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Understand, Paul, that the older film images you see, the ones that are impressing you, are the best of the best, the stuff that has survived. There was plenty of crap being produced back then. 

 

I shot film for thirty years, lots of B&W, did my own darkroom developing and printing. I didn't shotgun then and I don't now. I suppose shooting film won't hurt you . . . except in the pocketbook. But I hope you realize you sound like a hobby shooter, not a stock photographer. 

 

http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?VP3=CMS3&VF=MAGO31_14

 

Ed

Edited by Ed Rooney

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Hi Ed

 

> But I hope you realize you sound like a hobby shooter, not a stock photographer

Can we not be both, ie wear a concentrated commercial hat one day and another day just play?

 

ATB

Mark

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 But I hope you realize you sound like a hobby shooter, not a stock photographer. 

 

 

 

Ed

 

Aye Ed I am starting to get that feeling to. I never proclaim to be an anything right enough. I'm somewhat of a bit of everything person. 

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Hi Ed

 

> But I hope you realize you sound like a hobby shooter, not a stock photographer

Can we not be both, ie wear a concentrated commercial hat one day and another day just play?

 

ATB

Mark

 

Absolutely! And Paul is trying to define himself to himself. But film? Anyone who's tried to move 500 rolls of film over a Third World border would not want to relive that era.

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The main reason for using film is for a different look.  In fact as many different looks as there are films, although differences may only be noticeable on large prints.

 

If you just want to slow yourself down, try doing much more considered work.  Using film would be tantamount to giving your savings away because you spend too much.  Digital capture provides image-makers with resources undreamed of in the film era. 

 

I hung on to film for a long time because my style was a film style that looked better with film.  Now I am much more interested in exploring the possibilities of digital.  I never feel like snapping away for the heck of it with a D800 and a computer groaning under the strain, anyway.

 

If it’s a different look you want, then you need to decide what kind of look.  35mm Tri-X for grainy and graphic, 35mm technical film for a different kind of landscape look, medium format colour neg for slightly off, but very subtle colouration, 5X4 for wall sized prints, 10x8 if ...

 

http://www.corbisimages.com/Search#rdr=1&mrc=106&pg=David+Fokos&p=1

 

 

As far as cameras go I agree with MDM: Nikon FM (FM, FM2, FM3) are workhorses and very reliable.  Medium format rangefinders are worth considering, unless it's the grain you are after.   You can pick up Fuji 645 cameras quite cheaply.

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Absolutely! And Paul is trying to define himself to himself. But film? Anyone who's tried to move 500 rolls of film over a Third World border would not want to relive that era.

 

 

Ah, I always used helicopters when crossing boarders, you can get a lot of film in a puma :-)

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I still shoot film.  You can pick up a reconditioned Canon AE-1 Program for about $130 on ebay.  I have two of them....the problem with them is if you don't buy them already reconditioned, you will end up spending abut $250 more to have someone replace the seals and the mirror foam and to lubricate away that "Canon Squeek" that so many of them had.  I did that to both of mine and they've been sitting ever since.  If I shoot film, it's with a Leica MP.

 

I also have a Mamiya 645 Super.  Great camera for shooting 120 and just as inexpensive as a Canon AE-1

 

If you are going to invest in film, I would recommend a Leica M3 and a used 35 and 50 prime to start with.  That would be a great start.  The Leicas do not lose their value as much as Canon or Mamiya.  Eventually, you will want to spend more money and you will end up moving to a M9 or a M240.  The lenses will remain with your kit for as long as you take care of them.  Leica glass is among the best and I am blown away every time I use that camera.

 

For black and white, I also like Tmax....400iso (pushed to 800 in the winter).

 

I shoot film simply because I love photography - and that's the only reason.  Film is different from digital and I'm not sure where you heard people say film will make you better but I know that I had trouble initially making the transition from film to digital.  Film does not look like instagram (when handled properly).

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"As far as cameras go I agree with MDM: Nikon FM (FM, FM2, FM3) are workhorses and very reliable." -- RB

 

The FM2 and FM3, maybe. The earlier FM and FE would jam if you looked at them sideways. 

 

I still have all those film Nikons; if you were here in New York, Paul, I'd loan you one. I have a young friend, a techie at Time Warner mags, who is totally involved with old film gear, particularly Polaroid cameras. (Everybody needs a hobby.) 

