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I used to use old film cameras as a part of being born in the 70's. It's all I knew growing up. You had 24 pics, and you put the film into Klick Photopoint and 3-4 days later you had some memories. Some of which my mother still has in the loft. I have been looking up older photographers of film and sense a real magic in their work. It's a magic that I feel has been left behind in digital. People are too quick to snap away at anything these days. I have been guilty of it. I then look at my pics and wonder why they are weak. 

 

I want to know more. I want to buy a film camera, because all I hear is success stories from people who started out on digital and bought an 35mm SLR and it turned their world around. 

 

I was looking at buying a Canon AE-1 Program. I want to strictly shoot B&W to begin with. With my current set up I'm averaging that I use ISO400 more often than anything, so I think using the 400 speed film would be a good start as it's pretty dull these days. 

 

I feel I'm taking digital for granted. I'm snapping for the sake of it, and I'd love to try film so do you think this is a good starting point? 

 

Appreciate the advice. 

 

Paul 

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I took my last shot on film just before I took receipt of my Nikon D200. Nothing would make me go back to using film.

 

If you're "snapping for the sake of it", then I'd suggest you try to achieve your 'focus' with the equipment you've already got. It's probably a more considered attitude you need, rather than a different photographic format.

 

Just my two-pennorth...

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Depends on what you are shooting?

 

I have always found 35mm film disappointing. If it were me (I have considered it) I would go for a  6x6cm maybe a bronica or similar. If you want to slow things down a bit the medium format with a square format and a waist level finder on a tripod would help with that.

 

Thinking about it now the memories of printing Ilford FP4 medium format negs are happy one :-)

 

Oh, and Agfa Scala what a film!.... do they still make that...

 

Further down memory lane I once shot some interiors of Liverpool cathedral on 10" x 8"  b/w negs  and printed to 40inches....... those were the days:-)

 

Mark

Edited by Mark Baigent

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The problem with 'snapping away' is not about film or digital, digital just enables it without killing the bank balance. It's a mind-set and that's what you need to sort out.

 

You just need to slow down and consider your approach - like most things photographic, throwing money at equipment rarely helps.

 

I would try using a tripod where you can with your digital. It will slow you down and that will make you more considered.... digital is not the enemy.

 

If you want to go the film route, get a Bronica ETRSi (make sure it's an i) or similar...best training ground for considered photography and the sound of a leaf shutter is the finest audio experience in photography.

 

Geoff

 

I feel I'm taking digital for granted. I'm snapping for the sake of it, and I'd love to try film so do you think this is a good starting point? 

 

Appreciate the advice. 

 

Paul 

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Paul I know there are plenty of members to give you brilliant advice..  :)  But I did  film photography  years ago along with digital at college and yes I loved it, done all the dark room developing its amazing just to watch the photo going from white paper  to a lovely picture in the tank... Ahh yes ..

   I would have a go if I were you but to get the full enjoyment out of film I think you need to get some dark room experience.. Have  a look at "night" college  in your local area some just do a course in film photography...Yes the developing site of it is all you will need ...

  good luck..

  PS its harder work than sitting on a PC and playing .... ;)  

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Kodak TMax is a lovely even toned film, or if you want a gritty grainy look then TriX.

Both can be push processed successfully.

Have fun ;)

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But if you really want to try 35mm, an old Nikon FM, FM2 or similar manual would be a much better bet than a Canon I think. No electronics except for the meter so not much can go wrong. 

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Paul I know there are plenty of members to give you brilliant advice..  :)  But I did  film photography  years ago along with digital at college and yes I loved it, done all the dark room developing its amazing just to watch the photo going from white paper  to a lovely picture in the tank... Ahh yes ..

   I would have a go if I were you but to get the full enjoyment out of film I think you need to get some dark room experience.. Have  a look at "night" college  in your local area some just do a course in film photography...Yes the developing site of it is all you will need ...

  good luck..

  PS its harder work than sitting on a PC and playing .... ;)  

Agreed, the first sight of an image appearing in a dev tray is wonderful.

