Learning using film or digital


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sweat100

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#1
Have been owning a prosumer digital camera for quite some time. Wanted to move up to the SLR level, thinking of film or digital. Now I am facing this 2 sided argument which i need people for advice which is true and which is not.

1. After using the digital camera, it seems that I start to develop this "shutter-happy" syndrome. So u take many many shots and select 1 of your choice you like. It makes photography like a "guessing" game. Jus take many and u will get one picture that is of ur idea choice.
So my question is... inorder to get a better composed shot, do i use film? Cos in that way i will be more consciencious with what i shoot. Then i will think twice and frame nicely before releasing the shutter. Will this improve my "eye" to photography as i have only 36 frames to play with. In this way, will the ratio of good shots to bad shots be better?

2. Conversely, I may also face the problem of being to merticulous, I may tend to think that i dont have many frames to shoot when i am using film so I only be very sure when i shoot. Will the moments which i actually wanted to capture escape from me? And also will the cost of developing dampen my passion to photography, if i keep getting negative results with film? Ultimately, the film SLR will just be another white elephant in the dry box?

Really considering a film SLR or a DSLR. Dont know which is a better choice to further improve on my photographic skills. :dunno:

Hope those film users and digital users can comment about these 2 statements and shed some light of which idea is better. Can contribute more ideas too! :)
 

#2
If you want to play around with Photoshop and tweak your photos, merge photos, etcetc, digital is your choice. However, many say that quality of film surpasses digital, though insignificant if you print 4R...

Film will make you think carefully before you shoot. (So you won't get carried away if you get a DSLR and fire at 5-8fps... :bsmilie: :bsmilie: )
 

F5user

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#3
+evenstar said:
If you want to play around with Photoshop and tweak your photos, merge photos, etcetc, digital is your choice. However, many say that quality of film surpasses digital, though insignificant if you print 4R...

Film will make you think carefully before you shoot. (So you won't get carried away if you get a DSLR and fire at 5-8fps... :bsmilie: :bsmilie: )
True true..


traditionally, i would advise u start with film/slides.... old fashioned as some might call it, it really makes u READ, UNDERSTAND, and THINK about your shots before you fire.

Yup, digital is definitely cheaper in terms of results, the learning curve, etc etc... but KIV that the shutter runs its lifespan out much faster this way.... ultimately, it's how u want to approach this subject.
 

hazmee

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#4
I started out with the film. Its fun. After shooting on film for about 3 years, it makes shooting dslr a breeze. My two cents.
 

sweat100

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#5
hazmee said:
I started out with the film. Its fun. After shooting on film for about 3 years, it makes shooting dslr a breeze. My two cents.
Ic... what do u mean by make shooting DSLR a breeze? As in ur "hit" shot is better?
 

surge

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#6
there are 2 sides to photography- technical and artistic.

technical- DSLR is the way to go cos when you shoot, you can immediately look at the result and understanding how different settings can affect highlight or shadowq area, sharpness, DOF etc. also you will be able to see what results you get when you meter at different places when you learn to spot meter at middle gray in you scene

such instant review will help you learn and correct your mistakes almost immediately. if its fillm, sometimes you wil not even remember the settings already ( still remember the days of going around recording the setting after each shot).


artistic- guess this is the part that you are worried about that you cant learn being trigger happy.

technicals of camera is very easy to learn,it is the art in composition that is dificult to learn, cos it involves how you see things and understanding how equipment well enough so that you can capture what you have visualise or wanna portray. veryone can learn how to use the camera but how to shoot it differently will only depends on your own

one solution is get a 64mb card and shoot with it. that will limit the no of shots ans only review after card is full. of cos i am assuming that your understanding of exposure and lens angle have come to a point that your pictures at this stage is technically acceptable or good. only compositon that you need to review.


last but not least, it also depends ultimately are you going to go digital. cos digital sensors and film are quite different. why learn all the things about slide and which one better for skin tone, nature etc then realise you are going digital? then time is better spent on learning how to get these colours you want on photoshop with your digital camera.

i have taught a couple of ppl the technicals of digital and they all find using my D70 to shoot does help them to understand photogeaphy much much faster.i don teach then the artistic side though cos i not even half pail with that. :cry: just my 2 cents worth.
 

xxxger

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#7
Since you already have a digital compact camera .... then get something different. Try use film (SLR) this time .... is fun and as you say, can make your mind think ... :lovegrin:
 

sweat100

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#8
surge said:
there are 2 sides to photography- technical and artistic.

