Aug 022012
 

Three Months of shooting film and here is what I learned by Ryan Lussier

Hello Steve,

A few months back I had sent you a few shots to see if I could be part of your daily inspiration. Thank you so much for posting that I was so happy to share some thoughts and hear back from some great photographers who read your blog. In that post I mentioned that I had ordered a Contax G2 and I was about to embark on a film journey. Well some time has passed and I wanted to share with you and your readers how the journey is going.

Kodak Portra 400 and Zeiss 50 f/2

First a quick recap…

I’ve grown up on digital I’ve never shot film and I love the fuji X series. For awhile I had been using programs like DXO film pack, VSCO, and others to try to emulate film and then having seen the post from Ibraar I had a feeling that despite some really good programs that are out there the look and feel of film is something all of its own. Now I am no expert in this and this post is to hopefully guide someone as new to film as I was (and still am) on some suggestions on work flow. Why shoot film in the first place, for those of you who haven’t I can only describe the results as a sort of creaminess that I haven’t been able to accomplish or see from digital files. There is a beauty in the transitions from highlights to shadows and a softness to the skin tones that I love.

I know that digital can resolve more fine detail in some cases is smoother and cleaner but there is a beauty in the imperfection of grain, and more importantly film has taught me that you don’t need a razor-sharp film or to be able to see the tiny hairs on someone’s upper lip viewed at 100% to have a photo with soul and character. Some of the results of film even when I’ve messed up have surprised me in their beauty despite their imperfections.This is not meant to be film vs digital as I use and love both this is more of me urging people to try out film if you haven’t or for those who have to come back to an old friend. The fact is with the recent announcement of Fuji cancelling Velvia 100f some of these wonderful films may be gone before you’ve had a chance to try them, and I truly think that is a shame.

Kodak T-Max 400 and 45 Planar

You can pick up a used film camera for cheap look around read reviews there are tons to choose from. Most of the examples that I’ve included are shot on the G2 and scanned myself so this is where I hope to add some value. I haven’t had any luck in lab scans they take control away from you and put in the hands of the lab so my first suggestion to you if you want to start shooting film is to buy a scanner. These can be fairly cheap I bought and use a dedicated film scanner OpticFilm 7600i by Plustek through B&H Photo for around 269 on sale not bad. So now you have the scanner what about the software I use and love Vue Scan 80.00 bucks for the professional edition.

My workflow is simple set up Vue Scan to scan your negative in RAW format which creates a RAW TIFF. I usually scan at 3600dpi, 48RGB and 16RGB Gray for black and white. Now that you have your RAW negative it’s time to turn that negative into a positive this is where ColorPerfect comes in, it’s a plug-in for Photoshop that will convert the negative file into a positive thus allowing you to skip the scanning softwares colour profiles that don’t really look good anyways. In ColorPerfect you can adjust the gamma (I use this for black and white) and they have a handy highlight recovery tool that works great if your scan has clipped some highlights. ColorPerfect has a ton of profiles for different films and I’ve been very happy with the results. I then bring my new tiff file into Aperture 3 to fix up any dust spots, do a light sharpen to restore what you loose in the scan and maybe tweak colours or curves but my intent is to be as true to the film as possible. Speaking of dust spots my first few months were filled with anger over the amount of crude I had to remove until I found Antistaticum by Ilford as well as canned air to help me out. I can scan 36 exposure and do some quick adjustments in about an hour, my developing costs 3.95 a roll.

Kodak Ektar 100

So all in all the costs of film are not bad. Skip the Starbucks in the morning and you can develop your film at a lab. There are cheaper ways by developing yourself and buying in bulk, but I haven’t done this myself. So there you have it! My thoughts and suggestions for someone feeling like I was that it’s time to get some film and give it a go. Most of these shots are very personal to me as I got into photography to photograph my lovely family and friends. The beautiful blond in the shots is my wife, she is ever so patient with a camera stuck in her face every time she turns around, and my constant stream of new and old cameras and all the time spent reading Steve Huff photo.

