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[P]
Yet another fun thing to do: making black and white prints

By Cruel Elevator in Science
Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 11:12:20 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Contrary to popular opinion and Netcraft reports, black and white photography is not dying. Black and white is excellent for certain types for photography - for example, capturing the texture and form of a scene without distracting the viewer with colors. Or, for capturing images that seem to be from a bygone era. B&W also offers an interesting advantage - they can be processed easily and cheaply at home with inexpensive equipment.

In this article, I shall explain the process of making a "contact" print from a B&W negative. After reading this article, you will be able to make prints the size of your negatives and experience the joy of watching prints emerge from your tray. The total cost should be under $20. You do not have to worry about investing too much in yet another hobby.


Basic concepts

Since this is a "quick and dirty" style guide, I will cover just what you need to know.

For the uninitiated, here's what happens when you drop off a film at your local photo lab. Your exposed film is run through an automated machine, which, through chemical processes, makes the images permanent in the negative. This is the "film development" stage.

For simplicity, we will be working with a black and white negative that has already passed this stage. If you look around your parents' (or friends') old things, you may come across old 6 x 6 cm negatives. They will work just fine, so would 35mm b&w negatives cut in strips. Try not to use anything important through - if you destroy your parents wedding negatives, they might want to kill you.

After the film development stage comes the "printing" stage. The paper used for printing photographs is light sensitive - just like the film itself. You expose the paper to light, and through chemical reactions, you make the changes permanent (just like developing the negative). That's exactly what is done in the photo labs - it's just that they use automated equipment to process large volumes of work.

This is where we come in. We will be printing the photographs. This involves 5 steps:

1. Exposing the paper to light (and the negative)
2. Putting the paper in a "Developer" solution, which will bring out the image in the paper
3. Putting the paper in a "Fixer" solution, which will wash out the unused chemicals in the paper, and make the changes in the paper permanent
4. Washing the paper in water to get rid of all unused chemicals
5. Drying

It is that simple. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise yet.

Things you need

  • A b&w negative (discussed earlier)
  • A lab thermometer (0 to 100 degree C)
  • A measuring flask or beaker (200 ml should be enough)
  • 2 plastic trays or containers, large enough to soak your negative strips in, and an inch deep
  • A red bulb (also known as a "dim bulb") - 40 watts max.
  • A bedside / table lamp
  • A clean, clear glass slab - a photo frame will do.
  • 3 plastic bottles (1 liter plastic Coke bottles will do)
  • Old newspapers
  • Good quality tape - 3M magic tape, masking tape or such
  • Scissors
  • Surgical gloves
  • 3 funnels (optional)
  • A watch, or a stop watch
  • Clean cloth
  • Universal developer (either liquid or powder)
  • Universal fixer (either liquid or powder)
  • Resin Coated (RC) Black and White Photo paper

The total cost should not exceed $20, depending on where you live.

Basically, you need the chemicals, paper, surgical gloves, lab thermometer and a red bulb. Rest of the stuff can be found at home. For example, a kitchen measure cup will do fine. Funnels can be made by rolling out magazine covers.

The chemicals can be purchased at a photo store. I recommend getting a small amount of the chemicals in their liquid form for their convenience. If you can't get liquid, powder is OK. Go for any generic product that says "normal" or "standard". Avoid any product that says "quick" or "hard". Don't worry too much about it though, almost anything works OK - just ask for b&w paper processing chemicals.

Photo papers are usually sold in 8R (8x10") or 10R (10x12") sizes, in packs of 10 or 20. Get some cheap paper, and mention RC (Resin Coated), normal contrast and black and white (don't end up with color paper). If you don't have a photo store in your neighborhood, try the Internet.

Making your dark room

This step will take about an hour.

Photo processing is done in a dark room, which you will have to make. This can be done in a spare bathroom, because having running water at hand is very convenient. Seal the windows with old newspapers and tape. Turn off the lights, and wait for your eyes to adjust to the darkness. Soon, you'll see that light is leaking through the door edges and cracks. Seal those too. Once you are reasonably satisfied (it does NOT have to be 100% light tight), put the red bulb in the bedside lamp and put it in one corner. Check your workspace, memorize the location of the switches, doors and things.

The reason we need a red light is because photo papers are not sensitive to red light and we can work with the papers with the red light turned on. It is also called a "safe light". You may want to work at night so that the light leakage is minimum.

Preparing the chemicals

This step will take about 10-30 minutes.

Put on your gloves. You may be allergic to some of the chemicals, and you don't want to find out. The universal developer contains salts of Sulphite, Bromide, Carbonate, some Metol and Hydroquinon. The fixer (hypo) contains sodium salts of thiosulphate and metabisulphite. If you are allergic to these chemicals, proceed with caution.

Wash all the utensils with tap water. If you are using funnels, make sure they are dry.

Read the instructions. If you purchased the chemicals in powder form, you will have to dissolve the powders in the water at a particular temperature (usually 40 degree C). Use normal tap water and a kettle to bring the water to the specified temperature. Mix the chemicals. You may have two pouches in the developer pack. Dissolve them in the order mentioned in the instructions. This is easy, and should be done in 30 minutes. Store them in the plastic bottles.

Once you have the "stock" solutions, you may have to dilute it for usage. Do so according to instructions, pour the developer and fixer in two different trays, and ensure that the depth is about an inch. Try to remember which tray is the developer and which the fixer. Put this in the darkroom.

Your chemicals are now ready. If your room temperature is about 20 to 30 degrees, everything is OK. If not, you need to put in hot or cold water in a bottle and immerse the bottle in the chemicals to get the temperature within that range.

Remember, we are doing this for fun, not ISO 9002 certification. There is plenty of margin for error.

Preparing the print setup

This step will take about 10-20 minutes.

The term "contact print" means exactly what it sounds like. The negative and the paper is put face to face under a glass plate, over a hard surface (to keep them flat). Room lights are turned on and the image from the negative is projected onto the paper. Then the paper is processed chemically. Here's a terrible diagram for the setup:

Room Lights

| | |

Glass
Film (emulsion facing down)
Paper (light sensitive facing up towards film emulsion)
Hard surface (toilet seat / a book / floor)

First, dry your hands and gloves. Take the piece of glass from the photo frame. Take the negative, and stick it on the glass with tape (use only the edges of the negatives).

Get your watch, the assembled film+glass, and go in your dark room. Turn off the lights, turn on the safe light and take a piece of photo paper out of it's box. Cut the paper into the size of the negative, put it under the negative and arrange the setup as according to the diagram. The slightly sticky side of the paper is the light sensitive side. Be sure to return any unused paper in the paper box.

You are ready. This is the moment of truth.

The moment of truth

This step will take about 10 minutes.

The safe light is on, carried on from previous steps. All room lights are off.

Check your chemical temperature. If everything is OK, put on your gloves. Take a deep breath. Turn on your room lights for 15 seconds, then turn them back off. Your paper is now ready for processing.

Take the paper, and put it into the developer solution. Immerse completely and agitate with your fingers. After about 1.5 minutes, an image will appear in that paper.

This experience, gentlemen, is nothing short of magic. Gasp, choke, splutter, but please don't lose the track of time. After about 30 more seconds, take the paper and immerse it into the fixer. Slowly, certain portions of the negative will seem to turn . After 2 minutes (total time in fixer), get it out of the solution. Turn on your room lights, and wash the paper with cold tap water for about 5 minutes. After that, you will need to mop the paper with a clean cloth and leave it to dry, but you're already doing your victory dance, aren't you?

Now what?

After you've made your first print, you may want to experiment. You may have gotten an inverted image because you didn't know which side is the "emulsion"side (now you do). You would want to try different exposure, development and fixing time. You may want to get the temperature exactly correct as according to the manufacturers instructions. Mess around till you get the best results. But do save your first print - because nothing can recreate that experience.

You may feel like a mad scientist in the eerie red glow of your darkroom screaming "1 0\/\/|\| j00 4ll!!!". You are entitled your bragging rights for a job well done. However, those with a different mind set may feel strange remembering that this is how things were done for a very long time.

If you want to take this as a serious hobby, you have a lot of possibilities. There are quite a few resources in the Internet which goes in detail to explain the art and science behind darkroom work. Getting a introductory book is recommended. Film, chemical and paper manufacturers have quite a bit of information in their website.

You may be surprised to know that you can also develop b&w films using these chemicals. However, you will have to do it in complete darkness (no safelight). To get around this problem, you can get daylight film development kits for $25 onward (like Jobo). If you want to make larger prints, you need another piece of equipment called the "enlarger" for $100 onward. This guide should give you a taste of the things you can do for $20. If you think that you can commit yourself to this line of work, go ahead.

Why do it?

That's easy. It's the same reason Rusty makes sourdough - because it's geeky, and because you can. It's been said million times before, and I'll agree - watching prints emerge from the trays is really a magical experience.

Besides, taking prints from you inkjet won't make you feel like an wizened pro or a mad scientist.