technical- DSLR is the way to go cos when you shoot, you can immediately look at the result and understanding how different settings can affect highlight or shadowq area, sharpness, DOF etc. also you will be able to see what results you get when you meter at different places when you learn to spot meter at middle gray in you scene

such instant review will help you learn and correct your mistakes almost immediately. if its fillm, sometimes you wil not even remember the settings already ( still remember the days of going around recording the setting after each shot).


artistic- guess this is the part that you are worried about that you cant learn being trigger happy.

technicals of camera is very easy to learn,it is the art in composition that is dificult to learn, cos it involves how you see things and understanding how equipment well enough so that you can capture what you have visualise or wanna portray. veryone can learn how to use the camera but how to shoot it differently will only depends on your own

one solution is get a 64mb card and shoot with it. that will limit the no of shots ans only review after card is full. of cos i am assuming that your understanding of exposure and lens angle have come to a point that your pictures at this stage is technically acceptable or good. only compositon that you need to review...
Yup, as for the technical aspects, i think have already understood most of the photographing eqpts and the "fixed" things you can do to ur camera to vary ur composition (throught the few years into using digital cameras). You are right, now is that...How can I enter into the "artistic realm"? This is the hard to get hold of. Jus like playing chess. Many ppl can play chess, but being a grandmaster is not an easy feat. So it seems that film should be the idea choice?
 

F5user

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#9
As mentioned, it's how u want to approach the subject, and where u ultimately would like to go with it.

If you'd eventually like to go digital ONLY, yup... go try the dslr bodies, or get a 2nd hand canon g5 or something. Easy, cheap, and good.... From there you'd eventually see the results of your shots, etc...

What Surge mentioned about slides and digital post processing... well, i feel it's up to u on that. Of course by now u realize that almost all Digital users rely almost fully on photoshop to correct their shots/post process... that's the :thumbsup: thing about digital photography as you'll ultimately, get the results u like from tweaking on a monitor and screen.

I learnt photography when kodachrome first came out a long long time ago... and well, we "photoshopped" our pictures (colour corrected,etc) with the suitable filters and later, with the appropriate slide film.

No doubt shooting slides is more leceh in the learning process, but it's still the way most distinguished Fine Art schools here are teaching basic photography, helpign u to understand the light/colour medium in photography. It ultimately makes u appreciate Photoshop/digital photography more too. :D

Up till now, my students or even myself, still record down the settings on a piece of paper when i shoot at my own time... (or use the ES-S1 / nikon software) as it really helps me understand and retain how each shot is taken/light conditions,effects on new type of film (Fortia/velvia 100) etc etc... it's like sitting in class, and looking at the teacher compared to taking notes i guess....

gd luck!!!
 

Stoned

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#10
Resolution wise it's not much difference. The thing that still keeps me with film is the colours i get from slides(Velvia 50 being my favourite) which I haven't been able to duplicate in photoshop. It somehows looks fake. Perhaps my PS skills are just not there but thats why i use both mediums.

Why not get a film SLR? If you talk about cost, sure digital is cheaper, but by the time you factor in the cost of the body, no it isnt. A digital body costs normally about 400-500% more than it's film counterpart. By the time you factor that price difference in, I'd say even if you shoot heavily, you've got about 3-4 years worth of film. About 300-1000 rolls, depending on the type of film. Plus if you can shoot well with a film SLR, you sure can with a PnS. Other than the limited DOF control, I'd say PnS is pretty good for journalistic photography due to the immense DOF you often wind up with
 

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#11
If I were you, I'll buy a good manual film camera, use if for some months, and then buy a digital SLR.

The manual cam will make you improve your competence.
The digital SLR will then make photography "carefree".

I started with a XG-1 in the 80s, using a D70 now but now looking for a really manual film cam again

Both types gives joy to the hobby. Use both. Don't just stick to one if you want the get the best out of this hobby.
 

sweat100

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#12
Wow! great advice from all the film users out there. Like that think that a film SLR is the way to go now. Should i get a good 50mm prime lens or a mediocre zoom lens? What i like about prime lens is because of the aperture size (so i would not be limited to lighting conditions), but zoom can give me more room for composition. Will prime be able to make up for that?
 

varf

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#13
how about a good and cheap 50mm prime lens? the fixed focal length will force you to think about composition, whereas it's a little too easy to get lazy with a zoom.
 

reno77

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#14
I started with film but I'd recommend that you use a DSLR to learn since its cheaper to make mistakes on a DSLR. When you get a new flash or lens and want to try out all the features in it, it makes more economical sense to try it out on a DSLR first then replicate it on film. I must admit that by shooting film you'll prevent burnout since you take it slow.. and half the fun in shooting film is the anticipation in waiting for the film to be developed :)
 

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#15
Composition is only 1 part of photography and since you already have a digital zoom, you can practise that through that medium. I would go for a prime lens over a mediocre zoom.

