Why Shoot Film – Part 1

Click on the link above to listen to a 6:41 minute discussion on Why Shoot Film, Part 1.

Digital Test-Image
Film Test-Image

Please note that the test files are kinda big so if you have a slow internet connection just be patient. Also note that the different composition is due to the different aspect ratio but I tried to get at least the top and bottom about the same.

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

15 Responses

  1. I’ve come full circle, Started out with manual camera with film photography way back in the 1970’s doing both color and monochrome. I waited for digital to evolve and mature where I finally chose to go with a Sigma SD14 and Now, I’m on my way back to film photography, adding a Sigma SA9 to my collection so my lenses investment works with both. I also knew to stay with lenses designed for film since it offers a larger image.

    Digital works well for some situations, but not all, and film provides a complete suite of photography capabilities.

  2. cidereye

    Great to have you back Stephen & great article too. The amount of comments I get when out shooting on the streets with my Leica M2 like:- “Oh, what a quaint old camera. Do they still make film even?” I find carrying cards for my local film lab a great help & replying:- “Sure, you can get any film you want from here & processed too as quick as you like.” The business of that lab is booming right now because of the quality of their work and keen pricing so nobody even think of telling them film is anywhere near dead.

    Viva la Revolution!

  3. Hi there. Thanks for the thoughts. It would be really great if you could share at some point your general workflow for obtaining high quality converts of scanned color neg images, such as the one you’ve shared. I think this is one of the major stumbling blocks that people face when trying to scan/use film, because many standard converters/inverters just don’t do justice to what’s possible to get from well-scanned film.


  4. Sam Agnew

    I just shot an event in my church (low light). I had to do it handheld with long lenses. I wanted to do it on my D80 but there was no way I was going to spend all my time spotting the hot pixels that I get over iso400. Additionally, I wanted a nice image despite the high contrast that I anticipated from the use of spotlights. ISO800 film in my Nikon FE was the solution. It was great not having to worry about blowout as the lighting changed instant to instant.


    1. vitorrsfonseca

      I’m quite curious about the new Kodak Portra 400 emulsion, can’t wait to read about your findings in that regard.

      Regarding the “why shoot film”, I agree with you. I shoot both digital and film, love both, but normally I have the tendency to use more film.

      I do my own B&W processing at home, and nothing can be more rewarding than being part of the full process.

  5. Gary

    You hit the nail on the head when you said “I shoot digital AND film”. To do that at a high standard requires more investment than shooting one or the other. I’m not sure that model can work.

    I’ve got top quality 35mm and MF film cameras, plus two Canon 1D Mk IV’s and a Leica M9. In addition there’s the wet 5×4 darkroom that’s not been used for 5 years for anything but developing B&W film. Then there’s a substantial Mac setup and an Imacon scanner all of which needs to stay regardless of film, or film/digital capture.

    How is film cheaper if one can’t offset processing costs against pending purchases of digital camera gear ? Getting out of digital cameras and using film exclusively is the only model I can see working and few are advocating that strategy. Film is available by mail order, but colour processing costs are escalating and becoming less convenient. Home processing of C41 with the volume scanning burden is becoming the likely outcome.

    As a wedding photographer, how can I recover material and lab costs from customers who have never seen prints as nice as the ones I show them from my digital files ? They stretch to pay for my services already and are unlikely to pay more than cost for an upgrade to film, so processing will come out of my pocket, which is OK if the business grows from using film, but expensive if it doesn’t.

    I know the film quality argument is good as I recently attended a wedding as a guest and shot Portra 160 NC in my Leica MP. I was shocked by the fabulous results. I’d forgotten how vibrant colour was from film; how insignificant the pixel peeping resolutions mattered when seen on an album sized print.

    Right now, I’m struggling to see how a film strategy can work on a reliable professional level and if it can’t, is it just for hobbyists ?

  6. Greg

    Thanks Steve, I enjoyed the audio. I am a long time film user who has slowly transitioned to digital. I shoot both now but much prefer film. I own an RZ67 as well as a range of OM’s. I am actually debating whether or not to invest in another film camera in this digital age. Just got a new wet darkroom built after getting rid of my old one 10 years ago and I can’t wait to get back into it. Hopefully film and darkroom supplies will continue to be readily available.

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