Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Rediscovering Craft  (Read 14550 times)

amolitor

  • Guest
Rediscovering Craft
« on: June 17, 2015, 10:07:19 pm »

I find Michael's attitude in this piece.. interesting. Michael seems to be exactly the wrong person to be shooting film.

While his discussion of the various psychological aspects is spot on, when he gets to the technical it becomes puzzling. If you want "image quality" as we understand it in this era, and are willing to commit to being fully in control of your exposure (which I think summarizes the attitude of the editorial staff here at LuLa as well as many of the contributors) film is simply not the correct answer.

Film only becomes interesting outside the envelope of control. It's about the way the highlights roll off when they cannot, or were not, managed through exposure. It's about the way the sharpness fades imperceptibly in to grain, rather than abruptly vanishing into either moire or mush.

If you're going to shoot film, to my mind, you might as well embrace it. Shoot 135 at 400 or higher. Push process it, or overexpose it, or both if you can somehow manage it.

Within "the window" under the Nyquist limits and within the dynamic range, digital is simply, provably, better. It's when you venture outside the window that analog methods bring something to the table.
Logged

Telecaster

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3686
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2015, 10:30:30 pm »

IMO you're taking an "each to her/his own" thing and trying to impose pointless constraints on it. Ppfftt to that. Everyone interested in using film should do so precisely as they see fit. Extract the best technical quality they can from it if that's their thing. Push & pull it like taffy if that's their thing. Whatever.

You will not yuck my yum.

-Dave-
Logged

Paulo Bizarro

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6397
    • http://www.paulobizarro.com
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2015, 04:01:41 am »

I find Michael's attitude in this piece.. interesting. Michael seems to be exactly the wrong person to be shooting film.

I think you got the piece wrong. My understanding is that Michael is doing it for the "craft", not to achieve the utmost image quality possible today. It's a personal project, from someone who shot film for decades, who now feels that digital photography is "too perfect", and wants a "refresh".

In my mind, it is almost like the final step in "going retro"; first, we have mirrorless cameras that copy the nostalgic and retro designs of 30 or more years ago. It is only inevitable that the next step is going back to film:)

At first glance, film may look like something that you can not control, there are many uncertainties and "imperfections" with the final result. But that lack of control, and lack of immediacy with the results, is precisely what makes it attractive in the end. There is an excitement related to "how will it turn out" that I relate to. I shot many rolls of slide film, and waiting to see how they would turn out was part of the "magic" of photography.

amolitor

  • Guest
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2015, 10:03:58 am »

Of course Michael may and should do it if he wants. Of course there are excellent reasons to do it. And most of his piece is about that.

He slips in a couple oddities though. Won't shoot anything over 100, for example.

It's like a guy who takes up the axe, gonna cut down trees, and then explains that he needs the best axe because he wants to cut down a lot of trees fast. On the one hand, sure, whatever makes you happy. On the other hand, if actually cutting trees down fast is a substantial goal here, you've got the wrong tool.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 12:47:08 pm by amolitor »
Logged

Rand47

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1729
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2015, 12:03:19 pm »

I think we may be missing the point.  Michael is having fun.  He can afford it.  He remembers the good old/bad old days of film and the visceral aspects of analog and wants to "go play there" for the pure pleasure of doing so.  We can argue and win with the argument that digital has surpassed film in almost any parameter.  On the other hand one does not look at prints "today" made by Karsh, Smith, Bullock, et al and say, "Dang, they would have been so much better in digital."

Have fun Michael, and please show us the results!

Best,
Rand
Logged
Rand Scott Adams

jmlphotography

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 63
Question
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2015, 04:15:59 pm »

First, having taken up film a couple of years ago, I absolutely agree with the enjoyment of the process or craft aspect much more so than with digital.  If I'm going somewhere where I have to capture many images and may never come back, I would definitely bring my digital camera.  On the other hand, if I'm out for an afternoon just "shooting" for the fun of it, I will always take one of my film cameras.

I would like to improve my scans though.  I have the Epson 750P.  Could you explain how you use the museum glass (e.g., just dry on top of the negs or some wetting solution) and where you get the glass?
Logged

JV

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1013
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 09:15:53 pm »

I wasn't aware that one online store had bought all remaining Rollei stock.  Thanks for sharing that!
Logged

BernardLanguillier

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13723
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2015, 11:50:42 pm »

Having started to use a Hassy 503cw recently, I can totally sympathize!

Now, the results are not that great image qualitywize but the shooting experience is different and that is both challenging and fun.

