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Current state of affairs in Film

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#26 laconicsax

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:52 AM

Since this thread got kicked up and is new to me, here're my $.02:

1) Why is film still being used - what are advantages at this time?


The biggest advantage, for me, is cost. I don't have a DSLR or CCD, but do have a film SLR and lenses, so right off the bat, that's hundreds of dollars (at least) that I don't have to spend. I crunched the numbers a couple of years ago and found that once I've shot something like 30-40 rolls (600-800 exposures), I'll have spent as much on film and processing as a used DSLR and will be much better at the actual skills and techniques required to get quality images. There's also an advantage to not being dependent on too much stuff. My SLR is purely mechanical and I guide manually, so there's no laptop, no autoguider, no worries about batteries dying and losing data, etc.

2) Does anyone in this forum still use Schmidt camera's

No idea.

3) Is it going to become totaly impossible in a few years get film developed?

Well, it's now 2013 there are still plenty of labs, 1-hour photo places around, and equipment to develop at home is still pretty easy to get, so I think the answer is no.

#27 Nightfly

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:12 AM

I know many that have wonderful film equipment that just sits in a camera bag. Like you, I don't have the coin to throw mine aside and build another system. I find that I can work well with what I already own and that this is not a limitation, but a liberation from the constant upgrade hell that the industry has designed in the photographic world.

"...few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don't know what to do with it." - Edward Weston

#28 Michal1

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 06:33 PM

1) Believe it or not, I simply prefer the look of film images over the digital ones, especially those wide field. Even though the digital images are usually sharper and often show fainter objects. The film colours are more pleasant to my eye and there is something which I can't define well - I'd call it the structure of the image.

Today, I was interested whether there are digital images of the Rho Ophiuchi region with colours as magnificient as those of some film images I know. I entered "rho ophiuchi" into Google image search. From the hundreds of images found, I selected the one that I liked most and looked, what camera it was taken by. It was Dave Kodama's image taken on E200 :-).

2) There was a member who was going to start using a Schmidt camera. He made his last post several months ago.

3) The development seems not to be a big problem. The worst problem starts to be the availability of good scanning, at least here. Nikon seems to stop to supply spare parts for their scanners. So when any part a scanner gets broken, the scanner can be thrown away. I'm not sure who will scan my next film.

#29 Jeff Phinney

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 01:27 PM

After having bought my first digital camera back in '99 I don't recall having taken a single halide based image since then, but reading these film based astrophotography threads has made me nostalgic for the old film days, and with some of the new low/lower reciprocity failure films out there, I've decided to give it a try and get back into it again. But first......

I broke out the "old work horse" OM-2 that my wife and I bought back when we married in 1980 and had it looked over by the local camera repair shop. Up to this point, and oddly enough with with my background, I'd never given a single thought as to what time does to a camera that's been sitting unused in a closet for 14 years. I thought it would be perfectly fine regardless. How wrong I was.

First of all and most obvious, all the leatherette on the outside of the protective camera case has deteriorated and is falling off of the body. It's now a sorry and ugly looking mess, but no big deal, It still functions perfectly fine in doing its job of protecting the camera body, but that's the least of the camera's problems.
Anyone have an idea as to how to restore leatherette? The camera repair folks said they would pay me good money if I came up with a cheap, workable fix. Hah..

As for the camera itself, the first thing the folks at the shop checked was to see if the shutter was operating properly. Turns out that the shutter is worthless for exposures less than 1/60 of a second. Next thing they showed me is that the iris of the camera's original 50mm Zuiko lens is frozen wide open. The 28mm Tokina and 200mm Soligor I had purchased for use with the camera body also have their iris' stuck wide open. Not sure what additional repairs will be needed, but it seems that the lubricating oils used in the lenses and the camera body have lost their volatiles and have subsequently turned onto glue or concrete. That's what happens if the lenses are not exercised in all that time. Slow shutter and stuck iris', none of this makes much of a difference when doing astrophotography,... that is if one doesn't mind the additional aberrations that go along with the lenses being wide open.

Call me crazy, but please don't tell my wife, I've decided to go ahead and have the camera shop proceed with the needed repairs somewhere at a cost of around(cough, cough) $200. The cost doesn't include the Tokina and Soligor lenses, which they said I was better off scraping. However, I do think I'll give it a try fixing them myself since I can sometimes actually be handy in that way, but again, please don't tell my wife.
Besides, what do I have to lose?

