Saturday, June 11, 2011

Amateur Photographer

Amateur Photographer reader Martin Johnson reveals, in Backchat this week June 11th, that film is far from dead.
He relates a conversation which he had with a work colleague. She told him that her daughter is at university studying photography but won't use a digital camera.
"She doesn't like the complexities of modern cameras and all the stuff you have to do on the computer. She'd rather wait and see what comes out and loves working in the darkroom."
The girl visits camera shops which sell second-hand equipment and is always adding to her collection of film equipment at bargain prices.
Mr Johnson concludes by saying that perhaps "...we are losing the anticipation of photography - those wonderful moments when we get back the pack of prints, the box of slides or the sheer satisfaction of seeing a selection of images taken on basic equipment."
As regular readers will know and by looking at my captions will see, this is just the approach which I have taken since last year. I'm not a luddite and am happy to use digital equipment when commercially necessary, I usually hire a D700 from my work, I have all the necessary lenses.
Last night I was talking to a former colleague, Mike Bascombe, who is now the photographer for Lyon & Turnbull Actioneers in Edinburgh. For work he uses a Canon 5D MKII but told me he has recently bought a Hasselblad 500CM and lenses for his personal work.
Digital may have caught up with the resolution of film but film still looks different, whether black and white such as Tri-X or colour such as Provia 100.
I get my film processed, printed to 6 x 4 (for the album) and scanned at 3000 x 2000 pixels for the web. Certainly it costs me on a regular basis, but buying a D700 and probably its imminent replacement, not to mention a D3X would be a major expense. Many people looking at the prints remark on the sharpness and colour and ask what on which camera the images were captured.
I trained on black and white and transparency film, getting the exposure correct even without a meter is not a problem as I have shot so many pictures in the past.
The only problem is that new film cameras are not being made so eventually the old ones will wear out or film may become unavailable. Film is still selling at Calumet not in the quantities of the past but there is still a demand. An archaeologist who buys from us generally gets 20-30 at a time having tried digital and reverted to film.

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