Well I also firmly believe that Kodak will stop making Kodachrome 64, if they haven't already. Guess I'm not supposed to spread that either?
It seems obvious that Kodak is going to continue to pare down their film line. I'm sorry if that plays into the imaginary "5 films" figure. Maybe it's 3...maybe it's 8. I don't know. What, to you, differentiates speculation from rumor? Either one can be well or poorly grounded in empirical reality. There's no doubt in my mind that Kodak's continued discontinuance of film products is an inevitability, not a possibility. The only thing that makes my comment a rumor is the fact that it hasn't happened yet.
Among the advantages of film is the equivalent of 42 bit colour versus 12, 14, or even 16 bit colour from digital which means a greater colour range, greater dynamic and contrast range, and more detail in highlight and dark areas.
Digital however is closing the gap. Dynamic range is improving and selective and expert postprocessing is making the difference between film and digital almost invisible.
The advantage of digital at the moment is good noise control at high ISOs of 1600 or greater, the ease of selective postprocessing and greater control after the shot in the digital darkroom.
Film will become a specialty item as the economies of scale in terms of high quantity production will no longer apply. It will therefore become more expensive to produce partly because of its relationship to petroleum products and silver.
Film will eventually disappear but not with any great speed until digital photography considerably improves in colour, contrast, dynamic range and resolution and computers and photo editing software become even more sophisticated and able to easily handle very large photo files quickly and efficiently.
- I am happy with the results I get (35mm and MF)
- Going digital would be a huge investment (camera, lenses, new computer, porcessing software..) for very little improvement (if any) in the quality of my pictures.
- I enjoy spending time in a darkroom but don't like spending hours editing pictures on a computer.
I stick with film for the reasons mentioned above, but also because I find film to be tangible; that is, when I shoot an image and process the film, through the chemical process I get a physical image that can then be manipulated. I don't find digital images to have the same philosophical attributes, then.
Correct me if I'm wrong but the kind of control over colour in digital goes far beyond that of film. Digital has not surpassed film however as this ultimate control is still applicable to scanned negatives and slides. Many pro's still shoot 10x8 neg as more of the original detail gets translated into the final print.
I'm sure this sums up my skill as a photographer but I get much better results with digital then I do with film. It's nice however to have the option of film because like previous techniques it wont become redundant as it has it's own artistic value. Digital is constantly improving and in my case it's the better option because I'm physically, emotionally and biologically attached to my computer's as an 18 year old student.
Personally I feel film is only true tangable photography media. Yes I do understand the memory cards and RAW files hold their weight in any copyright office, but they are duplicable and easily altered. That is not to say film can not be duplicated and or altered, but the practice of doing so is much more difficult than with digital media, for the most part not even worth trying. Also with Digital media there are several more factors that increase the odds of damage and/or total loss of original imagery. A hard drive fails one could loose hundrads or thousands of images, a memory card bites the shead and anything on that is toast. This is in addition to the things like excessive heat, fire, water and other sources of damage that can claim film.
The words "I have and can provide the negitives" should always mean more than "I have and can provide the original RAW and/or JPEG".
That is my opinion on the matter. Sadly this is another one of those debates that will not end untill one side or the other is completely destroyed.....and I see no true end to either side anywhere in the near future.
A lot of why I use film has already been summed up in this thread... namely, I just prefer it. No matter how good digital gets, it will never look like film. Be it the grain, tonality, whatever. That's not saying one's superior, they're just different, and I prefer film personally.
I love the fact that a film negative is an actual physical piece of something that happened or was seen. The actual light from that scene affected the silver halide, and the negative (or slide) captured that moment in time in a tangible form.
I also prefer getting all excited with a roll of film to come home and develop it rather than instant feedback on the 2.5" screen on the back of my digital. I don't like instant feedback. While there have been a few times that I got excited about a roll of film only to ruin it like an idiot, I still prefer that.
Film also limits your exposures. Rather than just snapping away like an idiot, I think and compose with film, and unsurprisingly this shows up in my final result. I can go shoot all day with my digital, hundreds of shots, and come home with 20-30 good ones, whereas on a 35mm 36 exp roll I come home with 20+ quality shots pretty regularly and most of the other exposures were simply duplicates.
The films we have available to us now are, in general, the best there have ever been. Both Kodak and Fuji have continued to improve their emulsions over the past few years. More improvement is possible, but what matters is what is available for use now. The current version of Portra 800 is a remarkable film for its speed, for example.
We have lost some of the fringe films, most of which were made by Kodak. The writing has been on the wall for a number of films for some time, and the surprise has been how long they stayed in production. I used to use a lot of Ektachrome 320T (EPJ) and it was fairly obvious that its time was limited. Fuji made nothing like it - Kodak made tungsten E-6 film in three speeds, Fuji made it in one. But EPJ was good while it lasted, and when it faded away without much publicity I missed it, but just increased my use of Portra 800 and NPZ (now renamed Pro 800Z) as well as 500T movie film.
Similarly with the tungsten negative films for still cameras: gone from the catalogues of both manufacturers. Kodak's version, being the only tungsten negative still film available in 35 mm, was once again the biggest loss.
I'm very surprised how long Kodak have kept Kodachrome in production (possibly not what I think Max thinks I think). Many of us expected it to be abandoned in the 90's, which was when the big switch to E-6 happened for most of us who had been using large quantities of Kodachrome. It's a great film, but it happens to be one that not many people want to use nowadays.
Movie film is a different matter. There is some remarkable stuff available now. There are some relics as well - though Fuji and Ilford abandoned the B&W movie film market, Kodak hung in there with both negative and reversal films. Super 8 almost died, but then revived. Now Kodak have promoted it to a professional format, and they have expanded the range of films available.
Scanning and digital post-processing have added to the potential uses of film, and freed it from some of its old constraints. For example, Kodak have produced two colour films that are unprintable by conventional means, but both remarkable for their time: Primetime in the 90's and HD Scan film now. Primetime was a bold move, and before its time - the idea of a film that was designed for scanning only was a bit radical. Fuji still haven't attempted it - I get the impression that they prefer safe bets.
Exciting times for film users, exciting times for digital users.
I love film because it is what I grew up with. I understand it and I have a ton of film cameras. It is as much economics as it is anything else. I can buy a lot of film for 2000 bucks every three years.
I have the cameras and even if I didn't a good camera used these days can be had for twenty bucks. Good glass another thirty. Film couple of bucks a roll. 7200 dpi scanner was two hundred bucks and will probably never need replacing.
When I shoot i don't shoot five hundred shots. I don't think it would help me to do so. So I have one thirty-six exposure roll to process. about three bucks.
But I'm so limited you say. If there were only one way to do things in photography you would be right. However most of the things you do digitally we did for years with film so I dont feel limited I feel challenged.
I love film for most of the already-posted reasons. No matter the quality of a digital image, the colours and textures always just seem so much better with film. It's how I learned photography, and I'm sure that if I'd been given a DSLR I wouldn't have learned nearly as much because it's just so easy to take hundreds of pictures. With film, you're so much more involved; you have to set everything manually (on my camera, at least) and you need to be aware of the amount of pictures you've taken. Then you either have to take it to be developed or do it yourself. It's a lot more hands-on then digital is, and the effort that you put into it makes you want to work on taking better and better pictures to make it worth it.