Cheers,

Ryan Lussier

Kodak Ektar 100

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Delta 100

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Kodak T-Max 400

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Fuji Reala and the 45 f/2

If anyone would ilk e to find a Contax G2 for themselves you can try Ken Hansen (email him at [email protected])  who always seems to have used film gear, or even PopFlash.com. B&H Photo has a used Titanium G2 for under $600 right now as well!

  97 Responses to “Three Months of Shooting Film and here is what I learned. By Ryan Lussier”

  1. Are the paragraphs out of order?

  2. The greatest thing about shooting film was getting the composition right the first time… You could crop it… But it’s a much lengthier process and I never really liked doing. So it made you look and think about your shots… Kodak film was awesome, but I was a fan of Fuji colors. I miss film, but the latitude of digital and the easy of post processing is amazing.

  3. I tried scanning my own negatives with an Epson V300 Flatbed Scanner. It has a negative adapter, but the results are awful. I’m hesitant to plunk down $350 on a Plustek scanner, but it looks like you’ve been getting decent results. I might give it a try.

  4. That first shot of your wife is awesome. I would also like to wholeheartedly concur with your apt description of your wife being a beautiful blonde!

  5. After all the digital manipulation – isn’t it just digital? Whats the point of the film?

    • My thoughts exactly.

    • If that is what you see Howard best not say anything.

    • Anyone who shoots film, well, 99.2% scan the images and as soon as you do this, it is digital. Even with scanning film has a unique look that digital can NOT match. Period. Anyone who has spent time with either will know this fact. Some love and prefer the film look, others much prefer digital. I prefer film but for me it is just too laborious as scanning is a SLOW process and I have very little time. Digital offers convenience and nail biting sharpness while film offers the “life and soul” – it’s classic, simple as that.

      • Well put man!

        • I still have boxes of unscanned negatives and slides and most likely they will never be scanned. The tricky thing is to get a workflow in place that gets the stuff scanned as soon as you have it. The look of film is great so. D!RK

      • Well said Steve well said. There is technically no reason to shoot film for the most part, but aesthetically to me and this is my opinion, film trumps digital. I have switched back and forth and am always disappointed at what I get out of digital. Its too clean, plastic, perfect and lifeless and just says nothing to me. Sure i can count the pores in someones faceYes sometimes I see digital and like it very much. But overall it just lacks something. There would probably not be so many add-on packs LR and PS to simulate film in someway if digital had a look that was so satisfying. My opinion of course

        • Technically, I’d say there is *rarely* a reason to shoot 35mm film, as it will only sometimes outresolve high end digital. You need to shoot modern ISO 100 film to outresolve a good DSLR:

          http://www.twinlenslife.com/2011/01/digital-vs-film-canon-5d-mark-ii-vs.html

          Or you can easily outresolve an M9 if you don’t mind shooting at *very* low ISO B& W film:

          http://www.imx.nl/photo/Film/page169/page169.html

          But the realistic result is that a modern DSLR will give you higher resolution than film 90% of the time.

          Medium format is a different story though.

          • +1 on the medium format tip. I switched back to medium format film from full frame digital and haven’t looked back since. The latitude and sharpness of films like Portra and Ektar just blow my mind. And the classic look of Tri-X and Pan 25 is what half of the B&W digital shooters are trying to emulate anyway! And I like the hybrid workflow, but I love the darkroom, it’s quite satisfying.

            Digital has come a long way in a decade, but modern film is the result of a hundred years of R&D; it’s fully mature.

          • Resolution is completely irrelevant here! Almost nobody prints big enough for it to make a difference with modern digital, so it boils down to pixel peeping obsession that has almost nothing to do with composing great photos. Aesthetics are EVERYTHING, and 35 mm film has it in spades and more than enough detail for most purposes.

            • I like to print biggish, about 20″ square, from a 120 negative. 35mm could do this, as could digital, but close up, you see the difference.

              I do agree that pixel peeping is an obsession, and it’s not important. I agree that the aesthetic of film is more important than the resolution.

        • I do agree, that was well put. To

          Actual documentary photographers could care less about how sharp something is; getting the image, the mood, the capture, the moment is what counts.

          Film is for a person with a more creative leaning, more an artist, more in the tradition of the great photogs.

