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Anyone still using film?

408 Views 28 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  mbodell
There's been some good discussion about DSLRs on this forum but I was wondering whether people on here are still using film. My brother recently gave me his EOS 350D, which I've been using with a Canon 50mm F1.8. Maybe I just don't get digital SLR photography but I haven't been too happy with the results. A little too soft for my liking (see an example below). Could be the lens - I heard that the 50mm Canon is a bit hit or miss (what do you expect for $100?)

Anyways, I dusted off an old Canon A1 kit which I've had in my cupboard but never really used. I have the standard Canon 50mm F1.8 FD lens, a 70-210 f4 and a 35mm f2.8. Also using the Motordrive MA and have a Canon 199A Speedlite, but haven't taken any indoor shots yet. I love the feel of the camera. My dad has one and as a kid I used to sneak it out of his cupboard when he was out of the house so I could play with it. Thank god I didn't break it! :) I took the A1 out yesterday and took some shots in a local park, without the Motordrive and with just the 50mm + a Hoya Skylight 1B. Gotta, say - great camera for photojournalism. Unobtrusive, lets you blend into the background.

Since I have a decent set of FD lenses, I'm tempted to pick up a used T90 body. B&H has one for about $180, in 8+ condition. Still have a long way to go towards refamiliarizing myself with film, but I'm thinking about using the A1 for black and white (am currently using some Ilford Delta 100) and using the T90 for color. Thoughts? I don't really care about the 1/4000 shutter speed, though having something faster than the 1/1000 on the A1 would be nice. Am taken with the idea of the 1/250 flash sync, though, and I've heard good things about the multi-spot metering, but would love to hear how anyone else found it.

Also, any comments on film choices would be great. I've always used Kodak Gold 100 / 200 in the past, with mixed results.

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Maybe I just don't get digital SLR photography but I haven't been too happy with the results. A little too soft for my liking (see an example below).
I think digital's criticism of being too soft is more a result of how easy it is to scrutinize a digital photo - you open the file and are instantly viewing it at 1:1 resolution, which is probably far closer than people typically view film prints. A fair comparison would be to have a digital print made and compare print to print, or to have a negative scanned and compare pixel to pixel.

Digital's biggest failing is low light, and I still have an Olympus OM-1 for long exposure stuff through my telescope, but I'm all-digital otherwise.

Here's a few of my digital photos, and sharpness isn't an issue.

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However it was in switching over to a DSLR that I found the lack of sharpness
It may be that the little point and shoot cameras are just running an internal sharpening filter on the photos automatically, as they tend to be aimed at the general public who just wants a good pic with little to no effort. But the Canon DSLRs have always been known for being slightly soft, and I usually bump the sharpness setting in the camera up a notch or two. But again, the proof is in the print. I've blown up some photos pretty large, and have been pleasantly surprised at how they hold up.

I had this printed at 24 x 36, and it looks incredible:

Re the film v/s digital debate - while I accept that the move to digital is inevitable, a part of me hopes film never goes away. I find I'm a more focused photographer when doing film work.
I'll admit to being a little on the lazy side when it comes to shooting. I got into photography initially just to compliment my 3D/computer graphics work, where I already knew Photoshop. So I have the unfortunate habit of knowing what I can fix in Photoshop and not worrying about getting the best shot from the start. The computer can definitely be a double edge sword.

But I wouldn't give up digital for ANYTHING, especially underwater. Talk about trial and error... with all the restraints posed by being underwater - the limited depth of field, low-light, all the movement PLUS having the camera in a bulky housing AND only getting 3 or 4 opportunities (at best) to really practice each year... The instant feedback with digital is invaluable.

I do find it funny how people (myself included) have come to appreciate the grain inherent in film photography, since it's really a limitation of the medium. In the CG and photography I do for work, we often add in layers of grain in Photoshop to emulate film grain. It's just funny that we add in a defect to "improve" an image. I've wondered if photography progressed the other way around - from digital to film, if we'd have added in jpeg artifacting to make film look more like "traditional digital photography"! :)

User Name - great pics.
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