Maybe you can consider the nikon FM10. It comes with a 35-70 Nikkor Lens which I believe is adequate. If you have a big budget, FM3 would be great and durable. Consider also used equipment.
Another option is to go with a autofocus film SLR but force yourself to use only manual modes. In this way, you can have best of both worlds (however you will always be tempted to "short-cut" because it has a lot of "automation" )
 

F5user

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#16
Reccomend a used FM2... should be quite a lot floating around in the market... or the FM10's a pretty good starter too, whole kit with leather case and zoom lens goign for around 300+ from tcw.

lens wise, well... try looking around for a fixed 50 1.4/8 ... excellent standard lens which most basic photo classes require their students to use first. Or, if u want more versatility, a 28mm wide would be suffice. i think a round 6 yrs ago (??), i pickd up a used 28 2.8 cosina wide and a FM2 for my youngest son from tcw to get him started on photography... he's still keeping that set up now.
 

blow

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#17
Just treat your digital with film instinct.

1 shot 1 kill.

I share the same thought as you.

just make sure don't abuse your digital came like a machine gun.
 

shojibake

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#18
I recommend that you go DSLR if you know you're going to be into the hobby for more than 6 months. The d50 would prob be a good deal once it's out. Though film will give you better looking photos in the end, learning how to frame and getting correct exposure settings are going to really piss you off, especially when it comes to paying for development just to find out you screwed a shot 2 weeks back at a setting that you forgot to write down because you didn't bring along a pen and paper :(
 

student

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#19
Something strange happened to me last week.

I was on a conducted tour to Hang Zhou, Su Zhou, Wuxi and Shanghai. As this was a conducted tour, I know full well that photography will not be a priority. So I did not bring my usual photography arsenal.

Instead I brought a Film SLR with Tri-x (I am basically a black & white "shooter"), and borrowed a DSLR from a friend.

I noticed a few things about myself. When the scene was what I considered suitable for B&W, I took the film SLR, metered the scene with the spotmeter, and fired ONE shot. I KNOW my exposure will be spot on (or almost spot on).

However, when I used the DSLR, even with the spotmeter, I found that my exposure was all over the places. I attribute this to my inexperience with the way digital sensors capture light. Whatever it was , my exposures were a problem. I had to keep looking at the LCD/histogram to see if the images were reasonable. At the end, I gave up. I switched the exposure mode to aperture priority in "auto" mode. This was better. But somehow I needed to look at the LCD to see the shots were OK.

I think the "fault" is me. Not the cameras.

With the film with no instant preview, I could concentrate on exposure and nail exposure without any fuss.

But my feeble-mind succumbed to the seduction of the gadjets available to me, and I used it. I was annoyed with myself for looking at the LCD, but Icould not help it.

So, my conclusion? Different equipments present different ways of seeing and working. And I think the experience can only be bebeficial in the long run.

Oh one other benefit of the DSLR. I returned on 27 june. I had now burned the images to a couple of CDs, and started sharing the images.

I will process the films this weekend. And when I switch on the enlarger to make my beloved B&W images....... the magic..........
 

szekiat

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#20
well tri-x has always been more forgiving than a digital sensor anyway. It is my b/w film of choice too. My advice is not to miss out on the magic of shooting film. I too started shooting with film. Today, i can safely claim i have used some of the best DSLRs out there (recently a digital MF back as well as the DMR) and yet i still find myself shooting a leica and velvia. For all its acclaim, i still find velvia50 much better than anything the s3pro can give me for colors. There's so much u can do. Underexpose some films by a stop or 2 and u get a completely different result altogether. For excellent replication and color balance, i probably have to hand it to the digitals these days, no more film cast problems, etc. For fun and magical colors out of the box, that will dazzle you and your mates, go for film, better yet, go for slides! enjoy your photography!
 

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