Tri-X: The Real Deal by John Shingleton
I cracked a wry smile as I read Anand Asar’s post -“How to get that film look“( 30th July) and the torrent of not always polite comments which followed. I felt for Anand but found myself asking “But why try to digitally emulate film when you can still have the real thing”?
Regular readers of Steve’s blog may have read my story of my personal photographic journey back in February HERE. In this I set out my philosophy of minimizing my camera gear and travelling light .
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Since writing that post my photographic journey has taken an unexpected turn .For some time I had felt that I was taking too many photos and I was in danger of becoming a “snapper” as opposed to a photographer .The tipping point came whilst I was travelling in Europe a couple of months ago . Everywhere I travelled there were hordes of tourists touting big DSLRs and they were just “snapping”, often unthinkingly raising their cameras to their eyes and shooting away without making any effort to compose the photo yet alone think about or even observe what they were taking .I could see myself going the same way. To avoid this horrible fate I decided that I needed to get back to my photographic roots and to embrace “slow”photography in the form of film or analogue photography. I had done the Leica thing for over 40 years so there was no point in going there again. Ever since I had been interested in photography (52 years ) I have lusted after a Hasselblad (Blad) medium format SLR although in the last 10 years I had forgotten about this enthusiasm in my rush to embrace digital. For those not familiar with iconic camera brands Hasselblad was the king of cameras before the digital era and was embraced by both top line professional photographers and wealthy collectors. The Apollo astronauts took Blads to the moon with them–I understand that they even left one there –probably to save weight on the flight back to earth.
Spurred on by a friend in the UK I looked at the prices of ‘Blads and was really surprised by how affordable they have become . To cut the story short I picked up a beautiful vintage Hasselblad outfit/camera body/magazine and three lenses for $1000. Now the Hasselblad is a beautiful piece of kit with superb precision, Swedish engineering made of steel, aluminium and glass with not a piece of plastic in sight and just handling it is a tactile experience. Not something you can say about many digital cameras apart from the Leica M9.
At this point I can almost hear the gear heads saying “is this guy crazy”? $1000 for a vintage clockwork film camera? For that money I could buy a super new Panikocany XZS 100-DM with 24mp ,auto focus faster than the speed of light, 128 very confusing menus , loads of little buttons , a touch screen but no viewfinder.”That would be totally missing the point.
This wonderful device called a Hasselblad has already given me enormous pleasure and I have only shot four 120 films -48 exposures so far. It is certainly slow and difficult to use . Even loading the film is a slow, tricky operation and the viewfinder is very dim and reversed which can be very confusing. If I tried using it after a few beers I would probably fall over. But setting the camera up, taking the photos ( it makes a wonderful noise as the mirror flips and the two shutters fire) and then waiting for the film to be processed to see the results is a completely different experience to digital photography. Yes, black and white film photos have a totally unique look and I have really embraced the black arts and purchased a developing tank and chemicals so I process the films as well. I did have all this gear once but gave it away thinking that I would never use it again.
But enough from me . I’ll let some of my first photos from the Blad do the talking. These are like the first beer made by a home brewer, I am sure I will improve with practice. These were taken on either Ilford FP4 or Kodak Tri-X film. Yes ,Tri-X the real deal. No digital emulation here. In case you are wondering I won’t be taking my Hasselblad travelling with me. It is far too heavy and cumbersome for that. If I took the Blad outfit on a plane it would use all my luggage allowance. That’s no way to travel! A Blad outfit and one pair of underpants! No, the Leica X1 is safe .
If you want to see how my slow photography develops watch my eclectic blog on www.therollingroad.blogspot.com and please don’t comment that I am crazy as I already know.
Love the fact that film still has a place. I love both digital and film. They are different. As time goes on I appreciate film more and more and I do shoot often with my M3. There are obvious advantages with digital but in my view I want to keep supporting film as well. Once film is gone it wont come back. I want to keep supporting film not because of any nostaligic reasons (8-track can goto hell) but because it has beautiful qualities. I can never understand people getting all caught up with the film vs digital arguments. The relationship between the two should be complementary and not adversarial.
