1. Post #1
    RESIDENT ASBESTOS OBSESSIVE
    B-hazard's Avatar
    July 2008
    4,982 Posts
    Recently there has been an influx of people dropping by here asking what DSLR they should drop 300 (~$500)-500(~$800) on, but having gotten a DSLR myself as my first camera I think this was a bad idea. If I had the chance I would have initially started using film until I ever had came across the situation where digital may be necessarily (such as being paid for photography). So I'm making this thread to inform those who don't realize how useful film actually is.

    Quality of photos
    Firstly, the quality of photo produced using film is not worse than digital, in-fact in many cases it is better.
    I made this assumption when I decided to buy a DSLR, which I now know was wrong.

    Most entry level digital SLR's have a resolution of 10-18 megapixels, whereas 35mm film is the equivalent of about 10-20 megapixels depending on the ISO level. In-fact if you use even larger film such as medium format, it can be the equivalent of 40-80 megapixels, and even higher as you go up in the size of film.

    Lastly, film has a far higher dynamic range. Film has a far wider dynamic range than digital SLR's. Digital blows out highlights far before film does, and also loses detail in shadows. Here's something to illustrate the difference:


    Therefore you can see here that film is not a sacrifice on quality as many would assume, in-face digital can often be sacrificial in comparison to film.

    Cost
    The initial cost of film is substantially cheaper than using digital.
    Even after a years worth of developing/printing it is often still cheaper than digital.

    Here is a price comparison for a year I have made:
    Film
    - Pentax ME Super with 50mm f1.7 - 70 (however there are numerous other cameras that can be sold for cheaper, this is just one of the better ones, something such as a Zenit 11 will usually be 20).
    - Film (retail Jessops) iso 100 36 exp 3.95 (52 rolls per year) - 205 Film is cheaper online or in bulk
    - Developing (Jessops) 6 dev+scanning - 312 - Jessops give a free roll of film each time you get photos developed.
    Total cost: 587 or 382 (taking into account free Jessops film).

    Digital
    - EOS 600d including kit lens - 680
    - 32 GB SD card - 45
    - Adobe Lightroom - 190
    Total cost: 915

    US comparison (slightly outdated):
    Film
    Camera - Canon EOS Rebel T2 with kit lens - $250
    Batteries - CR2 Lithium Batteries (4 @ $7 ea) - $28
    Film - ISO 100 24 exposure (52 rolls @ $2 ea) - $104
    Developing - developing and 4x6 prints (York Photo) (52 rolls @ $2 ea) - $104
    Total cost - $486

    Digital
    Camera - Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTI with kit lens - $715
    Batteries - Rechargeable, included with camera - $0
    Film - Memory card - $50
    Developing - 4x6 prints (York Photo) (1,248 prints @ $.10 ea) - $125
    Total cost - $890

    As you can see shooting film is far more cost effective.

    Photographic approaches and experience
    I find shooting film far more enjoyable and more productive than using digital.
    When shooting film, you generally only take once shot per a subject, and are more careful since each photo costs you money. This usually produces far better photos as you subconsciously take more care while using film. Whereas when you use digital 'quantity over quality' comes into account as you are able to take as many photos as you please, and often don't end up with many good shots.

    Digital also involves more fiddling about with in-camera settings, and you can miss the shot because of this.
    Futhermore, if you are doing street photography or taking photos of people, film cameras are often less imposing or more discrete. You will seem less like a pervert trying to take naughty snaps are more like an 'artsy' person snapping a few shots for a project or something.

    In summary, don't immediately dismiss film as an option, because in many ways, it is better than digital.
    I will update this OP more later, with some examples and more reasons.
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  2. Post #2
    GraniteMouse's Avatar
    April 2011
    239 Posts
    I would love to start off with film. There's just the issue of "Is my camera shit? I don't know, maybe it's me." or "Oh no, something went wrong with my camera what do I do." And it'd be useful to know what the hell I'm doing /wrong/ in a situation where I can easily change and adapt.

    But I dunno; maybe it'd be better to do this in a more intense setting where every photo matters more. Or maybe it'd make me stress. xD

