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Author Topic: Is there a definite move back to film by many???  (Read 19628 times)

paulmoorestudio

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Is there a definite move back to film by many???
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2009, 07:29:42 PM »

Quote from: bcooter
Yair,

Your right, but you left out a big workflow advantage of the AFI-which is you get a retouched image straight out of the camera.

[attachment=11724:leaf.jpg]


I think you left out is that the genie is out of the bag regarding post production.. that is here to stay with film or digital, can you imagine
sending your film selects straight from your light table to your client.. I can't.. those days are gone for me, not when I know what 30 min of work on a shot can do in post.. and there is no time savings working from a raw capture or a scanned transparency.  For me it is the difference of lighting with a variety of lights, scrims, gobos, etc.. or just using a big bank and a fill card.. we all know which is less work.
I shot a roll of 120 last week for the hell of it..unless I get a full time tech and a glass holder for my scanner, or get them all scanned off site.. I think I will keep the digital back on the camera.. I seen no real benefit anymore in film.
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JBerardi

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« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2009, 09:44:40 PM »

Quote from: bcooter
You can make digital "look" like film, but we all know the backend post processing of digital is much more intensive than film capture, even to get to a continuous solid base.

Obviously Annie is not sitting up at night testing her Canon images in C-1 vs. CS4, vs. DPP (actually I doubt seriously if she would know what those are), but most of us that have invested, worked at digital and do most of the backend managing of our images, long for the days of drop it off and ship it.

I expect any day to open up PDN and see a photo of 8,000 photographers standing on the Hudson dropping their electronic cameras in the river, with the headline that says, Photographers say enough is enough, we want to make photographs, not work on computers.

I hear this complaint about digital a lot, and I don't quite understand it. Allow me to explain...

"[In 1973] When I shot in black and white, the printer who processed my film, Chong Lee, saved me. He would inspect my film under a red light in the darkroom and push it until he saw something." - Annie Leibovitz, "At Work"

So, does digital actual add more post-production? It seems to me that as far as accomplishing any given post-production task, digital is faster. I can go through every slider in ACR/LR and do a reasonably good job just in the same time that it would take me to fix my first test strip in the darkroom. I'm not a pro, however, so my perception of digital reducing the amount of effort that goes into post is based on the fact that I have to handle every single task involved in making every single print, film or digital, no matter what (I guess I don't HAVE to work like that but it is my preference... but I digress). And in that kind of a workingflow, I've found digital requires far less time spent in post to achieve a result of similar quality.

My question then is, why do I so often hear the pros bemoaning the amount of post that digital requires? Is it just a shift in expectations, where photographers are now responsible for their own post-production? That is, would Annie be fixing her own underexposures if she was starting out in digital today instead of having a Chong Lee to do that for her? Do the wide-open possibilities of a RAW file mean you can no longer trust anyone else to develop it for you? Or is it something else I just don't know about?

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Wayne Fox

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« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2009, 11:54:19 PM »

Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Film is still pretty big in Japan, I would say that a majority of serious landscape shooters still use film on medium format bodies.

Regards,
Bernard

that's intriguing.  any thoughts as to why?
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Imaginara

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« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2009, 02:58:19 AM »

Quote from: EPd
Many photographers never take part in internet discussions. A lot of them are using film. We don't hear them, but that doesn't mean they're not shooting. It's so easy deceiving yourself reading the digital talk only.

Yes making business based decision on internet photographic chat forums can be a very very very very bad idea.

In the end, shoot what you prefere and what your clients demand. If that is a 35mm DSLR with a 1.6x crop, then shoot that. If its a Phase/Sinar/Leaf/Hasselblad medium format file the client needs, then shoot that. And if it's a scanned negative (or for that matter, raw negative  that the client wants then shoot that. If you never look at a film camera again OR digital camera again it really doesnt matter to the next person. His reality will be different from yours so just shoot away with whatever you use and be happy.

There are even people shooting with point & shoot cameras  

For me personally i prefere to shoot film. Not because it's faster (duh , not because it's easier (duh again , not because it's better, but rather because i really do enjoy it. I still shoot a lot of commercial work digital since quite often the demand is speed and instant feedback to the client. But i do get the odd client who wants me to shoot film and instead of spending a hour trying to mimick a special film, i just load that and shoot it instead.

