They still shoot film, don't they?
January 10, 2014 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Tools never die.
posted by stbalbach at 7:57 PM on January 10, 2014

My mother gave me her Minolta Maxxum 7000i when I was in high school and I still use it to this day. I love shooting film, although I don't have much darkroom experience. I hope I can get some prints up in a gallery someday.
posted by gucci mane at 8:14 PM on January 10, 2014

It's fun watching film evolve. It's going to be a neat story one day, how digital technology rendered film obsolete and then provided the pathway to its next chapter. The resurgence is relying on the Internet to connect people with resources like this, not to mention connecting the few suppliers to their scattered customers. And it's riding on the wave of everybody's enthusiasm about photography, which is entirely fueled by having in our pockets those little digital sensors that caused the whole thing to begin with.
posted by cribcage at 10:03 PM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

I miss film. Had my own darkroom, bulk-loaded film, lived with my Nikon FM in my hand. But my pockets are shallow now, so digital it is.
posted by kinnakeet at 2:41 AM on January 11, 2014

Cameras with film are the new turntables with vinyl.
posted by yoga at 5:17 AM on January 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I shoot Sunny 16 with donated film and a Japanese made Pentax K1000 with the de rigueur busted light meter.

Damn, I'm a photo hipster.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:49 AM on January 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ho-ly, but film camera prices have gone nuts again. A couple of years ago you could barely give away medium format stuff: I sold a pretty complete Mamiya RB system for $200, and a friend was given a Hasselblad 500 outfit by a retiring pro as it was barely worth boxing it to sell. But now the prices are on KEH are back to early 2000s levels. Odd.

Still got a Pentax MX with a 40/2.8 pancake (tiny!) and a 50/1.4 (sharp! bokeh! heavier than the camera!!), and a bale of Ilford in the chiller.
posted by scruss at 7:13 AM on January 11, 2014

Still have my hand-me-down OM-1, and it still shoots like the champion that it is.

Thanks, dad.
posted by Sphinx at 7:49 AM on January 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Still have my hand-me-down OM-1, and it still shoots like the champion that it is.

This year is my ten-year anniversary with my OM-1. I love it as much as I did as an A-Level photography student.
posted by dumdidumdum at 9:53 AM on January 11, 2014

hey remember when the invention of photography freed painting from having to be representational and we got impressionism? yeah that, again
posted by klangklangston at 11:36 AM on January 11, 2014

So many attractive women in their mid-twenties, staring glumly at the camera.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:27 PM on January 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Why We Love Film
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:12 PM on January 11, 2014

I picked up an Olympus XA a few years ago and it quickly became my favorite camera. My dad's old Canon AE-1 Program is close behind though. But since film is expensive, my Panasonic Lumix is pretty much what I shoot with most of the time.
posted by gc at 4:23 PM on January 11, 2014

Cameras with film are the old turntables with vinyl.

I still have a bunch of film cameras. I like shooting with film, but it's an expensive nuisance compared to digital. Still, there is something satisfying about the whole process. And shooting film forces you to be much more thoughtful about what you are shooting. It sucks to waste a frame.
posted by chunking express at 8:46 PM on January 11, 2014

Also, a lot of the photos on that site aren't very interesting.
posted by chunking express at 8:47 PM on January 11, 2014

My friends attempted to mock me with the tiresome "hipster" epithet when I decided I was sick of digital photography and wanted to go back to film. The thing is, my photographic history pretty much ends at 2003, when the suitcase full of my photos from my adventures ends and the giant folder on a hard drive filled with thousands upon thousands of files of varying degrees of resolution labeled with florid titles like "DSC0001941" and "HP10002319."

I rarely look at the thousands upon thousands, but I often pick through the suitcase.

My life was in black and white until the mid-eighties, because my father was a semi-professional photographer on the side with a darkroom and a disdain for color photography.

"Yeah, you can use color film if you want, if you feel like looking at a bunch of green snapshots in 2027," he'd say, and I'd usually go along with his way, shooting monochrome with my Instamatic in cartridges that we'd open with a can opener in the darkroom in order to wind the film into the stainless steel spiral carriers that go in the developer cans. We'd print a contact sheet, pick out the best shots, and print them right there off his giant Omega enlarger, and those prints are, to this day, still sharp and clear and not green.

Eventually, though, I got tired of being told I needed to do more dodging on elements of my photos and got a Canon Autoboy, in which I used color film that I sent off to York in a paper mailer, and those pictures were okay, too.

After the Autoboy, I went to a digital camera, and the seeming miracle of that and a string of digital cameras since has dissolved into my rarely carrying a camera, because all it produced was this deluge of photos. Every shot is free, so take everything. For me, it all became so cheap and obligatory that it was finally hardly worth the effort, and I've got prints of nothing because inkjet printers are proof incarnate that Satan is a real force in our lives and it was just too fussy to go to the photo shops before they all went under.

This year, I found a cute little rangefinder camera at the thrift store for $2.90, a Balda Baldessa 1A, and brought it home, cleaned it up, loaded it up with film, and took it along with me on a trip to my family stomping grounds in Georgia. It has no meter, so I use a metering app in my iPod Touch, and the mirror for the bright frame finder had come unglued, so my framing is iffy, but I loved the fact that I had just one roll of film, and just 36 shots (well, actually 35, as my film-loading skills had slipped in the digital years) to work with.