Disclaimer

Water, electricity and chemicals make a fine combination. You should know what you are doing. If you trip over your lamp, dive headfirst into the toilet, and simultaneously drown, get electrocuted and poisoned, don't blame me. I told you it could happen.

Chemicals may cause skin irritation or breathing problems, so be careful. Do not flush used chemicals down the toilet - even very small amount of silver (5 parts per million) is considered toxic by the EPA. Dispose them off as according to the guidelines of your local authorities.

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Poll
I photograph stuff in
o Film 29%
o Digital 18%
o Both 32%
o I don't 18%

Votes: 58
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Yet another fun thing to do: making black and white prints | 133 comments (101 topical, 32 editorial, 0 hidden)
Sweet (3.75 / 4) (#2)
by Crono on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 08:06:28 AM EST

Photo is really fun. If anyone is really into it, I recommend a local course at a workshop or a community college near you. They'll teach you the full steps of development and how to make enlarged prints and stuff. ^_^

More importantly... (none / 0) (#105)
by Matadon on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 01:43:24 PM EST

They give you cheap access to a nominally well-stocked darkroom. grin

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]
You people are sick (1.56 / 25) (#3)
by A Proud American on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 08:36:06 AM EST

You all remind me of my dad's hippie friends.  Fucking freaks without telephones and televisions because "The Man" is bad.  Yet you have computers.  And you get sick pleasure from activities that yield you "free" things (sure, if 14 hours of your time is "free" and learning how to do obscure things and buy all the fucking material is "free").

I'll never understand you people.  Oh well, differences are what makes the world go round I guess.  Everyone is differnet and special and unique and precious.

____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


don't you have any hobbies ? n/t (none / 0) (#14)
by ColeH on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 11:17:31 AM EST



[ Parent ]
You are responding to one, it seems. [nt] (5.00 / 3) (#26)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 04:09:19 PM EST


___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
frightening thought. n/t (none / 0) (#28)
by ColeH on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 04:29:45 PM EST



[ Parent ]
called artistic expression, stupid troll-boy [nt] (none / 0) (#51)
by Dphitz on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 10:37:05 AM EST




God, please save me . . . from your followers

[ Parent ]
Developing film (5.00 / 3) (#8)
by czth on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 10:17:33 AM EST

Developing black and white film is also pretty simple; I was photo editor for my school newspaper for a while, and it was a lot of fun, probably did about 10 films a week (plus we had a couple digital cameras). It requires the following equipment:

  • one or more film reels (enough to fill the developing tank, so usually 2)
  • developing tank (one or more reels may come with the tank)
  • chemicals; as for film, you need developer, stop, and fix
We used Ilford HP5+ film, an ISO 400 speed film that could be pushed to (used as if it were) ISO 3200, which was good for indoor sports where flash wasn't allowed.

Steps to develop

  1. Remove the (rewound) film from the camera. In complete darkness remove the film from the cassette by taking off the top ring (easier with reusable cassettes than for standard commercial films) and pulling out the spool (it's OK to touch the outer film since there are usually several blank frames anyway).
  2. There's a bit of a trick to getting the film onto the reel, but it's not difficult; take the leading edge of the film, insert it into the guide slots of the reel, and once you have it a little way in just rotate the top and bottom of the reel to draw the film in; cut it off the spool at the end with a pair of scissors. The reel ensures that the film sides will all be exposed to the chemicals you will add. You probably want to practice working with reels in the dark first.
  3. Put the reel into the developing tank, and add extra empty reels until the tank is full. There should be a funnel-shaped lid which can be locked. You can now turn the lights back on.
  4. Make up mixtures of developer, stop, and fix (we used Kodak powdered developer; it requires mixing with boiling water); the mixtures depend on the chemicals you are using. In the following steps you will add each chemical in turn, and at the beginning of each minute agitate for about 10 seconds; that is, turn the developing tank over repeatedly while rotating the tank, and after the 10 seconds tap the tank sharply on a table or other surface twice.
  5. Timing for the development varies (it takes longer if you rate the film at higher speeds, standard 400 with Kodak developer was I believe about 7 minutes); stop is usually 1 minute, fix 5 minutes. After you are done with each chemical pour it out - it is definitely hazardous waste so don't pour it down the sink (we kept a container for it in our darkroom which we had picked up weekly, find out what's available locally). You can also reuse some chemicals; generally not developer, but stop is mostly water, and fix can be reused (the kind we used got purplish when it was "used up").
  6. After all the chemicals have been added and removed, wash for about 20 minutes (recommended, less will work, the full time is best). This just means let water run through the opening in the top of the tank.
  7. Open the tank, take out the reel, and separate the two halves of the reel; take out the film (hold by the edges or the ends) and hang it up to dry (a small clothesline works); put a clothes pin or other weight at the bottom so that it hangs straight. You should be able to see the negative images - if not, you did something wrong (hint: the order of the chemicals is important). There are quick-drying chemicals you can add after washing, too.
  8. While you're waiting for the film to dry, you can clean up; we used a strong soap to wash everything in warm water (tank, graduated cylinders for the chemicals [pop bottles work fine too], reels), and then rinsed it all.
  9. From here you can go make prints... if you live in a large metro area it shouldn't be too hard to find a used enlarger, which is essential (or a negative scanner and a good printer ;).
I use digital now (a Sony and a Nikon D100); I was considering setting up a dark room in my apartment, since I still have film cameras, but really don't have the space (back at my parents' place we had a darkroom set up in an unfinished bathroom in the basement which was nice) or time (especially now that I'm getting married in a few months).

czth

Drying the film is a critical point (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by 87C751 on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 06:07:47 PM EST

While your film is drying, dust particles can stick to the wet emulsion and really ruin your photographic day. When I was into this (some years ago), we used Yankee Instant Film Dryer, an alcohol-based solution that you put into the tank after the rinse. Agitate for 2 minutes, remove your film and squegee down with a sponge squegee soaked in the Yankee stuff. 2 minutes later, your film is completely dry. Don't know if you can find Yankee Film Dryer anymore. Google came up empty, except for a couple of old-timer stories like this.

My ranting place.
[ Parent ]

Or for the geekier... (5.00 / 2) (#9)
by puppet10 on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 10:47:05 AM EST

you can make your own photopaper (and negative for the really geeky, the negative process is left as an exercise).  A relatively simple process is shown at Caveman chemistry a very geeky site.

It will go over the $20 limit though, but mostly because of the cost of silver nitrate (a source here has it for $45.00/100g along with all the other photochemicals you could want).

Of course silver nitrate is hazardous  and is a severe oxidizer, corrosive, and poison so don't use it if you don't know what you are doing and don't hold other people (like me) responsible if you don't know what you are doing, but think you do and end up injuring yourself.

Or for the slightly geekier, but not that geeky... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by robot138 on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 12:35:18 PM EST

There's always Liquid Light  - a liquid emulsion - if you want different (even non-paper) substrates to print on. I've personally used it on cardboard and seen people use it on ceramic...
e.b.a.c
a.a.r.o
s.y.t.r
t._._.e

[ Parent ]
Suggestions? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
by Control Group on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 11:00:56 AM EST

Every now and again, I get the urge to get back into photography (assuming you count a couple HS photo courses being "into photography" in the first place), but I've been stymied when trying to find a comparatively inexpensive enlarger. Used is fine (probably preferable, actually), and I don't need anything fancy (the ones I learned to use were pretty much just a lightbulb & a lens on a pole). But I've not had any luck finding such a thing online, or in my area.

So - any suggestions for websites (or stores in the SE Wisconsin area, if you happen to know any) where I might be able to find such a thing?

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."

Suggestions (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by czth on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 11:13:06 AM EST

Pick up a couple of photo magazines (Popular Photography, Shutterbug, Photo Life, etc.), there are plenty of advertisers. Among the big sellers, B&H and Adorama, among many others, have a good rep. Of course for more local sources, check local the photo stores (or "store", seeing as you are in SE Wisconsin :P), photo club(s) (try local colleges or universities), keep a watch on the classified section of your nearest big newspaper, etc.

czth

[ Parent ]

I think I detect (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by Control Group on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 12:23:40 PM EST

A hint of disparagement in your attitude towards my beloved state. I must officially object. I agree, of course - but only unofficially. ;)

Anyhow, thanks for the links - maybe now I'll finally get off my lazy rear and set up a darkroom. Chicks dig photographers, right?

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

SE Wisconsin (none / 0) (#68)
by kshea on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:30:53 PM EST

Which part of SE Wisconsin? I seem to remember in high school we had to run to a photo supply store and it was somewhere near highway 100 and oklahoma in West Allis (or nearish to there). They had a bunch of film and chemicals and enlargers and the people there seemed pretty knowledgeable. I keep getting the bug to get into developing, but I've never had the space to do it in.