Wow, it is hard to believe that the “film vs. digital” debate is still going on, with people dug in on both sides who just don’t and won’t consider any image made in the competing camp. How anyone can look at a scanned negative and not see the difference between it and one from their digital camera is beyond me. But then I have decades of developing my own black and white film and that has given me an appreciation for the film look. There are bokeh connoisseurs who love the Leica look and hate the Nikon look, but my eye for bokeh quality is not so refined. I do like the Leica look, but have seen a lot of bokeh in pics made with Nikon glass that I liked too. In the end, the image is the most important thing and how each of us get to that end result probably matters more to us than it does to most who view our work. But to a photographer the process of getting to the result can matter, and can affect the result in large or small ways. I have seen photos, both digital and analog, that exhibit high degrees of technical quality that I have loved. I have seen photos that had poor technical quality that nevertheless evidenced perfect mood appropriate to the subject. I have seen and loved pictures from 35mm cameras, medium format cameras, large format cameras, compacts, 4/3 cameras, DSLRs, full frame DSLRs, Hassies, Holgas, Mamiyas, Yashicas, Contaxes, Kodak Retinas, Voigtlanders, Graflexes, and many others, taken with glass from Leitz/Leica, Zeiss, Canon, Lensbaby, Olympus, Schneider, Fujinon, etc., and appearing on my computer screen or on digital prints, or standard black and white fiber based glossy paper, or printed using Lith processing, or platinum/palladium, or bromoil techniques, and many, many others. All very different and each with their own “look.” Both “digital” and “analog” covers a lot of territory. So get off the forums and shoot what you want to shoot and cross your fingers and hope that someone out there “gets” what you are doing. And be glad there are places like this where people who are brave enough to post pictures and offer their thoughts on a process they find worthwhile, and even use their real name, can communicate with you.
*Wow, it is hard to believe that the “film vs. digital” debate is still going on…..*
Dear Jeff, I don´t think it is a real fight between on wich medium capture our pictures.
I think it´s the difference between us why we even take photos.
If you earn your money with things like that you have to change your workflow to the clients.
If you want to make some family snapshots and give them away fast you sure cose another
way then the guy who try to make pictures for a exibition of art.
If I would to photograp landscapes and people like John with the best results for the lowest
price I would grab a old Hasselblad or Mamiya load in a Fuji Across 100 oder Kodak T-Max 100
and bolw off the head of every guy who spends thousands of Dollars for the newest digital equipment.
*Just my opinion*
I agree completely. My comment was not aimed at John and his essay but many of the comments that turned a simple article about using a film camera into yet another rehash of the old “debate” of which is better. Digital and film both have their place and neither is necessarily “better” overall – it all depends on the photographer and his or her needs and wants.
I have found that those embracing film often also use digital cameras and respect both technologies. While most people bashing film have only ever shot digital. Then, there are the few open minded people who start with digital and along the way give film a go. At the University level I have seen students more open minded and line up for film photography classes, often large format. Where I am I see the local camera repair technician doing a
steady business refurbishing large format cameras for students. The technician that I am
speaking of is very matter-of-fact that there is so much more information to be gained from a
film capture. If you talk to people from very good photo labs, they will tell you the same. I mostly shoot digital, but when I do shoot film it is easy to understand that film capture has it all over digital. For those that have only ever shot digital an inexpensive investment in an Olympus stylus film camera and a roll of BW film will be a revelation. The very best thing about shooting film is BW. I have seen enough printed images from the Leica Monochrome, but the Sigma DP series of cameras also turn out some excellent BW images, but still lacking all the extent of information that comes from film. The best source for BW printing comes from Paul Roark.
I would like to ask that this “gun”subject is closed .If you scroll up you will see that I have responded to “Bill” in a polite manner,ignoring his insulting personal comments,and apologising to him and anyone else who was offended by my ironic remark . I have suggested to Steve that he removes the offending line from my article as it is obviously lowering the tone of his excellent website and detracting from the useful comments on my post . He has agreed to do this .
This has certainly been a steep learning experience for me in the realities of dialogue on the web .In a previous post purely on photography I was somewhat surprised by the angry,insulting tone of some respondents but some of the responses to this one this came as a shock to me .So much anger ,so quick to take offence.No appreciation of irony or black humour .When I was at school , admittedly a long time ago , we had a debating society. I guess nowadays they have insulting societies .I will bow out and leave internet “debates “to others .The last word-hopefully .