          Digital is more for people who want it fast (i.e. all commercial jobs), who love technology, rarely print images and are probably more interested in bow sharp something is that the more creative notions of the art form.

          Sally Mann vs Pixels.

    • well how the heck was he gonna SHARE it with you without making into a digital file to upload? Invite you to his house?

  6. Agreed that film has a unique look that can only be approximated in digital. My favorite is Portra for its muted colors and perfect skin tones.

  7. There is also the argument that when you scan film, you are scanning what the film captured as opposed to a digital camera which captures the original scene in digital. The results therefore are different as the digital ‘photo’ the scanner takes is of the negative while the digital photo the digital camera takes is of the actual scene. Results therefore are very different. A bit like a painter painting a portrait vs a photographer taking a digital portrait. You can photograph the painting as well and you now you have two digital files. One however looks like a photograph of a painting and the other looks like a normal photograph. Nobody would argue that these are the same image just because both are now in digital form…

  8. … Scanning a negative makes digital file… Making a print from a negative saves a lot of time, and is much more rewarding. You just can’t share that on the internet without digitizing the print……..

    Just my two cents. Here is how I save money. Get negatives developed. Pick 1 to 3 on a light box, get enlargements, and cover your house in your favorite photography….. No wasted time on the computer or editing what so ever. Just build a relationship with a photo lab, and let them do their job.

    Less time in fron of the comp = more time shooting…

    • Agreed. The thing is, it’s hard to find a lab that will make prints from your negative. The labs I know will simply scan your negatives and make prints from that digital file. From my experience these prints still look more filmlike than prints from a purely digital source though.

  9. Listen folks
    film grain n all gives the subtle undulations of face, skin, leaves, flowers, anything really.
    Bayer sensor give detail with Flatness : subtle undulations are replaced by Flatness.

    That’s the depth film users mention, Bayer doesnt have.

    A recent comparison on DPReview Sigma Forum : Nikon D800E vs Sigma DP2M
    Nikon D800E had more detail than DP2M yet was flat compared to DP2M
    simply because Foveon’s 3 layer sensor as film.

    Whichever film is used, slide, trix et al in comparison Bayer (Leica M9p, M9m et al) will always look flat.
    Foveon will have the depth & subtle undulations closest to film.

    • Totally disagree with the Foveon stuff. No difference at all from Bayer sensor.

      • Well, except for one thing the Foveon sensor has very bad high ISO performance.

        • True Foveon is only really good for ISO 100 but fantastic for skin tones. Much softer graduation of tones. (Oddly this seemed to work better on the lower resolution sensors eg SD14 than on SD1 which seems little different to Bayer. In this case the adage of “bigger pixels are better” applies). Also Fuji’s old CCD sensor was good eg in the S2 Pro. CMOS may be better for Hi ISO and for video but CCD has better tonality. Of course technology marches on and the boundaries are getting blurred. Regarding the images here if you had have told be they were digital I would have believed you (Image number 3 excepted). I suspect the post processing may be responsible for this.

          • I was mostly referring to the flatness part. I don’t believe CCDs have better tonality than CMOS. Nikon made many dslrs with CCD sensors, but none that come even close to the D800 in tonality and it uses a CMOS sensor.

      • Well, that’s not totally true. Yes, both Foveon and Bayer sensors are digital and therefor have different light capturing profiles and latitude than film, but a Foveon sensor captures RGB at each pixel level and Bayer does not.

  10. Thank you for this wonderful article. As someone who shoots both film and digital I really hate the “film vs. digital” debate. To me you might as well argue about what is better, an grand piano or an electric keyboard. Obviously both have their place in the world of music, just like digital capture and film capture both have their place in photography.

    All that being said, when I look at my own work throughout the years the stuff that I think holds the most value over time is my film work. It just feels like there is a more timeless quality to it. Maybe it’s because I invested more time into it. Maybe it’s because it looks better. Maybe it’s because it was designed to last longer as a medium.

    Who really knows…

    Either way, we should all just keep on shooting and do what we love. :-)

    • Thanks Andrew K I really didn’t want this to turn into a film v.s. digital debate at all I love both. I just wanted to help someone out that was going through the same thing I was and I completely agree with you.