Keep on shooting guys =)
/Henrik
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sperera

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« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2009, 06:59:37 AM »

....I think the answer to all this is how you are now thinking before taking your 'money' shots....

are you making THE picture 'in' the camera as one did when shooting film or are we being sloppy and not even thinking just looking at the screen on the back knowing we can fix it all in the computer

I think there is a direct link between this and shooting film or digital......I say its a shame new photographers born to this digital age cant get in a darkroom and develop their own shots cos that will teach them to think more with the camera in your hand and improve technique rather than wasting time thinking about which RAW convertor is best, is my Mac fast enough, damn I need bigger hard drives to store all these images, damn I need a bigger compact flash card cos 8GB isnt enough as I'm doing these days...

In summary I'm gonna start shooting film again alongside digital because I like apples and I also like pears!
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 07:03:20 AM by sperera »
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KevinA

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« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2009, 07:31:03 AM »

Quote from: sperera
well, its just that I had a look around Kodak's site and i was amazed a new Kodak Ektar is being launched for 120 format.....i just thought, in my ignorance of course, that Kodak etc werent making new films.....so it was a surprise to say the least.

I also thought, well, if they're making new films there must be a demand or a push to create demand......hence the question......

.......so perhaps Kodak is thinking.....mmmmmmmmmm.....ok....the guys that know are after absolute quality.....so bring out new films to encourage them to take out their old Hasselblads etc and shot film again cos to rival the quality you can get with film on a great drum scanner would cost you six figures today....buying a top end digital medium format camera...........to echo what another poster was saying about the recession.....

I myself have a Scanmate 5000 drum scanner which i used to scan film like the amazing Fuji Provia coming off Haselblad with Zeiss lenses.....i still today havent seen that 'thing' that gave me compared to what i see with digital.....so with labs still offering developing etc perhaps its still a good idea to shoot film at least alongside digital.....

example.....you're a pro and you've set up THE shot.....you do it with your digital camera and then you also shoot with the film camera....why not? i think this would be appealing to people who have 12 mp Nikons and Canons who can now get hold of a medium format kit for $2000 or even less.....do you know what im getting at?

You wouldn't know it from their showing at Focus on Imaging this week, Kodak did not have a film in site, just printers. I expected to see some large prints from there new emulsion. That's Kodak marketing for you, if they tried to shoot themselves in the foot they most likely would blow their chins off.
The Fuji stand had some boxes of film tucked away, but no prints showing what it can do. Ilford had some B&W prints up from film, but that was it as far as I could see for film.
Actually there was a lack of output on show from anyone except companies selling printers, all the selling of digi backs/cameras is from a LCD TV these days, it would be nice to see some finished results on display and not just work in progress images on a screen.
There are some good deals on MF backs, I was quit tempted on a Leaf setup, the more I thought about the handling of the system the less it suited my area of photography, it made my old Pentax 67 look lightweight.
Linhof had their usual good showing and that has a leaning towards film based photography.

Kevin.
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Anders_HK

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Is there a definite move back to film by many???
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2009, 07:59:40 AM »

As advanced amateur, personally I use both film and digital.  I simply cannot give film up and have added also 4x5 and 617 to my 6x7 Mamiya 7 for film, a.k.a. FUJI VELVIA 50   . For digital I use Leaf Aptus digital back. DLSRs simply do not match quality to my eye, but... apart from pixel peeping perhaps that is also because Leaf has been said to be more to have the look of... ehh   ... FILM of digital. Nope, it does not look like film, but somehow I still like it   .

In the end;- film and digital are two different medias. It is pointless to end up with film vs. digital. Some prefer one or the other, or... ehh    both? It should be said that both have values, depending on end image, but also work flow and importantly the capture.

It should be noted that this forum is much focused on digital, and as such it is interesting to read of the many who still use and enjoy FILM   . In many ways film was and is easier... the problem nowadays is more on level that we need to make it digital   . Perhaps we are simply all oversold on digital... that what made that... silly...   . That said... once we press the shutter with film, the end result is more or less fixed. Digital in comparison require more effort to get there...