Forum speak is indeed difficult John , thank god we dont have to meet these simpletons to find that out.
Enjoyed your article.
Seems that when that amendment was written the author wanted the states (people) to have some sort of protection against an outside overbearing power.
I wonder what power they were thinking of?
The above was supposed to be a reply to Nashville Photographer’s comment.
That answer can — and has been… by the courts — logically inferred from the second amendment itself: namely, the kind of “power” that for quite some time we have had permanent professional police forces, a National Guard, several semi-covert government agencies, and multiple standing military forces to deal with. Life moves on, even in the direction of progress and exponentially-enhanced personal and national security. Some people continue to think that our system relies on amateur militias for these purposes: some people may have seen “Red Dawn” one too many times.
Personally speaking, I’m more concerned that “they” are going to take away the film for my cameras.
” I could live in the US and collect semi automatic assault weapons.”
I resent this remark. There is nothing wrong with living in the US and collecting any sort of firearm that you want. It is part of our 2nd amendment rights and heritage.
You resent a straightforward statement of fact because you enjoy your resentment. By contrast, YOUR statement is willfully deceitful in that you exclude the Constitution’s conditional and limiting words concerning the right to gun ownership, no small matter to a true conservative and strict constructionist — as opposed to a phony one.
Loves me some film. Got some tri x in my m3 right now and im giddy as a school girl everytime i advance a frame.
I´m not really sure that someone needs a Hassleblad to take this shots
and I´m not sure if pictures made with a Leica are quite better than taken
with any other Camera Brand.
The technic is the one thing and the way of seeing something that is woth
to be photographed another.
If you have more time to see – you will see more. That´s just the thing.
So spending more time learning to see (wich is just cheaper than buy a new camera)
will effect more than everything else to get better pictures.
Btw. My only Camera for Travel is a Hasselblad 500 CM and a 150er Sonnar/ 50er Distangon
or a Nikkormat EL with my beloved 2,5/105 and a 2,0/50 prime lens.
Just curious, Randle… I have a new/old Nikkormat FT3 coming off of action at a certain auction site to complement an FE, an FE2 (came “free” with a lens, more or less), an F2a (going?), and new/old N75 and FG-20 (for minimum size/wt. options) — “horses for courses”, as the Brits like to say. There’s the 50 f.2.0 lens aboard, and I was wondering if your loyalty to that lens is due to some special characteristic you’ve found in it which others may have missed, vs. a “technically improved” f.1.8 or f.1.4 Nikkor (?). I already own the latter. Very cool, I think, is the “old/classical” body contour, the bona fide mirror lock-up, and the ability to take non-AI lenses (with stop-down metering). Thanks!
After working for 20 years with DSLR cameras for a advertising company I want to go *back to the roots* in my personal photography. If you know how a commercial picture is made you know that nothing of them is quit original – everything is *photoshopped*.
So I search for the biggest difference to todays workflow and decided to try a mechanical film camera. Why Nikon ? Why a old Nikon ?
It was just a balancing act between the money I can spend and theneeds some equipment should have.
The Nikkormat was never a second class camera – if you hold one of these full metal
bodys in your hand you will belive this !
Similary the Pre-AI-Lenses are build like Tanks – I even was amazed when I touched one of them the first time.
So with the time of practice you will find you favourites and my all-time-best will
be for ever the wonderful Nikkor P 2,5/105.
It´s easy to handle – fast and sharp. The distance to my models is perfect – not to close and not to far away to loose contact like with a 200mm or 300mm lens.
If you even had ask me 10 years ago I would never trusted a 40 year old electronic
camera – till I get my Nikkormat EL. It´s build like a tank and still works like a swiss watch – perfectly.
I agree, the Nikon 105 is a wonderful lens, in both the older and newer versions. I have both the P and the Sonnar design.
Well yes, but the first time I shot with the 105mm I was astonished. So, much that I bought two more. Beautiful choice of cameras and lenses. You have it well covered.
