Is anyone else a bit frustrated?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by cigrainger, May 9, 2007.

  1. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    As of late, I've been increasingly disgusted with my digital results, in favor of the (to me) "more natural" look of film. Sure, digital is more convenient, but PERSONALLY (I don't want to debate over this), I like the look of film more. I like grains over pixels.

    Problem is, film is just so darn EXPENSIVE. I know, I know, digital costs more right off the bat, and factor in a computer and blah blah. But I already have a computer, and since I needed a printer for university anyway, it wasn't that expensive to grab a photo printer.

    My issue is, as a university student, I'm spending anywhere between £2 and £5 (b/w or color respectively) on film, and then I have to get it processed. My local processing place does good work, but it can be hit or miss. Altogether for black and white or print film, I end up spending at least £10 a roll if you factor in film, development, and scanning. Not to mention the fact that I have rheumatic fever (of all things) and it's a bit of a pain for me to walk to the processing place just for film development.

    I'm just frustrated.

    So tell me if this is a good idea:

    Next year, when I move into my new flat, I'm going to get permission from my landlord to lightproof our storage room by putting up lightproof black cloth around the door.

    I'm going to then buy all the stuff needed to develop (not print) my black and white film.

    I'm going to then buy Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP4 (haven't decided which I like better yet) in bulk rolls, and buy some refillable cartridges.

    I'm going to buy a decent film scanner (at least like 4600dpi).


    This way, because I shoot lots of black and white, after the initial setup cost I will be spending less than the regular cost of film per roll.

    If I decide I like certain shots, I can head down to my university darkroom and make enlargements (its too far away to be reasonable to develop there all the time, I know what you're thinking).

    I can walk down the street (I'm going to be broke, there are about 4 used camera shops within a 10 min walk of my new flat with awesome stuff) and get my slide film developed/mounted (not printed) and I can scan it at home.

    If I decide I like certain shots, my university has a color darkroom as well.


    Does this seem like the most cost effective/reasonable thing to do? I'm not sure I want to mess with color developer because I've heard it's more dangerous than b/w developer. Is it? Could I just develop my color stuff at home too?
     
  2. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Why not go ahead and buy a ten dollar changing bag... Shoot your film.... Load it into a daylight tank in the changing bag.... Take it out and process the negs yourself....

    then buy a cheap scanner, make yourself a back light and you can easily scan black and white into your computer. Then upload the images to an on line printer. It isnt the perfect solution but it should help a lot with the cost. Or find a cheap film scanner with light lid on ebay. It will at least let you decide what you want to take to the lab for prints. If you go with a cheap scanner you can do color the color negs are about two bucks here in the states. You can proof them on your scanner have just a few printed.

    It isnt perfect but it's how I do things.
     
  3. blackdoglab

    blackdoglab yeah I'm easy.... but I'm not cheap

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    A good tank and reel set (plastic) will set you back about $20, and the chemicals about $10. I've been buying tri-x at Best Buy for $3 a roll (24 images), but Freestyle has reloaded Fomapan for $2 a roll (36 images). For scanners, try Epson's flatbeds. I've got a 4490 that cost about $150 and can scan at 4800 dpi. It gives good results and is easy to work with.
    Good Luck
     
  4. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    freestyle has their own arista for a little over a buck a roll i think. then there is the bulk roll thing you can do.
     
  5. cigrainger

    cigrainger TPF Noob!

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    Wait, so I can put film onto a reel and into a daylight tank without a darkroom using a "changing bag"? This is wonderful. :D

    Are color chemicals dangerous?

    Hmm.. this is seeming better by the minute.

    I'd still invest in a decent scanner -- I'm working on a website and want to be able to scan at at least 4800 dpi, preferably 5600dpi, in tiff format -- 35mm negs and slides, and eventually medium format negs and slides.
     
  6. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    I used to buy Tri-X in 100 foot rolls and roll my own with reusable cassettes and a bulk loader for a fraction of the cost for factory.
     
  7. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    chemicals are only dangerous if you mistake them for cocacola
     
  8. CDG

    CDG TPF Noob!

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    If you're looking to save even more, you could check into Foma. I've heard their (Provia?) 100 line is comperable to Illford Delta- top notch film, traditional process b&W that comes at a fraction of the cost of Illford.

    This is true stateside anyway. I imagine you are in the UK, so I'm not sure if the Foma will save your any money or not... I cannot personally vouch for Foma's products yet, but I'm going to shoot through a roll of Provia this weekend I hope, so I might start a discussion on thier product lineup in the near future...
     
  9. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    Why the need for such high-resolution scans? 2400dpi scans should give good 8x10 prints, do you really need much bigger than that? On-screen less is needed than with prints, unless you are planning to crop 80% of the image. Also I think it's worth noting that there are other aspects to scanning besides the resolution, not to mention that some companies can be a bit "shady" in describing the resolution. A little like your receiver at Best Buy that is advertised as a "200W" receiver, only to find that it's really 30W x 7 channels, and at that 30W is only at one ideal frequency for a split second, and in all reality it's struggling to put out more than 10W per channel for any length of time without considerable distortion.

    Dave
     
  10. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There is nothing wrong with your "hybrid" approach - a ton of people are doing it these days. So many people just don't want to walk away from film completely - they have great cameras, expensive lenses, just still enjoy the look and feel of film - but the processing costs seem heavy.

    So many people already have computers and some kind of processing software that digital comes off as less expensive. (It's untrue, but people seem comforted by it, especially if they never print anything.) ;) Of course, it ALL depends on your print production. If you are serious about getting high quality prints from your digital images, you WILL invest in (and continue to pay into) in a high quality photo printer, those fabulous pigment-based inks, and beautiful inkjet paper. For color work, it can make sense.....but, for B&W....?

    Choose film. Every time. Especially in your particular situation, where you'll have access to a darkroom! It is dirt cheap to process film in the comfort of your own home, and you'll be able to pick whatever negs you like for enlargements. You'll have total control, and gorgeous archival silver gelatin prints of your work to be proud of.

    I still find slide film cheap and easy to have processed, and if I want prints from it (that's not why I shoot slide film, but whatever) I have a scanner/printer setup that does the job.

    Go for it, I say. You will have a blast, and learn so much!
     
  11. montresor

    montresor TPF Noob!

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    Agree, any way to save on processing costs is worth exploring. I have close to $300 worth of processing waiting for that elusive moment when there's cash in hand that isn't earmarked for something else.
     
  12. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    1. Bulk film. If you buy one of the less-expensive loaders [Watson], you will almost break even with your first 100' roll of film. You'll begin to save with the second roll.

    2. Yup, all you need is a completely dark place for about 2 minutes [changing bag, closet at night with the lights in the room turned off, etc] to load film onto the tank reel.

    3. Yet another cost-saving step is to make contact prints of each roll. The set-up is relatively inexpensive [you don't need an enlarger] and may well compare favorably to a scanner.

    You might find the article series on b&w photography on this site to be of interest.
     

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