Plunge to film...


rosstownsley

Link Posted 16/01/2013 - 09:05
Morning all,

I am giving some serious thought to giving film a whizz....

My first "proper camera" was a K100d super and I am now using a GX20. I haven't had any expereience with film apart from as a child with those lil' cardboard wrapped disposables for parties.

I have been doing a bit of reading around at what cameras people recommend. There was one greta thread on this forum (which I now can't find) which was great. In particular George L. compiled a little list of the what he thought the best cameras from Pentax where according to what the user wanted (i.e. ruggedness, fully manual, value for money and more)- if anyone chances across this and could send me the link it would be massively appreciated. Once again the forum has been a treasure trove of useful information.

I have seen a P30n for a tenner and I thought for the price it isn't a big deal if I do some experimenting and decide it isn't for me. I also have a few A series lens to use with a film body.

I am a fan of B&W so I would be starting off with this and the idea is to do some street photography with the film body. I love the idea of developing my own prints but I think I need to take it one step at a time.

I was just wondering how other users who have been brought up on digital and switched to film have found the transition? Is it a steep learning curve? Are the first few rolls likely to be full of duds?!

I do like the idea of being less trigger happy when it dawns on me that every click is costing me money!

I had also been toying with the idea of gettig one of the older rangefinders as they are very tiny and could come everywhere with me. at the moment my thinking is that I already have the Pentax lenses so I should use them.

Any thoughts/comments/predictions of doom and financial ruin would be most appreciated.

Thanks

Ross
Pentax K5iis, Samsung GX-20, Pentax A 28, A 50, Tamron 28-70, 70-300

Jonathan-Mac

Link Posted 16/01/2013 - 11:18
I have done the same as you - starting with a DSLR and then moving to use film also. The P30N is a very good camera to start with, and probably the biggest bargain out there for 35mm. It doesn't have the traditional old camera look but it's solid, reliable and has virtually everything you'll want. It also has a P mode with A lenses, if you don't want to do everything manually.

I'd recommend developing your own B&W film from the start. Lab development can be expensive and the process can be enjoyable and allows you to push films as you want (though the P30N is not the best camera for this as you'll need to over-ride the ISO).

If you develop your own negatives then you will still need to either print them or scan them. I scan mine with an Epson V500, which isn't too bad, and costs around 150 quid new. If you don't want to start with this then lots of places will be able to scan them for you. If you decide to continue using film then it'll be cheaper to then get a scanner.

Don't go thinking that using film is cheap just because the camera costs a tenner. There's film, chemicals, equipment, scanning, not to mention the greater investment of your time.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses

DoctorJeff

Link Posted 16/01/2013 - 23:07
I came the normal route, film to digital,and still use film.
Like Jonathan Mac says, the P30n is a great tool, I had a P30 bought in a Depot Vente in Dreux, and kept it until its replacement - a P50 - came along. With either of the P series, you can hang an MEII winder on, and my P50 also has a Tamron f2.4 17mm Adaptall-2 permanently on the front.
In contrast to JM, I have not shot 35mm monochrome since the 1960s - for most of the time since it was 400 ASA Fuji - now it is whatever I can get hold of, but there is always a roll of something 200 ASA next to the P50.
Give the film a go, while you still can. So many companies have dropped 35mm film now, that you may not be able to do it for much longer - and it does make you think about each shot.
Geoff
Water can wear away a stone - but it can't cook lunch
X-5
istDS
K2000
P50.
Lenses Digital: 50-200, 18-55 KAF: 28-80.
Lenses KA & K: SMC-KA f2.0, SMC-K f1.4, SMC-K f1.7 Tokina KA 28-70 , SMC Pentax 70-210 F4, Sigma KA 75-300 , Hanimex 500mm Mirror, and the Tamron Adaptall-2 stuff.
and then there's all the M42 kit, and the accessories ...

rosstownsley

Link Posted 16/01/2013 - 23:38
Jonathan,

I thought it might be a bit "all too much at once" if I started to shoot film and develop all in one go. As you mentioned shooting film could be expensive and I a wary of that. I am hoping that perhaps knowing each click costs (maybe I can use that as a mantra) will make me selective in when I push the shutter button.

Dr Jeff

Thanks for the comments; a very pertinent point re. film become rarer. Perhaps in a few years it will be super niche and even more expensive.

Thanks for both your comments.

Ross
Pentax K5iis, Samsung GX-20, Pentax A 28, A 50, Tamron 28-70, 70-300

mdc

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 01:39
Shooting film is actually far, far cheaper than shooting digital.

Film itself is not prohibitively expensive, depending on what you buy and where you buy it from.

The main thing to remember is: don't buy a single roll at a time, and don't buy it from a high street shop. The one exception to this is Poundland, who often sell things like Kodak ColorPlus 200, UltraMax 400 and even some less common films like Efke and Ferrania for a quid a roll.