Nice article, but I don’t agree on this:
” and shooting away without making any effort to compose the photo yet alone think about or even observe what they were taking .I could see myself going the same way. To avoid this horrible fate I decided that I needed to get back to my photographic roots and to embrace “slow”photography in the form of film or analogue photography.”
To change the way you shoot, you DON’T have to change your camera. Just like quit smoking or losing weight, you have to DECIDE to do it, and perseverate.
It’s just a matter of will – and yes, I have quit smoking 12 yrs ago and started to make b/w all-manual photographs with a digital camera 4 months ago 🙂
Totally agree with you about the other article “How to get that film look”. I mean if someone wants the analog look, he’d better do it in the analog way :D. I personally think that film photography and B&W nowadays give us a special feeling, not just the the analog result. That is when we press the shutter, we’re not sure about the result until it is developed, even if it means we may miss a lot of beautiful moments as it is slower than digital cameras.
Thanks for the article, John.
What I like best about the Hasselblad is that it makes you really stop and look at what it is that you are trying to capture. It has improved my sense of composition. I have also learned quite a bit about metering and light, which I have been able to use with digital cameras also. And of course,not least, it is such a satifying machine to use.
Keep up the good work.
Nice article John, from another Hassy (or Blad, if you insist) fan. I started with a 500c/m and an 80mm, and now have three bodies (including two focal plane models) and something like eight lenses (yes, I’m a bit sick). Hassies provide incredible quality, and IMO they are fun to shoot. I love the modularity. You can switch emulsions at the drop of a hat, provided you have extra backs. One of the best-designed cameras ever made, IMO.
Nice photos and yes, the last line of that text can be (mis)interpreted in many ways…
NEX5guy – that’s because it IS a digital image. I’ve been watching and listening and wondering what it is all the ooh’s and aaah’s are about. As you say, perhaps a prnit would help… but again, it would still be a rendering…
Yes of course, our computers are digital, but it is an
analog capture. Of course it’s a rendering, neither is real.
I know it’s dangerous to go against the “film is always better” mantra, but when viewing film shots scanned for online viewing like the ones above, at a size small enough to fit on screen, I see no improved quality over digital shots. When I look at these shots, I can’t say “wow, this is so much sharper/more vivid/whatever than the long parade of b/w digital shots that make their way through this site and others. Perhaps in large prints the difference is obvious. On screen (even my 27” iMac) – not so much. The shots above, at the size I’m viewing them, could’ve come from any source. Certainly not exclusive to a “Blad”.
I don’t agree with “film is always better” either, even though I shoot it 90% of the time. When I want or need convenience I shoot digital, for example. I think that digital provides a higher level of resolution than I can get out of my low-end scanners, too.
However, folks could/should be a bit more nuanced in their notions of “quality”. I feel that film has “a quality” that you don’t get with digital. And vice-versa. To some degree it comes down to taste. I am a big B&W fan. I happen to generally prefer B&W film’s look over converted digital. Not because it’s “higher quality” but because it has a different quality in the way tonal values, and the transitions between, are captured. Grain also plays a role in the way film depicts a subject. Then, film has greater latitude, in general, than digital. Not as big a deal, but it’s there. However, digital is catching up, or has surpassed film in some areas, and I expect it to continue. In other areas it may never catch up, just due to differences in basic design.
All that said, there’s also the joy of shooting an honest-to-god clockwork manual camera that is just in a different realm than using a plastic computer to capture an image. It’s not for everyone, but I love it. There’s also the feeling of accomplishment, and of having “made something” that I get out of shooting and processing my own film. It’s not for everybody, but I enjoy it.
And all that being said, I still find myself shopping for a used digital back for my Hasselblad! 🙂
How can you know unless the same scene is shot in both digital and film and then compared.
Nice photos and I’m glad you like film. Photography should, first of all, be fun. But slow photography can be done with a digital camera too. I learned that the hard way. Also, shooting raw allows me to get whatever film look I want, even ones I invent myself.
