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Author Topic: What? No Film Forum?  (Read 7998 times)

roscoetuff

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What? No Film Forum?
« on: February 16, 2017, 09:07:18 AM »

Given I'm a digital junkster shooting a mirrorless, I've not really thought about it before but it's struck me that unless you're doing MF, there's really not much of a place identified for filmsters to gather and share.... here, and in a landscape way rather than strictly "Street". I'm not saying so much, "Why is that?" as much as I'm saying, "I'd never thought about that before". Before that is... succumbing to the other counter-trend and picking up a film camera. And yes, it's like joining the Contras... or something similarly uncool. And yet... it's a hipster thing. "As if?" "Not!" But is it easy? No... if you think buying a digital camera is confusing, try wading back into a film market where collectors are distinguishing between the "haves" and "have nots" by serial numbers, markings on the lens barrels and all sort of other details. And I'm not sure it has anything to do with shooting so much as maybe it's what they think St. Ansel or St. Henri or St. Marian shot with. Maybe that sounds familiar? Sadly, probably so. Anyway, FWIW from a aging nobody geezin' Sony shooter, I know it's not news what I do, but it did seem news that the only place here for film is in MF... and it's decidedly MF. And MF is great and should be here, and I almost went there... pulled by the siren song of the Mamiya 6. But somehow I resisted. Maybe I shouldn't have....

But that's all I wanted to note. There is a movement to shoot film among some of us. There's even an effort to revive ("Ferrania" and/or "Ektar") brands or extend them ("Cine Still")... and it's not quite so underground or reactionary as at least I thought. Yes, there's the Rangefinder forum and it's very useful. There's even the analog group out there, too. But what stands out as noteworthy is that a serious site like this for (mostly?) professionals (which candidly I'm decidedly "not!"), isn't lifting an eyebrow at the "Film is not dead...yet...again?" movement (or is it?). The undead are still mostly dead, but maybe we'd be better off if the Zombie cameras and freezer film weren't the only choices? or if film actually was a capable choice? Hard to say. But if like me, you like to listen to the dog that didn't bark, and that's what I think I'm hearing. And mostly it seems to be barking that something's passing by but it's not sure whether it's coming to the door or just walking down the street and more easily ignored. My dog doesn't do this...consideration of possibilities is just not his way. "I'm not barking my fool head off. Really. Everyone really is trying to break in... cant you see? Let me do my job!"  But we'd sure be happier if he pondered the mailman's course before raging. So I wonder when I go to a wedding and the bride's family has hired a photographer shooting a TLR, and my own daughter whose upcoming wedding looms lets me know, "There's even some photographers out there... the hipsters... shooting film...". Yep. Yes... and as has been noted surely here as elsewhere on completely different subjects, the Society for Creative Anachronisms is constantly looking for new members. And it's relatively easy to find the members - for a while, but harder to generate the "creative" part and keep them. And just because you stand out with a TLR that looks sooooo retro doesn't make you any better (or less ridiculous) than a photographer carrying a giant DSLR with a 300mm circumference lens 'cause that's what the wedding planner told them qualified. Yes, our wedding planner actually suggested, "The good ones are distinguished by how much time they spend in post processing." Really? WOW!

In the end to me, digital works because it's clearly a tool serving today as critically as film did earlier. FWIW, today's film seems to be a passion where it is harder to distinguish whether the passion is for the images made, or for the (vintage) technology, or the photographic process itself. Maybe the only thing different in that sentence is "Film" and "vintage"?  And then there's the hybrid where the two meet, and film shooters digitize their negatives for post-production... which is where I kind of want to keep it. But what all this leaves me wondering about is less about the technology itself, and more the collective decision to move from chemical-based film to electronic-based digital... and was it really a choice, or a marketing led revolution turning proven tools for making art into another consumer good? Did it really, or is that just easy to say and the trashing and disposing of digital cameras no more true today than analogs were back in their day? Electrical instruments and rock'n'roll didn't eliminate analog instruments and  Classical symphonies, but it did change something of the sense of their use and place in our culture, and today both co-exist and thrive side by side...even if it's uneasily and the money favors the simpler, more (often crass) popular sound. In the end, we might wonder with the crashing of the digital camera market (Nikon anyone?) similar to the collapse of incomes for the music industry, perhaps the prospects for art made with either film and digital ought to be about the same. And film landscape shooters welcome anywhere (as I'm sure they are).
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donbga