 

When I decided to reenter the stock photography world, after Tony Stone retired to the South of France and Getty bought his operation, I found digital a much steeper learning curve than I had anticipated. I'm still resisting the fact that cameras have become so technically complex (My NEX-7 has 100 menu items). My "focus" is on the subject, as it should be. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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I still shoot film.  You can pick up a reconditioned Canon AE-1 Program for about $130 on ebay.  I have two of them....the problem with them is if you don't buy them already reconditioned, you will end up spending abut $250 more to have someone replace the seals and the mirror foam and to lubricate away that "Canon Squeek" that so many of them had.  I did that to both of mine and they've been sitting ever since.  If I shoot film, it's with a Leica MP.

 

I also have a Mamiya 645 Super.  Great camera for shooting 120 and just as inexpensive as a Canon AE-1

 

If you are going to invest in film, I would recommend a Leica M3 and a used 35 and 50 prime to start with.  That would be a great start.  The Leicas do not lose their value as much as Canon or Mamiya.  Eventually, you will want to spend more money and you will end up moving to a M9 or a M240.  The lenses will remain with your kit for as long as you take care of them.  Leica glass is among the best and I am blown away every time I use that camera.

 

For black and white, I also like Tmax....400iso (pushed to 800 in the winter).

 

I shoot film simply because I love photography - and that's the only reason.  Film is different from digital and I'm not sure where you heard people say film will make you better but I know that I had trouble initially making the transition from film to digital.  Film does not look like instagram (when handled properly).

 

We ex-PJs preferred the M2 over the M3 because the 2 has a built-in 35mm frame. The M3 has a 50mm frame. I still own an M6 TTL with the Summicron f/2 35mm.

 

That Mamiya 645 was a really neat camera but didn't catch on. 

 

"My look" in B&W came from shooting Tri-X and developing it in Acufine. Normal developing in Acufine produced a visible but even grain at ASA 1,000. That is not a push. To my eye, D76 produce a mush grain. 

 

Ed, I love small children and dogs; photograph has been my life's work. 

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Paul, when I was shooting film and felt I was getting sloppy or uninspired. I would restrict myself to one lens (usually for me a 50mm), one film so one ISO (decided on the day depending on the weather), no flash and take myself out for the day. The aim was to get 36 worthwhile (whatever that means to you) pictures. I would commit to the date and time in advance so I could not use the weather as an excuse, I had to make the most of the day as it was.

 

You could do the same with digital. Perhaps buy yourself a cheap and very small memory card, leave the rest of your kit at home. Spend the time to look, think, plan the image and wait for the moment. If I were doing it today with film I would take a manual focus Canon T90 (nice and compact) to slow me down even further.

 

Martin

 

And of course no deleting any images in the field - bring them all home, warts and all!

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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Paul there are plenty of cheap film camera's out there to be had...I know, I have sold a few lately...my personal preference is for medium format rather than 35mm and I still use my mamiya RB 67 of which I have 2, also a mamiya 645 pro with a waist level finder ( really nice camera and can be had cheap ) and a mamiya c330 which is 6 x 6 cm with a waist level finder and heavy enough to put any muggers out of action for a while if needed : )

 

As for film for me black and black and white is neopan acros, C41 colour I use Kodak ektar...with my favourite film being Velvia 50 all of which I have a stock of in my freezer and fridge... developing B & W is cheap..ish and straight forward C41 and E6 are a lot more pricy to do..I am lucky enough to have a jobo processor in my darkroom which gets used about once a year when between myself and a friend have enough velvia to develop to make it worth mixing a batch for..

 

All in all, good fun but for me that is all it is...what I would say is dont spend to much money as you will probably not make it back...

 

If you are just looking at trying your hand at 35mm I am looking at a Fujica ST 801 with a 35mm 2.8 lens sitting on my desk in full working order complete with new light seals and batteries for the lightmeter ( better off to learn how to use the sunny 16 rule though ) pm me your address and if the postage is not to much I will send it up to you free of charge to use as you wish...

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Paul, there are any number of options and many of them cheap enough to have a crack at B&W photography (or colour for that matter), but there will be some darkroom learning to do for sure. But messing about with paper and developing trays and seeing it all happen is more than satisfying. If you do think more about the Canon AE-1 Program, check the mount, I'm pretty sure they take Canon FD mount lenses. If so, there is no way of getting a lens built for an EOS onto it.

