New uses for old cameras?

Sekor1KDTL

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Over the years, I've collected a bunch of different cameras. But I've always kept up with modern technologies, especially when it comes to the digital spectrum. I use my Samsung GS9 for most picture taking now and at 12Mega Pixels, it's awfully resolute.

Still, I love and miss my old film based SLR camera (I have a Minolta X-700 with motor drive and multi-function back). And there it sits, collecting dust. I mean even some of my earlier DSLR cameras are doing the same (a Sony camera that uses the mini discs to record the shots). I have an 8mm, a Hi8 and a Digital8 camcorder. But my main concern is the Minolta X-700. I'd like to continue to use it. But I have to wonder if I can get the same resolution out of it as a digital camera. Even with some of the best films out there, when I go to digitize my old negatives, I do see quite a bit of grain in them.

Are there any new films coming out that might approximate the 5-10 Mega Pixel resolution of a digital camera? Or, must we accept the limitations of film as a medium and try our best to take the clearest pictures possible with that film base? Perhaps, a more fundamental question would be, "is film for older cameras still being manufactured, or is it on the decline?" I do hope they are still obtainable, and I also hope they might have some new films that can get as close as possible to those modern day MP limits.

Thoughts?

Thanks! :02.47-tranquillity:
 

Rickbb

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Film is still manufactured, in fact it’s on a resurgence, not huge but an uptick nonetheless. Grain in film will not get better than it has been for a long time. Just not enough of a market to fund the massive research needed.

With film if you want higher resolution you need to go big, as in large format. Think Ansel Adams, 8x10 negative large format.
 

cgw

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The problem now isn't so much film availability as it is processing accessibility. Long gone are the days of cheap dev-print service from places like Costco. Current option are mail-in service, iffy surviving mini-labs or pro-labs--if you can find one still running film lines.Shoot film if any part of this old ecosystem survives locally. Get your negs scanned at a reasonably high resolution for use.

Film prices have gone up steadily. Selection is still good for c-41 and b&w material. Demand for film isn't expanding and hasn't for years. The steady collapse of labs strikes me as the best evidence it isn't. Still, you can do it. It just won't be like it was 15 years ago. Remember that Kodak filed for bankruptcy in early 2012.

I've pretty much given up on 35mm. I do enjoy shooting b&w 120 film and scanning it with a Nikon D7200. Nice results. Also keeps the dust from settling on at least part of my film gear.
 

joelbolden

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Eastman Kodak's still film production more than doubled in the last four years - Kosmo Foto. I suggest you research low ISO films, if you're concerned about grain size. Actually, I'm one of those who, in post editing, often increases the grain size of his digital pics, usually by 10% to get away from the one dimensional look of digital pics. The slight increase in grain seems to add a bit of "body" to the pics; at least in my eyes. Then again, I have eighteen 35mm and one 120mm cameras compared to four digital cameras ranging from 12-24mpix. While local processors of traditional types of film have disappeared, the sale of, and in-store processing of the single use cameras has soared, at least around here. Then there's Instax film, which I know absolutely nothing about, but is extremely popular. As a further indication that interest in film has increased, a photography friend of mine who teaches at Penn State University has seen their analog film class increase by around 25%. Further, if you price film cameras, you'll see that there has been a huge increase in price in "student" type film cameras(pentax K1000, Canon AE-1, minolta SRT series etc.). I just spent a lot of money ordering a new DSLR because, like many, I enjoy the instant gratification that digital offers, and the camera offers considerable improvement over the ones I have as far as in-camera focusing/processing goes, and I expect to get a lot of enjoyment out of it. But when I go out wandering around shooting, 99% of the time I'm carrying both film and digital with me. ......and so on.
 

cgw

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Don't revive the long-dead debate over whether film is dead, joelbolden. Yes, Kodak still makes film stock. Yes, we all know it. They just don't care to give anything more than percentage increases. It's settled into a residual market. No commensurate "revival" of labs still strikes me as the surest evidence of just how small that "resurgence" is. Find your comment about "in-store" processing of single-use cameras a bit odd, since mini-lab machinery vanished from big box stores and elsewhere quite some time ago. Costco.ca pulled processing years back and recently pulled printing facilities. A few camera stores still run quality in-store labs but only where demand warrants.
 

jcdeboever

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I shoot 135 and 120. I do most of my own processing. Occasionally, I send out. Assuming everything is done right in camera, image resolution will come down to format of film and quality of scan. I am very happy with 8 x 10 size prints from 135 film for what it's worth.
 
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Sekor1KDTL

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Film is still manufactured, in fact it’s on a resurgence, not huge but an uptick nonetheless. Grain in film will not get better than it has been for a long time. Just not enough of a market to fund the massive research needed.

With film if you want higher resolution you need to go big, as in large format. Think Ansel Adams, 8x10 negative large format.

Gotcha. Sadly, I don't have the equipment for that. And I think the last time I had a 120 camera was when I was "single digits" (they actually made cheap ones a kid could use).

I think what I may need to do is keep everything "analog." The problem occurred when I attempted to digitize my 135 negatives into digital prints. If I'm shooting 135, then print it on 8x10 and not higher. I actually had pretty good results with black and white prints. I used Kodak's "Panatomic" BW film (ASA 32) and I used "Microdol" for the film developer. I hope both are still made. As for color, I'm probably stuck with Kodacolor 135, unless y'all can name a better option.