Before anyone goes and calls me a sentimentalist, spending that kind of money to rehabilitate something like this, remember this is what photography/astrophotography itself is all about. Now all I have to do is get my turn table working again so I can get those old LPs digitized that were never released on vinyl just so I can listen to them on CDs.
No MP3s for me,... No Sir!

#30 THEPLOUGH

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 06:45 PM

:waytogo:...And I promise, not a word to your good lady... ;)

#31 Nightfly

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Posted 22 March 2013 - 07:30 PM

This is wonderful news Jeff. I'm sure the camera will begin to feel like old hat again. We will all be anxious to see your progress. By all means please keep us informed on what you are up to. The whole process that you have begun will make a great story.

Welcome back!

Jim

#32 TechPan6415

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 04:34 PM

As for the darkroom equipment, you can hardly give the
stuff away, so I dumped it along with the paper & chemicals.
I will not miss darkroom work. Spending countless hours
breathing stop-bath & fixer fumes (yes I had a ventilation
fan in the darkroom) probably contributed to the chronic
migraine headaches I get now. I'll take PhotoShop anyday.


Not the really good stuff, it is very hard to find in good condition and costs quite a bit. Try sourcing a 150 F/4 Rodagon Apo-N or a 105 Rodagon G mural lens. Try getting an LPL 4550XLG / VCCE for under a grand. RH Designs equipment has gone through the roof!

I have been using digital professionally for 20 years, it's gotten better but what it has done to the industry and worse...the perception of what makes a *good* photograph...is not good, frankly it has turned photography into pop-art junk.

After this year, I am done with it and all the computer related stuff. I love my darkroom, totally state of the art, not nearly as stinky chemistry in using citrus based stop bath and a super high tech variable speed ventilation system.

But the best part? It is not producing soon to be utterly worthless digi-*BLEEP*, is producing gorgeous hand made photographs that go for $500 a print, minimum and will only go up from there.

Why use the same brainless garbage every other hack uses, especially if you have the market and the talent?

I understand about astrophotography though, it makes sense. But I don't really do that since it is hard to get unique shots that put things into artistic perspective.

#33 Jeff Phinney

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 05:49 PM

I love my darkroom, totally state of the art, not nearly as stinky chemistry in using citrus based stop bath and a super high tech variable speed ventilation system.


But I love the smell of acetic acid in the morning.... or what ever time of day it is.

#34 orion61

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 04:09 PM

I still have all my old Minolta cameras and lenses,
I still love the way they feel and function. I lovingly keep them clean and maintained.. someday at my estate sale some person will buy a box of stuff and dump them in the Goodwill Box... But for everything bad you can say about Digital (False color)
there are 2 with film, Bloated Stars/fogging/ etc, Film was fun, So was Super 8, but it is a technology time has passed up.
I had a Dark Room and also suffer from Migrains that I didn't before. Film is so expensive and getting harder to find except the most generic dummy prooof types.
There are so many programs you can achieve virtually any film effect, like grain, contrast, fogging etc.
One thing I do not miss is spending 5 hrs in sub zero temp for a few shots that "may" come out...
Sorry guys, I have to put my hat in the Digital ring,
There is No way film can come close to todays Planetary Digital shots..
Makes me kinda sad...
Larry

#35 Nightfly

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 09:42 AM

I would agree that for the majority of work, film takes a backseat to digital, especially at present. Remember ten-fifteen years ago when they said film was dead? Digital was very poor by today's standards and at that time medium format film still exceeded digital. But what I hear from many today is that film is dead....now.

Practiced at its ideal and with zeal, film can still pull it off IMHO. I would not recommend anyone to start astrophotography with film today, except maybe for startrail work where the results are simply wonderful...still. For those of us that practiced the craft for decades and have a fondness for the aesthetics of the medium, we will continue to produce analog work that at least to our own eyes is quality work.

Is it harder and inconvenient? Sure. Does it make sense to maintain this forum? Probably not if it is going to be a museum for pictures of a bygone era, which is an ever increasing theme here.

There are only a handful of film shooters left in the analog astrophotography realm and there will be fewer still as time progresses.

I've been shooting digital for several month now and my last film shot (astro) was last October. I'm impressed by what I see with new capabilities that I am not used to having. It is simply wonderful. That being said, the look of film is something that captures my heart. As a result I cannot give it up. Not just yet.

#36 Nebhunter

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 04:44 PM

Can't argue with facts. It's more an artistic concept that keeps me shooting film. For landscape work, or wide field astro, it gives a certain look, and feel which just runs in my blood. I'm also at an age where I don't care anymore about the latest and greatest gadget, phone, or camera.