[ Parent ]
Where'd you go to HS? (none / 0) (#77)
by Control Group on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 04:45:29 PM EST

Milwaukee, on the near south side. Approximately on Chase & Oklahoma, across the tracks from the Klement's building. So Hwy 100 & Oklahoma is easily within range for me...close enough I might just head down that way after work and drive around to see if I can find the store.

And I've had much the same problem: lack of space, and no idea where to get an enlarger (I want to get back into photo printing, but not enough to spend $700 on an enlarger). This article, though, has caused me to clean out a semi-spare room I've got that I think I can light proof well enough to do amateur B&W printing. It won't have running water, unfortunately, but I think I'll be able to make do.

Especially if I can find that store tonight and just pick up an enlarger without thinking about whether or not I can "afford" it. ;)

***
"Oh, nothing. It just looks like a simple Kung-Fu Swedish Rastafarian Helldemon."
[ Parent ]

Try the local paper (none / 0) (#57)
by philwise on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 12:29:06 PM EST

I picked up my enlarger for 50 GBP (that's about $75) from the local paper. It is a cheap polish copy of a basic enlarger, but it works fine. Try the local press or free ad paper.


--
(presenter) "So, altogether now, what are we?"
(audience) "We are all Free Thinkers."
[ Parent ]
More tips: (5.00 / 5) (#12)
by ti dave on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 11:07:24 AM EST

Try to incorporate these in your submission:

Common photographic chemical formulae

Photographic processing hazards

I'd like to put a bullet in your head, Ti_Dave. ~DominantParadigm

Alternate process: (4.50 / 2) (#15)
by subversion on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 11:27:21 AM EST

  1.  Take digital photograph.
  2.  Strip color info in Photoshop, turning it into B&W.
That said, the article is still interesting, and I understand why people would want to do B&W prints (I've done them, I don't have space these days).  I just felt like being sarcastic.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
hehe exactly what I was thinking n/t (1.00 / 1) (#16)
by asad on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 12:22:00 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Yep (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by b1t r0t on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 02:20:39 PM EST

No chemicals, no darkroom, no muss and fuss. And if you carry a laptop around, you can do it instantly, without having to wait until you can get back to your darkroom. And you can easily carry around every photo you've ever taken, to show off on the merest whim.

Not that there's anything wrong with chemical photography. In spite of the growth of the internet, ham radio is still popular among some folks. But the number of people who want to take pictures is significantly larger than the number of people who want to mess around with duct tape and chemicals for the sake of taking pictures.

-- Indymedia: the fanfiction.net of journalism.
[ Parent ]

Doesn't work. (3.75 / 4) (#21)
by gordonjcp on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 03:13:38 PM EST

Film isn't linear. You can get close to a black and white film look by desaturating, and using the curves tool to bend the highlights - make the middle 80% a bit steeper and flatten off the top and bottom like a straightened out "S".

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Correct me if I'm wrong, but... (none / 0) (#52)
by subversion on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 10:53:50 AM EST

Different films have different 'linearities', correct?  I know linearities isn't the right word, but I'm not real awake so it'll have to do.

Basically, film functions as the optical version of an audio compressor:  light in does not necessarily equal light out.  By changing the curve appropriately, you should be able to simulate different types of film, right?

That might not have made sense.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

That's about right. (none / 0) (#56)
by gordonjcp on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 12:18:31 PM EST

I'm not sure "linearities" is the right word either, but that is pretty much it. There are "Film Look" plugins for programs like Aftereffects, that allow you to set a particular curve to emulate different kinds of colour and black-and-white ciné film.

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Faking the B+W "look" in Photoshop (none / 0) (#100)
by Contact on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 10:25:58 AM EST

Broadly right, but it's not just linearity - film can have different sensitivity ranges at different points in the frequency spectrum. So to simulate B&W film accurately is pretty tricky - you basically need to use Photoshop's curves tool independently on the different colour channels, and then blend those together.

It's worth mentioning that the chemicals used to process a film will also change the final image, both in terms of exposure and also quality. "Pushing" a film, for example, will tend to increase the contrast while making the grain larger (and reducing the perceived quality of the image).

(Grain, of course, is the other reason that "faking" B&W film with a digital camera won't always be convincing - it's very hard to simulate that "gritty" look properly.)

[ Parent ]

Alternate alternate process: (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by GGardner on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 03:50:18 PM EST

1.) Use cheap, manual film camera with great lenses
2.) Process slides
3.) Scan slides

Maybe a little more expensive per exposure, but a desktop scanner can pull more than 30 megabytes out of a 35mm slide, and professional drum scanners can better than that with 35mm and much better with medium format. To match the optical quality of 10 year old lenses for a manual focus SLR, you'll need a digital SLR camera that starts at $1500. And that's only get you 6 megapixels.

[ Parent ]

From experience (none / 0) (#53)
by subversion on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 10:55:14 AM EST

The 'professional' drum scanner will also break regularly, costing you a lot of money each time it does.  We've had 2 each of 3 different brands in my lab in the last 2 years, and none of them have lasted more than 9 months without repairs being needed.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
Professional drum scanners (none / 0) (#67)
by GGardner on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:29:39 PM EST

The professional drum scanners I'm referring to cost around $100k, so I don't have any much experience owning and operating them. But for important slide which you want to print at a large size, they are the best way to extract the most possible information from film.

[ Parent ]
Mmm. (none / 0) (#98)
by subversion on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 08:50:16 AM EST

Those are a bit nicer than ours: ours were 10-20k units.  I'd assume that the 100k ones break a little less often, but probably cost a lot more when they do break.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
Amen (none / 0) (#85)
by frankwork on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 09:11:24 PM EST

I had an old just-automatic-enough-to-not-be-any-fun Konica FP-1 Program with a cheapo 28-80 zoom lens (f/4.5 or some shite).

I was able to buy an FS-1 of the same era along with a very nice f/1.4 50mm lens which is actually usable with the 50-speed Fuji Velvia slide film that I like. So far I've been able to take maybe two photographs that were in sharp enough focus to be limited by my slide scanner (I seem to get caught with the cheap lens and no tripod in low light a lot). And the camera makes that classic "model photo shoot" click-whir sound with every photo.

Unfortunately the thing has a habit of breaking regularly, and repair parts aren't available, so I have to go out on ebay every six months or so and buy another one for $50 :P. But even a cheap point-and-shoot can take decent pictures with good film.



[ Parent ]
What camera? (none / 0) (#24)
by Kadin2048 on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 03:51:12 PM EST

Not a terrible idea, but if you want to make enlargements, you'll need a ridiculously expensive digital camera to begin to approximate what you can get with film.

For about $100-200, I can get a decent used SLR and buy and process a few rolls of TMAX 100. Each film frame contains millions of grains of silver halide, although not each one is equivalent to a pixel, the accepted figure seems to be between 7 and 12 megapixels to get a qualitatively equivalent result. (Also, 12 MP is about the most pixels you can get out of a scanned 35mm neg before you start seeing grain.)

I eagerly anticipate the day when I will be able to buy a 12 (or even a 5-7) megapixel digital camera for that price. Until then, film -> print, or even film -> scanner -> print is probably the best quality for the price.

[ Parent ]

Not film->scanner->print (none / 0) (#58)
by p3d0 on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 12:32:58 PM EST

I think you need a very good scanner to do as well as a digital camera for reproducing vivid colours.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
Saturation (5.00 / 1) (#84)
by Kadin2048 on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 08:51:32 PM EST

I've run into this problem...I compensate by using oversaturated film (Agfa Ultra 50) which scans pretty nicely, even on a low-end scanner like the Nikon Coolscan IV. The film also has the advantage of having grain so small, the scanner never picks it up.

A bit of oversaturation in Photoshop also helps, too.

[ Parent ]

Colour space (none / 0) (#96)
by p3d0 on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 07:44:19 AM EST

That is a good point, but it may be more than just saturation. I'm not sure, but I suspect the colour space of a digital camera (being based on a CCD) may be a good match for that of a monitor. Paper prints, I think, have a gifferent gammut (being CMY or CMYK), so when scanned and displayed on a monitor, they necessarily lose some of the colour extremes.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
Yes and no. (none / 0) (#59)
by pla on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 12:33:58 PM EST

The accepted figure seems to be between 7 and 12 megapixels to get a qualitatively equivalent result.

Correct, the film itself has approximately that resolution, based on the mean grain size, between 400 and 100 ISO (respectively).

However...

Without some seriously high-end lenses, good luck getting anywhere near that.

For pros, willing to blow $10k on hardware, you still can't beat film. For anything short of that level of expertise (and of course, cost), a 6MP digital will give considerably better results than a mid-range 35mm camera. For "vacation" level amateurs, they'd do better with even a 2MP digital where they can see their target on the screen before taking the picture (and keep trying over and over, deleting their failures, as needed).


Professional photography, beyond the "artistic" aspect of setting up a perfect shot and shooting it as planned, has a very limited lifetime remaining. In another 5 years, we'll have sub-$300 digitals that get better that the 12MP you mention. Except for family portraits and upper-class weddings, the idea of hiring a "professional" to run the camera will sound absurd.