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 09:15:17 AM »

Given I'm a digital junkster shooting a mirrorless, I've not really thought about it before but it's struck me that unless you're doing MF, there's really not much of a place identified for filmsters to gather and share.... here, and in a landscape way rather than strictly "Street". I'm not saying so much, "Why is that?" as much as I'm saying, "I'd never thought about that before". Before that is... succumbing to the other counter-trend and picking up a film camera. And yes, it's like joining the Contras... or something similarly uncool. And yet... it's a hipster thing. "As if?" "Not!" But is it easy? No... if you think buying a digital camera is confusing, try wading back into a film market where collectors are distinguishing between the "haves" and "have nots" by serial numbers, markings on the lens barrels and all sort of other details. And I'm not sure it has anything to do with shooting so much as maybe it's what they think St. Ansel or St. Henri or St. Marian shot with. Maybe that sounds familiar? Sadly, probably so. Anyway, FWIW from a aging nobody geezin' Sony shooter, I know it's not news what I do, but it did seem news that the only place here for film is in MF... and it's decidedly MF. And MF is great and should be here, and I almost went there... pulled by the siren song of the Mamiya 6. But somehow I resisted. Maybe I shouldn't have....

But that's all I wanted to note. There is a movement to shoot film among some of us. There's even an effort to revive ("Ferrania" and/or "Ektar") brands or extend them ("Cine Still")... and it's not quite so underground or reactionary as at least I thought. Yes, there's the Rangefinder forum and it's very useful. There's even the analog group out there, too. But what stands out as noteworthy is that a serious site like this for (mostly?) professionals (which candidly I'm decidedly "not!"), isn't lifting an eyebrow at the "Film is not dead...yet...again?" movement (or is it?). The undead are still mostly dead, but maybe we'd be better off if the Zombie cameras and freezer film weren't the only choices? or if film actually was a capable choice? Hard to say. But if like me, you like to listen to the dog that didn't bark, and that's what I think I'm hearing. And mostly it seems to be barking that something's passing by but it's not sure whether it's coming to the door or just walking down the street and more easily ignored. My dog doesn't do this...consideration of possibilities is just not his way. "I'm not barking my fool head off. Really. Everyone really is trying to break in... cant you see? Let me do my job!"  But we'd sure be happier if he pondered the mailman's course before raging. So I wonder when I go to a wedding and the bride's family has hired a photographer shooting a TLR, and my own daughter whose upcoming wedding looms lets me know, "There's even some photographers out there... the hipsters... shooting film...". Yep. Yes... and as has been noted surely here as elsewhere on completely different subjects, the Society for Creative Anachronisms is constantly looking for new members. And it's relatively easy to find the members - for a while, but harder to generate the "creative" part and keep them. And just because you stand out with a TLR that looks sooooo retro doesn't make you any better (or less ridiculous) than a photographer carrying a giant DSLR with a 300mm circumference lens 'cause that's what the wedding planner told them qualified. Yes, our wedding planner actually suggested, "The good ones are distinguished by how much time they spend in post processing." Really? WOW!