Failing that, eBay is where you should be going. For B&W I'd highly recommend Lucky SHD100, which can cost anywhere from 1 to 2 a roll, depending on the quantities you buy it in.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Lucky-SHD100-Black-White-Film-x-10-for-HOLGA-135-BC-TL...

That works out at 1.70 a roll, or 5p a shot. Development costs are even lower than that, if you're self-developing, which is actually ridiculously easy to do. Kodak D-76 developer is insanely cheap (1.50 for a litre of powder, which can be used at 1:3 ratio with water, giving you the ability to develop 10 films from a single packet of developer. Stop bath and Fixer can be re-used a crazy amount of times (think: over a thousand rolls from a single container).

Couple all of the above with the fact that the cameras themselves are available for peanuts, especially if you trawl the charity shops for gems hiding in the bottom of crates out the back, and shooting film is FAR cheaper than shooting digital.

EDIT: In addition, in my opinion the "best" K-mount film SLR is the Vivitar V335; it's a completely mechanical KA-mount body that only uses batteries for the -/o/+ meter, with a top speed of 1/2000th. It's based on the Cosina CT-1A chassis (the same chassis used for the Bessa rangefinders), and is practically bulletproof. I've dropped mine out of cars, off walls, down hills, and it's still working perfectly. There's also an insane amount of donor bodies out there for spare parts IF anything breaks.

They also look quite gorgeous too


Last Edited by mdc on 17/01/2013 - 01:46

Smeggypants

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 05:47
mdc wrote:
Shooting film is actually far, far cheaper than shooting digital.


Funniest thing I've read this year ( apart from the plethora of recent Tesco Horse Burger jokes )

You've certainly got a sense of humour.





.
[i]Bodies: 1x K-5IIs, 2x K-5, Sony TX-5, Nokia 808
Lenses: Pentax DA 10-17mm ED(IF) Fish Eye, Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8, Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.2, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-FA 50mm f/1.4, Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7, Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, Sigma 135-400mm APO DG, and more ..
Flash: AF-540FGZ, Vivitar 283
Last Edited by Smeggypants on 17/01/2013 - 05:48

mdc

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 07:07
I'm afraid it's true

On a related note, JUST finished my darkroom (aside from power fittings).



New Darkroom by pentax.shines, on Flickr
Last Edited by mdc on 17/01/2013 - 07:08

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 07:19
I admire people who continue to use film especially those who grew up lurking around cold, smelly darkrooms "enjoying" the magic of the image emrging while trying to assess contrast and exposure in a gloomy red light. I've got the t-shirt and (analogue) video of that era.

It's a bit like my son's friend who owns a "classic" (old) MG on which he has spent some 8,000. (and still counting). It still looks and sounds awful.

Or the guys who hanker after vinyl LPs because of the rich, warm sound... no, that's dust and scratches you can hear.

Old technology is nostalgic and interesting (I love looking at my Zeiss Ikon or Contax 139) but give me my digital SLR everytime.

And as for "scanning" i.e. making digital something analogue, after you've gone to all that trouble, well...

Still, "chaque-un a sa photographie", as they say. I'd get a Spotmatic: I spent my teenage years yearning for one...
Best wishes,

Andrew

"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website: http://www.ephotozine.com/user/bwlchmawr-199050 http://s927.photobucket.com/home/ADC3440/index
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05
Last Edited by bwlchmawr on 17/01/2013 - 07:43

mdc

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 07:34
bwlchmawr wrote:
Old technology is nostalgic and interesting (I love looking at my Zeiss Ikon or Contax 139) but give me my digital SLR everytime.

And as for "scanning" i.e. making digital something analogue after you've gone to all that trouble, well...

You do realise a 6x9 (or even a 645, for that matter) negative will outresolve even a Pentax 645D? Hell, even a Hasselblad H4D.

For photographic applications where high levels of detail is required, medium format and large format is still king; digital doesn't even come close - yet.

When it comes to product photography, which is usually studio work, you'll almost always find their setup is a Hasselblad H4D (30,000ish) for proofing, and a Sinar or Toyo monorail in 4x5 or possibly even 8x10, which is used for the final shots.

The irony is, they can shoot and process THOUSANDS of images on the LF camera before you even come close to the cost of the proofing camera.

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 07:49
mdc wrote:
bwlchmawr wrote:
Old technology is nostalgic and interesting (I love looking at my Zeiss Ikon or Contax 139) but give me my digital SLR everytime.

And as for "scanning" i.e. making digital something analogue after you've gone to all that trouble, well...

You do realise a 6x9 (or even a 645, for that matter) negative will outresolve even a Pentax 645D? Hell, even a Hasselblad H4D.

For photographic applications where high levels of detail is required, medium format and large format is still king; digital doesn't even come close - yet.

When it comes to product photography, which is usually studio work, you'll almost always find their setup is a Hasselblad H4D (30,000ish) for proofing, and a Sinar or Toyo monorail in 4x5 or possibly even 8x10, which is used for the final shots.