I'd forgotten, almost, how it felt to work with a resource that was not free and not functionally unlimited, and how limitations make us clever in ways that just trying to be disciplined never can, and I loved that I could use depth of field on a three dollar camera that I could not use on a two hundred dollar digital camera, and when the pictures came back, there were about five or six really good pictures, maybe ten moderately good pictures, and the rest ranging from meh to ack.

My brother, who is an actual professional photographer, was amused by my giddy delight in my little Balda, and handed over my father's well-worn Nikon F3, which had been his bread and butter camera before he went all-Hasselblad, and I'm looking forward to using that lovely machine soon enough, though I'm going to keep at it with the Baldessa for now. I took it apart, fixed the loose mirror, and am working through some black & white film, which I'll develop in a can over the utility sink in the basement and turn over to my brother for scans and prints.

It's possible to tire of the horrible responsibility of "freedom" and go back to the discipline of limitations, and that may make me a hipster, but damn if I'm not taking some great photos again. It doesn't have to be either/or, of course, and my morning breakfast photos will be straight off the digital, but those are ephemeral and I'm looking for a longer commitment to memory when it comes to trips and travel.
posted by sonascope at 6:36 AM on January 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also, film is archival and digital isn't and I want to exist in posterity, dammit.
posted by sonascope at 6:37 AM on January 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nkn F3 HP FTW!

But I still shoot digital for 99% of everything professionally. Instant feedback, knowing when you've nailed focus/got the shot, etc.
posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 8:12 PM on January 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

filthy light thief, if I end up buying a medium format TLR, it is your fault.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:16 PM on January 13, 2014

In my fortune file clipped off the web:
Oh, I'm SO hoping that someday, someway, when I least expect it...someone will come up to me and ask "Is that a Hassleblad?" My reply will be "But of there anything else?" haha
Better yet, play ignorant and say "No. It is a camera."
If I could pick up a hasselblad with a portraiture lense for mad money I'd be seriously tempted.
posted by Mitheral at 8:13 PM on January 13, 2014

I've been jonesing for a Rollei or reasonable facsimile for years, not because I'm a camera snob, but because I am a huge fan of a hundred years of National Geographic photography, in which much of the human imagery was possible because of a camera format that did not create the same distraction or temptation to pose that an SLR or rangefinder did. A guy looking at you with a camera on his face (or in digitalia, holding a camera up to look at the back) is worlds apart from a guy who's looking down into a vertical finder when it comes to interrupting the flow of a natural situation.

In digital, I guess Rollei did that Mini-Digi thing, but they never bothered to update it and it cost a fortune for a 5MP camera. Are there other digitals that can be as unobtrusive, just hanging at navel level?

I'm slowly rehabilitating a Lubitel 2 (lost my taking vs view lens sync and the light seal strings need replacement), and it's a thing that will undoubtedly roll some eyes once I get going with it, but for faces in a crowd, there will never be anything quite as perfect as a TLR.
posted by sonascope at 6:13 AM on January 14, 2014

Lots of digitals over the years have had screens that moved or rotated that could take framed photos from waist height. But even for those that don't digital feedback of framing is just seconds away. I used to fire my 35mm SLR without being able to see through the viewfinder all the time (usually over my head in a crowd) and do the same now with instant feedback with my digital. With practice you can get pretty good results. And of course you aren't hampered anymore by the need for precise framing like you might have been with slide film.
posted by Mitheral at 8:52 AM on January 14, 2014

People react differently to medium format cameras, even when i am using it at eye level, there is a moment of slight confusion and then curiosity. This is an essential component of a long term project i am currently working on, and people asking me about the camera has provided a good ice-breaker allowing me to shoot portraits that the subject may have been more reluctant to pose for with a 35mm camera.
posted by lawrencium at 1:24 AM on January 17, 2014

In digital, I guess Rollei did that Mini-Digi thing, but they never bothered to update it and it cost a fortune for a 5MP camera. Are there other digitals that can be as unobtrusive, just hanging at navel level?

Last September I was looking for a toy digi camera for fun. I ended up buying a Digital Harinezumi 4, but maybe you'd like the Bonzart Ampel. But look at the reviews first, people aren't overly enthusiastic about it.

I did build the Recesky twin lens reflex kit afew years ago, but the only roll of film I bothered to develop was tinted a very odd shade of green.
posted by sukeban at 2:20 AM on January 17, 2014

(Oh, and apart from the DH, Superheadz have the 35mm Rolleiflex clone Blackbird, fly. Give it a look, too. ISSF review here)
posted by sukeban at 2:28 AM on January 17, 2014

Photographing Time
In 1826, Joseph-Nicéphore Niépce needed at least eight hours to create an imprint of the view from the upstairs window of his Burgundy chateau onto a pewter plate coated with bitumen. Today, we can capture photos with an exposure time of a trillionth of a second, and are at the brink of attosecond photography—that is, snapshots taken 10 billion trillion times faster than those first grainy images in the east of France.
We’ve selected an assortment of photographic images that, at the time they were taken, were breakthroughs in speed.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:43 AM on January 24, 2014

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