In the end to me, digital works because it's clearly a tool serving today as critically as film did earlier. FWIW, today's film seems to be a passion where it is harder to distinguish whether the passion is for the images made, or for the (vintage) technology, or the photographic process itself. Maybe the only thing different in that sentence is "Film" and "vintage"?  And then there's the hybrid where the two meet, and film shooters digitize their negatives for post-production... which is where I kind of want to keep it. But what all this leaves me wondering about is less about the technology itself, and more the collective decision to move from chemical-based film to electronic-based digital... and was it really a choice, or a marketing led revolution turning proven tools for making art into another consumer good? Did it really, or is that just easy to say and the trashing and disposing of digital cameras no more true today than analogs were back in their day? Electrical instruments and rock'n'roll didn't eliminate analog instruments and  Classical symphonies, but it did change something of the sense of their use and place in our culture, and today both co-exist and thrive side by side...even if it's uneasily and the money favors the simpler, more (often crass) popular sound. In the end, we might wonder with the crashing of the digital camera market (Nikon anyone?) similar to the collapse of incomes for the music industry, perhaps the prospects for art made with either film and digital ought to be about the same. And film landscape shooters welcome anywhere (as I'm sure they are).

Your post is blog material. This topic has been turned over many times here. Time to move on.
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Rob C

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 09:52:45 AM »

You must have been quite exhausted after penning that!

Film. For many, it's where we began and developed our expertise.

For some of us in that bracket, it started to go south long before digital, but with the introduction of resin-coated papers that lacked the qualities of traditional materials. Choice would have been okay, but it eventually became compulsion, pretty much, with real papers harder and harder to locate. Multigrade coatings were just another marketing ploy, creating yet another bastard step between negative and print. Why have to learn the use of filters at the printing stage, when your eye already knew exactly which grade of paper to use, and most people never needed more than two different ones, control being exercised long before the negative got wet?

There was no secret to film usage; it was all there was and fairly easy to understand if you did your own processing and printing. Short of that, it must indeed have been frustrating trying to figure out why your pictures looked like mud or looked like chalk, and how to fix that little problem. Many a chemist's shop or lab must have been cursed for things for which they were not responsible.

Today, film has to compete with digital in the little matter of cost. Buying film may be no problem for some, but quite a problem for others. Access to darkrooms (or awkward conversion of bathrooms/kitchens) is not always easy either. I wouldn't dream of working in a makeshift darkroom: the real thing, or just the office and a monitor.

If you don't do all your own processing because you don't know how to do it, then you are not the complete photographer. Complete, not good or bad, which is another question altogether.

Hipsters? Let them enjoy their moment - it passes all too quickly.

Rob C

donbga

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 10:09:42 AM »


If you don't do all your own processing because you don't know how to do it, then you are not the complete photographer. Complete, not good or bad, which is another question altogether.


Rob,

I did all of that for decades, but if I could afford it I would pay someone to do my darkroom work. I still have and maintain my darkroom BTW!
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Rob C

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 12:22:13 PM »

Rob,

I did all of that for decades, but if I could afford it I would pay someone to do my darkroom work. I still have and maintain my darkroom BTW!


Just in case: the question/consideration was wide open, expecting to engage a wider set of posts - not addressed to you in particular.

I had to abandon my darkrooms in the end. The only stuff I farmed out to labs was 60" x 40" material for exhibition stands. I simply couldn't process that size in any of the darkrooms I had. I made a master print and told them how it was done, and hope'd they'd match it reasonably well. Mostly they did. Trouble with farming prints out without a master print is that you lose control, and the picture ends up being somebody else's work and image. It was something I found strange about some star guys who never printed: the photographer got the glory but the printer deserved it. Huge feet of clay.

Rob

David S

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 03:06:50 PM »

I agree. I think the issue of having a darkroom and working with the chemicals is the defining issue today. I worked with film for years, developed and mounted my own slides and would not go back. Film was and is wonderful but, for me, not something I would go back to.

Dave S
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Peter McLennan

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2017, 12:05:26 PM »

In the past, an evening's standing-up work in my noisy, smelly chemical darkroom might result in one or two acceptable 8X10 monchrome prints and a ton of waste, including some toxic chemicals and a xillion gallons of fresh water flushed down the drain.  I still had an hour of cleanup to do after.