[ Parent ]
You had me (basically) until... (5.00 / 1) (#62)
by flimflam on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 01:25:14 PM EST

this:

Except for family portraits and upper-class weddings, the idea of hiring a "professional" to run the camera will sound absurd.
Do you really think that professional photographers are hired just because they own a camera and know how to use it? The tools of photography have been well within the means of ordinary people for many many years, and yet somehow there are still lots of people who make their living as photographers. A camera can't go into a warzone to get behind-the-scenes footage by itself. A camera can't give direction to a model. Anyone could take a passport photo -- but who would want to except someone who gets paid for it?


-- I am always optimistic, but frankly there is no hope. --Hosni Mubarek
[ Parent ]
Sharp lenses not necessarily expensive (none / 0) (#70)
by GGardner on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:35:20 PM EST

Without some seriously high-end lenses, good luck getting anywhere near that.

In 35mm format, the sharpest lenses that both Canon and Nikon make cost about $100. They are 50mm f/1.8 prime lenses.

For a couple of hunded dollars, you can buy an old medium-format TLR camera, and get even sharper photos at the same printed size/ISO than 35mm.

If you want to go off the deep end in terms of resolution per dollar, there's always contact printing from large format.

[ Parent ]

Lenses (none / 0) (#86)
by Kadin2048 on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 09:52:37 PM EST

I have to take issue with a couple of points you make: firstly, I would argue that you can definitely max out the film grain's quality without expensive lenses.

Any decent SLR lens by any of the major manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Minolta, Sigma, Pentax) will be more than clear enough to reach the limit of your film grain. It's only when you start buying very 'fast' (low f-number) lenses for professional portraiture or long telephotos that the lenses start to come with big price tags.

Secondly, the problems of clarity and lens selection do not magically disappear when you switch to digital. Most consumer digital cameras only have one lens, it's not replacable, and it sucks. They are based on the lenses used in 35mm point-and-shoots, and even the crappiest SLR lens outperforms them. In order to even get the ability to change lenses in digital, you need to spend upwards of $1000, and that only gets you 3.4MP--barely enough to make a 5x7 at 300dpi.

I do agree, though, that there are certain markets where digitals are better buys than film. Snapshooters or vacation photographers are one of them, because of the instant gratification and their 'WYSIWYG' nature. I can easily see the point-and-shoot market being completely overtaken by digital cameras, because it only takes a few MPs to fill a 4x6 print at 300dpi (although a 2MP won't cut it).

However, for 'advanced amateur' and hobbyist markets, where people want to make bigger prints, or crop and enlarge, I think film is still unmatched. The death knell of film for amateur photographers interested in quality and enlargability will only happen when there is a 10MP digital SLR that is price-competitive with a film camera.

When that happens, I'll be the first person to order one. I have no particular love for film, except that it's cheap for the quality you can get. I just think it's incorrect to say that film has been eclipsed, when digital equipment that does the same thing is still out of the reach of most amateurs and hobbyists.

My only other comment is that I think you are mistaken in predicting the demise of photography as a profession. If we do get sub-$300 12MP cameras in a few years, there will still be people who are better at making images with them than the average Joe, and whose work and talent will be desired. The equipment and process is irrelevant.

[ Parent ]

one advantage of digital (none / 0) (#93)
by Delirium on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 04:07:03 AM EST

For an "amateur but not wealthy" market, I think a digital camera of reasonable quality offers more freedom in experimentation. With a film camera, you have to pay for film for every shot you take. With a digital camera, you can take thousands of shots in a single day to see how they come out and then throw most of them away, all for free. Unless you have a lot of money, buying 100 rolls of film per day would quickly become a prohibitively expensive hobby (even buying 10 rolls a day adds up pretty fast). I personally feel constrained by the "don't want to waste film" aspect of film photography, and am glad to be rid of that when using a digital camera, where I can just delete the picture instantly if it came out crappily (which brings up the other point, that it's possible to get a rough first idea of how the picture came out on the viewfinder, which lets you correct obvious problems rather than end up with 50 pictures all with the same easily-correctable problem).

[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#118)
by phliar on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:59:41 AM EST

I think a digital camera is the best way to learn composition and get a feel for exposure. I shoot bars and concerts in ambient light (Canon EOS, usually with the 100/2 and the 50/1.4, Ektachrome P1600). After about two years of that setup (about a year ago) I bought a Canon G1 and shot a few hundred frames a week — of random stuff — for six months. It did wonders for me. If I'd done that on EPH... I don't even dare imagine what that might cost. If I got paid for it it might be different!

Also: concerts and bars have very difficult light, a quick picture with the digital is worth a lot more than bracketing all my exposures. I always take the G1 along.

Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Right. (none / 0) (#103)
by Matadon on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 01:35:06 PM EST

Professional photography, beyond the "artistic" aspect of setting up a perfect shot and shooting it as planned, has a very limited lifetime remaining. In another 5 years, we'll have sub-$300 digitals that get better that the 12MP you mention. Except for family portraits and upper-class weddings, the idea of hiring a "professional" to run the camera will sound absurd.

Not really; quality photographs come from quality photographers -- not quality cameras.  I don't care how wonderful digital cameras get, or how many megapixels they can pump out of their little CCDs.  It still takes an individual experienced at composition, one who knows how to properly balance the elements of the image, to produce a 'work of art'.

Right now, I shoot with a 35mm SLR camera -- when I have the money, I plan on moving up to medium format, but that likely won't be for a few years.  Even though my equipment is on the cheap side, I am often able to produce better work than most of the photographic studios in the area; at least, according to my clients -- I still think that I have a lot to learn, and many areas in which I can improve.  On the contrary, how many people here know some git of a relative who purchased a $1000 SLR and still shoots photos that look like they came out of a disposable camera?

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]

-1, there's this spiderman episode where he (1.55 / 9) (#18)
by bayou on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 12:51:05 PM EST

catches a thief in the act and the thief says: "No! Not again!"

Look mom, no negative! (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by robot138 on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 01:11:48 PM EST

You can even skip the negative part of this and make photograms. They're almost better than if you have to do contact printing from a 35mm negative, as that's a damn small print.

Or I've had decent success making paper negatives off of a laser printer (just invert the tones in your image and print it out. Use transparencies if you don't like the idea of seeing the paper fibers sometimes).
e.b.a.c
a.a.r.o
s.y.t.r
t._._.e

Negative selection (5.00 / 5) (#29)
by nsayer on Mon Jun 02, 2003 at 04:52:42 PM EST

I had a darkroom as a kid. It was fun.

The article doesn't mention it, but typically I used a chemical between the developer and the fixer called a "stop bath". The stop bath's job is to halt the action of the developer and keep it from mixing with the fixer.

Also, once the paper has been put into the fixer for a few seconds, you can turn the "house lights" back on. Just make sure you have the unexposed paper box shut!

The developer's job is to oxidize the silver that has been exposed to light. The fixer's job is to remove any silver that was not oxidized by the developer. This means that you wind up saturating the fixer with excess silver over time. One thing some pros do is use electrolysis plates to remove the silver from their fixer. This makes their fixer last longer and as a side benefit after the electrolysis plates are saturated, you send them in to get harvested. It's not so much silver that it actually pays for the process, but it does save you money buying fixer if you use a lot of it.

You don't absolutely have to use B&W negatives. You can use color negatives. It won't look 100% correct, but it will certainly be identifiable. Things that were green in the subject will wind up looking white (since the negative will have those parts being red, which is the safelight color).

With just a little bit of specialized equipment, you can set yourself up with a complete B&W photolab. You start by buying reusable 35mm film spools. The tops are a bit easier to remove than the commercial ones (some screw on and off). You can then buy bulk rolls of film and load your own canisters. After exposure, you transfer the film into special film development tanks (you do this either in complete darkness or with your hands in a "dark bag"). The tanks can be handled in the light and can have the chemicals poured in and out. Since you can't see the film, you use a combination of temperature and time for the developer. 30 seconds of stop-bath is fine, and then 5 minutes of fixer and then the film is safe to handle in the light (and is ready to be washed and dried).

After that, you can proceed as in the article to make contact prints.

To make nomral size prints, you need an enlarger. This is like a slide projector turned to aim down onto your work table. You move it up and down to change the size of the enlargements.

This was a nice little trip down memory lane. I am glad, however, that a nice digital camera and photoshop can do everything I used to do the old fashioned way. :-)


Stop bath (none / 0) (#71)
by dagsverre on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:47:20 PM EST

The stop bath is easy to make: Simply water with a few drops of... hmm, what would be "eddik" in Norwegian... vinegard? The kind of acid you get from oxidizing ethanol at any rate. Leave the paper in the stop bath for 30 seconds or a minute or so before dropping it in the fix.

