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Railfan Technology > Do you still use film?


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Date: 03/19/20 16:44
Do you still use film?
Author: wpamtk

I've been wondering about others who still shoot film as part of their railfanning. As for myself, after shooting slides for nearly fifty years, I just don't feel like changing formats. I feel that film photography is an art that I have mastered and feel comfortable with. I use a Nikon F and a Pentax Spotmatic (both made in 1970) and Fuji Provia 100 (ever since Kodachrome went away). Yes, it's inconvenient and expense to buy film and have it processed, but at this point I only shoot 10-12 rolls a year. All my railfan friends shoot digital. I do have a digital camera I use for family and vacation photos, and I sometimes use it to take a few train pictures, some of which I occasionally post here. Still, when it comes to rail photography, for me film comes first. I'm curious to hear what others who still use film have to say.  



Date: 03/19/20 18:19
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: 2-10-2

Still do on occasion with a Nikkormat FT-3 and Nikon FM. Like you, maybe 10 rolls max.annually. Kodak Ektar film, sometimes a Fuji slide film. The Nikkormat was a 1974? purchase, Nikon a few years later.
Had my glory days in the mid-70s to mid-80s in SoCal; chasing trains in Cajon, San Luis Obispo, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas mostly.

Picked up a Fuji F100T digital rangefinder when they came out a few years ago, fixed 35mm lens that allows me to work digitally like I do/did in film. Gives me great joy.

2-10-2
 



Date: 03/19/20 19:27
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: baltimore

Still shooting slide film. Have a couple of Nikon F5's and Ni-Cad packs for them that still work. I am shooting less these days given the lower demand for trading & sales. A couple of years ago I was shooting over 200 rolls per year. Currently I'm probably only shooting 100-125 rolls per year. It's getting fairly expensive to purchase film and have it processed these days. Thankfully, ebay sales cushion the blow considerably.

Seeing as WGRF has been cancelled this year I will probably have another drop off in film usage. I will probably shoot film until the end. Digital doesn't really appeal to me, although I may have a need to purchase a drone in the not too distant future. The aerial views do have an appeal.

Baltimore



Date: 03/19/20 19:57
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: Valleyman

I still shoot film myself! In 2018 and 2019 I averaged about 400 rolls of Fuji Provia 100f each year. Have had very few issues shooting film. You only get one chance, so I make sure I get it right. All day shooting winter light, mid October through Mid March. March though October first 3.5 hours and the last 3.5 hours of the day. Plus I only shoot on sunny days. 

Valleyman



Date: 03/20/20 04:27
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: RayH

Another film shooter here (for about 45+ years). I shoot Fuji Provia, and depending on the number of trips taken each year, I might shoot 25 rolls. Been using a Canon A-1 since 1986, and recently picked up a second A-1 body (due to a few untimely shutter failures). Also have a Canon EOS Rebel as an emergency backup, and the original Canon FTb. The Rebel was purchased while chasing A&M Alcos back in 2007, when the A locked up, so it's known as my "Wal-Mart camera".

I feel much more comfortable shooting film as it forces you to "get the shot right the first time". I have no problem sending off a bunch of rolls of film and waitng for the results. When they stop making film, I'm done. One reason why I never considered an early switch to digital was due to questions of how the images would be stored. I grew up in the era on 5 1/4" floppy discs, then 3 1/2" discs, and then no discs. Didn't want the hassle of potentially converting shots to different storage media every few years.

I would consider digital for underwater photography. Many times I thought I "got the shot" of something spectacular while scuba diving, only to find out a few hours later that I didn't. Being able to look at the immediate results would allow me to swim after the fish/turtle/shark and try again.



Date: 03/20/20 05:21
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: DSPR3

I am curious which company you use for film development.



Date: 03/20/20 06:09
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: RayH

DSPR3 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am curious which company you use for film
> development.

Dwaynes, in Parsons KS. They handle the Fuji mailers (and previously with Kodak too).



Date: 03/20/20 07:31
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: chico

Still, the slide film transparencies that you can hold in your hand will one day decompose. maybe not next year, maybe not in 50 years. But still they have a shelf life like anything. Thus to be seen in decades after they decompose they will need to be digitized at some point. 

But I know, the arguement film v digital has been around since the beginning of trainorders, or before. There is no right or wrong in my opinion. Just extra work that will have to be done if the captures are not of digital origin.

Carry on film shooters.

Chico



Date: 03/20/20 11:08
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: colehour

chico Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Still, the slide film transparencies that you can
> hold in your hand will one day decompose. maybe
> not next year, maybe not in 50 years. But still
> they have a shelf life like anything. Thus to be
> seen in decades after they decompose they will
> need to be digitized at some point. 
>
I have some Kodachromes that my father brought back from Greenland during WWII. They look like they could have been shot yesterday, but I have digitized them. Who knows how long Kodachrome could last? 



Date: 03/20/20 15:12
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: Rathole

I shot about half a roll of Fujichrome just yesterday.  I still prefer locomotive roster shots to be on slide film but I use digital for everything else.  



Date: 03/21/20 11:30
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: K3HX

Still using film, both 35mm and 120.

