Is it still worth owning a film camera?

Mt_GoatMt_Goat Head Cheezy KnobPflugerville (north of Austin) Icrontian
edited October 2014 in The Pub

Not long before digital cameras took off i used to own 2 Canon F1 AE with motor drives and a Canon Ftb along with thousands of dollars in lenses. In addition i owned a complete darkroom for b&w and color sides as well as negatives up to printing. I loaned my 2 F1 AE camera's to a friend who never returned at all. Now I have found a deal on 2 F1 AE cameras with motor drives in like new condition like what I had. So I am wondering if it is worth pursuing film again. Can you buy good color film anymore and how bad is it to get developer and other chemicals considering all the new epa laws. Or, should I just go whole hog on digital.

Linc

Comments

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian
    edited October 2014

    I had a similar thought a few years ago when I was thinking about buying a Canon EOS Elan 7 body to complement my EOS 20D digital SLR because it would've allowed me to shoot film with all my current lenses and accessories and was priced disproportionately low. The thought was that it has the same effective resolution as the film grain density and whatever scanner I use for the developed negative. It would also allow me to do a few things I can't do well with my digital SLR like multiple-hour exposures and hyperspectral sensitivity for astrophotography. Even at $100 for the camera body though I was never able to convince myself that the local 1-hr photo operations weren't going to do a shitty job developing and scanning the negatives and I was unwilling to invest in darkroom supplies.

    I've been spoiled by digital for everyday shooting. It's hard for me to remember a time when I shot film and wouldn't know how the shot turned out for weeks. My dad has an F-1 and a few Sigma FL-mount lenses; I went through his collection and he doesn't have anything nice enough to warrant buying the adapter to EF and using in full manual mode for every shot. You can buy 35mm film from any decent camera store or online from Adorama or B&H Photo/Video. A cursory search at Adorama indicates that they stock developer and other darkroom supplies but I can't comment on what's considered reasonable cost. These guys should be on your list of go-to shops anyway.

    Mt_Goat
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC Icrontian

    Get a film camera and shoot. Shoot slide film. Shoot IR film. Do all the cool crazy stuff you can do with a real camera. Then pass the photos on to your family. They'll appreciate it more than a hard drive or DVD full of files.

    mertesnMt_GoatUPSLynxCreeperbane2
  • My brother is a film photography enthusiast. He enjoys the ability to manipulate inside the darkroom. Perhaps select a special shot for matting and framing. He has a nice little collection of film cameras that he has picked up from pawn shops and thrift stores over the years. I guess it comes down to how much you enjoy the darkroom and the ritual of film. You know how some guys on here have shaving rituals and coffee rituals that are a little old fashioned? There is a certain joy to pulling out a badger brush and soap for some guys, I think the darkroom is similar for my brother. It's a ritual, it's quiet time to think and immerse yourself into your own project perhaps in a way that isn't quite the same editing inside Photoshop.

    mertesnMt_Goat
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    In terms of "is it worth it"...

    If you plan on developing and scanning yourself, and you have a passion for the look of film, then yes.

    If you just want to maximize the investment you've already made, film will just annoy you until you stop shooting again. The scanning, developing, costs, and lack of feedback will annoy you endlessly and you will probably shoot less.

    My suggestion is that if you're not passionate about film, then sell the whole thing to someone who is, and invest more in digital.

    midga
  • Mt_GoatMt_Goat Head Cheezy Knob Pflugerville (north of Austin) Icrontian
    edited October 2014

    I sat and thought it out, what I like and dislike about both digital and film. And that gave rise to what I really want in film the most. It is more about the texture, subtle nuances and visual feel that film provides, which made me realize I really want to do high definition B&W. There is nothing that touches the soul like black and white. Because when you take it to the darkroom you have so many options. There are lots of different options of paper, developers and finishers that make the same image different in a hundred ways. So low and behold I found a Hassleblad 501CM with 3 lenses, bellows and some other goodies for a reasonable price. ($2,850) While at the photo shop getting it all checked out I got some Ilford film, chemicals and paper.

    On the other side I came to the conclusion that I really like the easy convenience and low cost (once the hardware is purchased) of digital. There is no waiting to develop film or cost and disposal of nasty chemicals. I don't know why I have never done a cost analysis of film vs digital as a cost per finished photo before. But this exercise proved that digital wins in the long run over the course of as little as 100 keepable images.

    midga
  • Mt_GoatMt_Goat Head Cheezy Knob Pflugerville (north of Austin) Icrontian
    edited October 2014

    @primesuspect said:
    In terms of "is it worth it"...

    If you plan on developing and scanning yourself, and you have a passion for the look of film, then yes.

    If you just want to maximize the investment you've already made, film will just annoy you until you stop shooting again. The scanning, developing, costs, and lack of feedback will annoy you endlessly and you will probably shoot less.

    My suggestion is that if you're not passionate about film, then sell the whole thing to someone who is, and invest more in digital.

    The only reason i stopped shooting film in the first place was that my equipment was heisted. Then i didn't have the cash to replace it before I got into digital. And as I mentioned above I am passionate about film but in comparison it is really a pain in the ass.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited October 2014

    Mt_goat you might really like DxO Optics Pro and DxO FilmPack. They have tons of film effects. I've been very happy with it.

    Mt_Goat
  • Mt_GoatMt_Goat Head Cheezy Knob Pflugerville (north of Austin) Icrontian

    I really like working with the Hassie. The camera is just a joy to work with. Even with no previous experience with one as well as the first time in many years to work with film. My darkroom exploits were let's say less impressive since it has been a lot of years doing anything in the darkroom. But I am still enjoying it and do not think this will be a waste.

    midgaCliff_Forster
  • Mt_GoatMt_Goat Head Cheezy Knob Pflugerville (north of Austin) Icrontian

    I have finally got to where I am getting caught up on my darkroom skills after many years of absence. I am not scanning as I am doing it for the wall and my own personal satisfaction. I have also sold some at local street festivals, which is very satisfying. B&W of still life and landscape is just sooooo much fun and has been using almost 1/2 of my allotment of photo time. Disposal of chemicals is definitely the big drawback atm.

    Kwitkoprimesuspect
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