Last night, in half an hour with my new little dye printer and Ry Cooder on the stereo I made a half dozen perfect colour 8X10s while seated in a comfy chair with zero waste, zero water used and no toxic chemicals flushed.

Game over, film.
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Otto Phocus

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2017, 12:29:51 PM »

I have very pleasant nostalgic memories of my time in the dark room.  I learned a lot starting out shooting film and I think it has benefited my digital photography.  Not to say that I would not have learned what I know if I had only shot digital and it is entirely possible that if I only shot digital I might have learned things faster.  Since there are very good photographers who have only shot digital, it seems pretty clear that experience with film is not required.

When I had my previous house constructed, I had intentions of having a dark room in the basement.  Those plans, like so many plans in life never matured. I often have fantasies about getting back into the dark room. But that's the thing about nostalgia, you tend to remember the good and forget the bad.  The best part about nostalgia is in the remembering, not the experiencing. How many of us have tried to re-create experiences of our past and found them to be "not as good as I remember"?

For me, personally, I feel that my dark room experiences need to stay as nostalgic memories. I am glad that I experienced it, but don't see the need to re-experience it.
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David Mantripp

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2017, 03:05:00 PM »

So all you old fogeys have been there, done that, decided it's old hat, and are outraged when anybody dares to think otherwise. "Time to move on", indeed. Actually you moved on 15 years ago and now you're stuck in the ditch.

Opinions- everybody's got them, everybody's entitled to them. I really can't see how it would hurt anybody to have a film forum here.... indeed, nobody seems to have died from the one we've alteady got, the cunningly named Wet Darkroom - have they?
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donbga

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2017, 03:36:46 PM »

So all you old fogeys have been there, done that, decided it's old hat, and are outraged when anybody dares to think otherwise. "Time to move on", indeed. Actually you moved on 15 years ago and now you're stuck in the ditch.

Opinions- everybody's got them, everybody's entitled to them. I really can't see how it would hurt anybody to have a film forum here.... indeed, nobody seems to have died from the one we've alteady got, the cunningly named Wet Darkroom - have they?
I have nothing against film users but you seem to want to pick a bone. That being said you will probably appreciate APUG.ORG.

Don Bryant
 
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GrahamBy

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 04:33:38 PM »

There is in fact a "Wet Darkroom" forum.
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Rob C

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 05:13:20 PM »

Why does anybody want to convert this into a fight?

I see no reason for that; just use whatever makes you happy - why would anybody else feel threatened? They are just different ways to make images, and unless you are going to make wet prints, it truly doesn't make much difference. Whatever goes online is going to lose much of the difference in aesthetics, so it all hinges on having a pleasant time doing what you're doing.

The "old guys" have probably done film, and at a time when it was the normal thing to do, sensibly the only thing to do. Yes, some did/do have the hots for antique processes, but unlike straight film, I see them as cul-de-sacs ventures not really giving much back for the effort. But that's just my view, and no reason for anybody else to agree.

Rob C

David S

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2017, 05:14:58 PM »

+1
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roscoetuff

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2017, 11:28:03 PM »

Rob: Exactly! I didn't think I was trying to egg on a Film vs. Digital fight though some of the initial comments seem to take it that way. Not my intent at all... and thought I made that clear, but apparently not. Fact is I did google the site on film and frankly didn't find much addressing my remarks in terms of the observation made that there simply isn't much coverage of film. Maybe it's too early? Anyway, I'd say that as kindly as it may have been met, even "go to apug.org" is in that category, too, and yes, the back of the bus has a good view, but sometimes like Rosa Parks, we might want to sit up front with the "quality". But yes, I've been to my apug part of the bus, and it's a fine, small group btw. Rangefinder forum is almost much more active and wider ranging in its discussion. But fairly, there's not a lot of cross readership. And there are certain aspects that I see in shooting film that aren't the same as shooting digital... and the problems of film photographers aren's just "trash" or discarded. Maybe you've heard of Kevin Brownlow's "The Parade's Gone Buy" on the silent era in film after the age of "talkies".... but heritage need not be discarded so readily.