      Cheers

  11. Ps once scanned & put on a computer film does look digital
    only the depth makes it out as film (& grain)

    • I agree but it also depends on how you scan and what you use, I have a Plustek 7600 and its slow going one frame at a time with multi exposure set, I did buy an Epson v750 which was great for scanning batch loads of negs but it failed to offer the same level of detail as the Plustek, the Epson seems to rip the life out of the negs.

      My D800E with a nice prime does offer similar depth and life to its digital files if processed right.

      it’s all down to personal taste

    • Disagree.

      I have scanned a ton of film and their is something inherent in the source that differentiates it from the look of a digital file, even after it is scanned.
      And conversely, I do think that you can make digital look like film – close enough to fool 9 out o 10 – but it takes a lot of knowledge and skill to do it properly, even with the dearth of after effects available.

  12. The problem I see with these pics is that they are mostly underexposed.

    • I did mention in the article that even when I mess up I still like the results imperfections and all. I could try to use curves to fix any exposure errors (again only shooting film for 3 months) but when I did it introduced some ugly noise and I found that some of the shots underexposed gave it some feeling (like the shot with my grandfather.) To each there own, but feel free to help me and others out on some tips and suggestions for how to avoid these types of errors. Particularly if you have any experience with the Contax G2 I would love to improve.

  13. Great results. Im chasing the film rabiit too and its opening up new worlds of photographic passion and obsession

  14. Always enjoy film posts and yours is no exception. Thanks.

  15. Film or digital or digitalized film, Its the results that matter and these shots are great. Really stunning. Amazing quality and beautiful tones. Great article too.

  16. Hand crafting prints, black and white or colour in the darkroom, is a time consuming, but utterly wonderful process!

  17. Thanks for sharing these very nice photos. As far as I am concerned, my favorite film is Portra for colour !

  18. Ryan- After reading your piece I first thought of the compliment of a well done digital photograph of “it looks like film” and you answered the many times asked question of ” how do I achieve that film look” with just do it in film. Of course as noted above- to share the image over the web, it has to be digitized and that complicates the purity of film/dark room printing etc. As much as technology changes photography, there is a craving to re-visit the purity of film- look at the popularity of the X100 because of its retro looks & function-shows that there can be a marriage & collaboration of film with digital…… thanks for sharing.

  19. After shooting film for 35 years, this is what I learned. Digital is a lot easier, more flexible and quicker. 99% of people shooting film now are doing it for the wrong reasons.

    • Rob- to your point & to all of Steve’s readers- here is a piece by Scorsese speaking of celluloid versus digital, like oil painting versus digital art- different mediums BUT same artistic decisions: http://www.tribecafilm.com/videos/164750646.html

      • Comparing film to digital. They are two different mediums but are very very similar in the end product. Comparing oil painting to digital arts is very very dicey and a slippery slope. Painting is organic. the painter uses a very clumbsy tool called the brush. Accidents happen all the time, no paint stroke can ever look the same, there are uncontrollable accidents within every tiny pinhole sized apllication of paint to canvas or whatever.

        With digital painting let’s say, it is done by a program. a program anothe rhuman being has writene up in a computer. The randomness of how digital paint moves is a programmed randomness. There is a big big difference bewteen clicking a button and moving a stylus or a mouse around then actually having to mix your own paint with pigments and other ingredients then having to mix them on the poallete to get the desired colors, then ally them onto the canvas. Let’s just say that it is alot more difficult then using a computer.

        Now that’s just the core differences in the material, the artistic craft that one builds from it is also another story.Painting with real paint is as close as you can get to literally making a art or craft wtith your own hands. There is no other medium that comes close. Now i’m not saying that digital art doesn’t have its place, but the KING of all visual arts is and will always been painting with drawing as a close second.There is nothing like looking at an actual masterpiece on canvass before you very own eyes as apposed to something done by the computer and printed on a flat surface with a laser printer.