Like Ibraar, I’ve been using the Rollei 6008I since the late 1990s. I also have a Mamiya RZ kit and bought a Hasselblad a few years ago, just because. Of the three kits only the Mamiya is large and heavy. The Hasselblad by comparison is quite light and compact, but severely lacking in features compared to the Rollei. But then a person who is used to a Leica camera will find almost anything too big and heavy to carry around. (See daily posts on RFF on small cameras)
And since this has now turned into topic on guns and mass murder… Remember this headline just last year?
At Least 80 Dead in Norway Shooting – NYTimes.com
Thomas, the Rolleiflex is an amazing beast. overlooked.
People should try em out, an SLX mk II is worth getting.
check this guys Rolleiflex photo’s;
photo . net photodb/user?user_id=1574264
Nice shots John
I’ll have a pint of that beer I’m getting thre blad out of the closet
I love the images in the article. There is something so “right” about an old Land Rover being recorded on classic B&W film! As I have time, I am using 35mm film for some of my personal photography, and when my budget improves in late 2013, will re-visit pre-owned medium-format film equipment. (I use digital for evidentiary photography at work.)
I do wish we could keep divisive politics out of the discussion, here. Photography is an art, that is practiced and enjoyed by people of all political persuasions. This is as apparent in my locality, at meet-ups and photo-walks, as it is on the internet.
unfortunately every time you scan a negative you have LOST the film look as you now have a digitized image.
Not true, at all.
Scanning a painting that’s been done in oils, for example is not the same thing as painting it digitally, from scratch. The scanning process still captures the depth and shadows that come from film actually being dimensional, due to layers of the film grains themselves. People keep saying that it’s somehow ironic to shoot film but scan negatives ‘since it’s now just digital anyways’, but they don’t understand the mechanics of what’s happening in both the development of a negative and what happens when you scan it. The ultimate realization of the depth of a negative comes when you properly print it on gallery photo paper, because the paper itself has texture and depth which the light has interacted with both during the process of print making, but also when it’s properly lit and hung on a wall. But scanning negatives does capture a part of that.
No Cory, that is not true. The scanned film or dias has it’s own signature that is usually completely different than what you get out of digital.
You have made an assumption. Film is an analog capture. Scanning film does not move the image backward to a digital capture, which is just capturing raw material to be assembled after into an approximation of analog. At the camera we are capturing a 3D image, not the same as scanning.
I find your
“But it could be worse, I could live in the US and collect semi automatic assault weapons.” comment disgusting, shallow and the sign of an arrogant simpleton.
Where in the world did you come up with such a comment? Don’t you know John Shingleton, that when you point your finger at someone there are five pointing back at you. I don’t know where you live, but I would bet that the USA is a far safer and more stable place to live.
Do you have any compassion or understanding?
It seems not.
Take your Hasselblad and go shoot something, or not, but leave your simple minded commentary out of photography. I believe you an apology.
You will lose your simpleminded bet.
Bill ,I apologise that I offended you or any others .The attitude of Americans to guns totally confuses and perplexes me .However I have just relearnt an old lesson and will not insert any irony into any post likely to be read by Americans in future and I now regret clouding a photographic post with what was a passing ironic remark which has drawn so much ire.
For your information I live in Australia — a country infinitely safer than the US — where we do have strict gun laws fully supported by 98% of the population and where the homicide rate ( measured in homicides per 100,000 population ) is 25% of the US rate .
I am travelling to the US next week- the latest of dozens of visits – and I look forward to meeting up with my many American friends and enjoying the rich culture and hospitality but I will still be totally perplexed about the gun “thing” and why Americans cannot even apparently debate the issue.Now back to shooting– cameras that is….
I am not sure you owe us an apology, you simply mirror the rest of the worlds view on America and it’s absurd obsession with guns. As an American Expat I see it more clearly than most who never leave there homes.
Well, if you got off your soap box and stop pointing yourself then look at your hand. It’s only three fingers pointing back at you, not five. Unless you have a seven finger hand… This is the kind of tirade that gives us Americans a bad name in world of public opinion.
We cannot expect the world to hold our American view as sacred, pro or against. The world has bigger problems than our petty internal differences. We Americans point to our internal atrocities, while genocide is happing around the world. We need some proportion in our view, we are not the center of the universe.
