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Author Topic: Is film worth it? Newbie here  (Read 4197 times)
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« on: January 19, 2006, 04:23:26 PM »
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Hello all! I'm new here and currently began taking photography courses at my local college. I've been going nuts with a digital point and shoot.  I donít own a DSLR, but I DO however own a Canon T-70 35mm, and plan on going digital soon, although I havenít decided which one.

In the meantime the T-70 will have to do. My question is: Iím wondering if it is even WORTH it though to practice w/ film??? Will learning all this film make my diving into digital harder???
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jliechty
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2006, 09:29:57 AM »
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Film, and especially transparency (slide) film, is more likely to force you to slow down and think about things like exposure. This isn't to say that individuals with a good sense of self-discipline couldn't do the same with digital, but all too many see the "freeness" of digital capture and go wild shooting tons of shots without thinking about what they're doing. If you want to learn the fundamentals of photographic technique, nothing stops you from doing so with a digital camera.

Regardless, there are numerous benefits to having a good grasp on exposure, focal length, etc., and how these affect the photos that you take. What you learn on film will transfer very well to a DSLR, though you will have the additional burden of having to understand how angle of view changes based on focal length vs. image capturing area (aka "crop factor," "lens magnification," etc.).
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Deb
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2006, 11:43:40 AM »
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A newby here also. I do both.  Technology is making it hard to beat with the high end digital.  My experience is that think long and hard about what kind of photography you want to do first.  There are different lense requirements for different venues.  Also take a good look at your pocket book.  Its not a cheep hobby.  Personally I prefer to shoot film. pay for process only and then I can scan and print my own prints with epson high end products.  Most people cant tell the difference between a film print and a good digital print.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2006, 11:46:42 AM by Deb » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2006, 10:54:13 PM »
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Thanks for your feedback, it's really appreciated. I have decided to take things one step at a time. I do get excited just by THINKING about digital and all the possibilities! But I feel sometimes I am way ahead of myself. I'd like to get the base down first, and if that means getting the SLR right to begin with then so be it! We'll keep you posted! Cheers.
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alanrew
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2006, 07:47:25 AM »
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Hello all! I'm new here and currently began taking photography courses at my local college. I've been going nuts with a digital point and shoot.  I donít own a DSLR, but I DO however own a Canon T-70 35mm, and plan on going digital soon, although I havenít decided which one.

In the meantime the T-70 will have to do. My question is: Iím wondering if it is even WORTH it though to practice w/ film??? Will learning all this film make my diving into digital harder???
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=56347\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

OK, you're on a photography course. So using digital should be a no-brainer, preferably with a digital camera that has an exposure histogram and allows easy manual intervention on the settings, aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc etc.

The massive advantage with digital as a learning tool is the instant feedback you get from each shot - a histogram is essential here BTW - so the feedback loop involved in the learning process is as short as possible. As an experienced amateur, I've learnt more in 2 years with a digital SLR than in 20 years with film.

OTOH, film has it's own characteristics which some people prefer, and, as has been said, forces you to stop & think a bit more. So if you can afford it, maybe you should  have both a digital SLR and a film SLR :-)

HTH

Alan
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2006, 10:21:32 AM »
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The massive advantage with digital as a learning tool is the instant feedback you get from each shot - a histogram is essential here BTW - so the feedback loop involved in the learning process is as short as possible. As an experienced amateur, I've learnt more in 2 years with a digital SLR than in 20 years with film.

I could say exactly the same thing.  Another vote for the digital route as being faster for learning.

Lisa
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2006, 12:36:29 AM »
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Instant feedback is indeed a good instructional tool with a DSLR. But:

1. the histogram is just an indication, a camera interpretation, of what your exposure looks like. Sure, it gives you the feedback in terms of distinct over or under exposure, but not the fine detail;

2. How often have people thought their exposure was good, according to the histogram, just to find out later that that was not the case?

3. This fine exposure detail, or variation, is much better evaluated using slide film, and a good loupe and light table.

Just a word of warning, that's all.
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GerardK
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2006, 02:20:34 AM »
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Histogram, schmistogram. Sorry to sound rude, but in my humble opinion way too much emphasis is placed on technicalities.

The most important thing to do is to try and look beyond the camera and see what you're actually trying to do or accomplish with the picture you're taking. What is your subject, which is the emotion or feeling that you are trying to convey, and how could you frame your subject in such way that this is done effectively. Is the light pleasing or not helping at all, things like that.

You can do this with any old camera, although I agree that with digital you can learn faster because of immediate feedback.

Honestly, did you ever fall in love with a picture because it was so well exposed?

Best of luck, Gerard
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2006, 10:47:31 AM »
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2. How often have people thought their exposure was good, according to the histogram, just to find out later that that was not the case?

Far, far less often than I thought my exposure was good with film and was *wrong*, and unfortunately I didn't know it until a week later (unlike with digital, when you redo it right away).  It's pretty rare that I get post-histogram surprises.

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Histogram, schmistogram. Sorry to sound rude, but in my humble opinion way too much emphasis is placed on technicalities.

The most important thing to do is to try and look beyond the camera and see what you're actually trying to do or accomplish with the picture you're taking. What is your subject, which is the emotion or feeling that you are trying to convey, and how could you frame your subject in such way that this is done effectively. Is the light pleasing or not helping at all, things like that.

The art and the technique are *both* required for a great image, so it's tough to say that one is more important than the other.  What we're discussing here is mostly the technical issues of film vs digital.  The artistic aspect of it applies about equally to either, and it doesn't much matter which you're using.

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Honestly, did you ever fall in love with a picture because it was so well exposed?

No, but with film I've had to throw out pictures (many!) I would otherwise have loved because the exposure was crappy.  I learned more about getting a good exposure in a year with a digital camera than I had learned in the previous decade with a film camera.  Rather than coming back from a vacation with about 6 or 8 really good pictures, I'm coming back with about three dozen really good pictures.  Part of it, too (though maybe about half of the improvement) is that I never bracketed the exposure much with film because the film and developing were expensive; with digital, I can bracket a great deal more for free.

Lisa

P.S.  To return to the original poster's question, though, you can learn photography with either film or digital.  The skills learned with one will mostly translate well to the other.  Learning with film will require more study and discipline (which, one could argue, may be better in the long run) but learning with digital will probably be quicker.  Either one will work, though, and moving from film to digital can easily be done; most of us here have done it.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2006, 10:49:42 AM by nniko » Logged

GerardK
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2006, 10:57:07 AM »
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Lisa,

Agreed on all counts, but I host workshops and I see way too many pictures that are well exposed and technically sound but are utterly boring because people focus too much on technicalities. Didn't Ansel Adams say something to that effect?

Good luck, Gerard


Gerard Kingma Travel and Nature Photography
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Rod Brown
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« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2006, 11:56:46 AM »
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Histogram, schmistogram. Sorry to sound rude, but in my humble opinion way too much emphasis is placed on technicalities.[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=56606\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I agree, but in this case the OP is a self-described newbie, so I imagine he still would gain benefit from nailing the technical basics.  

As someone who was in a similar position a few years ago, I found the histogram invaluable in understanding those basics.  I had taken a photo class based on film and the wet darkroom, but the concepts of correct exposure and contrast never really clicked.  The teacher would look at one of my photos and would say "needs more contrast" or "too much contrast", and I would wonder how she could tell.  I could see obvious problems, but ones that were not obvious were difficult for me to judge.  A few months later I started using PS, and a few comparisons of histograms to actual pictures suddenly created an "ah ha!" moment.   Soon I didn't need the histogram to judge such things, but it was a great learning tool.
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