 

But people like Ffords have a few old FD mount lenses cheap enough. AND EVEN BETTER: I have a drawer full of wonderful glass to fit an AE-1 (or any of the workhorse F1 cameras) a 24mm f1.4 (now there was a lens!) an 85mm f1.8 (brilliant!) a 200mm f2.8 (I didn't use it a lot but it had it's moments) and that's just a beginning! and quite a few F-1 bodies that still get me angry with Canon for "upgrading" the mount. But the F-1 is manual all the way.

 

good luck with it!

 

Robert

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I have an admission to make............ 30+ years in the industry and I have never seen a Leica....... Mark hangs his  head in shame :-(

 

Mark

Edited by Mark Baigent

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"I want to buy a film camera" How many would you like sir?

 

Sadly film has all but gone from the majority of the pro world and I firmly believe that many younger phots are missing something. 

 

My first darkroom experience was at a very early age. I pestered my uncle to buy me a TLR (probably a toy one) that was in a newsagents window when I was about seven years old. I still have photographs of my dad taken in 1967 of him mending his Ford Consul taken with it. My first darkroom experience was only a year or two later.

 

Modern digital is wonderful, cheap, convenient and of course easy to both take and distribute. However, film does hold an analogue ambience quality to it that digital does not capture, although of course many would argue and think different. An example of this is backlit shots. When I used to do a lot of weddings I preferred to backlight as much as possible as it was a good way of stopping the wedding party just standing behind and getting the same (ish) shots. Film seems to handle the subtleties of back lighting considerably better than digital. Actually, when I was lucky enough to to win in one of the monthly challenges I considered setting the subject as contra-joure but thought better of it.

With that in mind, it may well be worth you having a dabble in the shrinking film world and forcing yourself to use prime lenses and experience the pain and the financial penalty of wasted shots and experience the pleasure of making a great shot in camera and not toying with your imac.

My recommendation would be: Medium format, Kodak T400CN film which is C41 processed or any 400 film of your choice, all B/W of course. Get the film developed and then scan the film. Now I know I am going to get knocked a little for this (especially the scanning bit) but the results are magical and beyond what digital can produce.

My now unused weapon of choice is a Fuji 645W with the fixed tremendously sharp 45mm (about 24mm equivalent) lens. It is just an oversized MF compact film camera that fits in a big pocket with pop up flash etc but turns out the goods. I would not bother with 35mm as IMO there is no marked benefit over digital.

I will say though that good well exposed studio photography taken with just about any digital slr is easily equivalent to film and beyond. But capturing the subtlety of ambient light firmly still belongs to MF+ film.

As others have said you do not need to change your medium to slow down, you can do that yourself. Go out with one fixed length lens and learn perspective, take some B/W (in B/W mode) and discover to look at what is in the picture and not by swayed by the colours. But mostly, learn to take a few fractions of historical time in camera.

For Alamy going to film would be pointless and lead to financial ruin, but if you would like to become a photographer rather than a man with a camera then have a go. After all you started this thread so do something with it.

 

..........and wait...........

 

Andy

Edited by AndyMelbourne

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Another vote for Bronica here (poor man's Blad) - but make sure that the shutters work perfectly before parting with cash, and that means exposing and processing a couple of films. Medium format quality is so much better than 35mm, and much easier to get reasonable scans. Have Rolleicord and quite like it in a quirky sort of way, but the viewfinder is terrible compared to the Bronica and the Schneider lens, although canny, is  just not quite there either. 

 

I loved processing films, but haven't done any for several years. Can't match the B&W tonality with digital, maybe I just haven't tried hard enough. 

 

Costs far too much and takes far too long.  Magic though......

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Another vote for Bronica here (poor man's Blad) - but make sure that the shutters work perfectly before parting with cash, and that means exposing and processing a couple of films. Medium format quality is so much better than 35mm, and much easier to get reasonable scans. Have Rolleicord and quite like it in a quirky sort of way, but the viewfinder is terrible compared to the Bronica and the Schneider lens, although canny, is  just not quite there either. 

 

I loved processing films, but haven't done any for several years. Can't match the B&W tonality with digital, maybe I just haven't tried hard enough. 

 

Costs far too much and takes far too long.  Magic though......

 

My memory of the SLR 6x6 Bronica is that is was not cheap. The twin-lens Mamiya was the bargain 6x6 box. Funny that the later Mamiya 67's became the darling of the studio shooters. My favorite was the twin-lens Rolleiflex, light and strong and durable, and the camera the great Richard Avedon used most. 