Nice article and interesting debate about American gun laws. I always find it fascinating that the second amendment always gets shortened to “the right to bear arms”. This makes it sound like a free for all… Everyone forgets the bit about being part of a well regulated militia.
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Not forgetting, not neglecting — intentional deceit. As always from apologists for this never-ending provincial insanity.
The comment about guns is dissapointing to see here. I enjoyed the post until that point. Maybe we should next discuss abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action; I think not.
Glad to see Hassies are still in vogue. I used to travel with my Blads all the time in the 70’s-80’s. I remember a great trip to Alaska with a jacket I found that was ideal for carrying a couple lenses and 24 shot magazines. Always an adventure with the Hasselblad!
I still have it but have switched to the M9 for obvious reasons.
Composition is not a matter of gear but eye and brain. I have been shooting exclusively with an iphone for about 2 years. The restrictions tobthe 35mm format made me see things differently. The frustration to be restricted to 35 mm were also major… I cannot swim in the pond in Paris to snap the ducks and yes I wanted to snap the ducks. An Hassy is just a big as any SLR and I gave up travelling with a piece of real estate around my neck… RX100 was the answer for me…and my framing did not get worse in any ways…
Great snaps in there
So, looks like you CAN crop a square image from Hasselblad (trees near the water) and it still looks fantastic. Thank you for the article.
If digital is so bad, shouldn’t one consider what happens with the photo afterwards? Most photos are scanned or at least published in a digital format anyways. Isn’t the effects being sought after ruined by that fact? And you don’t have to snap just because you shoot digital.
What you are saying seems logical, but scanning is not the same thing as shooting digitally. When we shoot with our camera we are capturing the raw data from a three dimensional source. With our digital camera the raw data has to be assembled into an approximation of analog. The film image is already analog. Scanning the negative does not turn the information back to a digital capture.
Further, people like to equate digital noise to film grain. Digital noise is part of or alters the image. Grain, while visible, is not part of the image itself. With film, we can look past the grain, but digital noise becomes a part of the image.
John, you mde good,BW, owesome photo, hope u can show more!,,more power to you.
Why do the Colorado shootings demand special sensitivity? Because they had shock factor? Statistically, just another average day in the good ole USA.
“Between 2000 and 2008, a total of 272,590 people died of gunshot injuries in the United States–an average of 30,288 gun deaths per year, a number shocking by comparison to any other developed country. During that same time period, an estimated 617,488 people suffered nonfatal gunshot injuries in the United States. The total number of people shot in 2008 totaled 110,215–the highest total recorded during the nine-year period surveyed in the analysis.”
The worst comment I have seen on those shootings came from an american who suggested they wouldn’t have happened if 3 or 4 people in the audience had been armed. With an estimated 270 million guns in civilian hands many americans think they need more. It is a madness based upon a misrepresentation of the second ammendment.
I believe the right to keep and bear weapons it is written into the constitution of the United States,
“…protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It was adopted on December 15, 1791..”
It is very hard to remove behaviours and rules that are based on the past.
” Only cowards use guns” – Batman.
Rules, based on the past? There have been amendments. The constitution has stood the test of time.
Between 1939 and 1945 germany and Japan were responsible for 45 000 000 deaths…So long for the civilized world…I am surprised to read this expression in 2012. How do you define civilized?
Oups you said developed, not civilized…lol
Please not let us never forgot how many souls were lost at the hands of the English- and their former colonies, Dutch and the Russians. And yes of course lets not forget how many from good old US of A. Some people(s) have been hell bent- and due to new technology ever more able, of destroying so much of humanity that IT IS worth noting in as many places as one can.
The Bridge photo reminds me of our potential with that beautiful fluffy sky only portending the future beyond.
Now the questions that come to mind. Where is this place and when is it, what kind of world where ugliness is the norm and beauty the deviation from that norm? The answer is, it doesn’t make a difference. Because the old saying is true. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in this year or a hundred years hence, on this planet or wherever there is human life, perhaps out among the stars. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Lesson to be learned – in the Twilight Zone.
I was thinking “he got a hasselblad with three lenses? That’s a good deal for $1000.” 🙂
While I am reading this article, I was actually preparing shooting for tomorrow.