  3. Post #3
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,858 Posts
    I'd like to be able to shoot film, but it's expensive to develop and scan with good quality. With digital, you put down one large payment but never need to worry about developing or scanning ever again, so you don't need to worry if you're going to have enough money to develop, scan, print, etc.
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  4. Post #4
    Gold Member
    Kill coDer's Avatar
    April 2006
    914 Posts
    I'd like to be able to shoot film, but it's expensive to develop and scan with good quality. With digital, you put down one large payment but never need to worry about developing or scanning ever again, so you don't need to worry if you're going to have enough money to develop, scan, print, etc.
    I think that a film camera is better not for the first time user, but for someone more experienced. Quick feedback is very important in the learning process, which is pretty difficult to achieve with film. With a digital, you can make more mistakes quicker, fix them, and as such learn faster.
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  5. Post #5
    RESIDENT ASBESTOS OBSESSIVE
    B-hazard's Avatar
    July 2008
    4,982 Posts
    I think that a film camera is better not for the first time user, but for someone more experienced. Quick feedback is very important in the learning process, which is pretty difficult to achieve with film. With a digital, you can make more mistakes quicker, fix them, and as such learn faster.
    That may be true but it is fairly easy to spot mistakes if you spend a week using a 36 exp roll, and if you decide photography is not right for you it is better to have only invested about 50-100 in film+camera than the 600-800 initial cost of a good DSLR. Furthermore the first time user will not have to do as much editing as digital requires.
    Therefore it is probably better for a first time user.
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  6. Post #6
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,863 Posts
    I shot film before I got a DSLR, and it was certainly more fun than digital. With film, you think more before you press the button.

    Plus, it's a bit unfair to compare a 600D and a film camera, since the 600D is also a stunning movie camera.
    And you can get film dev+scanned for 3 in ASDA (where I get mine done) and you can get 24exp Kodacolor 200 in poundland.

    Edited:

    and this is unfair, why don't they have the 24-70 f/2.8L on the Canon XTi?
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  7. Post #7
    hyper-articulate
    Roll_Program's Avatar
    October 2007
    12,858 Posts
    and this is unfair, why don't they have the 24-70 f/2.8L on the Canon XTi?
    It's also hard to compare the two when they're taken in entirely different circumstances.

  8. Post #8
    hzy
    Gold Member
    hzy's Avatar
    January 2009
    1,907 Posts
    yeah, that comparison image is pretty shit. If anything the film is showing less dynamic range there (which is characteristic of slide film) but with insane saturation.
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  9. Post #9
    ffFf
    Uber|nooB's Avatar
    June 2005
    4,522 Posts
    the dynamic range of the scanned film image also depends on the scanner, and good film scanners are priced accordingly.
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  10. Post #10
    Hi Jo
    Jo The Shmo's Avatar
    February 2009
    22,053 Posts
    As proof of the dynamic range in film, once I printed a sort of boring shot of a field where the sky was completely white. When I projected the negative from the enlarger, I couldn't see any detail in the sky at all.
    HOWEVER, I decided to experiment, and I ended up dodging out the ground a lot and letting the sky expose for a very long time, and suddenly I noticed all these branches of a tree that were dangling in front of the camera.

    Here's a shitty print of the experimental version of the shot:

    Scan 3 by JonahRD, on Flickr

    Edited:

    Also film teaches you to be less "snapshotty" with your pictures because each one costs a little bit.
    You learn to plan out your shots and get the best out of your camera.

  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    DaCommie1's Avatar
    June 2008
    8,831 Posts
    Can you get the shots scanned and put on disk when you get them developed? I can imagine whatever scanner this is for film is a fair bit more expensive and higher quality than the flatbed one I have on my printer.

  12. Post #12
    The Un-Men's Avatar
    October 2007
    1,012 Posts
    Also, keep in mind the prices for the well known cameras have increased due to demand, and you can get something much better for a couple bucks more (Compare prices between Pentax K1000 and K2, for example. Not to mention the Canon AE-1 compared to many better Canon SLRS).

  13. Post #13
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,863 Posts
    Can you get the shots scanned and put on disk when you get them developed? I can imagine whatever scanner this is for film is a fair bit more expensive and higher quality than the flatbed one I have on my printer.
    Almost all places will scan to CD

  14. Post #14
    ffFf
    Uber|nooB's Avatar
    June 2005
    4,522 Posts
    Can you get the shots scanned and put on disk when you get them developed? I can imagine whatever scanner this is for film is a fair bit more expensive and higher quality than the flatbed one I have on my printer.
    you can, but they'll most likely edit them before putting them on the CD, which means you lose some control over what you get

  15. Post #15
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,863 Posts
    asda guy said they don't do any editing, it's just what the scanner sees

  16. Post #16
    Gold Member
    DaCommie1's Avatar
    June 2008
    8,831 Posts
    I doubt the people at Wal-Mart's Photocentre know how to do any editing. Granted, neither do I.

