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Thread: Long awaited return to film

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    Long awaited return to film

    Well it's been a little over 20 years since I last shot with film, and I've been keen to dust off a few of my old film cameras..... I've recently picked up some 400ISO BW film to get back into it.

    Seeing as its been so long I thought I'd turn to the experts of AP to hopefully get some of your tips for returning to film....

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks in advance

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Congratulations!! -- I think?

    Anyway, whaddyer wanna know? You'll get a barrage of advice, tips, old photographer's tales, and general arm-waving otherwise.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    My advice. Learn to slow down. With digital you can spray-and-pray, taking a heap of photos to get those few keepers. Do that with film and watch the developing/printing costs go up faster than a brides nightie.

    Take your time, check your composition, then double check it. If you need to, get a light meter. Make sure your aperture and shutter speed are right. No histogram here, and shooting off a few shots to check exposure and then adjust the settings does not work. No back LCD to review your taken shots.

    When shooting film, I can spend an hour to to get 4 or 5 photos. Film is a great way to learn how to do it right..before you take the shot.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I haven't shot any film for about 10(or just over) years. I refused to get any digital camera until they were both reasonably affordable AND with good performance(hence the D70s).
    What I did when I last shot a roll of film about 5 years ago, one thing I definitely did do tho was to shoot 3 bracketed exposures with my digital camera with a lens set to the same FOV and then shoot the film camera with the neutral exposure setting.
    My reasoning was, if I was going to waste a roll of film due to bad exposures, at least I knew later what the issue was.
    It turned out that the camera I used, a teeny Rollei 35(which I love to death!) seems to have a slow shutter.
    Even taking into account that the tiny lens on the Rollei will have a higher transmission rate than the lens I used on the DSLR(D300), almost all exposures are brighter than 1 Ev than the neutral setting I used on the DSLR.

    So in effect, I used my DSLR as the 'meter' to get a starting point, taking into account film to digital differences in exposure too .. I now know that I have to shoot the film 1Ev faster to what the DSLR tells me is a good exposure(to get that neutral exposure I'd see with the DSLR).

    As for digitising the finished film, even tho I've only just got my new scanner(a couple of days ago) .. I'm finding that reproduction via a good DSLR using a bellows and film holder attachment gives better overall digital IQ than a film slide scanner is showing me.
    Some time back I acquired a Nikon bellows + film holder attachment to digitise some of my parents old slides after weighing up the options of either this, or a good quality scanner .. and decided that the bellows was the overall better choice.
    Having now acquired a good scanner too now(predominantly for document scanning tho) I did settle on a mid-upper level scanner that does film scanning too.
    The ability of the scanner isn't in question tho.
    Where the advantage lies with the digital camera + bellows method is that it allows the variation in light to the film(ie. dodging and burning) that makes it the better method overall.

    If you're after any tips on processing the film afterwards .. I'm afraid I can't help at all, as I have done this since mid high school .. some 35 odd years ago!
    And I can't even remember what I just typed in this reply . let alone the process of film processing
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    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Thanks for the suggestions Ricktas & Arthurking83

    you've pretty much nailed one of the reasons why I want to head back to film for a while Ricktas..... making me slow down & really think about my compositions, while I am a bit of a crop in camera type of person I have been a little bit of a spray & prayer at times...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    My advice. Learn to slow down. With digital you can spray-and-pray, taking a heap of photos to get those few keepers. Do that with film and watch the developing/printing costs go up faster than a brides nightie.
    My problem with film, when it was the only choice and I was a student, was that the shutter sounded like a cash register. Now I've returned to film, I have to keep in mind that it is an indulgence that is more expensive, but I'm doing it anyway. So yes I slow down and be more thoughtful, but you can take that too far. The "film sweats" is when you can't actually hit the button for fear of wasting something. I have to fight that, and be willing to fail, to get anything. What helps is doing the things that will reduce the cost. Buying film as cheaply as possible. Developing yourself. BTW developing yourself used to be a choice, but now it is becoming the only way, and once you have made the investment in the set-up, it motivates you to shoot more to justify it. B&W was easy to get going. C-41 colour took a long time, but ultimately successful and rewarding. The hard part was sourcing chemicals.

    Untitled (7) by Andrew Rock, on Flickr
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