Anders
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JohnBrew

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Is there a definite move back to film by many???
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2009, 08:03:40 AM »

I seem to keep ordering film. My digital prints outsell my film 2 to 1, so why haven't I moved away from film? Not sure, I suppose I'm just a glutton for scanning! I shoot MF, 35mm film & 35mm digital. I have given up on color slide film, though. Perhaps I'll try the new Kodak Ektar and see what it's all about.

James R Russell

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Is there a definite move back to film by many???
« Reply #28 on: February 25, 2009, 08:18:06 AM »

Quote from: JBerardi
I hear this complaint about digital a lot, and I don't quite understand it. Allow me to explain...

"[In 1973] When I shot in black and white, the printer who processed my film, Chong Lee, saved me. He would inspect my film under a red light in the darkroom and push it until he saw something." - Annie Leibovitz, "At Work" ........................................

....................................... the amount of post that digital requires? Is it just a shift in expectations, where photographers are now responsible for their own post-production? That is, would Annie be fixing her own underexposures if she was starting out in digital today instead of having a Chong Lee to do that for her? Do the wide-open possibilities of a RAW file mean you can no longer trust anyone else to develop it for you? Or is it something else I just don't know about?


Yes on all accounts.  

Chong,  a great lab, printer, film manufacturer, had decades of experience working within a given style and tool set.  Also Kodak, Fuji, Agfa had a century of experience color engineering the look of film.  Now with digital it's a roll your own look and all of the cameras react differently in different conditions, especially with ambient color.

Line up three cameras and shoot the same scene (especially with continuous light on location) and even at the same settings it's more than just shooting 3 different films, it's the way they react across the board.

Some do well in backlight, some high key, others low key, but few digital cameras are consistent across a wide range of lighting. The see all color of digital backs are great at shooting fruit, but put them in shaded ambient light and if a orange dodge challenger drives past the scene three blocks away they will pick up the orange color.  I'm slightly exaggerating, but they are very,  very sensitive.

Consequently it's very difficult to get the look you desire to translate to a third party digital lab or processor, especially in the initial view where we batch process in numbers.  

Now Chong is replaced by the retoucher and they can hit the color and look you desire, problem is they can't do it on 1,000 images per day for the first view in web and on contact sheets.  Well actually they can but the cost will be prohibitive.

A long days shooting on  multiple locations, multiple lighting can take huge hours to batch process, up to 20 hours per shoot day and some things digital just doesn't do well, like that backlight flare that is so golden and smooth on film. On digital it is either blown out, under exposed, or the transitions are so abrupt it takes layers and layers to get the look film gave out of the can.  A simple flare can take 4 hours in post with digital, I know because we just shot something with that look and if I had a dozen rolls of film that one would have been shot sans digital.

Sure you can just click balance on a grey card, but if you care about the initial view, your going to have to tweak each session, sometimes each image.  On something as simple as shooting on white with multiple subjects, multiple skin tones you would think one click and you'd be there, but it's far from like that with digital, especially the digital backs as they are uber sensitive.

And the initial view is what sets the tone for the shoot.  Some skin tones in digital are just brutal.  Some are orange, some are golden perfect, others are just grey and colorless and each one requires a lot of correction, usually localized, not global.  Sit down and do this with 4 cameras and you'll see such a wide variety of differences that you'd think you changed the light source.

Then there is just the way we are required, or better put "can" work with digital that we never really did with film.  Shooting two people walking in a Moscow train staiton can now be 11 images rather than 1.

You shoot the subjects in the perfect spot and in the same perspective shoot the train that is parked 50' back then in the same perspective shoot the roof that is 200' forward, the lamps, the signage, the background people.  Yes you could, or we use to do this with film but the shooting time do do something liket this with film is 4 times as long as digital.  Problem is the post time to rough comp, manage the retouching, match the colors, get to a final can be 5 rounds of 4 hours per image in retouching.  We do it because we can, though there is no cheating mother nature.  For every minute you save in shooting you can have 10 times that amount of time in post.

In complicated retouching, someone has to manage it.  Usually the AD plays a roll, obviously they have the final approval but since the photograher shot it, knows all the pieces, has the basic vision of how, where everything should fit it is usually the photographer than manages the reoutching, whether the do it themselves to finish or even outsource it the managment of a complicated image can be as time intensive as doing it yourself.  In fact sometimes it's just faster to do it yourself.