[ Parent ]
IIRC, (none / 0) (#94)
by Cruel Elevator on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 04:08:15 AM EST

20% white vinegar and 80% water makes a decent stop bath. Beginners can skip this step... when they get experienced they can move on to 3+ steps.

30 second fixing time is OK.

[ Parent ]

Alternative (none / 0) (#99)
by Contact on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 10:17:09 AM EST

You can also use expired Fix as a stop bath, which is quite an economical solution.

[ Parent ]
I did this in kindergarten (none / 0) (#48)
by Quila on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 09:28:56 AM EST

Seriously, it's one of the things we did.

But this is a good intro to the wonders of photography. Beyond this tutorial, only a few hundred dollars of materials (enlarger, etc.) may have you making some great prints.

or (3.20 / 5) (#54)
by turmeric on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 12:04:00 PM EST

press button

insert usb cable from camera into computer

click on 'get images from camera'

click 'browse images'

click 'edit image'

click on the 'black and white filter' button

wow!

Yeah but it's not as fun (none / 0) (#66)
by kshea on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:23:45 PM EST

I've done black & white development in my high school graphic arts class, with an enlarger and everything, and it's a lot of fun to do as a hobby. Digital is still useful, but developing your own prints is a good experience to have.

[ Parent ]
yeah well, in the 1890s,... (none / 0) (#88)
by turmeric on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 11:07:59 PM EST

all the photo people were saying 'man you just dip the paper in the bath and blammo.' and the painters/drawers were saying "well that is useful, but painting and drawing are still fun as a hobby and good to know"

[ Parent ]
You've missed the point. (none / 0) (#102)
by Matadon on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 01:20:06 PM EST

Some people enjoy printing; I certainly do, although I nominally avoid doing my own processing unless I need something special done to the film (pushing or pulling).  It really is enjoyable, and you get *much* better results from a roll of Kodak T-Max on good photo paper than you will from any SLR/Printer combo that sells for less than $10K or so.  Not bad for technology that's been around since the 19th century.

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]
or (none / 0) (#89)
by gks on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 01:58:32 AM EST

change camera to b/w mode click!

[ Parent ]
bah (none / 0) (#91)
by Cruel Elevator on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 04:00:35 AM EST

Point Polaroid camera at subject.
Shoot.
Wait for prints.
Get prints.

That's not the point of this discussion. I am beginning to suspect that you could be a troll.

[ Parent ]

film vs. digital (none / 0) (#61)
by Cruel Elevator on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 01:06:52 PM EST

The "film vs. digital" argument is about 5 years old now. Have a look at rec.photo for the detailed (and impressive) flamewars on this matter. However, in short, the consensus seems to be as follows:

For snapshots, i.e. people who want to take pretty pictures of their vacation at uncle Joe's for memories, use anything you please. If your friends and relatives are tech savvy and they own computers, go with a cheapie digital. You'll save yourself and the planet a lot of trouble. However, if you need to distribute prints to your friends and family and if they don't know much about computers, stick to film.

That leaves us with the professionals. They already know what to use, which is standardized between their partners for smooth workflow. For examples, some publishers compulsively use slides (E6). Newspaper photographers will almost always use digital because they need to send their stuff to HQ asap, and they may need to publish for both paper and the web. People doing celebrity posters tend to use film.

Finally, we come to the unpleasant subject of artists. They will stick to film if their final output is on paper, and they will stick to digital for the computer. There is a hybrid genre called "digital artists" who display computer edited prints in exhibitions. They usually tend to scan their films (or slides), do the post post processing work in the computer and take the output in professional grade printers.

Film is difficult to work with, no doubt. However, we haven't managed to recreate the film experience completely yet. You can get a decent film SLR with 28-80 zoom lens for $250. The same camera would cost about 6-8 times more if you go digital, without any lens.

If you want something a bit more then point and shoot, I'd say that it's still a good idea to start with a film SLR. By the time you are experienced, hopefully digital SLRs will fetch for < $800 and your local lab would have Frontier grade units.

As of today, digital is still catching up on film. Let's see what happens after 5 years.

<reposted as topical>

I disagree (none / 0) (#63)
by bugmaster on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 02:46:02 PM EST

I am not a professional photographer by any means, but, like so many other readers, I want to express my horribly misinformed opinion.

I think that digital photography has not only caught up with film -- it has left film in the dust. Just go to dpreview and sort their cameras by price. Look at any digital camera in the $5000 range. The resolution of these cameras is usually better than that of the comparable film. In addition, photos are increasingly required to be presented in some sort of digital form nowadays -- the digital cameras take the nasty scanning process out of the picture.

Of course, note how I said "$5000 range". For now, if you want state of the art, that's what you have to pay. However, most people don't really need to spend that much. For $1000, you can get a pretty good digital camera with a lens kit (macro/telephoto/filters), and you can obtain great results in almost any environment (well, excluding low-light, probably). Sure, the camera won't be SLR -- but I never understood the SLR obsession anyway, since the little viewscreen shows me exactly how my photo will turn out -- thus being actually better than SLR, which only shows me what the camera is looking at.

Some people complain that it's hard and/or expensive to make good prints from digital sources, and that may be true. However, like I said, I am not a professional photographer, and so I am content with watching my pictures on the monitor. All in all, I don't think I could go back to an analog camera at this point... It would be like shooting photos through blackened glass with one eye closed and my hands tied behind my back.
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

viewscreen vs SLR. (none / 0) (#65)
by joshsisk on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:11:53 PM EST

I can compose and shoot WAAAAY faster with a viewfinder than a viewscreen. And with a SLR, what you see through the viewfinder IS the exact image you will capture on the film/CCD - with non-SLR camera, what you see through the viewfinder is not the same composition as what is exposed on the film/CCD.

Really, for anyone that needs to work quickly, a SLR is very useful, be it digital or film.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Viewfinder vs. Viewscreen. (2.50 / 2) (#69)
by TheSleeper on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:34:36 PM EST

However, a viewscreen allows you to "shoot around corners", since your face doesn't have to be right up by the camera to see the image. I've used this ability several times when I was in a crowd, holding the camera up to shoot over the heads of the people around me.

[ Parent ]
Exactly (none / 0) (#79)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 05:35:33 PM EST

If you have a look at some of my images, I would have had a damn hard time taking them with a digital or film SLR. I would really like a good digital SRL, but since most of them don't have a ability to preview through the CCD (correct me if I'm wrong), it's a bit off putting to spent that much money on one.
Infact, I use the rear screen on my camera so much that it just feels weird to have to hold a camera up to my eye and move and crouch around like an idiot to get a good angle.

[ Parent ]
preview. (none / 0) (#107)
by joshsisk on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 04:38:34 PM EST

I know the Nikon (D series, I believe) has the ability to preview through the CCD.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
Canon to? (none / 0) (#109)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 05:34:27 PM EST

Wonder if the Canons do aswell. Maybe it was just one model I had read that didn't do previews.

[ Parent ]
the eos-1d does as well. (nt) (none / 0) (#117)
by joshsisk on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:24:18 AM EST


--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
Viewfinder (none / 0) (#72)
by bugmaster on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:48:13 PM EST

Actually, I could never compose anything well with the viewfinder -- I would always crop too much or too little, as it's hard to keep reminding oneself about those targeting brackets. With the screen, I can get a good composition every time; perhaps it is because the viewscreen is flat, and so it looks like a finished photo already.

In addition, the screen shows you what your camera sees, not what your eye sees. This is important because the sensor (or the film) in your camera has a different sensitivity than your eye/brain combo. Thus, with the viewfinder/SLR there is a tendency to overexpose or underexpose shots -- your brain compensates for it automatically, but the camera is not that smart (especially not an analog camera).
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

Targeting Brackets. (none / 0) (#106)
by joshsisk on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 04:37:28 PM EST

If you have a SLR, you don't need targeting brackets. What you see is the image. At least with every SLR I've owned.

As far as under/overexposing shots - never happens to me, not even an issue for me with my manual SLR. However, my Powershot OFTEN will mis-expose something. It's trivial, since I can just retake the image - but the computer is definitely NOT as adept at handling tricky lighting situations as my brain is. I'm assumming a digital SLR with manual overrides, however, would work just as well for me in this regard as my film SLR does.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Not exactly... (none / 0) (#73)
by dagsverre on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 03:55:47 PM EST

The film never sees the same as your eye. Depending on how much light you let in through the lens, things farther away from your focus distance may look more blurry. Using a wide lens opening will make things not in focus more blurry, and vice versa. That's not something you can see in the viewfinder, however I'd assume that the same effects on digital cameras would show up on the screen immideately (not that I've tried, only tried digital compact cameras myself).

[ Parent ]
re-read my comment. (none / 0) (#108)
by joshsisk on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 04:44:25 PM EST

with a SLR, what you see through the viewfinder IS the exact image you will capture on the film/CCD - with non-SLR camera, what you see through the viewfinder is not the same composition as what is exposed on the film/CCD.