  20. Well done Ryan, everything I have grown to love about film is represented in your images here.

    I share your sentiment in relation to the Film vs. Digital debate, I choose both and would urge others to do the same. If more people could be persuaded to buy an inexpensive film camera to compliment their digital gear and shot just a roll a month then it would go a long way to protect those films we love.

    Great post, all the best

    Jason

  21. Great post Ryan!

    One thing that I love about analogue photography is the fact that every film has its own rendering. Some films are grainy, some are smooth and sharp, some have very punchy colors, others have neutral colors and so on. With film cameras you can choose your “sensor”.

  22. Very well done Ryan. The photos are excellent and this article definitely helps… I have been researching this exact workflow.

    Thanks to Steve Huff again for posting this article.

    ~Koushik

  23. I shoot film and digital, Foveon and Bayer and each one has their place in my arsenal. I spend most of my work-day in front of a computer and Photoshop, so I love shooting film when I can because I choose my film type, process and scan with little to no Photoshop work. Sometimes I will shoot digital and then process in Photoshop/Aperture, etc and spend my “creative time” there.

    What I’ve found is in the end it’s about the same time spent in each medium (unless I’m just chunking out digital files for PJ type shots) to get the image you want, but each is a different canvas. The shots shown in this post show that canvas well.

  24. Film scan @3600 DPI you get about 77.7MP @3.32 micron per pixel

    Nikon D800, 36.3MP, 4.88 micron
    Sony NEX 7, 24MP, 3.92 micron
    Leica X2, 16MP, 4.789 micron
    Olympus OM-D EM5, 16MP, 3.75 micron
    Sony RX100, 20MP, 2.41 micron

    Model FF @3.75 micron, 61.44 MP, (Model APS-C, 26 MP; Sony NEX 7 is very close);
    Model FF @2.41 micron, 144MP, (Model APS-C, 61.95 MP)

    • Hi

      as I m not a technical expert, do I read this correctly: digital has a better resolution than scanned film?

      If this is true my eyes are still ok (I wear contacts for 32 years) as I prefer digital towards film although I grew up with film.

      I myself am “obsessed” with capturing the light on a body or object. I had a look at Daily I 354 by Ryan, the conductor outside the train, light from the back on the train (2nd photo, “Trainman” on the cap of the guy).
      All the glare and shine of the sun on the green train looks “restrained” and dull – this should have been the “golden hour” of the day!@

      Or here the girl in the Sunflower field: I think the colors and the light are FLAT and liveless.

      Or the same girl “Kodak Ektar 100″: good light from the side but not used: take a dig camera, girl moves backwards a few cm, larger DOF, that’s how I would have done it.

      Sorry for that, but the guy with white sunglasses: the photo looks like shot with an iphone.

      So if I understand you – Jiunn-Kai -correctly: is this the reason why I regard the Canon 5 D first version (FF but only 12 MP) as the best camera ever made? Will be my next camera very soon as it gets more difficult to find a decent one.

      Best regards
      Heiner

  25. Thanks everyone for all the kind words I really appreciate it

  26. Wonderful photos.

    No one who has shot film and scanned it would come to the conclusion it looks the same as if it was just shot on digital. Where does this myth come from? I see it get repeated again and again including multiple times in this thread. A photo scanned from a film negative looks different to a photo taken on a digital camera, even though they are now both digital files. Whether it looks better is a matter of taste, but it objectively has a different look not able to be emulated exactly from a start point of a digital pic.

  27. I think the real difference is in the print..I went to an exhibition, advertised on the web the photos looked fine, when I got there i just saw a room of flat b+w uninteresting M9 digital images..the content was fine but digital ruined it for me..Later I saw some film work at the Tate which soothed the soul again!

    Super article and photos, well done!

  28. Skip the starbucks in the morning. Unsure why you would pay for Starbucks coffee in the first place!?

  29. Beautiful pictures that make me regret selling my G1 a few months ago. That Zeiss glass is amazing stuff. A nice essay with photos that really make the point that film offers a distinct and beautiful look of its own. I fail to see how anyone can look at these and not see that.