Still, the toothpaste is out of the tube, so there is no going back.   For commercial work and a lot of eidorial, there is no way to meet deadlines, and transfer these back and forth retouching instructions in analog. It can be done, but in analog the fedex time would be a month, vs. digitla where it's hours instead of days.

Regardless of the above the thing we are missing with film is the overmanagement of digital.  We have lost the "pleasent surprise".   Those images you see, you try and nobody knows whats going on between you and the subject.  With digital it's all there in it's 30" glory along with the input and review.   Everytime I shoot a project I wonder how Guy Bourdin would have shot digital.  Would he have shot to a 30" monitor, look at those legs against a yellow wall and said, hmmm, I think the shoes need 10% more magenta and I'd like to see the shadow 4 more degrees to the left?  I doubt it, but on some projects that is now how we work, so the "pleasent surprise" is missing.

Even if your are non tethered and shooting only for yourself you see it then, you correc it then and somwhere in this translation spontanity can get lost.

Maybe that's why I enjoy the Leica.  It always looks different on the back vs. what I see in the camera, so there is those pleasent little surprises.  Also if you tether the leica in thier software the preivew is like 3" tall, which is kind of perfect when you really think about it.

So the above is the long answer.  

The short answer is digital requires a lot more post work than film.

But as other's have mentoned this forum is based on digital capture and is in it's own little world.  Outside of web there are many photographers that still view digital as a strange and not so pleasent experience and would never shoot anything of importance on anything but film.

« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 08:22:34 AM by James R Russell »
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BJNY

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« Reply #29 on: February 25, 2009, 08:41:03 AM »

edit
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 08:41:49 AM by BJNY »
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marcwilson

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« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2009, 09:40:37 AM »

Commercially I don't as my clients don't ask for it...but I can and that is very important.

But all my fine art work is still shot on film...either velvia or tri-x and I've been shooting on 35mm rangefinder fp4 also...vey nice.

Marc

paulmoorestudio

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« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2009, 10:16:29 AM »

Quote from: James R Russell
Yes on all accounts. ....
......
The short answer is digital requires a lot more post work than film.

But as other's have mentoned this forum is based on digital capture and is in it's own little world.  Outside of web there are many photographers that still view digital as a strange and not so pleasent experience and would never shoot anything of importance on anything but film.

I think the biggest hurdle to get my head around that I would have to take responsibility (more work) for the post .. everything after exposure..
Lets face it, as james said "the toothpaste is out of the tube" a lot of it..  the world of digital is not little anymore, the commercial world of film has shrunk and is shrinking still.  Film is now a little world..but wait, bruce weber or inez will do some series with a lost case of agfachrome1000, get half a glossymag to themselves...followed by a big chelsea show and then others will want to emulate the "look" .. it is all about fashion and just as in fashion, there will be those that draw from the past..and how can you do a late70's sarah moon look without film? either shoot the same stock or have a lot of post done.. so those with the the big budgets will work seamlessly with both to their hearts desire and many will be playing me-too, catching-up.
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Geoffrey

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« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2009, 10:29:49 AM »

Hard to answer this one clearly - it keeps coming back as an issue.

First, there is a sea change in the artistic side of the equation, based on the technology shift. Too often we focus on the ability to have our darkroom at our desk, and the fact that we can do extensive manipulations that were once the purview of only the most skilled printers. I'm not sure how much it has changed things - still seems to take a lot of time to get an "A" print, especially if one is picky. But the work flow has most definitely shifted.

Second, in the old days you picked camera, lens, and changed films for effect (yes, lens too, but for the moment, lets just look at the film part). Now, the back and camera are, for the sake of discussion, fixed. You don't change backs for different effects - you change temp, ISO, etc., but the quality of the processing now is specific to each back, and some of the flexibility is now shifted away from the simpler user-choice in which film to get, to the more complex issue of working a piece of technology.

While the backs provide very clean and clear results, without the quirks of film, something of the "art" of film seems lost. On the other hand, the ability to experiment in one's shooting, without real cost, is a remarkable change. And this alone changes our shooting approaches.