I will use my beloved Rolleicord with a couple of Tri-X.
Thanks for sharing your experience and thought, John.
Long live the films.
from another John. 🙂
If you’re sold on medium format and like rangefinders, try traveling with a Mamiya 7ii. Just got back from Alaska and the entire kit with 4 lenses, filters and film was featherweight compared to my D700 kit. The Mamiya 7ii with Velvia was absolutely amazing! Plus, no computer work required!
Yes agreed, cheap shot and lacks sensitivity considering what happened. Your article didn’t need that kind of reference to make it interesting John. Keep using film. The more you buy the more there will be in the stores for people like me!
I’m shooting film and Leica M this summer. Love it. Might do some Black and White after seeing your shots, Thanks for the inspiration.
Nothing better than looking at the laterally inverted image on the screen of a Rolleiflex or Hasselbad; composition is the winner.
Aye too right, I still get a thrill every single time I even get my Rolleiflex out of the bag to shoot.
My 46 year old Rolleiflex still wipes the floor with the detail from the negs over almost any digital file out there and people actually enjoy you taking their photograph with it. Bliss!
Nice photo’s man, and totally agree with your post (and enjoyed reading it).
Digital just doesn’t turn me on, doesn’t do it for me at all. There’s absolutely nothing in it which I like, it just seems too ‘dead’.
All my opinion of course, beg to differ.
I’m currently enjoying my new (well 1970, but just bought it) Rolleflex SL35 Black with a Schneider Xenon and a Rollenar. Man, just to use it, feel it, hold it, look through that big VF, crank it feeling the precision mechanics wind the Film on, and the shutter sound is a pleasure in itself, almost Zen like it its execution.
I haven’t got a Blad, though I have a Rolleiflex 6008i which is just as good, though electronic.
the photo’s I get are all MINE, I develop the Film myself and print myself traditionally and they’re precious, not lines of code converetd to a picture on a screen, I can then store the negatives away or scan them to make a digital image.
I project and view my slides (35mm) on a Rollei P37 projector, and the pleasure in viewing wall sized images in a darkened room blows anything on a screen out into Space.
Cool, any chance of an MF film article submission from you Ibraar? Pretty please. 🙂
Off out with my newly acquired cheap as chips Mamiya 645 Pro TL, MF film cameras are providing real bargains at the moment. Many students are buying MF right now my local Calumet manager tells me as they are fast realising it’s the best bang for buck available in photography. Which is great as it means Calumet’s fridge is always chock full of 120 film! 😀
Hi cidereye, I’ve written a few already;
Ok, the MF camera used is the Fuji GA645 and not a 6×6 but it is MF film.
I’ll do a review of the Rolleiflexes when I get enough materiel.
Hi cidereye I’ve written a few already;
a few more such as;
these are with the Fuji GA645 pro.
I’ll be writing some articles on the Rolleiflex 6008i, Rolleiflex SL35 and Yashica 230AF soon!
Yes, and both your negs and your prints will still be available to your descendants long after you’re gone. (Although the chemicals to reprint them probably won’t be.)
99% of all digital pictures will have gone to the landfill on their broken/obsolete hard drives, CDs, Zip drives, or whatever. Or be lost in the cloud.
I doubt that, but if that’s how you feel, what’s keeping you from just printing your digital pictures?
Pictures fade. At least BW negatives, if well protected are forever. By comparison, we should not consider digital to be archival. For one, things get erased, people don’t back up their work, hard drives fail, cards get damaged, etc…
Interesting post and very nice photos. However, the automatic weapon collecting comment is what we in the US would call a cheap shot.
This hardly seems the site to post anti American or gun issues. I enjoy learning from all of you about
your photographic experiences. Great job Steve. Other countries may resent our Constitution, but
we chose to break from tyranny of the folks across the pond. Long live America and our Constitution. And, long live photo sharing sites.