  30. Film definitely has a certain look to it…even with scanned files. For me when I bought a G1 a few years ago I found the whole process too slow and it reminded me of why I stopped shooting film in 2004. I’m fine with the slow/deliberate shooting to make the most of my 24exp role, it’s the driving to the lab, and then waiting for the film to be developed….and in some cases to see the lab screwed up the prints….
    Nah….it was fun and all but i’m good with digital.

  31. Really STUNNING photos! Probably among the best ones. I tried some times to shoot film again, and regained that film feelings. That make me sooo happy. But it’s not easy to process it and it’s getting more and more expensive on shooting film now.
    Keep the work.
    BR

  32. Creative work but versus being under exposed, is there a reason you didn’t use a fill light flash outside?

  33. Very nice photos Ryan! I am sure you are loving the experience of shooting with film and seeing the results on paper. Even a scan of your film photos is sufficient to convey the message and sense that film photos look different from digital photos.

    The irony of us all sharing on the internet our experiences with film and digital, is that even if we could somehow ignore the fact that we have to scan and digitize the film negative to share it online, and that we could somehow just display it for everyone to see, it still remains as undeniable that to view a photo printed on paper is one thing, it is quite another to view it on a LCD / CRT monitor.

    One is viewed as an image where light is reflected off paper, the other is viewed as an image that is self-illuminated, or “transmissive”, if I could use that term. This alone means that the image we perceive on both media will each have different qualities, quite apart from the “digital” vs “film” considerations.

    Put it another way, a digital photo will have a very different “feel” and “look” when it is viewed on a monitor than when it is printed on paper. Perhaps the debate ought to be more about whether a digital photo print is able to look like or emulate the look of a photo printed from film negatives.

    The other point of course is that this “digital” vs “film” debate is very similar to the arguments that many hi-fi audio enthusiasts have been engaged in for decades ever since the Compact Disc was invented in the 1980s. It’s actually more a debate about analogue vs digital, and how digital is all about capturing and reproducing as closely as possible the analogue signal, i.e. fidelity of the source. The same things are said by analogue audio enthusiasts as film enthusiasts about the drawbacks of digital: it’s sterile, lacks “atmosphere”, too clinical, lacks “warmth”, lacks spatial information, does not capture timing information correctly, etc. Many of the same qualities that have an analogue to the “digital” vs “film” debate. Ooops.. pun intended.

    In the end, human beings are analogue and our senses are built to perceive analogue stimuli. Therefore, the more closely a device or medium is able to faithfully preserve and convey the analogue signal, the more “pleasing” it will be to our senses.

    Hooray for the renewed interest in film! Let us never forget that photography is an art, as much as it is a science. As art, it is up to the creativity of the artist how best he/she chooses to use a medium to express that creativity. There is no right or wrong, better or worse. There are things you can do with a digital photo in photoshop that could never be done with film print – that alone is cause for celebration!

    Cheers,

    Mel

  34. Love film! Wish more people would support it.

  35. That’s what I am talken about. From an old photographer. Film will always be around, at least in the years I have left. My good old M7 still does well. For me, digital is a secoundary camera. Just think, some cameras let change lens, some digital backs. My M7, you change lens and well different media.
    You can pick up old film cameas for cheap. Please no one give me the film cost to M9 or should I say now the M10. You can get an old Hassi 500cm with a 100mm F3.5 Planar for cheap. You will now have a super producer of images. Try film, you’ll like it. You may even learn old/new tricks..the rule of F16.

  36. Great post and good information…thanks for sharing. It’s unfortunate, but inevitable, that the feedback quickly degraded (yes, degraded in most circumstances) to the usual boring “film is just old nostalgia, digital is better, why do you scan” garbage. Digital is ‘better’ for its convenience and ease of sharing and ease of image manipulation. But otherwise, the discussions are moot. Completely. Because the purpose of photography at its core is to make images. And composition and content are everything. It’s like saying “oil is better than watercolour because it allows more details in the shadows”. Who cares? Except for the pixel peeping nerds who blow stuff up to 200% and therefore argue sensor size vs. pixels vs. film grain, a lot of us are bored and tired with it. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: photography is like music in that you have many choices of musical instruments, and within those choices you have acoustic and electronic and even some combinations. Some are better than others for some applications. Some people just like playing an old acoustic guitar and explore it fully. Others do something else. But you don’t usually hear musicians on forums telling a classical guitarist to “get with the times” and buy an electric guitar. They have their preferences, recognize that all choices have inherent benefits and limitations….and then get on with making music. Digital cameras aren’t some miracle instrument…they’re just another photographic tool in a long line. Some of these debates are as stupid as people arguing that you shouldn’t shoot black and white because ‘colour film is the way forward’.