Finally, the results: without going totally nuts on this, the risk/reward curves for these two different methods are quite different. You can get an 80% quality result in digital work flow very quickly, but it may take much longer to get the last 10-20%. On the other hand, in analog (film) work, to get the first bits of quality take a long time (mastering the darkroom), but perhaps the end results come quicker - if you spend years learning how to get an 80% quality print, perhaps the last 10-20% is within reach.

This is of course a very subjective and risky subject, but I'd hope we can agree there are quite significantly different curves (representing time:quality) for these different approaches. A crude graph is provided, just to spark conversation.

One last note - I was looking through contact sheets of my dad's photos from the 1950's - and its really a pleasure to know that the negs can be scanned and printed fresh some 55 years later. I wonder what our kids will think of our work: will only the final print matter, because they won't be able to access the files?

Geoff
[attachment=11733:Film_vs._Digital.pdf]
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Misirlou

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« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2009, 11:22:14 AM »

Quote from: Wayne Fox
that's intriguing.  any thoughts as to why?

Contrary to common western perception, computers have not embedded themsleves in every aspect of life in most Asian countries to nearly the extent that they have in Europe and North America. Part of that is simply due to the difficulty of interfacing pictographic languages with alphabetic character based keyboards.

I used to have long discussions with Japanese associates about this when I lived in Tokyo. There is a real dissapointment among some Asian people that computer-based communications might eventually kill off some of their cherished cultural traditions, such as calligraphy. Until recently, people from Japan and China could at least have a limited ability to understand signs and so forth that were written with Chinese characters, even if they spoke entirely different languages. It bothers some to imagine a world where their languages are moved more to alphabetic processes, and thus pushed into becoming less universally "Asian."

So although folks have and use computers in those countries, they don't rely on them for everything. Using film cameras might make a lot more sense, if you aren't comfortable with computers. And owing to the fact that most Japanese people are concentrated in a few large cities, it's still quick and economical to handle film processing there.
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douglasf13

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« Reply #34 on: February 25, 2009, 01:18:21 PM »

Thanks for all of the great perspectives here.  This is a fun thread to read.  

  Some of the responses here make me wonder if the camera companies should be focused more on jpeg/tiff output, in order to avoid RAW converter time all together.  I know that Lionel Deluy shoots mostly jpeg, believe it or not.
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ndevlin

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« Reply #35 on: February 25, 2009, 02:07:23 PM »

Quote from: KLaban
Would you really expect anything other from a bunch of gearheads onboard the "Good Ship Camera Porn"?

True, except it would have been nearly impossible to shoot film on this trip.  I took about 7,500 frames. Discounting for panos and digital "overshooting", I still would have wanted to take at least 4500 of those had I carried film.  In 220, that's a massive physical quantity of film. Film which, I hasten to add, would either have been fried to a crisp by luggage x-rays, or fried to a more tender crisp in carry-on. However, to carry-on that quantity of film would have meant that valuable lenses would have ended up in the checked luggage......

I managed to get some 4x5 BW sheet film hand-checked out the way to London last year, but coming out of Heathrow with exposed sheets in a box, I was screwed. They had to go through the scanner and were seriously base-fogged.

As the 5d2 review I will hopefully get up soon will say, we now take the ability to shoot for granted in light that a decade ago would have been nigh-impossible to work in from a moving vessel.  

I don't actually like working on computers much at all, which is why I've always been half-hearted about digital, but the practical advantages of having 600 frames of any-ISO film on a solid state postage stamp have real traction.

Moreover, I choke at the cost of digital gear, but 200+ rolls of film, processed, is no light touch, either.

I loved the darkroom (B&W), and miss it dearly, but the realities of modern living make having a darkroom impossible for most people as well.  

I have shot film a couple of times in the last year, but only because I missed working with my favourite cameras (M6, Mam 6 and Fuji 69).

Now if only someone would make a digital camera that I actually liked using.........

- N.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 02:16:23 PM by ndevlin »
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Rob C

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« Reply #36 on: February 25, 2009, 03:10:47 PM »

Quote from: KLaban
Sorry to hear about your fogged film. I must admit I am paranoid about x-ray damage. Having said that, and despite multiple passes including Heathrow I've yet to experience a problem. I take it that you put your film in carry-on rather than checked luggage?


