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Photography Question 
Tim Devick
 

Usefulness of 35mm in Digital Age


I have a question that I'd like to see some discussion on - is 35mm a dinosaur now that digital cameras have gotten so good? I've got a couple of old Canon F1 manual cameras that I just love and have shot lots of slide film over the years. I recently bought a 5MP digital SLR and am very happy with it. I'm wondering now if there's even any reason to keep using 35mm any more. Any opinions?


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9/9/2003 1:37:12 PM

 
doug Nelson   This has been a hot topic around here for a while. It comes and goes. I use and love my Canon F-1. I also got a 5 megapixel digital, but it's only a JPEG-only point'n shoot, a family toy. I get JPEG compression as a mandatory option. I don't like what it does to images.

The best digital is approaching fine grain film and the best conventional optics in quality. What's more, colors seem accurate (but that's because most affordable color print printing is of indifferent quality). My problem is that I cannot afford the digital stuff that makes this possible. The Canon EOS 10d is $1,500. Oh, ya want a lens with that?

I'm shooting Provia 100 and Portra NC print film for my really important personal stuff. Digital is catching up, both in quality and in price, but a digital film scanner is as far as I'm going right now.


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9/10/2003 5:21:34 AM

 
Jeff S. Kennedy   First of all let me tell you both how jealous I am. I have always wanted an F1.

That being said, I shoot primarily digital now (I do this for a living btw). I still have my 35mm cameras, medium format camera, and a large format camera. I rarely touch them. I've been shooting the 10D and I find I can make bigger enlargements with it than I could from most 35mm film. Plus it allows me greater flexibility and creative freedom.

In the end it's just a tool though. Is it the right tool for every job? No. Digital is a lot like shooting slide film. When I was shooting film I wouldn't use slide film for every job. Some jobs just lend themselves better to negative film. Add to that the fact that the 10D brings along with it a 1.6x focal length factor. That means that my wide angle lenses aren't so wide with it. So when I need a really wide shot I use my 35mm. If I were to shoot sports I would definitely pull out my EOS3. I can reel off frames much quicker with that. Not to mention the fact that it focuses much faster.


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9/10/2003 8:17:18 PM

 
Gregg Vieregge   I live in a cold weather climate. I would not want to challenge my digital camera in the elements. Therefore I am keeping all my 35mm and medium format cameras. (Also the resale on film cameras has really dropped so best to just keep them dusted for the harsh winter.)


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9/17/2003 11:44:03 AM

 
Jeff S. Kennedy   FWIW, the last time I tried to shoot a job in the cold with my all manual MF camera it froze up on me. The lubricant got too cold and gummed up.


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9/17/2003 11:48:26 AM

 
Jeff S. Kennedy   FWIW, the last time I tried to shoot a job in the cold with my all manual MF camera it froze up on me. The lubricant got too cold and gummed up.


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9/17/2003 11:49:28 AM

 
Shirley D. Cross-Taylor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2001
Contact Shirley
Shirley's Gallery
  As far as I'm concerned, 35mm is alive and well. Same with most of my friends in camera clubs. Most of us can't afford the high-end digital cameras that could come close to the quality of film. For myself, I have a Nikon LS2000 film scanner, which does a great job on slides or negatives. I can play with the photos in the computer, then print beautiful enlargements myself, here at home. There are now film scanners at reasonable prices that will scan at two to three times the resolution of mine.

Shirley Cross


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9/17/2003 5:35:26 PM

 
Buddy Purugganan   If you look at the most astounding, ground-breaking, historical photographs that have made history accomplished by photographers---the world of 35mm FILM is ARGUABLY the REAL WINNER.
I have seen amazing spectacular images in a thousand issues of magazines like LIFE,TIME, especially NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and definitely all of them were not possible if not for the utilization of 35mm FILM. DIGITAL is still catching up ( TSK,TSK,TSK) to widen its appeal to hardcore FILM pros and with the expensive price tags that digital demands...it will really take LONG before digital takes over. FILM is immortal and will remain so....


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9/24/2003 11:36:17 PM

 
Buddy Purugganan   If you look at the most astounding, ground-breaking, historical photographs that have made history accomplished by photographers---the world of 35mm FILM is ARGUABLY the REAL WINNER.
I have seen amazing spectacular images in a thousand issues of magazines like LIFE,TIME, especially NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC and definitely all of them were not possible if not for the utilization of 35mm FILM. DIGITAL is still catching up ( TSK,TSK,TSK) to widen its appeal to hardcore FILM pros and with the expensive price tags that digital demands...it will really take LONG before digital takes over. FILM is immortal and will remain so....