What once was so new and all some years back... things like digital asset management are equally (and increasingly) old hat... especially to those of us for whom the tech world is the place where we cut our eye teeth. My point if you will, is that there's a point where the topics that were once "au currant" are less so for some, and new for others. Digital is stabilizing at a high level. Luminous Landscape celebrates this and it should. But equally, film is seeming to recover and not likely to die any time soon either. New films are beginning to emerge, and I'd hesitate to write film off... much as I thought otherwise a few years ago. There's a place where there are different needs between the two, but also where the photography is the photography and the gear... as cool as it is... less important. I love this forum very much and there is a richness to the content of the articles, and the companionship, but coming here after a few weeks focused on the rangefinder forum and spending some time (once again after a long hiatus), it struck me how digital focused the forum is, and that perhaps this is too narrow. Some have chosen to look at my comments as an assault. Not so. I'm a digital photographer first and foremost. And as much as there is "wet darkroom", film isn't JUST a wet darkroom, and there are a lot of folks involved in hybrid processes that don't have a home. My thought was simply perhaps out of 34 or so forum topic areas, maybe saying we can discuss film in "wet darkroom" or if we're into MF... we can go there. I'm not into either wet printing OR MF... so I'm the square peg that doesn't fit in that round spot.
Mark Segal recently co-authored a piece on scanning with a digital camera... and that's my bit at a hybrid process for film. Where's that fit? Apuggers are going to look at the digital side and shrug. And here folks are going to look at the film side and shrug? If that's the case, then I think we might be losing something. Maybe not some folks, but others of us.

My point on film... could equally be made looking at Digital B&W. Why is this Digital B&W and not just B&W? The traffic for Digital B&W - and I've been part of it... is almost nil. The usual five or six suspects. The number of folks shooting film as far as I can see are mostly shooting B&W. Some do color, but the B&W is the real interest... as it is for me, too. Change the heading to B&W and you might increase the traffic significantly. Might. No promises. But maybe folks here really would prefer to think of the site as the Digital Landscape? Okay. It's not my call. And yes, there might well be that the problems of shooting Digital B&W are real. Aren't the problems of shooting film? Aging cameras, aging equipment for producing film, etc. etc. etc. Like I said, there's a dog that didn't bark, and maybe Kevin Brownlow's lament now holds for the whole of film photography. That's my point. Remember.... just inside 90 years after Al Jolson's "Jazz Singer" some crazy French guy made an Academy Award winning silent movie. Maybe you saw it? Fairly, it didn't start a trend.
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donbga

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2017, 11:31:27 PM »

Rob: Exactly! I didn't think I was trying to egg on a Film vs. Digital fight though some of the initial comments seem to take it that way.

If you go back to the dawn of Luminous Landscape it was all most all film all the time. Times have changed and so has the Luminous Landscape.
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roscoetuff

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2017, 12:11:36 AM »

Don: Thanks. Fair. My point is that for the most part as a capital investment guy whose day-to-day is dealing with trends, the way people and firms behave is that they make changes and then want them to stay. They don't. Even the digital still photography wave has crested... or seems to as Nikon struggles follow the merger of Pentax with Ricoh; the Hassleblad merger, the Minolta folding into Sony. Generally, like carpenters we see a nail, we learn to hit it, and the whole world looks like a nail until suddenly someone puts a screw in front of us and its confusing... we're lost... and maybe they even confront us with a wooden peg. Frankly Kodak's an example of the inability to change because of people's embedded mindsets. Companies rarely survive failure. They have to change all their people, and they resist. But once a change has taken place and successfully absorbed, folks tend to ossify into the new "consensus" view, "it just works" (until it doesn't), and in the meantime, all counter information is ignored, and this can work for a very long time. My success has been based on trend analysis, and managing the changes from one direction to another by spotting the breaks, the changes in sentiment and all the rest. The now famous Minsky moment lies where success then becomes the seeds of its own undoing. "Suddenly" the dominant trend seems to break as the mass of attention shifts to recognize the steady stream of contra data that's actually been coming in for a long time and points to a different state. If you're at all aware of behavioral economics or even crowd behavior, this is the way it evolves, and it's not genius, just reality and common sense. And I'm pointing to the contra trend and just wondering. Fact is, the strength of your opinion favoring the dominant trend confirms my point observation.... and it's just early. And yet film sales - especially in B&W are rising. Not hard to do to rise from doggone zero, but they have. And yeah... from zero, the growth rate is infinite (dividing by zero). Naysayers alway say the counter trend is insignificant and irrelevant. And they're right until they're not. We're clearly not there yet.