Thanks!
 
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Sekor1KDTL

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The problem now isn't so much film availability as it is processing accessibility. Long gone are the days of cheap dev-print service from places like Costco. Current option are mail-in service, iffy surviving mini-labs or pro-labs--if you can find one still running film lines.Shoot film if any part of this old ecosystem survives locally. Get your negs scanned at a reasonably high resolution for use.

Film prices have gone up steadily. Selection is still good for c-41 and b&w material. Demand for film isn't expanding and hasn't for years. The steady collapse of labs strikes me as the best evidence it isn't. Still, you can do it. It just won't be like it was 15 years ago. Remember that Kodak filed for bankruptcy in early 2012.

I've pretty much given up on 35mm. I do enjoy shooting b&w 120 film and scanning it with a Nikon D7200. Nice results. Also keeps the dust from settling on at least part of my film gear.

Ah, so you go from film development directly to a digitizer.... that might be an option if I can get some developing equipment going again.
 

cgw

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The problem now isn't so much film availability as it is processing accessibility. Long gone are the days of cheap dev-print service from places like Costco. Current option are mail-in service, iffy surviving mini-labs or pro-labs--if you can find one still running film lines.Shoot film if any part of this old ecosystem survives locally. Get your negs scanned at a reasonably high resolution for use.

Film prices have gone up steadily. Selection is still good for c-41 and b&w material. Demand for film isn't expanding and hasn't for years. The steady collapse of labs strikes me as the best evidence it isn't. Still, you can do it. It just won't be like it was 15 years ago. Remember that Kodak filed for bankruptcy in early 2012.

I've pretty much given up on 35mm. I do enjoy shooting b&w 120 film and scanning it with a Nikon D7200. Nice results. Also keeps the dust from settling on at least part of my film gear.

Ah, so you go from film development directly to a digitizer.... that might be an option if I can get some developing equipment going again.

Once cheap and accessible 35mm processing left my area, I went for dev-scan service and skipped prints altogether since most stuff went online. Gradually, I've ditched 35mm. For 120 b&w, I got process-only and DSLR scanned what I liked for editing and possible printing later, especially portraits. Look to sell off choice 35mm gear once the Covid-19 clouds lift.
 

vintagesnaps

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Dust off that Minolta and put some film in it!!

I usually get film scanned when I get it developed. When I was shooting B&W and had access to a darkroom at a local university (building got remodeled for other use and a new one is in the budget but on hold) I'd print my own. There are a variety of options depending on what you want to do and how much you want to spend.

For film try Freestyle Home | Freestyle Photo & Imaging, Adorama, Lomography (if you want oddball experimental stuff to use in fun cheapie cameras), or go to http://www.filmphotograhyproject.com.

The camera and lens and the person using them makes the difference. I use the same lenses on my digital camera and film rangefinders. If you want good quality, use a nice sharp lens. I can get good photos on film or with my digital camera. I print my own digital photos. I've scanned and printed B&W darkroom prints I made. They're comparable in quality; different in paper and gloss, etc. I've gotten photos accepted into juried exhibits that I shot on film and digitally both. Good is good.

Use whatever nice fresh film you like, there are still good options out there. I have to send out since what little in the way of camera shops we had are gone.

For fun I use my midcentury bakelite what-nots, etc. Take a look at Leo's work (limr) if you want to see quality photos that can be done using vintage cameras, or see Krappy Kamera or other exhibits using plastic cameras, etc.
 

Sharpshooterr

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"But I have to wonder if I can get the same resolution out of it as a digital camera".

Sekor...., wonder no more! The answer is a resounding NO!!! You can buy a used 50mp camera for less than $1000. You can crop the eye out of a full body shot at 50mp's and print a better 16x20 of the eye than the whole negative of a 35mm film shot at 16x20.
Of course film is different because it's not little squares and will never pixelate unless it's been digitized!
I still shot some 35mm film through a Canon EOS 1N and wet print it. The EOS allows me to use all my modern lenses. I don't use film for some kind of zen but only because for certain shots film gives a look that digi can't match but ONLY if it's been wet printed. Once film has been digitized and ink-jetted it's just another digital shot no matter how you took it!!!
SS
 

Soocom1

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What film speed to that 5mp?
100? 200? 400?

Ever work 50 or even 25 ISO?

Old school photography is still the same with new school photography in that the rules are still the same.
The diff. is the electronics vs. chemicals.
Yes I know that you get constant resolution with digital over film, but remember noise creeps in as well with faster digi shots.

I know I know, a $100 Nikon D90 can shoot a clean image and get resolution on a 16x20 with no issues.
With that easy being no film developing.
I get that.

But a ISO 25 and tripod will still yield images that are stunningly clean and detailed. Especially is shooting medium format or 4x5.
 

flyingPhoto

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MOST digital cameras do not do black and white work correctly. Unless you spend 7$k on that leica black adn white digital. And then dont forget fuji spent alot of cash on making their digital cameras have a software feature that would create digital photos that mimicked their most favorite film lines of the past.

Digital is nice, no developing costs. However i have noticed for some time that digital doesnt capture color the same way my eye sees it. I always see something odd in digital photos regardless of who took them, that doesnt jive with what my eye or film would see
 

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