As I said, when you look through the viewfinder on a SLR, you see the same composition as will be exposed to the film or CCD. When you look through the viewfinder of a non-SLR camera, you do not see the same composition - since you aren't using the same lens that exposes the film/CCD.

Since I can take images way faster through a viewfinder, I need a viewfinder that give me accurate compositions. Thus, I need an SLR-style camera, regardless of whether it's digital or film.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Clarification. (none / 0) (#110)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 05:41:48 PM EST

Perhaps you should have made the distintion of an optical non-SRL viewfinder, and not have used the word viewscreen. As a lot of non-SRL digitals have EVFs (electronic view finder), and pretty much all have a rear display (viewscreen?), both of these are WYSIWYG like an SLR viewfinder.

[ Parent ]
EVF? (none / 0) (#116)
by joshsisk on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 12:22:38 AM EST

I've owned pretty high-level (but non-SLR) digital cameras from Olympus, Canon and Nikon, but I've never seen a camera with a digital viewfinder, except for video cameras. Not to say they don't exist, but they don't seem to be too common.

The reason I used the word viewscreen is : I stated that I can take images faster with a viewfinder than with a viewscreen. BUT, since I want the image to be WYSIWYG, I want an SLR-style camera rather than a range-finder or point-and-shoot style camera.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

OK (none / 0) (#74)
by Cruel Elevator on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 04:24:25 PM EST

If you want the best in < 5K range, may I recommend the Mamiya 7 Rangefinders? I think that your friends with their digital SLRs would be very, very pissed. Or, if you feel masochistic, you could go for a 4x5 unit (the "view" camera), a Minolta IV meter, and a Nikon lens. I think you can get this gear within < 3K, and you will learn quite a few things about photography and obscene amount of details, which, sadly, digital cameras can't beat within the next 5 years.

Save the remaining money to get some darkroom gear.

Again, all this is an overkill for snapshot stuff. What sort of pictures do you usually take?

[ Parent ]

A few points. (none / 0) (#101)
by Matadon on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 01:17:07 PM EST

Digital photography is getting there, but it has most certainly not left film in the dust.  I'm a 'semi-professional' photographer, which means that I make money at photography strictly as a side business, while something else pays for my food, electricity, and beer (listed in ascending order of importance).  Therefore, while I am certainly not an authority in the field, I can make some general comments about the way things are.

First off, current digital SLRs have CCDs that are nominally smaller by a factor of about 3/4, compared to a 35mm film plane.  To me, this means that my f/2.8 20mm wide-angle Nikkor just became a very expensive 35mm lens.

Second, photo paper produces signifigantly more contrast than you can easily get with digital output -- sure, it's possible to match photographic print quality with a high-end laser printer, but I'd rather save myself the money and use a cheap enlarger.  The cost of a good high-end digital and the printer required to get decent output for it runs in the ten- to fifteen thousand U.S. range; for that money, I could hit the used market and purchase two *nice* SLR bodies (I like the N90[1] myself), a cache of lenses, strobes, some starter monolights, and a pretty much complete darkroom kit.

Third, film still is cheaper for anyone doing work beyond snapshots.  Sure, you might spend $1,000 on film in a year, whereas a digital camera would certainly have no operating costs, but it'd take me five years of digital shooting for that camera to pay for itself -- not much of a trade-off if you ask me.

Note that I'm not knocking digital photography; if I had the spare cash around to get myself a nice Nikon D1, I probably would -- I just wouldn't be in a hurry to toss any of my SLR bodies just yet.

[1] Yeah, it's not "professional grade" -- blow me.  It's got a better metering system than the F4, signifigantly better ergonomics, DoF preview, and the only "professional" feature it's lacking is a full-frame viewfinder.  Furthermore, the LCD in the viewfinder is designed in a sane fashion (F4 owners know what I'm talking about), and the price of one used F4 could purchase three N90s.  I'm also well aware that the F5 has been out awhile, but it's harder to come by used than the British crown jewels, and only marginally less expensive.

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]

Few counter points (none / 0) (#112)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 06:11:50 PM EST

First off, current digital SLRs have CCDs that are nominally smaller by a factor of about 3/4, compared to a 35mm film plane. To me, this means that my f/2.8 20mm wide-angle Nikkor just became a very expensive 35mm lens.

Not anymore, Nikon and Canon now have digital SLRs with a full-frame size CCD, and I assume that this can only be a growing trend.

Third, film still is cheaper for anyone doing work beyond snapshots.

I dissagree. If you're learning photography, digital can be cheaper since you don't need to worry about wasting film. Which means you can waste a lot, and learn more/faster.

It all really depends on what you do. I'm a web designer, and my main output is the web. So digital makes much more sence to me that putting up with photo labs, or spending cash on a film scanner.
If I mainly did prints, then film would be more of an option for me.

[ Parent ]

And the circle goes around. (none / 0) (#113)
by Matadon on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 06:34:59 PM EST

Not anymore, Nikon and Canon now have digital SLRs with a full-frame size CCD, and I assume that this can only be a growing trend.

Really?  Care to post a link -- I was under the impression that one company had a full-sized CCD (Kodak), but that neither Nikon or Canon actually produced a high-level one.  I know Nikon doesn't (D1 and D1X both have a 24mm plane), and I'm pretty certain Canon doesn't.

I dissagree. If you're learning photography, digital can be cheaper since you don't need to worry about wasting film. Which means you can waste a lot, and learn more/faster.

Not really; in fact, I've noticed that all-digital guys who have never learned on an old fashioned  are much more sloppy and lazy when it comes to composition, because they're used to throwing images away; people who know that they're going to spend a few hours of time in the lab will take time to craft their shots, making each and every one worthwhile.

Kind of like programming.  Sure, it's fast to throw together an application in VB, but if I'm going to hire a programmer to write something crucial to my business, I want someone who loves to code, and who prefers to take his time making sure that his code runs well -- sadly, this is a very uncommon thing nowadays.

Of course, this is only really applicable to professionals and talented amateurs, but there is no debate in the snapshot arena that digital is king.

It all really depends on what you do. I'm a web designer, and my main output is the web. So digital makes much more sence to me that putting up with photo labs, or spending cash on a film scanner.

Of course; digital photography makes perfect sense for you, but realistically, very little in the way of photographic work is targeted to end up on the web.

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]

...And round (none / 0) (#115)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 10:33:24 PM EST

Really? Care to post a link -- I was under the impression that one company had a full-sized CCD (Kodak), but that neither Nikon or Canon actually produced a high-level one. I know Nikon doesn't (D1 and D1X both have a 24mm plane), and I'm pretty certain Canon doesn't.

Canon's 1Ds and the Kodak 14n. Sorry, I though it was Nikon. But I suspect they will have one out in a few months.

Not really; in fact, I've noticed that all-digital guys who have never learned on an old fashioned are much more sloppy and lazy when it comes to composition, because they're used to throwing images away

Guilty as charged. But if I didn't that attitude, I wouldn't have a lot of the shots I have. I still use film, and I don't take the same approach when using film.

Kind of like programming[...]

If you're more of a "profesional" photographer rather than a "artist" photographer, then that has some truth to it. Otherwise...

Of course; digital photography makes perfect sense for you, but realistically, very little in the way of photographic work is targeted to end up on the web.

Yes, but realisticly, very little work ends up as print in a gallery, so the web will have to do for me (and a lot of other people), for now ;).

[ Parent ]

Those aren't 35mm. (none / 0) (#133)
by Matadon on Tue Jun 17, 2003 at 04:29:59 PM EST

Both of the digitals you have listed have 24mm film planes (it's the height of the film plane that matters, not the width).

--
"There's this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out." — Richard Dawkins.
[ Parent ]
Guilty as Charged (none / 0) (#121)
by bugmaster on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 08:45:34 AM EST

Not really; in fact, I've noticed that all-digital guys who have never learned on an old fashioned are much more sloppy and lazy when it comes to composition, because they're used to throwing images away; people who know that they're going to spend a few hours of time in the lab will take time to craft their shots, making each and every one worthwhile.
Guilty as charged -- though I was raised with an analog camera, not a digital one -- and spent quite a few bucks on film.

I love throwing images away. More specifically, when I see something that might be worth shooting, I make sure to shoot at least 20-30 frames of it, and pick out the decent ones later. Partially, this is because the full image may contain details that I missed when I was looking at the viewscreen (or the viewfinder, for that matter). In addition, the object usually undergoes some changes -- flowers sway in the wind, insects crawl around, people come and go, etc. -- and so all the frames are subtly different.

Basically, what I like to do is to build up a huge "scan" of the object, which encompasses it in space and in time, and then pick out the snapshot that feels "right" to me (and, more often than not, multiple shots turn out to be good). Sometimes I notice some small detail in the scenery that I missed earlier -- and I end up cropping it out of the larger image. In other words, there is still a "crafting" process involved, only it takes place in post-production, not in real time.