The only downside to digital to me is exactly that, where there is a constant push to upgrade or replace equipment recently purchased. New camera, new lenses, what the previous model stopped working? :grin:

Igor

#37 Michal1

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 06:00 PM

... wide field astro, it gives a certain look, and feel which just runs in my blood.

That's it exactly. It is a certain combibination of perfectness and imperfectness which makes film images so attractive. With the same lens, exposure settings and probably lesser effort digital sensors can produce deeper and sharper images than film. But is a technicaly good astrophoto really the equivalent of a nice astrophoto? Not for me.

#38 Nightfly

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 05:14 AM

I took two photographs with the same lens, the SMC Pentax 67 200mm F/4. One with the 67, the other with the Pentax K-01 digital camera.

The central portion shows the APS-C sensor capture within the 6x7 frame captured on E200. Although the digital capture was more detailed, the 6X7 frame is much larger in field size, lens for lens. A 75mm lens on the digital would closely mach the resulting field size of the 200 on the 67 and that would be a fair game for comparison in overall resolution per field size. I'll have to try that sometime.

I thought this example would be good for those who ask me about the differences in the format sizes.

Posted Image
Sagittarius Milky Way: APS-C on 6X7 Frame by Nightfly Photography, on Flickr

#39 Nightfly

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 05:38 AM

I echo Igor and Michal's sentiments. This is a hobby, a craft for which I gain tremendous reward. I choose to shoot film because it is something that pleases me. I choose to live in the world of the photographic process where I am not constantly looking to upgrade to the next gadget, software, or complete camera systems. I do not want to lust after equipment, which I see as the real state of affairs in the photographic marketplace. Do I have limitations? Sure do. I place my effort on what is possible with what I have.

I don't have a lot of money. I worked damn hard for what gear I do have. I am raising a family and trying to find the balance. I share my photography with forums such as these. I take away your good comments and gain encouragement to move on and do more.

Do I think film as I use it is better than digital? For me, yes. I love what it does and how it renders the great vistas of the Milky Way. It is more in line with what I desired to achieve as a budding astrophotographer thirty years ago. For me, this is not a race, but a personal desire.

As for where I live. I live under one of the darkest skies in America. The envy of many astrophotographers. I treasure it. It is a great starting points for successful images as well as deep sky observing. So as limited as I may be in the means I choose to work with, I have the best skies to do it in.


I'll finish my rant with thought from my photographer's bio:

I’ve always been a lover of the night sky and realized photography to be a natural outlet for actively participating in, and learning more about the nocturnal scene. Astrophotography is a difficult pursuit, requiring one to amass knowledge of photography and astronomy, as well as the legacy of the pioneers that blazed the way in the photographic arts and sciences. Composition and execution of long exposures are often daunting, but quite rewarding when vision and technique guide the way to successful images.

It is what is not seen that drives me invest much time to expose each image, capturing beyond the scope of the human eye and revealing the nature of what is present regardless of our ability to see. It is the power of method and the mind's eye to recognize the potential of each composition. This is where I find my inspiration for a photograph, the results of which often make the whole endeavor worth the time and effort.

Patience is a must, and a welcome discipline in a busy world intent on making things faster and more efficient. It is taking time to think, love, and learn that yields fruit in life, and so it is in photography. Right now, my work is inseparable from where I want to be when I am feeling my best and the opportunity avails itself to create something new. I live to create.

#40 Nebhunter

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Posted 02 August 2013 - 12:29 AM

Amen, my brother of the night sky.

igor

#41 Achernar

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Posted 30 August 2013 - 09:46 PM

Still have my Nikon F3HP and six lenses for it, including a 180mm F/2.8 ED telephoto lens. All are still functional, and as a young man I used them hard in floods, extreme cold and other challenging conditions. Haven't developed a single roll of film in over 20 years or made a print, but I would do it again in a second if I had the means to do so.

Taras

#42 jimegger

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 03:00 AM

I had to chime in on this forum after reading all the comments on film versus digital. I spent many hundreds of hours shooting the night sky through many different telescopes in temperatures to -40 F with and without a cold camera and hypered film. After a night of shooting it was fun to set up the chemistry lab and do the processing the next day to see what had been accomplished. It was always fascinating to see how it all turned out. In the end I went digital with a Canon 20 da after all those years of film shooting. I do miss the film but have to say that being able to eliminate skyglow and bring out the details that are truly there via image processing has been just as much if not more fun and in the end less work without all the toxic chemicals that must in the end be properly disposed of. I do miss some of the aesthetics of film but digital has is own different set of aesthetics that are no more or less attractive in accomplishing the same end. I hope film never goes away and someone out there keeps carrying the torch for it, I just don't want to see it die and yet at the same time it won't be me carrying that torch. I may yet shoot some more film somewhere down the line and it would be good to know that it is still available and does the job.