  17. Post #17
    ffFf
    Uber|nooB's Avatar
    June 2005
    4,522 Posts
    asda guy said they don't do any editing, it's just what the scanner sees
    i guess that's even worse, as that means they'd just leave it on the auto setting :(

    Edited:

    and some scanners are all like HNNNNGG COLOUR CORRECTION AND STUFF FOR YOU ARE SNAPSHOTSSFDSFG

  18. Post #18
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,863 Posts
    they have a fuji SP-3000

  19. Post #19
    Antichristian Heathen Icelandic Bastard
    Nonikai's Avatar
    June 2008
    4,997 Posts
    my first slr was a dslr

    i think my photos turn out fine
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  20. Post #20
    iWumbo's Avatar
    June 2010
    1,406 Posts
    Film and digital have their advantages. However, a digital slr would be beneficial as your first slr since you can delete and clear space at will. Where as film, you can't afford to waste if you are starting out. Film sounds like a good thing to start out with but you will end up spending more money than buy a dslr. That's why there are entry level dslr's. They are cheaper than semi-pro or pro dslr's but also yield very good picture quality.

  21. Post #21
    hzy
    Gold Member
    hzy's Avatar
    January 2009
    1,907 Posts
    Film and digital have their advantages. However, a digital slr would be beneficial as your first slr since you can delete and clear space at will.
    That is a benefit of digital, yes

    Where as film, you can't afford to waste if you are starting out.
    Well, you can afford to waste it just as much as someone who has been taking photos for years.


    Film sounds like a good thing to start out with but you will end up spending more money than buy a dslr.
    wut. $100 will get you a nice film slr, easy, $200 and you have ~20 rolls of cheap film + processing too. there is no $200 DSLR that can compete with that.


    That's why there are entry level dslr's. They are cheaper than semi-pro or pro dslr's but also yield very good picture quality.
    correct, the entry level cameras are cheaper than the high level cameras

  22. Post #22
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,863 Posts
    Well, with a DSLR you can see your mistake instantly, and correct it, learn and move on
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  23. Post #23
    Gold Member
    The Salmon's Avatar
    February 2008
    3,533 Posts
    Stick with a point and shoot for the first year, even longer if you're feeling it. Limitation breeds creativity, and teaches you to frame good photos, so once you get your big fancy camera you'll be taking pro photos in no time.

    Edited:

    But I also found that once I started shooting film, I drastically improved my skills as it taught me to value each shot. I found myself spending 20 minutes on one exposure, trying to get it perfect, and it came out perfectly. I still find it one of my most rewarding photos I've ever taken.


    Agapanthus by Sam Haberman, on Flickr

  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    labbet's Avatar
    December 2009
    2,417 Posts
    I did film photography first and I personally agree with B-Hazard because I would probably learn nothing if I started with digital. With film there is no AUTO setting and you have to know what everything does to get a decent photo. I bet half of the straight-to-digital generation has no idea what ISO is or what f stops do! Also, its fairly easy to get an all manual film slr for free or very cheap.

  25. Post #25
    Gold Member
    MrEndangered's Avatar
    October 2006
    5,205 Posts
    I did film photography first and I personally agree with B-Hazard because I would probably learn nothing if I started with digital. With film there is no AUTO setting and you have to know what everything does to get a decent photo. I bet half of the straight-to-digital generation has no idea what ISO is or what f stops do! Also, its fairly easy to get an all manual film slr for free or very cheap.
    I disagree. I was one of those straight-to-digital kids (Well, if you call 21 a kid), and I know my way around all the settings on a film and digital - it just helped that I had a friend who's a bit of a tech freak and helped teach me as we were both going through the learning process, bouncing things we learnt off each other.

    I mean, were kids any different back in the 80's or 90's with their cheap film cameras, pointing and shooting? I doubt it.

    But I do agree film is a great way to go off the bat, but the lack of instant gratification could put a lot of people off, as mentioned.
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  26. Post #26
    Gold Member
    labbet's Avatar
    December 2009
    2,417 Posts
    I disagree. I was one of those straight-to-digital kids (Well, if you call 21 a kid), and I know my way around all the settings on a film and digital - it just helped that I had a friend who's a bit of a tech freak and helped teach me as we were both going through the learning process, bouncing things we learnt off each other.

    I mean, were kids any different back in the 80's or 90's with their cheap film cameras, pointing and shooting? I doubt it.

    But I do agree film is a great way to go off the bat, but the lack of instant gratification could put a lot of people off, as mentioned.
    Thats why I said half. You are part of the good half.
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  27. Post #27
    GraniteMouse's Avatar
    April 2011
    239 Posts
    If the point is manual shooting buy a dSLR and set it on Manual.

  28. Post #28
    RESIDENT ASBESTOS OBSESSIVE
    B-hazard's Avatar
    July 2008
    4,982 Posts
    If the point is manual shooting buy a dSLR and set it on Manual.
    I always shoot on manual if its film or digital, but film has many advantages over digital and also forces you to think about each shot you take.
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  29. Post #29
    GraniteMouse's Avatar
    April 2011
    239 Posts
    yeah, it's just so many teachers/people say that a person should start with a fully manual camera, so they say turn to film.