There is no way that I could do all this picking and choosing in my head, as I frame the shot. Firstly, as I mentioned before, things change over time -- and I'd rather throw away 10 frames than miss that one perfect shot because I was looking for a better angle. Secondly, I feel that I exercise better judgement when I am sitting in my chair, moving the mouse around, as opposed to hopping around freezing my ass off outside.

As I said, my technique (such as it is) has not changed much since the analog camera days -- only now I have more material to work with (the memory card holds a lot more information than film), and I pay less money for film (well, no money, actually). Thank Turing for digital photography :-)
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

Nikor AF 20mm/f2.8D (none / 0) (#126)
by czth on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:30:24 PM EST

I hear ya on the 20mm Nikkor, I have that lens, and it's a wonderful lens, or was on my F90X (N90s in USA, slight variation from the N90/F90), but it's just a "slightly wide" lens on my D100; nice enough, but not what I paid for, and I'm not about to shell out for a wider lens right now (maybe a used 300/2.8, though, if I see one again). On the other hand, I now use it more, since it wasn't called for much as a 20mm (landscapes, some interiors where I needed to get more in).

czth

[ Parent ]

: Re: film SLR with 28-80 zoom lens (none / 0) (#75)
by skipio on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 04:32:02 PM EST

I wouldn't call a SLR with entry-level 28-80mm zoom lens "decent". A cheap SLR camera is quite fine but almost all entry-level zoom lenses are utter junk - they have terrible image quality. I'd advise any beginner to get a $100 50mm f/1.8 prime lens instead; a 50mm prime lens is just as inexpensive as those cheap zooms but offers much better image quality and has around 4 times better light gathering ability than inexpensive zooms which means that one doesn't need to resort to flash nearly as often. In fact, a lowly $100 50mm lens offers better image quality than any zoom lens - no matter whether it costs $50 or $5000. Those who just have to have a zoom lens need to spend a little more money to get a decent one. A good inexpensive zoom lens is the Canon 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 USM which can be had for little more than $200. Nikon/Minolta/Pentax probably offer something similar for $200-300. Philip Greenspun's article, Building a 35mm SLR System is a good read for anyone interested in getting a SLR camera.

<reposted as topical>

[ Parent ]

well (none / 0) (#92)
by Cruel Elevator on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 04:02:32 AM EST

I personally happen to use a 50mm (f/1.7) prime. Zoom lenes helps people get their feet wet. Once they know what they need, they can always upgrade.

By the way, since you seem to be Canon guy, do you really think that Canon's 50mm f/1.0 is worth $2500?

[ Parent ]

Re: Canon's 50mm f/1.0 (none / 0) (#97)
by skipio on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 08:07:19 AM EST

It's a specialty lens which very few people need - Canon sells so few of these that I doubt they make any money on them at all. And for those people who really need such a fast lens they can probably justify the cost; if they can't they don't really need it.

As for me, I'd rather get the Leica 50mm f/1.0 Noctilux M lens which only costs $200 more. The Noctilux is much better lens and for those situations when one needs that fast lens a rangefinder will probably be much more suitable as one can use slower shutter speeds because rangefinders don't have any mirror slap.

[ Parent ]

The real (only) film casualty vrs Digital is 35mm (none / 0) (#76)
by jboy55 on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 04:37:00 PM EST

For artists or anyone, there is no reason to buy a new/used 35mm camera anymore. The quality of digital cameras at the $300-$500 range is much better then most top-of-the-line 35mm. Given the cost of film and processing (esp colour) even a cheap used Pentax K1000 is going to cost an artist more in the short run.

However, this does not mean film is dead, i would say 90% of estabished Fine-Artists and 99% of professional photographers use medium format (60mm+) or sheet film. One of my photo intructors at art school even scoffed at 4x5s (inches) as being a 'small' format and he only used 8x10" or 11x14" film. Nearly all magazine product photos are shot with 8x10.

4x5 @ 2000 dpi = 8000x10000 pixels or a whopping 80megapixel.
8x10 @ 2000 dpi = 16000x20000 or 320megapixel.

2000dpi is conservative as far a drumscanners go as well.

 

[ Parent ]

DPI (none / 0) (#80)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 05:39:52 PM EST

Just keep in mind that even if the drum scanner could scan at 200,000 DPI, it doesn't mean it's going to pull any more detail from the film.

[ Parent ]
DPI (none / 0) (#83)
by jboy55 on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 07:53:02 PM EST

True, 2000dpi though is just above the resolution needed to resolve film grain. Most drumscanners or slide scanners do 2700-3000dpi.

Which means that 35mm will only a produce ~ 4 megapixel image (30Mb/8bits in the head mathematics) with the best film and the best scanner. B&W would be far less then that at most ISOs save the 50s and below, because of the sliver clumping.

[ Parent ]

you didn't mention film price (none / 0) (#95)
by Delirium on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 04:14:43 AM EST

If you're a serious hobbyist, who takes lots of shots to experiment with composition/lighting/etc., it's likely that you'll go through several hundred rolls of film in a year. At around $4 a roll, you're looking at another $500-$1000 in film there. With digital this is all free, and you only have to pay to print the (likely relatively few) shots that you actually want prints of.

[ Parent ]
Photo 101 (none / 0) (#64)
by sakusha on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 02:47:45 PM EST

This all reminds me of my first photo class in college, the teacher made everyone do contact printing using an old antique chemistry. He said it was safe enough you could mix it on your everyday dishes, but I subsequently found out it was extremely hazardous and toxic so I'm not even going to mention the process name here. But it was really fun because it needed no darkroom equipment, you exposed the contact print in sunlight for 15 to 30 minutes. Kodak used to make a commercial-grade printing-out-paper that also exposed in sunlight, but I don't think they make it anymore.

Modern processes can be pretty hazardous too. (none / 0) (#78)
by rasilon on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 04:46:47 PM EST

I had to give up doing darkroom stuff because the fixer fumes would give me an extraordinary headache. I binned the stuff in case I ever forgot what the pain was like and was tempted to use it again. Apparently sensitivity takes a while to build up (if you are sensitive at all, most people aren't, it would seem), but once acquired never goes away. Nowadays I leave it to the professionals -- who have proper ventillation.

[ Parent ]
You mean .. (none / 0) (#124)
by Peat on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:32:02 PM EST

Platinum / Palladium printing? Bromoil? Whoops. There's no sense in scaring curious people! "Alternative process" printing can be just as safe as silver printing. Just don't drink the chemicals, wear gloves, clean up after yourself, and ventalate your working area. It's real chemistry, not just an art! I think they're a good thing to know about -- learning how to make platinum prints really opened my eyes to the qualities of different exposures and developing methods. People who are interested can read more at: http://duke.usask.ca/~holtsg/photo/faq.html

bigbluebang internet services - hosting, consulting, tools, and more.
[ Parent ]
Optics I (none / 0) (#132)
by sagsaw on Thu Jun 12, 2003 at 10:04:01 PM EST

My favorite lab from the Optics class I took once upon a time was the day we went down to the laser lab in the basement of the building and did holography. (Note: No reason why this had to be done in the laser lab. Yes, there were some big ass lasers down there, but no, we couldn't play with them.) Idea was basically the same, except with extreamly high resolution film, and coherent light from a HeNe laser. (Mmm...chemicals _and_ lasers...)

There was also a non-chemical holography process which involved a transparent thermoplastic (IIRC) plate. Because the hologram was 'developed' using a thermal process which did not disturb the position of the holographic plate, you could do all sorts of cool things. Imagine lightly touching a 2" thick steel plate and seeing an interfearance pattern show up on the camera (pointed at the holographic plate) as your touch ever so slightly deflects the plate. Fun fun fun.

[ Parent ]
Ah, the memories! (5.00 / 2) (#81)
by mcgrew on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 06:56:43 PM EST

When I was 12 I ordered a "3 Stooges Magic Photo Set". Basically, it had the chemicals, paper, and copies of negatives from 3 Stooges movies.

It turned into a hobby of several years. I remeber really freaking my mom out by taking a picture of her car, drawing lines on negative one the passenger window with a felt tip pen and then printing it (I had an enlarger by then) and giving her the photo.

She freaked and ran outside to see how badly the window was broken!

Yes, kids, I was photoshopping before there was a photoshop.

Now, here is a little fun you can have on the beach with someone you don't like, using a very similar process to photography.

When he/she falls asleep while suntanning, write something obscene with a magic marker on a sheet of celophane, and gently lay it on their back.

They will have a glorious obscenity in pasty white etched into their sunburn! This doesn't work well with black people, who actually do burn but not visibly.

