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Film still viable? I have a Canon film camera and am wondering what to do with it.

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#1 mikellee

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 02:54 PM

I was going through some boxes in my home and found a Canon Elan 7e, which I bought new years ago.

 

I'm wondering if film is still viable, or worth the time.

 

I'm thinking about selling the camera to someone who would get some use out of it.

 

Anyway, just thinking.....

 

Mike

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#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 03:09 PM

I was going through some boxes in my home and found a Canon Elan 7e, which I bought new years ago.

 

I'm wondering if film is still viable, or worth the time.

 

I'm thinking about selling the camera to someone who would get some use out of it.

 

Anyway, just thinking.....

 

Mike

It could be fun.  But you'll get _significantly_ better images with digital.

 

This is nowhere near being a close call.  <smile>


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#3 SkyHunter1

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 03:10 PM

Mike,

I think i can make a pretty certain determination that no one would be interested in using this camera for astro. Reason being that film has a quantum efficiency of around 2% and most modern digital astro cameras and dslrs are 50% at worst and up to 90% at best.

 

This means that film will capture 2 of every 100 photons that hit the film, whereas modern cameras capture 50% of those photons worst case scenario and up to 90+%in the best cases. Film would take orders of magnatude longer to get an image over the cheapest astro cam. 

 

Also with film you cant take subs, you need to take an image all at once, which means one potentially hours long exposure. lets not even mention skyglow, sattelites, planes, clouds etc killing the shot completely, not just losing one sub with modern methods.

 

I would think that you could still find people who could enjoy the camera if you brought it to a camera shop as they would have buyers interested in terrestrial film photography where there is way more light (even in the darkest situations) and it would still be useful.

 

Regards,

Skyhunter1


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#4 hyiger

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 03:44 PM

Also with film you cant take subs, you need to take an image all at once, which means one potentially hours long exposure. lets not even mention skyglow, sattelites, planes, clouds etc killing the shot completely, not just losing one sub with modern methods.

I seem to remember (a bazillion years ago so my memory is very, very fuzzy) people were taking multiple 30m - 1h exposures and literally stacking the negatives and creating prints. I don't know how though since I can imagine (if true) that the process must have been tedious in the extreme. Also back then (and this I remember well) it was very rare to see a satellite and where I lived (NW NJ) was probably a Bortle 3-4 then and now is a 7. 


Edited by hyiger, 16 February 2024 - 04:46 PM.

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#5 TOMDEY

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 03:45 PM

Realistically --- the bodies of old SLR's would sell for almost nothing --- but if you happen to have some truly premium lenses that go with it? --- those can still be valuable and adapted to digital scientific cameras. I use om old Zuiko lenses on FLI cameras and the results are excellent. Here's a spectacular lens >>>

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#6 John the Space Traveler

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 03:51 PM

I was going through some boxes in my home and found a Canon Elan 7e, which I bought new years ago.

 

I'm wondering if film is still viable, or worth the time.

 

I'm thinking about selling the camera to someone who would get some use out of it.

 

Anyway, just thinking.....

 

Mike

There is always a market for old gear if you chose to sell it, especially something still in its original packaging. This is for both camera bodies and lenses.  I had a barely used film camera body from the 1970s that still had its factory box and various paper manuals, and it went for almost double what just the body alone sold for.  So there are some people like to collect cameras even if they don't use them

 

There are also some old school purists that still swear by film.  Hollywood director Chris Nolan famously avoids digital recording if he can, even though most of the industry has embraced it.  Some people like to play with old tech just for the fun of it.  That's why there is an active daguerreotype community (they even used a real daguerreotype camera for the photo in the 2017 Wonder Woman film).  So I'm sure somebody out there will want it for their collection.  However, I doubt there are too many people left who still hyper film for astrophotography, just like few, if anybody, still use glass plates for astronomy.

 

My suggestion is to go on eBay and other forums to get an idea of what it might be worth.  Maybe selling it will give you some extra cash to treat yourself to some astro-goodie you've been wanting! smile.gif


Edited by John the Space Traveler, 16 February 2024 - 03:55 PM.


#7 pyrasanth

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 03:54 PM

Many years ago I had a Zuiko 1.4 on my Olympus OM1N- if only I had kept the lens- it was very good indeed.

 

The OM1N was a modifield astro version that had a central clear focusing screen- it was quite expensive. Ultimately the camera & lens was stolen in a burglary.