In the end, there's a business in photography... and I expect that to be all about digital. But there's also art and I'd tend to think that a forum focused on the art of landscape and photography in general might want to be careful about getting too narrow, or too ossified in the last theme... and not update itself frequently. You're looking at the current consensus. I'm looking at the last, the current and the next. We all are. There will be a counter trend and maybe we don't cover it, maybe we don't offer it a home, but it will still exist. One day, we'll hope digital still photography isn't all lost to the all-consuming 4K (now 5K) digital video rage from which we simply slice out a few stills. Maybe the photographer loses control and simply becomes a person who holds a video camera the viewer slices out what they want to see with a search and edit engine.... without even having to view your shots.
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David Mantripp

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2017, 04:44:16 AM »

If you go back to the dawn of Luminous Landscape it was all most all film all the time. Times have changed and so has the Luminous Landscape.

But does that mean they cannot change again ?  It seems to be what you're implying ..
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David Mantripp

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2017, 04:47:56 AM »

I have nothing against film users but you seem to want to pick a bone. That being said you will probably appreciate APUG.ORG.

Don Bryant

No, I just enjoy a lively debate.   But that seems as popular as film around here, these days.

(note I've been here since the forum started...  1999 or 2000 I think ?  ... so people should be used to ignoring me by now)
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stamper

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2017, 04:57:33 AM »

Does it really matter if the camera contains a film or a digital sensor? It is the final image that matters?  ::)

roscoetuff

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Re: What? No Film Forum?
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2017, 07:45:59 AM »

Stamper: I agree that it doesn't or shouldn't really matter. Digital has matured. Film has faded and many of its resources diminished. I suspect that even the complaints against digital obsolescence may start to wane as the capital investments become prohibitive (read the Nikon news) at least for a while. After your camera is flying around like a robot with a mind of its own... there's only so much more technology you can pack in before the diminishing returns establish firm limits.  And yes, while there will be some images that may be better or easily made with one or the other, many of us won't be stopped from choosing the harder way. There's a thrill in the challenge, and a thrill in mastery of the craft, and that's part of learning expression. My question relates more to whether we might have gone too far in one direction and could consider having some balance and not completely ignore film "as if" it isn't there. Film photographers exist. I suspect even a few are shooting landscape... like Joe Cornish. I am curious not dogmatic. I don't have a dog in this fight but simply observing and gawd forbid... commenting. Seems the technical issues for film may be greater rather than otherwise given the starvation of resources over the interim years. But fairly, it may also be that no one here wants to have those discussions here but redirect them elsewhere. That's an editorial decision... or a membership decision... or however that is done here. And it may be likely there's no more traffic on this than you see in Digital B&W. But I'm also not seeing that section deleted btw. More to the point perhaps is that I can see the put downs that some may be tempted to load inadvertently into their posts almost unawares.... that these might have a negative impact on the collective process I think Lula tries to foster. And on that basis... that'd be enough for me to say "Mother LuLa knows best". But y'know... that may underestimate the maturity of the group... and on the rangefinder forum... they have a wide range of digital mirrorless camera buckets, film and digital shooters, and the flame wars are over.
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