Hi Keith

My first calendar for Tennent´s Lager was shot in Mallorca. On the way back home, the party was allowed through control, but I was held back because I was reluctant to allow Kodachrome 64 Pro through the X-Ray machine, despite the usual assurances that it was film-safe. It claimed so on a label stuck on the side of the damn thing, giving the operators all the amo they needed. I resisted, saying I knew better, and the tension grew - at least for me - until some more security folks arrived to see what was going down. The film bag was then taken off me, shoved into the machine and that was that.

I can confirm that X-Ray has the effect of turning tanned skin greenish.

I swore I would never visit their benighted isle again. That was 1979. Ironic, then, that two years later I went there to live and am still kicking around the place, if a little more slowly.

Rob C
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 03:11:15 PM by Rob C »
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epatsellis

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« Reply #37 on: February 25, 2009, 10:02:57 PM »

Quote from: bcooter
The last meeting I had on Madison Avenue, the AD asked somewhat sheepishly, if I would mind shooting digital for a large project.  I replied, no no problem most of my current work is digital and he was surprised, actually almost shocked that I didn't find that an issue.  In fact, if truth be told I think I probably dropped a half step in his eyes by not proclaiming that film is the best solution, though keep in mind this is New York and also keep in mind that perception is much stronger than reality, in fact in the major cities of photography perception is reality.

Had I insisted that I shoot the project with film, I believe it would have been accepted.

As far as what is film, well it's still around and many of the "names" in this business prefer it, or better put prefer working with their old RZ's, pentax 6x7's, view cameras etc.  It kind of falls under the heading if it ain't broke, don't fix it

...snip...

So what's film?   Well it depends on where your standing, but I wish more now than ever that the digital process had never started.  In New York you can shoot film, here in Cooter, Mo., we shoot digital.

Regardless, film is not dead and if there was any serious investment dollars left in the world, it might make a comeback.

I expect any day to open up PDN and see a photo of 8,000 photographers standing on the Hudson dropping their electronic cameras in the river, with the headline that says, Photographers say enough is enough, we want to make photographs, not work on computers.
I know that here, in rural Illinois, middle of nowhere, my product work is predominently LF digital, though my portfolio and selective clients work are shot with film. (the ones that want quality and archivability), the  down side is that I process all C41 in house, it's becoming a neccesity these days. A great part of whether your client wants to use film is education on the shooter's part as well, once I showed one client the same image captured digitally and with film, he saw the advantages clearly. IMO, at small repro sizes, (less than full page) the waters are significantly muddied, as catalog work where lighting and w/b doesn't change, post processing is negligible, and digitally clearly is the more efficient workflow. Of course I use a scan back (and a MF Megavision S3 back), not the latest and greatest, so my view may be skewed somewhat.
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Is there a definite move back to film by many???
« Reply #38 on: February 25, 2009, 10:59:54 PM »

Hi
Film is pretty much dead for us except for my 35mm panoramic camera ( Nobelux & Widelux). Stitching is not the same. We have made a decision to get rid of our remaining dark room equipment last week.
Denis
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Denis Montalbetti
Montalbetti+Campbell
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bcroslin

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Is there a definite move back to film by many???
« Reply #39 on: February 25, 2009, 11:07:12 PM »

Two anecdotes:

1: A friend just met with one of the large and respected editorial agencies in NYC recently and was surprised when the director informed him 90% of the agency's photographers still shoot medium format film.

2: Jake Chessum came through town recently to shoot a cover for Vibe with a rapper I've done a lot of work with. The owner of the studio Jake rented said he was surprised to see Chessum's assistants unpack an RZ and a bunch of film backs. He figured Jake must have shot over 100 rolls of film. The studio happens to rent Phase backs but Jake wanted nothing to do with them from what I was told.

Different strokes for different folks is all. I love film but when push comes to shove I'll shoot digital because I'm not afraid of it. I know I can do things with digital that I could never do with film. I only wish the workflow was as simple as film. I also hate the fact that I've become the lab, the retoucher and prepress and clients balk at paying the fees associated with the time it takes to do those other three jobs.

Bob
« Last Edit: February 25, 2009, 11:27:52 PM by bcroslin »
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Bob Croslin, Photographer
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