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Thanks for the advice as always folks :) 

 

Maybe snapping away was the wrong term. I was thinking more slowing down and waiting. I can do that with my dslr, however, it's big, bulky and scares people. It's cheap enough to give 35mm film a try. If it's not for me then a good camera is going to be given a good home. Heading out at lunch with my 50mm prime. Dust it off and see what gives. 

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It might be cheaper to hire a hypnotist to trick you into thinking your digital camera is actually using film.

I for one would never go back. I know what you mean about being slower and more selective about pressing the shutter, but I can think of an awful lot of pictures I didn't get because I was too slow / cost-conscious.

If you go for it, I would certainly recommend the medium format / tripod route. There are some ridiculously cheap Bronicas and Mamiya 645s around these days (as I discovered when I sold mine).

 

Edit: (Posted this seconds after you added the above. There are good value Nikons around too).

Edited by Phil Robinson

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It appears that agfa scala is still available, getting it processed (as slides,scala not a neg film) is a tad more difficuly

 

 

http://www.agfascala.co.uk/

 

- - The Scala Service is unfortunately still very oversubscribed,
and availability to new customers is being strictly limited until we've caught up.
Please see our service update for more details - -

 

Edited by Mark Baigent

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It's funny because there's a ton of 'old' photographers from the days of film that swear blind and always say to me 

 

"Aye it wasn't like that in the film days, you had 36 shots and everyone had to count" I look at shots from times gone by and they are truly magnificent shots. I feel like I need to shoot film to justify my right as a photographer. I do get quite a lot of grief from older photogs who shot film I must admit with particular reference to 'how easy' us young uns have it now. We can just 'snap happy' and delete what we like and try again. 

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Paul, I suggest you book for a weekend or other short darkroom/shooting course at Inversnaid on Loch Lomond, if they are still doing wet process/film workshops, as this is very close to you. I believe that the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh (next to the station) also still has darkrooms and can do something similar. Or, going a bit further afield, take a trip down to see Steven Taylor at The Alchemist's Workshop, Grizedale Forest, Hawkshead end of Windermere - we devoted a whole 8-page monochrome portfolio and a four-page 'experience' feature (visiting and using his refurbished Olympus Trip cameras) to what he does in our last Cameracraft magazine.

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> "Aye it wasn't like that in the film days, you had 36 shots and everyone had to count"

 

36!!!!!

 

Sorry to drift off topic but....

 

Most of my career I used 5x4", I once covered a royal visit with 16 sheets of B/W film, so 16 shots in all.

When it was my business I shot a lot of 5x4" transparency often with one exposure at the meter indicated exposure

and then one half a stop under and one half a stop over. (before I had a polaroid back)

 

So one shot used three sheets of film at a £1.20 each and then at least one E6 process at £1 a sheet (usually two so I had a copy and the client had a copy.)

that meant £5.60p per shot....that slows you down :-)

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It appears that agfa scala is still available, getting it processed (as slides,scala not a neg film) is a tad more difficuly

 

 

http://www.agfascala.co.uk/

 

- - The Scala Service is unfortunately still very oversubscribed,

and availability to new customers is being strictly limited until we've caught up.

Please see our service update for more details - -

 

 

That page is four years old.

Scala hasn't been made since Agfa went bust- the brand was sold off and it's now used to badge film. The only films now called Agfa are made by Adox and Fuji.

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It appears that agfa scala is still available, getting it processed (as slides,scala not a neg film) is a tad more difficuly

 

 

http://www.agfascala.co.uk/

 

- - The Scala Service is unfortunately still very oversubscribed,

and availability to new customers is being strictly limited until we've caught up.

Please see our service update for more details - -

 

 

That page is four years old.

Scala hasn't been made since Agfa went bust- the brand was sold off and it's now used to badge film. The only films now called Agfa are made by Adox and Fuji.

