Quandry over film photography

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Vinylbob, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. Vinylbob

    Vinylbob TPF Noob!

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    Hopefully this is the correct forum for these questions, which border on the film vs digital debate. My photo lab, and I guess most photo labs, scans my negatives to print, and then makes a CD with the digital files. The digital files are not very high quality for sharing, when viewed full size on my monitor. They are very grainy. My questions are: do any labs print directly from negatives these days, and if not, would I be better shooting digital to avoid having a transfer step where there is some inevitable loss in quality? The digital photos I have taken with an inexpensive camera have been very clear when viewed digitally. From reading in these forums it seems that film is still better in terms of seamlessness and in terms of color rendition (which I relate to my love of analog music), but if negatives have to enter the digital domain to be printed, haven't I lost some of the original analog qualities of film?

    Another question I have is about shooting ambient indoors. I have never owned a flash, looking to fast glass to help with this. Are there advantages in shooting digitally in having a higher ISO, or does the amount of noise involved counterbalance this advantage? Would I tend to lose the shadow detail I get with film?

    Shooting with a Canon EOS-3, 28-70 2.8L for oudoors, 24 1.4L and 85 1.8 for indoors. Wondering wheter a Canon 5D would be good for my needs. Or another fast lens like a 50 1.4. Using mostly Porta 400 UC. Or should I buy a flash and forget the whole capturing the existing light idea?

    Thanks.

    Bob
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    If you're having the scans done at a pro lab there should be no issue.

    Currently, my workflow for most shots is as follows:
    1) Have the lab scan the negative page for a contact sheet.
    2) Pick out the ones I want
    3) Have those scanned to 8x10 at 300dpi TIFF.
     
  3. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Have you had digital prints made from the negatives lately? Did you like the quality?

    The files on the CD are likely low-resolution scans mostly good for only email and web use.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, typical 'drug store' labs will give you a low resolution file...and the quality is usually crappy, at least it was when I still shot film. A good pro lab should be much better, especially if you ask for high resolution/quality scans.

    I've found that it's a lot easier to shoot digitally.

    High ISO with digital gives you 'noise'...as opposed to the 'grain' that you get with film. Sometimes grain can be OK but noise usually isn't desirable. Newer DSLR cameras are pretty good at shooting with high ISO. You can get pretty clean shots at 800 or even 1600, as long as your exposure is good. You can also use software to remove/reduce noise.
     
  5. Vinylbob

    Vinylbob TPF Noob!

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    Are there any mail-order labs that will develope color film and print 5x7's directly from negatives? My local lab will only do this for 8x10 or larger.
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    This is a pricey option. Prints larger than 4x6 nearly always have to be done by hand, so they'd be individual prints, and you'd pay per shot. That said, there are labs that will do it. My local lab, for example, would do it no problem but I don't know what they'd charge. You can try calling them (JW Photo Labs) at 1.800.537.6688. They deal in shipping all the time, so out of state is no problem.
     
  7. Mooseontheloose

    Mooseontheloose TPF Noob!

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    You will probably have to look around for an actual darkroom or specialty store somewhere locally. I doubt many walgreens type photo labs will do that for you. And in my opinion, if you are gonna be scanning your film to digital anyway, just get a digital camera. I doubt you will ever have enough problems with ISO noise to justify not going digital, provided you get a good camera of course.
     
  8. Vinylbob

    Vinylbob TPF Noob!

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    That seems to be the crux of the matter: that if the information has to cross into the digital domain, why not start there and enjoy the convenience and control that gives you? It seems to me that the problems I would have with ISO noise would result in my losing as many frames as I do from shooting at slow shutter speed now.
     

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