want to learn camera-work, how to control a camera to translate the appearance of subject matter into a desired image, then a digital camera will be quicker, easier, and much cheaper. Once you have mastered camera-work then moving onto light sensitive film and paper is much less of a challenge.
  12. Sw1tchFX
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    Sw1tchFX New Member

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    Same here.

    Look into getting a Mamiya 645 with just the 80mm. super basic, big negs, and that lens is friggin' awesome. Slide film is really unforgiving and scans like hell, but the transparencies look incredible. Color neg scans awesome and is super forgiving to shoot. Black and white scans OK (really depending on what you're using), looks best when printed in the darkroom.

    If you want something that will blow you away, O|||||||O is right where he says shoot medium format. manual focus Mamiya 645's are cheaper than Hassy's, and work in a familiar way.

    Just make sure if you're shooting color neg, you expose for the shadow side..otherwise regardless of the format it will look like sh*t.

    Shot off a 645 and an 80mm:
    [​IMG]
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  13. Fred Berg
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    Fred Berg Well-Known Member

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    Medium format 6x9 = 8 exposures per roll. Now that makes you think!

    However, most of my film photography is 35mm and I think even this small format film can deliver wonderful photos. But it isn't going to help your learning curve very much if you put even very nice film in a camera that a) isn't of a good enough quality or b) does too much for you. Get yourself an older model SLR or rangefinder with nice glass and manual settings. I have a Voigtländer 35mm viewfinder (I attach a separate rangefinder to the shoe) that doesn't even have a slot for batteries but which regularly blows me away with what comes back from the lab.
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  14. ann
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    ann Well-Known Member

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    People are not mentioning the most important part of using film (imho) darkroom printing, which is where all the magic really occurs, especially chemical painting.

    There is a serious learning curve with printing if one wants to be really good. But in theory, it is simple and the steps are fairly straight forward. Leaning to control and move the light around is what takes time patience and filling the "learning bin" (aka trash can)
  15. gsgary
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    gsgary Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy shooting film more than digital its great waiting to see what comes back from the lab (color) b+w i will be doing at home
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