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April 22, 2009


Well, I currently own a Pentax P30n and shoot with an M 50/1.7 and a SMC Takumar 28/3.5 because this was close to inexpensive. I really like the feeling of manual focus, the aperture ring, the simplicity of the camera, the 2 lr44 batteries i pop into the camera once in a long while, etc.

But, the thing is, I live in Portugal and a roll of 36 Fuji Reala + processing + prints gets close to 20Eur (30Eur if I want a CD with medium res files of the photos). So a single set of 36 photos with a CD eats 1.5% of my family monthly income.

So, despite the fun in shooting film, I'm curious for how long I will be abble keep this up.

This is great. Late last week on my blog I also posted a top ten reasons, many of which were the same as yours. Which, Gordon, is not surprising because your encouragement about shooting color film brought me back there. I have my wonderful Canon FD equipment, but until those posts of yours I hadn't put a roll of color negative film through it in years. Black&White film, yes, Color slide film, yes. But color neg? Not so much. After your posts I bought some Ektar and was astounded by it. My wife, a die-hard digital photographer, was taken aback by the quality, contrast, color, etc.

Thank you!

Even though I only picked up a camera recently, I've found myself making a transition to film for a lot of the reasons you listed here. However, the biggest one for me would be number ten. As a designer, I spend my whole day fiddling with images on a computer. Why would I want to do the same thing in my spare time?

"...on my blog I also posted a top ten reasons, many of which were the same as yours."

Well, you know the old saying: Great minds think alike. (Or is it "Fools seldom differ?")

I'm glad to hear you're happy with Ektar though. I plan to try a roll or two this summer. It will have to be damned good to unseat Fuji Reala as my top dog among color print films. If you haven't tried Reala yet, trust me, you should.

Funny you should mention 49mm threads. I have two for my K10D which coincidentally spend time on my LX. I like all your reasons for film; it's just got soul.

Actually, in my next Freestyle order I've got Reala on the list.

Reason 1. Film has magic, digital doesn't. The sense of satisfaction from working things out and mastering a craft (I shoot and print all my own black and white) is so different from the instant and fleeting pleasure digital gives.
Reason 2. I can still 'read files' (negs) that I shot in 1972 without an expensive upgrade.

"When is the last time you used a lens with a 49mm filter thread on your DSLR?"
Answer: yesterday on my K20D. I use two modern AF lenses (1 zoom, 1 prime) and a lot of M42 and old PK-mount M primes ranging from 28mm f/2.9 to 250mm f/4.5. All full manual, and all brilliant. :-)

I own 7 analog Pentax SLR's but I haven't bought a roll of film in 9 years. Same reason as iPetrov for that.

Like many other readers I'm a Pentax user (digital K10D) and several of my lens are 49mm - including my favorite, the 77mm f/1.8. I confess that I use digital because it gives me better control of the final product. If I revert to film then I need to add a scan step to get the same personal control - otherwise, I have to delegate the printing to a lab or enter that other realm - the dark room. I love your 10 reasons, but do they really reflect the whole process from loading the camera to looking at the final print?

"a single set of 36 photos with a CD eats 1.5% of my family monthly income"

There is definitely a cost to buying and processing film. For many this cost is prohibitive, especially if they shoot a lot. But digital photography isn't free either. Digital cameras, computers, monitors, printers, color calibrators, software--all cost money. There's also the cost of upgrading your equipment and software every few years.

Keep in mind that I too shoot more digital than film, so this is by no means an attack on digital photography. All I'm saying is that photography can be expensive no matter what media you prefer.

"I love your 10 reasons, but do they really reflect the whole process from loading the camera to looking at the final print?"

In my mind, yes. My basic workflow for film is to develop and scan B&W film myself. On days when I'm feeling less ambitious I shoot color neg film and have it processed by a pro lab here in Philly that provides an index print and a CD with hi-res scans of every frame. If I ever need a bigger or better scan than the one on the CD, I do it myself.

It works for me. It may not work for you--but of course you're free to follow the beat of whatever drummer you like.

I have just discovered your blog through Google Reader (it makes suggestions based on blogs to which I already subscribe) and I am glad that someone is still discussing film. Most of my film is shot in a Contax 645 but I sometimes use a Nikon F80 or FM3a.
Shooting 35mm film is still relatively cheap here in Korea. I don't know why that is, since everything else seems to be more expensive than in other countries. Getting a roll of Fuji Superia Reala developed, printed and saved to a CD takes up less than half a percent of my salary. That said, the lab I go to saves my photos digitally for free when I get prints because I am a regular customer. I drop off a CF card with the film so he doesn't have to use a CD.
Getting prints and digital copies of medium format film is a different story. Scanning has to be done manually one frame at a time so it's quite expensive.

"So that's my list. Did I miss anything?"

11. Cos I'm a bad mutha...

I mean that in the best possible way :-)


I believe you're right in this post. Digital camera more often than not will only result to digital garbage. I also believe that film should not be totally replace by digital photography. There's always an option to scan or save directly to CD as digital files those pictures taken from film cameras. I think noritsu can handle such task easily.

Great post!

One other reason: the pleasurable suspense of waiting to see if you've got anything on the film and the joy of finding that you have.

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