 

Yes, I owned several 6x6 cameras and a 4x5, but 35mm was the only sensible choice for what I was doing with film: theater, film sets, PJ work, location work, and all the aspects of travel. 

Edited by Ed Rooney

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“But I hope you realize you sound like a hobby shooter, not a stock photographer.” ER

 

Without hobby shooters Alamy would be a mere shadow of itself.

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“But I hope you realize you sound like a hobby shooter, not a stock photographer.” ER

 

Without hobby shooters Alamy would be a mere shadow of itself.

 

Without hobby shooters the stock business would be a mere shadow of itself. 

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I have my snap-happy digital moments, but most of the time I still shoot as if I were using a film camera. I can't seem to break the deeply ingrained (no pun intended) film habit of wanting to make sure that every shot counts. I'd never go back to film, though. It's too expensive, and I've done enough scanning to last me into the hereafter.

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At one point when I was scanning black and white negatives I noticed that these images had something that digital didn't.It wasn't so much about the film vs digital as it was the convenience of digital enabling endless shooting of a subject as opposed to shooting in manual mode when you have a limited amount of frames on a roll of film. Something about going into 'auto pilot' mode when your camera has a 32GB card and 10 more in your camera bag that turns out to be on some photo outings a waste of pixels.

 

The whole thought process changed when I switched from film to digital in appx 2000.

 

I'd advise to start shooting manual and concentrate on the composition and light.Pretend you are shooting with a film camera. Shoot in black and white mode if that's your preference.Or,you can use some of the amazing cheap or free presets in Lightroom or the bw plugins like from Alien Skin.

 

For film,you will need a good scanner to bring it into your computer and  decide if you want the time and expense of a wet darkroom and if you have the room to work in that matter.

 

Whatever you do,I think the first step when venturing out is not thinking about stock or money.Just be in the now and enjoy shooting.

 

L

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I've shot in manual on my dslr since I started in 2011. My good lady got me as-1p today for my Christmas. Hopeful for some different times ahead :)

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Not all photography has to be commercially optimized. Nor is it an either/or question. For me, shooting film (Tri-X) with a Leica MP and 35mm lens (both funded by alamy a few years ago) held easily in my palm, hearing that quiet "thunk" of the shutter, and the click of the winder is a joy. Or a roll of Velvia and a stroll in the blooming countryside, or exploring a candy-coloured American small-town centre. Just tried some Provia. Interesting pastel result to some street photos. As Sam Abell says, "compose and wait", as you say, "slow down". Watch observe, merge with your surroundings, then make (I mean "make" that shot…..see it developing, compose it, wait……wait….everything coming into alignment…make that photograph). Better still, I have started going out all day with one film loaded. One film, 36 chances, no second roll. Makes you stop and think even more. It works. My next book will be a collection of one-film mini-projects. Difficult to do with digital. It is so tempting to shoot just one more, or maybe ten just to be sure. No, that is too easy.

 

Love it. Bad for stock these days. Film=Flintlock,  Digital=Gatling gun. Difficult to use a gatling like a flintlock. Not the same feeling.

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I think you hit the nail there Mark. It's how I think of it too. It's in my sights now so I'm looking forward to it greatly. 

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Back in the 80's I shot film with my Canon AE-1. Loved it. Loved black and white as nothing beats it for mood, and cheap to shoot and develop. The down side to doing your own, chemicals only last so long, so once mixed you better use them.  And think how terrible film is for the environment. With digital, no chemicals heading for the landfill.

 

Did all my own developing as well with my Vivatar 356. Still have it out in my driveshed somewhere.

 

I haven't priced out film in a long time, so not so sure what the cost is these days. I also loved Kodachrome 25. 

 

But photography is in the eye, not the equipment. Patience is the biggest virtue I think a photographer can have.

 

I know as I slowly build my portfolio, many of my original uploads will go under a different pseudonym. Although technically ok, the shots are a snore. I think when we start uploading, we become obsessed with numbers. Quantity over quality. 

 

Jill

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I currently have Nikon F5 Bronica etrsi x2 RB67 Toyo 4X5 X2 and other cameras but my saying is "Film for fun Digital for Dollars!"  I enjoy taking my F5 out on a Sunday afternoon and shooting a 36 exposure roll on the waterfront but it is just for fun!

Marvin

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