The irony is, they can shoot and process THOUSANDS of images on the LF camera before you even come close to the cost of the proofing camera.

Yes, I'm sure you're right and if anyone were ever foolish enough to pay me to produce a bill-board size photographs then, no doubt, I'd have to buy a 6x7 film camera. But until then... well, you get the idea. Just a simple amateur taking a few snaps!
Best wishes,

Andrew

"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website: http://www.ephotozine.com/user/bwlchmawr-199050 http://s927.photobucket.com/home/ADC3440/index
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05

rosstownsley

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 08:49
mdc,

Thanks, it is reasuring to know that developing film doesn't have to mean I have to mortgage my left leg.

I like the idea of developing my own but I think it might be a bit much all at once - shifting to film and learning to develop, altough it does sound like an interesting process.

Maybe if I can pick up some cheap second hand equipment it may be worth giving it a whirl... At the moment I am only interesting in experimenting as I think it would do me good to slow down and think about each shot more.

I think I can leave the medium format for a bit yet...

Andrew,

As always interesting comments. I have to agree it is probably somethig to do with the mystique of film having never had to rely on it; it just seems like an interesting aside to me... I am also hoping it will make me think more as a photographer and hopefully I'll learn more too.

I look forward to telling some whippersnapper in 20 years that he doesn't know how lucky he is to take 3d hologrpahic pictures by blinking his eyes and having them automatically pp'd and that I had it hard with digital!

Funny enough I also have an MG.... but it is only 12 years old!

And as you say "a simple amateur taking a few snaps".

Thanks
Pentax K5iis, Samsung GX-20, Pentax A 28, A 50, Tamron 28-70, 70-300

johnriley

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 09:30
Learning how to process film and print pictures is a very long process indeed. I spent many years printing every night, and it's also very expensive in terms of good paper, chemicals and of course high quality film. No point in being cheap with the materials, even if you could be these days. There's no ex-Government black and white paper in 2013!

A friend of mine was an excellent printer and that was because he spent 20 years making 300+ prints every day. And I've seen better than his efforts as well. It's a very fine craft and can be taken to a very high level.

The last shoot I did on film was medium format in the studio and it cost me a fortune. My colleagues shot digital and it cost them nothing. The results from both paths were fine, no difference at all.

Print for fun, for the experience, to try new techniques, but not I think to save money!
Best regards, John

Algernon

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 10:01
mdc wrote:
I'm afraid it's true

On a related note, JUST finished my darkroom (aside from power fittings).


The Kaiser enlargers are superb. I've still got one with
a few heads (colour and multigrade) for up to 6x7 although
I haven't printed anything for a few years. It's still
set up in my makeshift darkroom.

For anyone looking for an enlarger that packs away you
won't get any better than a Kaiser. One bolt/knob holds the
column to the baseboard and even the head comes apart.
The 35mm B&W version is slightly smaller, but also rare.

-
Half Man... Half Pentax ... Half Cucumber

Pentax K-1 + K-5 and some other stuff

Algi

mdc

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 12:42
Algernon wrote:
mdc wrote:
I'm afraid it's true

On a related note, JUST finished my darkroom (aside from power fittings).


The Kaiser enlargers are superb. I've still got one with
a few heads (colour and multigrade) for up to 6x7 although
I haven't printed anything for a few years. It's still
set up in my makeshift darkroom.

For anyone looking for an enlarger that packs away you
won't get any better than a Kaiser. One bolt/knob holds the
column to the baseboard and even the head comes apart.
The 35mm B&W version is slightly smaller, but also rare.

-

All VERY true. I've got a few enlargers; one of the Zenit 35mm ones, a Meopta Opemus 5, and the Kaiser VCP6000; the Kaiser is by FAR my favorite. The only downside is it doesn't do 6x9, although they DO offer a version which does; the VCP900x, I believe.

Unless you go up to a DeVere 504, the Kaisers are probably the best bang-for-buck wise

My entire setup probably cost less than a hundred quid in total, and the stuff visible in the photo is only half of what I've got in total; the rest is in boxes in the spare room.

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 17/01/2013 - 12:48
I have to say when my son did A level photography a few years back he LOVED the processing and printing of b/w film. He's never had the same love for digital and now tends to take what are best referred to as functional pictures related to his interests.

If you want to see someone committed to film and who loves using old cameras, check-out womble on this site. Kris has taken a number of great shots using different b/w film and I'm sure would help answer any questions you might have.

As for myself, I'll never forget the first time I borrowed a 3mp Fuji camera to have a play with, a number of years ago. Haven't touched a film camera in anger since! (Lots of old darkroom stuff gradually aquiring layers of dust in the loft...)

When I had to respond to the sirens of the middle aged, I bought a BMW Z3 which is older than your MG! Enough was definitely enough where rust and unreliability were concerned...
Best wishes,

Andrew

"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website: http://www.ephotozine.com/user/bwlchmawr-199050 http://s927.photobucket.com/home/ADC3440/index
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.