I think it will be a long time until I shoot something I am willing to share, but that isn't the purpose. ;)

This being said, I am unclear why anyonw would want to mount a 80mp back on a V body, since I don't think I ever managed to squeeze more than 10mp worth out of the scans knowing how hard it is to reach critical focus with those...

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: June 18, 2015, 11:53:16 pm by BernardLanguillier »
Logged

hsteeves

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 89
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2015, 08:25:49 am »

while I can appreciate Michael's return to film, the article goes to show that we are not all the same when it comes to our definitions of what part of film use fits our needs.  I happen to like higher ISOs - Tri-X and Portra 400 are my friends.  I also still like Velvia 50 and hope that stuff I froze years ago is still good(300 rolls of 220).  Getting the chemicals to process it might be an issue since Kodak E6 kits have bit the dust.  To me, the craft part is the same for digital and film are the same but I understand the limitations that film puts on me - I simply don't fiddle as much.  The shot is there or its not. 
Logged

MarkL

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 475
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2015, 04:49:27 pm »

It's like a guy who takes up the axe, gonna cut down trees, and then explains that he needs the best axe because he wants to cut down a lot of trees fast. On the one hand, sure, whatever makes you happy. On the other hand, if actually cutting trees down fast is a substantial goal here, you've got the wrong tool.

I think a better take on this article with analogy is archery. Michael wants to use a bow and arrow rather than rifle with a laser sight because he likes shooting with one but I doesn't want to go to the extreme of a wooden bare bow with no sight and wooden arrows because he still wants a decent result.
Logged

David Sutton

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1307
    • David Sutton Photography
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2015, 11:02:14 pm »

while I can appreciate Michael's return to film, the article goes to show that we are not all the same when it comes to our definitions of what part of film use fits our needs.  I happen to like higher ISOs - Tri-X and Portra 400 are my friends.  I also still like Velvia 50 and hope that stuff I froze years ago is still good(300 rolls of 220).  Getting the chemicals to process it might be an issue since Kodak E6 kits have bit the dust.  To me, the craft part is the same for digital and film are the same but I understand the limitations that film puts on me - I simply don't fiddle as much.  The shot is there or its not. 

Lenses affect matters more with film as well. I found the results from Kodak with uncoated lenses appalling and went with Fuji Neopan 120 for B&W and Reala for Colour.
I think in the last year or so Reala has bitten the dust. Should have stocked up.
David
Logged

EricWHiss

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2613
    • Rolleiflex USA
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2015, 03:02:59 pm »

Michael's article was quite interesting to read (from my perspective of both a long time Rolleiflex user and also the US Dealer).  I still shoot film along side digital.  When I use my TLR's I will often shoot a roll and be happy with 10 out of 12 shots or even the whole roll.  Sometimes when I shoot digital, I may not be satisfied with any of the hundreds of frames.  Considering that I would not say using film is "the hard way".  Actually its quite enjoyable because you use (or at least I use) a different methodology when shooting film with the TLR.  I think through every shot and compose on the viewfinder.  Maybe this is what Michael refers to as rediscovering craft.

With regard to the Rolleiflex TLR's and company, I would like to correct a few factual errors in the article.  These are understandable and quite common considering the lack of good information about the cameras and products over the decades.  The complete void of marketing and promotional literature has created a lot of misinformation about these wonderful cameras.

A good place to start is the naming:  The professional line of cameras coming from company are labeled Rolleiflex -  Twin Lens Reflex, and SLR cameras all have mirrors hence the 'flex' part.  Consumer level cameras were labeled Rollei.   Many people use these two brands interchangeably - and even the company did sometimes print Rollei on some parts like lens caps which added to the confusion. BTW - In German a word with an ie or ei will be pronounced as the last letter so technically its pronounced more like Roll-eye.

When the company was Rollei GmbH in the early 2000's  - even before it was Franke und Heidecke - they introduced the FX version of the TLR.  It was not the FX model introduced in 2012 as Michael writes but the FX-N model which could focus much closer without the Rolleinar close up accessories.     There are/were in fact four different versions of the TLR available.  The FX (standard with 80mm lens), the FW (wide with 50mm lens), the FT (Tele with 135mm lens) and the new FX-N (with same lens as FX). A lot of even experienced photographers didn't know that Rolleiflex's were still made new.   They made the TLR's from 1920's until February of this year when the factory was shuttered.  You can download a pdf of the factory brochure on the TLR's from my website and/or a user manual for free if you want more information. Direct links below:

http://rolleiflex.us/products/tlr-brochure-english-version
http://rolleiflex.us/products/old-rollei-tlr-brochure
http://rolleiflex.us/products/user-manual-for-fx-and-fw-tlr-cameras