#43 Nebhunter

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 06:11 PM

Your comments are well appreciated and understood. We wish more people had this understanding. Film or digital should not separate us as astrophotographers. We each have our methods and preferences. There are artists who prefer oils, and those that use acrylic for paint. Yet they are still artists.

I must admit that it is becoming difficult - heck it is difficult with what's happening to film. An uphill battle regardless of equipment. But it seems to fade away when you crack a new roll of film and begin loading the camera. Stuck in the past - and liking it. Now if I could just find the hand crank I could start the car and head for town.

igor

#44 bluesteel

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 12:36 AM

*Insert grumpy old man here, even though I am somewhat younger in astronomy circles*
Being a stickler for detail makes me think of several things, all pertaining to motion pictures...
The criterion collection and old 20's and 30's black and white films when remastered for the latest technology in televisions have more detail and contrast than any 1080p digital camera could dream of having. Old Charlie Chaplin films come to mind. Watching those cinema classics every time they are remastered floors me at the quality achieved many, many years earlier.

You can't remaster a pixel... A pixel is a pixel, even with line doublers and digital interpolation to make the picture "better". Your final result is your final result, and any additional pixels introduced to enhance or enlarge the original alters and detracts from the original image in my opinion.

Imax cameras use film, not digital storage cards. If that is not saying something, i don't know what will. Unfortunately, most projectors are digital now in theaters, with people operating them that do not even know how to properly focus the darn things. You never will get the true result of that massive negative area when played digitally. In 100 years time though, a remastering of an Imax film will probably knock the socks off the viewer for image contrast and clarity, just like the older black and white silent films do to me in this day and age.

I have to wholeheartedly agree with the way photography is going is like pop art when viewing it through the digital age. Garbage. Reminds me of the "art factories", which are the bane of painting art, and some of these new, digital photographic exhibits are laudable at best.
Now I am not saying that all digital is bad, we can all agree there are some phenomenal pictures being taken in astrophotography, as well as stills of the world around us. There just seems to be a lot less of any sort of thought process for a lot of the digital being produced, which will create an inferior product, no matter what the medium.

Now get off my lawn you whippersnapper! :p

#45 Nebhunter

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:32 PM

Exactly right. I also prefer silver halide to a pixel. B&W photography enchants me far more than colour as well. Which begs the questions. Why does an acoustic guitar require amplification? Does an egg printed with a digital code taste any better than one with an analogue sticker on it? Is the electricity in my house any different now that the Smart Meter has replaced the dumb analogue meter? I have more questions, but this is a good start.

Igor

#46 bluesteel

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 06:24 PM

Why does an acoustic guitar require amplification?


To turn it up to 11!

Does an egg printed with a digital code taste any better than one with an analogue sticker on it?

That is like asking if the chicken or egg came first... and obviously the egg came first because dinosaurs were laying them long before chickens were around! I would prefer a sticker to a laser burning my eggs pre-cooking them.

Is the electricity in my house any different now that the Smart Meter has replaced the dumb analogue meter?


Yes, you have to pay for all you consume now, instead of adding a different "gear" to lessen the meter numbers :p

#47 Nebhunter

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 08:58 PM

OK - last question, and if answered correctly you win the official digital state of affairs focusing tool for use with point and shoot cameras.

What other famous characters came from Frostbite Falls? No searching the web. If you are old enough - you will know the answer. Talk about highjacking a thread!

#48 Nightfly

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Posted 22 September 2013 - 09:57 AM

I won't give the answer, but I remember watching the show on those early Saturday mornings in the 70's when they were old reruns at that point.

#49 Nebhunter

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 06:16 PM

What reruns? I'm still watching them today. Like us - great stuff Jim. Another dark cycle almost upon us. Hope you get out for some frames my friend.

igor

#50 Nightfly

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 07:28 PM

It has been almost a year since I've taken a film astrophoto. The longest dry spell in a decade for me. I'm reminded of that fact every time I open the fridge.

Feeling like I lost my mojo.

And I used to be hardcore......... :tonofbricks:






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