    And in regards to the apparent ‘irony’ of scanning negatives, i.e. ‘aren’t you just going digital anyway’ – those of you miss the point completely. If you paint a painting with traditional methods, it has some texture and depth characteristics that are physically part of it (just like film). If you scan the painting afterwards, you still see a lot of that depth….unlike if you make the same painting on an iPad. That’s the difference…one is not necessarily better than the other, but they are NOT the same, visually, technically, structurally. So save your breath and move on to taking photos….like Ryan has in this great post.

    • Thanks Jon, well said! We have so many choice out there people should be less concerned about the technical and more passionate about the artistic. Don’t sweat the small stuff do what works for you if that is film or digital or the iPhone in your pocket. It should be about the art the craft and the joy not about whose medium is superior to whoms. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing.
      Cheers

    • Perfectly said and couldn’t agree more.
      Let’s just enjoy the beautiful photo and experience that people shared with us.
      Thanks for sharing Ryan, great work!!

    • In order to display pictures on the internet one MUST scan – so those who say that scanning = digital so might as well use digital are talking bunkum.

  37. I love the whole process of shooting film…from opening a new box of kodak tmax, dropping them in the chamber, advancing the frame, manually focusing and framing the object, and pressing the shutter release.
    I cant say the same with digital, too instant!

  38. Hi Mark from Plustek here. Excellent article and great photos!. Your comments on the differences between digital and film are spot on. Thanks for posting your workflow I’m sure that it will help people scanning film for the first time.

    If I can be of help to anyone considering getting into film scanning, please feel free to drop me a note: markdruziak (at) plustek (dot) com.

  39. 40+ years shooting film. But, don’t want to go back to it for news work these days, at least not for general quick shoots like sports and breaking stories.

    For longer developing work and individual work film is just fine.

    The only thing that really matters is how the final images look.

  40. Great post Ryan, your photos back up every point you make. I don’t need any more 35mm cameras but the quality of those Contax lenses are just sensational!

  41. Love your photo of the man in the restaurant! Makes me take out my OM-2N which is like dedicated to people photography, and currently loaded with FP4…

  42. A G2 user, excellent choice and your photo’s show off it’s qualities (and yours as a photographer)

    Beautiful colours, 3D like pop and depth to the G2 photo’s here. portra is simply the BEST for portraits (Film or digital) I’ve seen many comparisons, and Bruce Percy uses Portra for his portraits and they are sublime.

    I on the other hand find Neg film difficult to deal with, as I am obliged to digitally tinker with the scan to get the colours right (as I am utterly clueless about all the profiles and what not) – I prefer Slide film as what I see under the loupe and projected on the wall is what I aim for when scanning.

    As regards BW film, I used to scan the negs, now I just scan the darkroom prints I make.

    • And Ryan, I’m so glad you bought the G and even more so because you kindly mentioned me and my g2 pictures in your article.
      Cheers man!

      • Hey Ibraar I was wondering when you would join the film loving/g2 loving party thanks so much for the comments, and thanks again for the inspiration.

        Cheers

  43. Ektar 100 is amazingly clean. Too sad it will go away soon with the end of Kodak.

  44. Skip the scans and get a b&w darkroom. Ilford XP2 with C41 development is a good start, but doing your own b&w film development is even better. It makes you think about if it’s worth to take a picture, because there is so much work with all the development.

    • I agree Thomas, making your own B&W prints is a true art form in itself and as (if not more) enjoyable than actually photographing, far more inspirational and fulfilling than a RAW package and an inkjet.

      Though you’ve got to scan the prints to display em on this site (and others) to share (if thats wht you want).