Be Well,

Tim Colbert  K3HX



Date: 03/21/20 15:15
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: wpamtk

I'm fortunate that there's a small independant lab near me that processes my Fujichrome. They're nice people that I've known for quite awhile, and I like to patronize local businesses. On the downside, they won't fire up the developer until they have a few rolls to process, so it usually takes about two weeks to get the slides back. 



Date: 03/21/20 15:36
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: randalerickson

Still using film , but it has made be a better shooter. When it costs around 70 cents per shot ,you don't use the motor drive yery often. You think about each one . Probably will still use film for the forseeable future.

Randal Erickson

Tigard , Oregon   



Date: 03/21/20 16:51
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: lilwes

I shoot 35mm, 120 and a 4x5 sheet film.  All B&W that I devolved myself.  I shot 4014 with the 4x5 so I only got 1 shot and I made it count.  I seldom use my Nikon D610 now.  I too use a Nikon F for 35mm. A Mamiya RB for 120.  I love to sit there and think about my one shot instead of doing the "machine gun" style.
Wes

Wes Chiles
Topeka, KS



Date: 03/24/20 11:28
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: Plainsman

In about 1975 or so, I was at a party in Carmel, CA. Also there happened to be Ansel Adams. During the course of the evening, someone asked Adams his opinion concerning digital imaging, then in the early stages of development. Adams replied he thought it sounded like a process with exciting potential, and also expressed some dissapointment that, considering his age, the sophistication of its development would very likely not be rapid enough for him to explore the possibilities.



Date: 03/25/20 06:46
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: Arved

lilwes Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I shoot 35mm, 120 and a 4x5 sheet film.  All B&W
> that I devolved myself.  I shot 4014 with the 4x5
> so I only got 1 shot and I made it count.  I
> seldom use my Nikon D610 now.  I too use a Nikon
> F for 35mm. A Mamiya RB for 120.  I love to sit
> there and think about my one shot instead of doing
> the "machine gun" style.

The RB is a beast. Hats off for putting up with it. Mine made me appreciate the value of a monopod. I'm happier with my Pentax 645N. Old eyes and autofocus (3 whole focus points!) are made for each other. I digitize with a D810. For 35mm (and digital), I prefer a rangefinder style camera. Thanks to dropping prices, I have an F4 and F5, but prefer my Canon 7. I usually use it with a Jupiter 12 (Russian built Zeiss Biogon 35/2.8 - I don't think Zeiss ever made it in LTM, so I really don't consider it a "copy," especially when they, ahem, acquired the plans and the tooling directly from Carl Zeiss Jena :-) ). Mine is currently loaded with Ilford FP4. Next roll will probably be Portra 160.

The fewer frames on your roll, the more selective I become. The RB, loaded with 120 film (220 is sadly defunct) only offers 10 exquisite frames per roll. Optics on Mamiya lenses cannot be compained about, but it's getting difficult and expensive to have the lenses CLA'd, which is regular maintenance for these in-lens shutters.

Sadly, the cameras have become more interesting to me than today's trains. Now I know how my predecessors felt about the 2nd generation diesels I grew up with, and found endless fascination with.

Arved Grass
Fleming Island, FL
Arved Grass



Date: 03/26/20 09:10
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: trainjunkie

Wow, surprised there is so much interest in film still. I shot film for many years and have well over 10K slides/negs, studied it in school, and had my own darkroom for a long time. But I was an early adopter of digital, starting in 1998 with a rather terrible Nikon CoolPix P&S camera. But I was convinced it was the way forward and moved to a D-SLR soon thereafter and have had many D-SLRs since. I have never regretted it or looked back. I can't imagine going back to film but it just goes to show you, to each his own. Or, different strokes for different folks. Very interesting.



Date: 03/28/20 11:26
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: grahamline

I'm lucky to have a high-quality dip'n'dunk B&W film processor within a mile of the house (there's a good quality scale train shop within the same circle) and film just seems tyo do a better job with some subjects.  Each has its advantages, and F-mount Nikon glass can be used with either. Resale rates on most film bodies are so low it does't make much sense to clear them out.



Date: 03/30/20 08:05
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: Jckaufman

randalerickson wrote:  Still using film ... has made me a better shooter. When it costs around 70 cents per shot, you don't use the motor drive very often. You think about each one.One of the advantages of digital photography is how little each shot costs.  That’s also one of digital’s disadvantages.  When I look at my digital photo library, I can’t believe how much junk I have shot.  That’s what happens when you don’t have to “think about each one”. 



Date: 04/01/20 15:56
Re: Do you still use film?
Author: masterphots

chico Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Still, the slide film transparencies that you can
> hold in your hand will one day decompose. maybe
> not next year, maybe not in 50 years. But still
> they have a shelf life like anything. Thus to be
> seen in decades after they decompose they will
> need to be digitized at some point. 
>
> But I know, the arguement film v digital has been
> around since the beginning of trainorders, or
> before. There is no right or wrong in my opinion.
> Just extra work that will have to be done if the
> captures are not of digital origin.
>
> Carry on film shooters.
>
> Chico

I've got many Kodachromes taken in the late 1940s and they still look as good as just from the lab.  Decompose?   At 77 I'll decompose well before my current Fuji Provia results do.  After that,  I could give a shit.



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