 

Oh, thanks for that, I will put the 'blad back in the loft :-(

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Beware of that, I've just got my studio flash out of the garage after 10 years and it hadn't liked it.

The Hasselblad deserves to be downstairs in the warm and dry. It's earned it.

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It's the mindset not the technology that you need to address Paul...

 

If you want to slow down and be more considered in the way you work, er, just slow down and be more considered in the way you work

 

 

km

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Paul

 

I shoot a lot of film in both 35mm and 120. Cost wise it will sure slow you down knowing that you're paying for each press on the shutter.

 

Try Ilford XP2 - great film. Local lab can dev as a colour film due to being chromogenic. I rate it at anything between 50-400 ISO ( with "in camera" changes as needed) I consider ISO 200 as the optimum rating. You'll find it possibly the easiest film to scan. Very forgiving also.

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Beware of that, I've just got my studio flash out of the garage after 10 years and it hadn't liked it.

The Hasselblad deserves to be downstairs in the warm and dry. It's earned it.

Point taken, I now have a large blad shaped paper weight on my desk

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Try Ilford XP2 - great film. Local lab can dev as a colour film due to being chromogenic. I rate it at anything between 50-400 ISO ( with "in camera" changes as needed) I consider ISO 200 as the optimum rating. You'll find it possibly the easiest film to scan. Very forgiving also.

 

Interesting, do you have any examples please?

 

Later - ok found some on your (very nice) web site

Edited by Mark Baigent

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Paul

 

I shoot a lot of film in both 35mm and 120. Cost wise it will sure slow you down knowing that you're paying for each press on the shutter.

 

Try Ilford XP2 - great film. Local lab can dev as a colour film due to being chromogenic. I rate it at anything between 50-400 ISO ( with "in camera" changes as needed) I consider ISO 200 as the optimum rating. You'll find it possibly the easiest film to scan. Very forgiving also.

 

If I remember rightly back to about 2004 or so, XP2 (or could have been XP1 but the same idea), works with Nikon's ICE so there is a lot less spotting to do from scans. And, as stated, it's developed in a colour lab. The few times I used it, I had it done in the local Snappy Snaps with a set of small prints so I could see what I was intending to scan.

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My top client will only accept features shot on film, which makes them a real pleasure to work with. I suggest you get hold of something that will allow you to shoot on 6x7 - plenty of old Mamiyas around still, and the quality on FP4 is wonderful. If you want to work handheld, try an old Rolleicord or similar - nothing will teach you faster how to expose properly and compose quickly than working with one of these.

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It's the mindset not the technology that you need to address Paul...

 

If you want to slow down and be more considered in the way you work, er, just slow down and be more considered in the way you work

 

 

km

 

Indeed, but on the other hand if you wanna shoot film- by all means go for it. Two altogether different points! 

 

I will go a bit against the grain as some of the other responses and say that shooting film can (not will) be a great exercise towards making you a better photographer. You will be forced to actually know how to use a camera, set it properly, meter properly, understand all settings and exactly what effect they will have on the final exposure. No shooting, checking, and re-shooting. If you don't get it right the first time, you've missed it. This will force your game up fast.

 

Then, when moving back to digital for primary output, you will bring those skills/reflexes with you.

 

I still shoot primarily film for any personal projects when not shooting for clients/stock, and find it to be a much more pleasant experience all around... From shutter to darkroom/scan. Nothing to lose by trying! Though I would also add my vote for 6x6 over 35mm.

 

-Jason

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Thanks for all the replies folks. A few points touched on could probably be addressed currently with regards to mindset. I was out there with the 50mm prime on my 7D. I walked a lot slower than I usually do and took a totally different route. It was a nice exercise. I do still have a need in me for shooting film in a weird way and maybe in the new year I'll give it a bash with better research. 

 

One thing that would bother me and I know it too well. I'd end up wanting to develop my own negatives. I just know I'd want to do that as a finishing piece of the puzzle. Seeing the creation coming to life in front of your eyes. Maybe a wee course in it all would be advantageous. 

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