Film is still around

Film, photo courtesy Ron Holman

Film, photo courtesy Ron Holman

The above photo (shot by my friend Ron Holman during the Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk) shows me unrolling a roll of B&W 120 film as I get ready to re-load a “Horseman 120mm to 4×5 film adapter”  I used on my old Gowland 4×5 Pocket View .  Film, still around? still a viable medium? or is it really dead? I do not believe film is totally dead, there is a resurgence of its use, Mostly Nostalgia or niche’ photography (Wedding and some portrait usage), so …  there is a demand for using film.  To answer that question is film really dead? . . . No it isn’t.  Is it still around? Yes but limited . .  I still use film equipment but mostly for fun now days.  I have equipment that uses the following formats, 4×5, 120 & 35mm. I almost never process it anymore, it is really cheaper and more environmentally friendly to let a lab process it . . they provide all the services I need, even scanning the images to a CD as part of the service if wanted (low resolution scans, higher resolution scans are available if desired).  I can even use special B&W C41 process film and get 1 hour service at a few of the local Pharmacies or good old Wal-mart or Costco which provide prints and scanned negatives as well . . (mind you, that those scans and prints or even proof page are tools).
I gave up the darkroom a very long time ago, only occasionally wanting to process a roll of 120 or my 4×5 sheet film and the need for scanning them is even easier then they’d have you think, at least for what I would use them for (Internet posts) . . . I do not even use my expensive desktop scanner with its picky dirt/spot fixing software.  Instead I use my old light-box, a custom made (black cardboard or black core mat-board) film frame holder and my 16MP camera on a tripod.  Easy as eating pie, you can crop, light balance and “reverse negatives to positives in your Photo processing software” using just a standard lens or better a macro lens, use Live-view camera function to obtain absolute focus and you can get usable photos for the internet or other things like layers, or collage or even fine art.
You can still buy new Film based cameras, some good and some … well lets just say . . . artsy, and lastly you can buy used or find dads or granddads old camera in the garage or attic.  You can still buy new film, in much limited varieties then what was available in films heyday.  Why you ask buy film when digital cameras are the do all , end all way of the world? Let me just say that film has a nuance that digital cannot match, and you can tout all your fave filters and actions in the universe to me, but there is still something that cold piece of silicon cannot capture.  Then there is the way one shoots when using film, not as cheap as it once was, I will lament for souping ones own film in a favorite developer to achieve a look and agonizing all the way to pouring out the fixer and pulling the reel from the tank to drop into the rinse bath . . . that one moment you new your film at least made it through the initial and you could tell you had good exposures (I was always hopeful, I subscribed to the glass half full theory) . . . and finally hanging it to dry and looking at the negatives (kind of like today’s chimping).

It was after you dried your film and put it on the lightbox you could see you had a good or bad neg, and then you went on with selecting and printing your pictures.  There has been much written on the “How-To” of film processing and printing and darkroom processing of the paper print, I will not go into those things here, I will suffice to say it was all part of being a photographer back in those days.

I am glad film is still around, it is a luxury to shoot film (cost out-ways daily use) just for pleasure anymore.  Film is available through most major camera stores and online camera stores.  There are even a few online stores that specialize in selling odd and rare size film formats like Film Photography Project website which is a great resource of film and how to’s as well as a great podcast almost every month which is a lighthearted fun and informative Internet radio show.  Another online resource is Freestyle Photographic Supplies which has many books and materials for alternate processes as well.

120 film still lives, my Hassey

120 film still lives, my Hasselblad 501c

Yes I shot this with my 4×5 studio camera and a digital back for another article but that is a camera I could only dream of owning, the advent of digital made it obtainable by devaluing all film cameras.  Anyway Film is still around, and I hope it stays for a bit longer. Check out this guys post on the Hassey  by Ming Thien a great street photographer

That’s it … enough for today, I need to get out and shoot a bit.  If you enjoyed this post then please comment and do please share it.  I do not write enough about my passion and the equipment that lets me explore my world.  To busy making shots . . . later

Tim . . . aka (DigiPainteR)


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