      I’ve also a Projector and there’s nothing like the projected slide in a darkened room

  45. Really great stuff Ryan! I too recently took the dive into film and bought an Nikon F3. Also snagged an Epson V500 refurb’d for $100 from Adorama. Thus far it’s been slow going, but even when I was shooting exclusively with my D300, a lot of time spent was with AI/AIS glass. I think my philosophy was that if I took the time to get to know my camera and lenses, the better I’d be with composition after the fact when I decided to go back to auto focus. I may have been a big misguided in all of that, because there’s nothing wrong with using AF on a digital body, especially if one has a knack for framing, composition and choosing “interesting” subject matter.

    For me however, I could not give up the ghost. I kept shooting with my MF glass, neglecting AF. One of my favorite tele lenses is my 105 2.5 So creamy and tack sharp to boot. Guess that’s why I figured that getting a cheap film camera would be a good deal for me. Thus far, I’ve only shot two rolls, one color and the other B&W. The color roll was Fujifilm 400 ISO, and the other was some really generic brand named Kentmere (also 400) which turned out okay, except for the hack job done on development. (actually both rolls, developed by two different labs were really shoddy-long story)

    Definitely continue to share your images, techniques and which films you’re using! By the way, under five bucks for developing? Where? I just paid amost $9 here in NYC, and they still managed to mess it up!

    Doug

    • DougrB, I’ve had my fair share of lab screw ups my lab is Don’s photo in my town of Winnipeg Manitoba Canada. We are pretty lucky here we are a small city but we have another lab that does great black and whites and hand prints from negatives. I also found out that we can rent darkroom space very cheaply. I’ve heard from some American friends that Walgreens does a good job and for cheap or Costco not to sure though. Good luck

  46. beautiful photos!! I love that you’re shooting with film and hope that this opens peoples eyes to the possibilities and quality of the film medium.

  47. I do not think we need to justify film as a medium used to record images. I love film but I also love the convenience of digital. I shoot both. On holidays I will shoot 80% film and 20% digital. At home it’s about 50:50 depending on which day of the week you ask and how much spare money I have for processing.

    It’s laborious to scan film but most of the times, the results are worth it. It’s cheaper and better than dark room work without the mess and chemicals. I think of it as guilt free printing from film. I am sure the purists out there will debate the point that the quality of the print from the enlarger is better than an inkjet. They are probably right but the cost and inconvenience is probably out of reach of us mere mortal amateur photographers. Especially if you print from slides. The pro labs don’t do not print from slides using a dark room, photo paper and enlarger anymore. I am certainly not aware of any.

    Embrace the new but don’t forget the old. I only wish Epson or someone else produces a better film scanner than the V700. It’s about time for the technological improvements of the imacon scanners to filter into the cheaper scanners for the masses. Does anyone know where you can get a good drum scanner that scans 120mm without it costing more than a car?
    Beautiful photos by the way.

  48. Your story reminded me of the days I shot with my M4, M6 and my Leciaflex SL, with Kodak color or B&W film. Boy, I still look at those pictures and I agree with you, FILM does have its own magic. But since I travel a lot, film is just not pratical anymore, when Leica finally came out with a FF M9 camera in 2009, I made the switch. Using the M9 is very sweet too, with all my old Leica M glass, and with Lightroom 3 software, I am capable of capturing great shots just like film, but sharing the shots are lot easier since it is digital.

    When I am at home, I still shoot with film, but I use Fuji film now, and the results are amazing, so it is up to you.

    • The Leica M9 so tempting but I have to stick with my Zeiss Ikon ZM for my film rangefinder and my Fuji X pro 1 for my digital, must resist the urge to go Leica =) At least until I can pay for it in cash.

      • Hi Ryan,

        Just wait, the Leica M9 will drop in price soon, all the other camera maufacturers are going FF soon. With the M10 and other FF offerings, the M9 will be an afterthough, except for the rangefinder diehards.

        For me, I am getting old, so I do not care what comes next, I am happy with what I have and be thankful.

  49. I have the same scanner but these scans just blow mine away. i’m going to have to go your route in terms of workflow. Beautiful photography.

  50. Nice set. I love film, I just can’t justify it over digital. Still shoot a roll on occasion for fun though.

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