Confusion about where to buy and pricing was also a problem for Rolleiflex/DHW which Michael does rightly bring up in his article. The company either didn't have or did not enforce a MAP and this caused lots of problems, which were compounded by a large number of ebay sellers with inventory purchased during their frequent turnovers that was sold as new - look for packaging - some will still say Rollei, some with Franke und Heidecke, and a few with the last company name DHW.    B&H wasn't an authorized dealer but did managed to make listings on their site for the different items anyhow.  My guess is not too many people bought from them since their prices were much higher than list - for example the FX was over $8000 on B&H but official list was under $5400.  I don't know for sure but my guess is that when B&H actually took an order they had to go to one of the Asian dealers and paid list which is why they had to price so much higher.  

Leica Photo Lisse / Henny Hoogeveen probably was DHW's biggest dealer since they sold a lot to Asia as well and he did take a big lot of the last goods but not all of them ;-)     In any case the new TLR's have strong competition from the old ones which were quite good. Check Vivian Maier's photos...   I still shoot a 2.8F from 1965 and would be hard pressed myself to feel the need to trade it for a new one.  The new cameras do have better metering and ttl flash metering which can be a big advantage.  The FW is wider at 50mm than the older and rare Rolleiwide at 55mm, and the FT has both a nicer lens than the older Tele-Rolleiflex and can focus significantly closer.  

When I started my dealership, I expected to sell mostly the Rolleiflex Hy6 and lenses since it could take digital backs along with the film backs.  With LuLa being mostly digital oriented I only placed adds for the Hy6 with the Luminous-Landscape so I'm not all that surprised Michael went to ebay when he did his TLR search. That's what a lot of people do, and in fact there are quite a lot of Rolleiflex fans that didn't even know the company was still in business.  Still I was definitely surprised by the interest in the TLR's which made up half of my camera sales.  On top of that about half the Hy6 buyers planned to only shoot film with them. I'd say there is still a very active group of film shooters and its growing not shrinking.  Film is not really complicated at all, but there are lots of opportunity to add your own craft,  feelings and energy to it along the way starting with the film type, camera and lens choices, exposure, development and processing.

 
Logged
Rolleiflex USA

Gigi

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 527
    • some work
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2015, 10:36:08 am »

Eric -

Thanks for the thoughtful writeup. Seen together with Michael's video, this provides a fuller understanding of the Rollei picture.

Geoff
Logged
Geoff

ndevlin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 679
    • Follow me on Twitter
Re: Question
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2015, 10:55:22 am »

I would like to improve my scans though.  I have the Epson 750P.  Could you explain how you use the museum glass (e.g., just dry on top of the negs or some wetting solution) and where you get the glass?

I'm in the same boat.  The best understanding I've managed so far, is that when you smash the museum glass in frustration, the edges are sharper and cleaner, and thus allow a much neater slice of the wrist after you've done the scan.

 ;)
Logged
Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera        ww

Alan Klein

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11313
    • Flicker photos
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2015, 12:03:03 pm »

jml: Check with Betterscanning.com for better film holders and ANR glass (An anti-Newton Ring glass insert), if that's what you were referring too. 

Regarding film, I use it when I'm out to shoot slow, think, and allow the environment to create what I think are just better shots.  The process puts you on a different plane.  I use digital when vacationing, or for family occasions, things like that.  Setting up a medium format film camera (Mamiya RB67) on a tripod, using a separate light meter, loading, setting manually, loading film, handling it (i don't process however but send it out), scanning, etc. is a "happening".  I believe the process allows me to create better photos, at least more meaningful to me.

BernardLanguillier

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13723
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/sets/
Re: Question
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2015, 11:46:02 pm »

I'm in the same boat.  The best understanding I've managed so far, is that when you smash the museum glass in frustration, the edges are sharper and cleaner, and thus allow a much neater slice of the wrist after you've done the scan.

:-)

Scanning is so much fun isn't it? Exactly the activity I pick when I feel like having a great afternoon!

Cheers,
Bernard

jmlphotography

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 63
Re: Rediscovering Craft
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2015, 08:43:23 pm »

Ndevlin, Allan, Bernard:

Thxs for your responses.  I'm aware of Better Scanning, but Michael implied (or I read that) he simply layed a piece of museum glass on top of his negatives.  That meant to me he didn't use any neg carriers.  If  I read this wrong, it wouldn't be the first time ;)

If I was correct however, I would like to know in more detail what he did.  The getting the film clean, aligned and flat in the carriers can take me more time than the scan.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up