  30. Post #30
    Gold Member
    MrEndangered's Avatar
    October 2006
    5,205 Posts
    Thats why I said half. You are part of the good half.
    Oh, I didn't see that bit and went into a mad tyrannical Internet rage.

    Thanks bra.
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  31. Post #31
    Gold Member
    Alcapwne's Avatar
    May 2010
    3,292 Posts
    I've decided to buy a 35mm SLR instead of a DSLR. Would I be right to go with the Pentax ME Super? I've found some on ebay in the region of 30. I also saw the Canon EOS 500n on the bay for about 10 - is it any good?

    Thanks

  32. Post #32
    RESIDENT ASBESTOS OBSESSIVE
    B-hazard's Avatar
    July 2008
    4,982 Posts
    I've decided to buy a 35mm SLR instead of a DSLR. Would I be right to go with the Pentax ME Super? I've found some on ebay in the region of 30. I also saw the Canon EOS 500n on the bay for about 10 - is it any good?

    Thanks
    The ME Super is a great camera if you get one in good condition.
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  33. Post #33
    Diamond Member
    MedicWine's Avatar
    January 2009
    8,814 Posts
    Why dont they make polaroid film anymore? It seems like we took a step backwards in technology.

    "Dude I took this sick picture of you today, I'll show you once I go get it printed either at a store or using a printer at home"

    "They should invent a camera that can print photos from itself"

    "No way man, that's soooo 90's"

  34. Post #34
    hzy
    Gold Member
    hzy's Avatar
    January 2009
    1,907 Posts
    Why dont they make polaroid film anymore? It seems like we took a step backwards in technology.

    "Dude I took this sick picture of you today, I'll show you once I go get it printed either at a store or using a printer at home"

    "They should invent a camera that can print photos from itself"

    "No way man, that's soooo 90's"
    First of all, they do still make polaroid film. Second, the quality of polaroids is far inferior to actual negatives.
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  35. Post #35
    Diamond Member
    MedicWine's Avatar
    January 2009
    8,814 Posts
    First of all, they do still make polaroid film. Second, the quality of polaroids is far inferior to actual negatives.
    I meant that you can go into any gas station or dollar store in my town, and pick up a film, or an instant camera to take pictures with. Wouldnt it seem like we'd still have the same with polaroids? I'm sure there still is film, but it's that available.

  36. Post #36
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,863 Posts
    you can get 300 film easy but 600 film is harder to get and you can now get third party versions

  37. Post #37
    Gold Member
    DaCommie1's Avatar
    June 2008
    8,831 Posts
    The thing with Polaroids is I think Polaroid was the only company who did that, and they moved on to making digital cameras, mostly point-and-shoots, so while you can still find the film for them, you won't find any cameras anymore that develop the film instantly because Polaroid stopped making them.

    Wikipedia posted:
    In summer 2008 Polaroid released the PoGo, an instant photo printer producing 2 by 3 inches (51 76 mm) prints. It uses the ZINK ("zero ink") technology which is similar to dye sublimation but has the dye crystals embedded in the photo paper itself.[33] In 2009 the CZA-05300B PoGo, a 5 megapixel digital camera integrated with a Zink printer, was released.[34]
    Well, apparently they do still make them. I don't think this Zink camera is anywhere near as popular as the old Polaroids, nor really ever will be.

  38. Post #38
    cueballv2themax's Avatar
    September 2010
    2,863 Posts
    polaroid sell make and sell 300 cameras and film but it's smaller than 600

  39. Post #39
    Gold Member
    Skyhawk's Avatar
    July 2008
    1,339 Posts
    I was looking through the catalog I got with a recent Adorama purchase and there were actually several instant-print cameras. Looks like Polaroid and Fujifilm are the major guys still in the game. Summary for you all:

    Polaroid Pic 300 Analog Instant Camera - Business card size prints - $85

    Polaroid PoGo - Instant 2"x3" Bluetooth printer - $40

    Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 Instant Photo Camera - Credit card size prints - $100

    Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S Instant Camera - Credit card size prints - $68

    They also had Polaroid 600 film but didn't have any such camera listed.

  40. Post #40
    Gold Member
    Adbor's Avatar
    March 2007
    1,830 Posts
    My first proper camera was a DSLR and I'm perfectly aware that I'd be much better now if I had started with film however the flexibility options it has given me, such as instant development (so I know my own mistakes), instant availability of digital editing, practically unlimited storage (more space =/= more weight) easily makes up for it.

    Therefore the only practical advantage, in my personal opinion, is cost and the difference isn't large enough in the long run to cover the lack of nifty things I'm spoiled with that DSLRs offer.
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