 

I took quite a few pictures of the moon through my Dynamax 8 at the time. I might still have the negatives somewhere. I miss the shutter action of the OM1N- it was really special- something really nice about good mechanical action.



#8 John the Space Traveler

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 04:24 PM

As a guy who started when film was standard, and saw the change to digital, I have a few recollections to share.

 

To begin with, almost everything that is done with digital could be done with film, including stacking and removing skyglow and sat trails.  It simply involved extra steps, but was not as uniform and efficient as starting from scratch with a digital image.  But  many of the digital processing techniques we use today started with film.

 

When astronomy was going through the film-to-digital transition phase from roughly the late 80s to the early 2000s, an imager would take analogue film shots, chemically develop them, then scan the negatives to digitize them.  Then they'd do many of the digital processing techniques that are common today, like stacking.  So film use just added a few extra steps to the process before software manipulation could occur.  Of course, chemical emulsions are not as light sensitive as chips, so film was abandoned.

 

For youngsters here that have only known digital, you want to know what the Holy Grail was when digital was new?  Getting a chip that had the same frame size as standard film (35 mm), and the same resolution.  Early detectors had large pixels (less resolution) or had small pixels but came on small chips.  Creating a CCD or CMOS chip that had the same size and resolution as standard film, and also had low noise, that could also be affordable to the average consumer was a long, expensive process.  Resolution has dramatically improved, but its still not exactly what chemical emulsions can achieve.

 

Another area where amateurs were ahead of professionals (IIRC) was planetary video imaging.  I believe amateurs were the first to put (VHS!!) video cameras on their telescopes for Lucky Imaging, then digitize and stack the images for higher resolution planetary images.  I think its after the pros saw the first examples of what amateurs were doing with that (in Sky & Tel and Astronomy mags), that they started copying the technique themselves.  Of course they've moved on to AO imaging where possible.


Edited by John the Space Traveler, 16 February 2024 - 07:52 PM.


#9 TxStars

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 06:55 PM

Film still works to record the night sky for people that like the look of the images..

Stacking scans of film images can easily be done these days..

Before all the digital processing it involved pin registering the negatives and a fair amount of darkroom know how..

Film is sort of a one and done thing if your not stacking the images, but can provide some nice images..

In some areas film has made a bit of a comeback for artistic use..

 

This is a stack of two negatives that were each exposed for 20minutes.

It took over an hour of dark room time to get them lined up then reimaged with a copy film..

 

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#10 TxStars

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Posted 16 February 2024 - 07:14 PM

I like the look of film for some images..

It's hard to explain, but a film image has a certain look to it, like with this lunar eclipse image.

 

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#11 Michal1

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 07:43 AM

Why not to have a look at some film photos:
https://www.cloudyni...aphy-galleries/
and compare them to those taken on digital sensors? Availability of films that are sensitive to H-alpha might be an issue today. Have a look at the recent photos in this forum to see what is possible.

 

But indeed, as others suggested, with digital sensors, you will capture fainter objects and more details in the same amount of exposure time, and with less effort. I think that for most of us, who do film astrophotography, the imperfection of an film image is what makes it attractive. The specific look of a film image is hard to mimic with digital sensors.

 

Stacking of film frames is possible, but in my experience, the benefit is low.



#12 mikellee

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 07:54 AM

OK guys, I think after reading all of the above, I'm going to put it up on eBay and see what happens.

 

I too used to like film, but for me the convenience of digital is too overpowering a reason to make an attempt to go back.

 

 

Thanks!

 

Mike



#13 hyiger

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 11:47 AM

OK guys, I think after reading all of the above, I'm going to put it up on eBay and see what happens.

 

I too used to like film, but for me the convenience of digital is too overpowering a reason to make an attempt to go back.

 

 

Thanks!

 

Mike

I mean, horses are fun. I love riding them on trails. I wouldn't ride it to Trader Joe's to pick up groceries however. For one, they don't have as much trunk space as my car. 


Edited by hyiger, 17 February 2024 - 11:57 AM.

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#14 archer1960

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 12:38 PM

I still have one of Canon's last film cameras, an EOS-something-or-other (don't remember the model off the top of my head). The only reason I keep it around is that all my current EF-mount DSLR lenses will work with it just fine if I ever get the itch to do some film shooting again. I dumped all my FD-mount bodies and lenses years ago. I had a good body (A-1), but the lenses were strictly mediocre, so no regrets there.




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