Alternately, if you have pornographic photographic negatives, these will work as well or better!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

oh man (none / 0) (#87)
by mariahkillschickens on Tue Jun 03, 2003 at 10:55:38 PM EST

i plead ADHD but i read parts of the entry and your comment...

i love photography in almost any form. my bestfriend is a photographer for real. b/w is definitely not dying, its just overshadowed by the digital fad.
"In the end, it's all dirt."
[ Parent ]

ADHD? (none / 0) (#114)
by mcgrew on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 07:32:02 PM EST

Remind me never to let you cut on my brain!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

sometimes (none / 0) (#128)
by mariahkillschickens on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 08:50:39 PM EST

i can do one thing for longer than 10 minutes
"In the end, it's all dirt."
[ Parent ]
Another advantage of using film (4.00 / 4) (#90)
by samiam on Wed Jun 04, 2003 at 02:28:23 AM EST

Another advantage of using film is that you can use special low-light lenses which allow you to take pictures at night without a flash. These special lenses also have the advatnage of being able to really isolate the subject from their surroundings.

I personally do not like flashes; I think they make for very ugly pictures, since having a bright light in someone's face is very unnatural. Additionally, they give the subject unpleasant red spots in their vision after the picture is taken.

Also, it is much more difficult to take candid shots with a flash.

The disadvantage of these low-light lenses is that they can not zoom; their are a lot of compromises when making a zoom lens which cause the lens to have inferior optical quality and be unable to take pictures in low levels of light.

I have two "prime" (non-zoom, fixed focal length) lenses which I use: a 50mm f1.4 (the 50mm indicates that its field of vision is roughly equivalent to that of a human eye; the "f1.4" indicates that the lens can take a picture in any lighting bright enough for someone to read a book in with ISO/ASA400 film) and a 28mm f3.5 lens (the 28mm indicates that it is a wide-angle lens which is better for scenic shots and candid shots where I don't have time to look through my camera's viewfinder; f3.5 is roughly as bright as a modern zoom lens so I can only use this lens in the outdoors during the daytime or with a flash or tripod).

I would put a link to some of my photos on photo.net here, but this place has too many trolls. I am sure some troll would post about how lame my pictures here just to spite and hurt my feelings for no particular reason. Since Rusty can keep the trolls here under control, no link to my photos. Sorry, guys.

- Sam

Flash? Ugh! (none / 0) (#119)
by phliar on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:24:52 AM EST

I personally do not like flashes; I think they make for very ugly pictures....
What, you don't like pasty faces on a black background?

Needless to say, I hate flashes, even though most of my photography is at concerts and bars. Not only do I hate the flash look, I want to capture the feeling of being in the bar or at the concert. My lenses are 50mm f/1.4 and 100mm f/2 (i.e. fast lenses, with wide apertures) and I use Ektachrome slide film at ISO 1600 (needs special processing) so I don't have to.

Although I also have an off-camera flash of guide number 180' @ ISO100 — very nice for fill flash in the daytime. (And why the hell are those off-camera flash extension cords so damn expensive?)

Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Low-light & slides (none / 0) (#120)
by cei on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 04:45:20 AM EST

Yeah, I use a 85mm f/1.4 for all my concert pics. Fuji has a decent ISO 1600 chrome, and lately I've tried pushing Scala B&W slide film to 1600 with mixed results. Also teaching myself the ins and outs of TMAX 3200 and Ilford's Delta 3200. Fun stuff. Out of curiousity, are you using a 400 and pushing 2 stops? Which 400 works best for you?

[ Parent ]
Fast slide film (none / 0) (#127)
by phliar on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 07:15:13 PM EST

I use EPH push 2, for ISO 1600. I've tried Elite Chrome 400 pushed 2, but EPH pushes better. (Expensive, though! EPH $12, +2 push $14... almost a dollar a frame! Can anyone recommend a good mailorder place that will push E-6 and transfer to Photo-CD?) I need slides because I make Polaroid transfers from them.

For B&W I use good old Tri-X (TXP, actually — 120 in a Yashicamat TLR.) I don't like the look of that T-grain in B&W. I've pushed TXP 2 stops, the grain looks good to me. I lost my darkroom access though, I haven't been doing B&W lately.

Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

.. digital too. (none / 0) (#123)
by Peat on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 02:11:12 PM EST

Those lenses are, of course, available to digital photographers who are willing to kick out the tall dollars for a digital SLR. So, the option is there for the digital crowd, it's just much more expensive than an equivalent film camera. And not as much fun. ;)

bigbluebang internet services - hosting, consulting, tools, and more.
[ Parent ]
Fun (none / 0) (#125)
by czth on Fri Jun 06, 2003 at 03:17:28 PM EST

Those lenses are, of course, available to digital photographers who are willing to kick out the tall dollars for a digital SLR. So, the option is there for the digital crowd, it's just much more expensive than an equivalent film camera. And not as much fun. ;)

I have a good set of fast (nothing slower than 2.8) Nikkor lenses that I got for my Nikon F90X (N90s in USA) and now use with my D100. Developing film and making prints may be fun, but it's also very time consuming, and after the novelty wears off I'm quite able to have as much fun (and spend less money and time) using Photoshop and a colour printer (Canon S9000 here).

Being able to take a couple of tiny 512M CompactFlash cards with me instead of about 50 rolls of film (equivalent, at the size/resolution I usually shoot at) is also a lot of "fun" :P, as is not having to change film much, being able to instantly preview and erase images as needed (coarse-grained on-site editing as it were), and be able to instantly "develop" the film (copy to my laptop) and distribute (at a wedding I was at recently I burned a CD-R for a friend who wanted copies of my pictures, immediately following the reception).

Other advantages of digital: article (that's about a Sony digital I got before the D100, but it all relates).

czth

[ Parent ]

Oh, Agreed (mostly) .. (none / 0) (#129)
by Peat on Sat Jun 07, 2003 at 10:00:40 AM EST

I agree .. digital is much more convenient and productive than standard film.  No question about it, especially for high volume / professional shooters.

Fun is subjective, of course.  Personally, I like the solitude and quiet that comes with chemical photography, but most of the shooting I've done for clients in the past year is digital.

For me, there's something magical about watching an image form on sheet of exposed photo paper.  I dunno.  After thousands and thousands of prints, it still hasn't worn off.  :)

By the way .. how do you like your printer?  One of my colleagues is looking for a good proofing printer ..

bigbluebang internet services - hosting, consulting, tools, and more.
[ Parent ]

Darkroom, printer (none / 0) (#130)
by czth on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 10:10:18 AM EST

For me, there's something magical about watching an image form on sheet of exposed photo paper. I dunno. After thousands and thousands of prints, it still hasn't worn off. :)

I hear ya, and given sufficient time and space I'd set up a darkroom again... but for now I have to be satisfied with digital.

By the way .. how do you like your printer? One of my colleagues is looking for a good proofing printer ..

It's a good printer, but has developed some banding in 8x10 prints, although some web searching produced a few hits for fixing it. Aside from that, it's very fast, quiet, etc.; makes good prints on photo paper and plain paper and prints up to 13x19. I recommend Digital Photography Review as a good site for camera/printer/other digital device reviews and comparisons, you might want to direct him (this is the gender-neutral "him") there.

czth

[ Parent ]

Lens mounts and digital SLRs (none / 0) (#131)
by phliar on Mon Jun 09, 2003 at 06:48:48 PM EST

Yes... tall dollars indeed! For a digital SLR to be a "replacement" (whatever that means!) it must be full-frame (the imaging element e.g. the CCD must be 24mmx36mm which is the frame size for 35mm). For Canon EF lenses this means the EOS 1Ds — which I think is about $8000. Even the D-60 (the consumer Canon digital SLR) is >$2000 and that comes with a "zoom factor" of 1.6 or so... which means a good 28mm lens becomes a very expensive 45mm!

If I could get a full-frame SLR that would take my EF lenses for about $3000 I'd try really hard to scrape together the money. (Canon, are you listening?) Unfortunately it seems the big manufacturers have decided to go the "fancy features" (i.e. bloat) way. I don't need the ability to shoot movies on the SLR, I just want something that has decent exposure metering and a full-frame imaging element. Anything equivalent to my $300 EOS A2!

Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

i love the smell of fixer in the morning (4.00 / 2) (#122)
by bsmfh on Thu Jun 05, 2003 at 01:38:03 PM EST

ahh the memories...

I worked as a photo tech for quite a few years right out of college. I did black and white film, prints, litho from laser scanners, color prints, color slide film, everything. Built 3 darkrooms while I worked for that now-defunct company, and sloshed a hell of a lot of fixer in the day. Loved every minute of it.

And it led me to my first job as a programmer, where I learned to hack BDS-C on Z80 motherboards running CPM! Thanks to Leor Zolman, Ron Fowler, Al Jewer, and a cast of a dozen or so more. What a great life.

we had it all: lasers, darkrooms, computers, beer, soldering irons, blinky lights!

met my first wife that way.

Thanks, C.E. for bringing it all back. I really think the pixels look better when you make them yourself. And it's really a pretty forgiving process (b&w) as compared to color slide films.

--b

Yet another fun thing to do: making black and white prints | 133 comments (101 topical, 32 editorial, 0 hidden)
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