Interesting how a political argument arises even from far another topic for once here on one of my much admired photo websites … and I hesitate to reply to such in general, but think that other opinions should always be respected (if decent). For myself I am still an optimist believing in education and culture to help in the end. The Americans can be really proud of their constitution, but shouldn’t forget that there are others that can keep up easily. The first free democratic constitution of my country for example dates back to the year 1291. I’m Swiss. – That’s over the pond 😉
Just think how you would feel if you substituted “Swiss” for “American” in that statement. It was a cheap shot. Or if John had posted this statement and put in the nationality of Swede after last year’s shooting. John can have his opinion about American “gun nuts” but this is a photo blog. Let’s keep the conversation about images…..
. . .
“I could live in the US and collect semi automatic assault weapons”.
In light of the horrible Colorado shooting- I don’t find this statement amusing.
That and other similar gun tragedies here, and our insane penchant for guns is exactly why he said it.
Ah Marseille has about 1 ak47 shooting per month…not a bad place to start collecting…leave the americans alone, if you replace most comments about them by black or jew, the speach would be unbearable… I am not american by the way, i am their neighbors and it is very fashionable hear to bash them…get a bit tiring.
Sorry, stupid ipad i ment here and there are a few s that don’t belong there.
Why digital emulation rather than the real deal?
When you want that ‘film look’ but have a deadline and editors who want the images right after or even during the event.
When you have no darkroom facilities and have to get the work to a client over the internet quickly.
Working with film for years and having a certain ‘look’ to the images but having to shoot digitally – one adds a step to the digital workflow to get that ‘look’ with the newer gear.
I shoot film as well as digital. Both have their place.
I have never had a editor or sub editor ask me for a “film’ look. Once the image is printed any filter you have applied will be absorbed by the texture and stock of the paper / mag it is to be printed on. So the image will take on the appearance of the stock you choose.
Honestly, sounds like some have you guys have never had anything published and only look at images on your computer to see that ‘film’ look.
If you want the film look, shoot film, 99% of commercial art photographers and 99% of exhibited street / documentary photographers do.
Great pictures, John! Beautiful tones. You do make me long for a Hasselblad.
Agree completely. It was a cheap shot in an otherwise interesting essay
Now, about the emulsion is digital thing;
At a basic level, all of nature is digital. A given silver halide molecule is either exposed or not and it is the summation (simple digital summation) that gives it the “blackness” or “greyness” when developed.
I still have my Hasselblads and other film cameras, and I think a film processing chain without the use of scanners, using a darkroom and the works, is still the best for B&W photography.
That being said, once we get into scanning film and printing digitally, the line blurs quite a bit for me, especially with color photography. I feel pretty confident that I could upload a set of film and VSCO processed digital pictures mixed together, and many would have a really tough time distinguishing between the two.
p.s. another fun thing to think about is that film could technically also be considered digital, since silver halide crystals, while being more randomly arranged than digital pixels, still either expose or don’t. Neither film nor silicon sensors are really analogue, since they are both binary. Mind blowing. 🙂
Really? I thought silver halide crystals darkened in proportion to the light they received. Can you point to some reading material on this? Because, as you said, “Mind blowing.” Thanks!
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Ken Walsh, but he mentions this a little here:
If anything, it’s certainly an interesting discussion.
Wow. The entry pic says it all: Landrover and Kodak Trix – it can’t get any better!
I will get my Defender 110 Station Wagon next year and currently I’m in the marked for a M7 in addition to my M9P.
Forget the M7. If you want Defender-like build quality, you’ll need the M6 or MP.
Wow, I love this IQ! And the shots as well! I am doubting for a long time to buy a medium format film camera again myself. But up till now I’m a bit afraid of being disappointed in the consequenses. I was in a specialized analog shop in Rotterdam and saw somebody bring his Blad to sell it, because he said he couldn’t find a good place to get his films develloped anymore. Probably he ment color film. Still, it made me wonder, and again I didn’t dare to make to move… But then, reading your post and looking at your pictures (thank you so much, John, those guest contributions really give this site a wonderfull extra) I’m tempted again. Although I’m practicing a lot of street photograhy lately, I’ve always had a soft spot for, as you call it so rightfully, “slow photography”, where one carefully composes the picture. Really enjoyed it.
By the way John, what did you use to digitalize the film and send the files to Steve?
I’m happy that you like shooting film!
Strange though, I travel with my Hasselblad all the time. In fact my basic Hassy kit weighs less than a Nikon D3 body!