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9/24/2003 11:36:17 PM

 
Jeff S. Kennedy   As someone who recently switched to digital for the bulk of my professional work I can tell you that digital has now caught up with 35mm film. I shoot portraits, weddings, and for publication. It's not about one being a winner. It's about using the right tool for the job. There are some instances where film is superior but in those instances I will usually opt for a larger format (6x7 or 4x5). The images I get from my 10D are just as good if not superior to what I can get with my 35mm camera.


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9/25/2003 10:01:05 AM

 
Gregg Vieregge   It's my belief that digital is here to stay and 35mm will be respected as a treasured art that will always be available. I have been shooting everything, Seniors, Weddings, groups, etc. with the Fuji S2 for the past 2 years and I will never go back to film. 35MM has so many limitations. The enlargements are graining, the cropping is extremely limited, and retouching on the neg is virtually impossible. That leaves retouching on the hard copy using dyes and prismacolor pencils and that is very time consumming.

Enter Photoshop and the digital format is superior in all areas. Enlargements to 16X20 are sharp as a tack, retouching is flawless, file management is easy. (no sorting thru all those sleeved negs.) Prints from digital is getting very competitive. (as low as $2 for an 8X10 and $1 for a 5X7) Compare that to what the One hours charge for 35mm enlargements. Digital proofs are as low as $.38/each compates to $.59 at the one Hours.

It makes sense to me as a professional photographer from a business stand point. Hope this helps.


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9/25/2003 11:35:04 AM

 
Gregg Vieregge   It's my belief that digital is here to stay and 35mm will be respected as a treasured art that will always be available. I have been shooting everything, Seniors, Weddings, groups, etc. with the Fuji S2 for the past 2 years and I will never go back to film. 35MM has so many limitations. The enlargements are graining, the cropping is extremely limited, and retouching on the neg is virtually impossible. That leaves retouching on the hard copy using dyes and prismacolor pencils and that is very time consumming.

Enter Photoshop and the digital format is superior in all areas. Enlargements to 16X20 are sharp as a tack, retouching is flawless, file management is easy. (no sorting thru all those sleeved negs.) Prints from digital is getting very competitive. (as low as $2 for an 8X10 and $1 for a 5X7) Compare that to what the One hours charge for 35mm enlargements. Digital proofs are as low as $.38/each compates to $.59 at the one Hours.

It makes sense to me as a professional photographer from a business stand point. Hope this helps.


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9/25/2003 11:35:09 AM

 
Hope J. Waller   Personaly I choose to shoot 35mm film because of the qulity you get rather then with a digital.
Also I like the fact that if you shoot a bad photograph you can not run to a computer program and fix it to look perfect. I have a Canon AE-1 and love it!


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11/10/2004 12:56:12 PM

 
Jeff S. Kennedy   LOL! Hope you sound like someone who has never shot with digital. As I stated several times above (and that was more than a year ago and things have gotten better since then) digital has reached or even surpassed 35mm in terms of quality. As for being able to run to Photoshop to fix a bad photo, first of all you could easily scan 35mm and "fix" bad shots. Secondly, any good photographer knows that you are much better off getting it right in camera than trying to "fix" things in Photoshop. A bad photo fixed in PS looks like a bad photo fixed in PS. GIGO.

I had a couple of AE1's way back when. Great camera. Shoot what pleases you. But don't make excuses for it. If you like to shoot 35mm for whatever reason that's fine. The reality is that digital is here and for the most part it does a better job.


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11/10/2004 2:15:39 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Didn't know about all the film shots that get fixed by how they get printed?


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11/10/2004 7:11:02 PM

 
Jeff S. Kennedy   LOL! Exactly. Old Ansel Adams would have loved digital and Photoshop!


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11/10/2004 7:59:23 PM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  I have nothing against digital. I am sure film will stay for a long time and digital cameras improve over time. I am pursuing an image, not equipment. I use whatever available to me now to get the image. I did not own a digital camera because I don't need one right now. I will not buy a digital SLR unless there is a need or until the price of the Canon 20D is the same as the Elan 7N or the Canon 1D Mark II is the same as the 1v. Just my opinion. BTW, I have a film scanner and I don't see myself owning a digital SLR anytime soon.


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11/11/2004 8:34:10 AM

 
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