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Image Processing: Darkroom / Lightroom / Film Discuss Image processing -- traditional darkoom or digital lightroom here. Notice there are subcategories to narrow down subject matter. .

View Poll Results: How many good frames do you need from a 36 frame roll to be happy?
1 125 23.58%
2 65 12.26%
3 81 15.28%
4 62 11.70%
5 43 8.11%
6+ 154 29.06%
Voters: 530. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-03-2008   #26
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My standards have risen through the years. I'm happy with 1-2 per roll.
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Old 09-03-2008   #27
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Originally Posted by Aziz View Post
My standards have risen through the years. I'm happy with 1-2 per roll.
Funny I have the exact opposite problem. The more I learn the more self critical I become.
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Old 09-03-2008   #28
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At least 6 good (+) images per roll for the task at hand.
After 35 years behind the camera I should perhaps expect more.

Too many Yashica Electro 35s

Last edited by ARCHIVIST : 09-03-2008 at 13:19.
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Old 09-03-2008   #29
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There is a big difference between perfect and keeper. I don't know what is meant by perfect but I get a good many keepers.
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Old 09-03-2008   #30
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Most of my shots are OK technically, but if I get 3-4 photos I really like to look at on a roll - OK then. Funny thing is, this 3-4 holds for 120 - which is a pretty high pecentage. Then 4 x 5 - well I like about every other one, almost 50%. My 5 x 7 - well it's like magic, I just love most of the shots!
Yes, it's magic - the magic of self-editing and pre-visualization. I need more of that in my 35mm and digital work....

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Old 09-03-2008   #31
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Quote:"There is a big difference between perfect and keeper. I don't know what is meant by perfect but I get a good many keepers."

I guess there is a big difference between keeper and keeper, depending on who you are asking.

Perfect? Can a photograph be perfect? That would be a good thread of its own...Show me a perfect photograph (yours, or that of another).

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Old 09-03-2008   #32
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It depends on what I'm shooting. If I'm just shooting for pure pleasure, if I get one great one per roll, I'm very happy, if I get two, I'm tickled pink.

If I do some special project though, like a walk-through of a neighborhood for a photo blog, I expect to get more ready-for-prime-time shots.
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Old 09-05-2008   #33
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how could one tell? this is soo much different from session to session ... depends on how I feel, how the situations are, what I am able to see today. There are films with 10-15 shots I like - and films with no shot or 1 shot. There are films which contain a "great shot", and those which contain only mediocre ones.

Cheers, dacaccia
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Old 09-05-2008   #34
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With my manual 35mm cameras, I am happy if most of the frames are evenly exposed and I didn't forget to take the lens cap off. As long as each roll is slightly better than the previous I'm pretty happy... But at this point film and processing is cheap so I don't have any problems with shooting a lot.
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Old 09-05-2008   #35
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6 picture out of 36 with 35 mm

4 out of 12 with medium format
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Old 09-05-2008   #36
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it depends on the event or lack thereof, for me.

An Italian auto show I attended recently resulted in almost all hits, meaning I captured on film pretty much exactly what I envisioned.

A music/art/photography outdoor event I attended last summer resulted in a couple halfway decent shots out of ~48 shots/two rolls.

A Bastille Day street festival last summer yielded a complete roll of personal accomplishments

A trip to the corner coffee shop or local bar generally yields a shot or two per day/(1/2 roll), but that's the place I go to experiment with hip shots, timer shots, over- & under-exposure, etc.

A once-in-a-lifetime trip to NYC, Europe, etc. yields very few wasted film out of perhaps three rolls/72 frames.

I think alot depends on how I feel about the scene. If it's nothing special really, I am finding the limits of what works and what I can and cannot do. If it is something I am excited about and have limited film, I make every shot count, using all I learned from the coffee shop experiments and bar shots.

There's times I am experimenting and times I am playing for real. I experiment so I can get the shot when it counts. I guess I don't really consider "keeper ratios" in the sense most of you seem to.

Last edited by 40oz : 09-06-2008 at 00:58.
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Old 09-05-2008   #37
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On a trip last year, I used approx 25 rolls (36 exposures each) and thought that about 25 shots were decent. So the math indicates about 3% hit rate. I'm happy with that.
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Old 09-07-2008   #38
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I used to think if I didn't get at least 10 on a 36 roll that I really liked that I wasn't doing well. This was quite detrimental to my hobby and it became more like work... and work that I was failing at. I ended up having a hiatus for a couple of months and ever since I came back to it I have a totally different mind set.

I voted 1 because its nice to that 1 good one from a roll that you can pin up. But my feeling is that if I ENJOYED shooting the roll then it was a success, even if there are no good photos.

I enjoy photography alot more now
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Old 09-07-2008   #39
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My WOW pictures from 5 years ago are throw-aways today.
Ansel Adams was satisfied with one realy good picture a year.
Winogrand shot several 100.000 frames while the iconic pictures we know from all those years of hard labour is probably less than 0.001% he shot.
How many Kertesz pictures do we know about 200-300 -400 ....... from 50 years photography!
Yes when asked to shoot a wedding or some portraits of friends with a fixed goal i would want at least 6 good frames from a role. But no way near that for personal work that realy counts. I think for that kind of work 1 out of 35 is far to ambitious.
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Old 09-07-2008   #40
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I think a better question is "how many rolls per keeper?"

I haven't been photographing terribly long and have only shot a couple hundred rolls of film, but I have yet to have one I'm truly satisfied with yet.
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Old 09-09-2008   #41
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I just don't think about it. Sometimes I have an entire roll of 'good shots', but none of them quite bring me to the enlarger because one gem on another roll somehow renders them pale in comparison. Sometimes, shots are good but variations on something done before and whilst technically good and aesthetically fine, they once again don't make it.

It all depends on what you are doing it for and your personal standards/goals. I really don't think it is productive to think about and I would go so far as to say I think it is counterproductive. The last roll of 120 (6x7) I shot had 3-4 printers on it. The previous 5 rolls had none and the 10 before that I still can't decide, but there are a few that I am sure will end up being printed. It is not always a fixed thing. When I am finally done here in Afghanistan I will undoubtedly explore negs I dismissed and find some good shots, equally there will be those that I go off. I will not be counting the number of rolls shot and am content to shoot as much as I can simply to further my vision and other skills (such as kit packing, interpersonal skills, technical fluidity with kit etc). Rolls of film are rarely wasted if you are trying to achieve something. I have many rolls of rubbish that helped me work thru something or allowed me to see that my way of seeing a particular subject was not 'working'. Keep shooting and do not worry about the number of keepers - the better I get, the more discerning I am with what I print, so I am discarding shots I would have printed with glee 5 years ago. Nothing is taken away from a great print on the wall when one remembers the twenty rolls before it that produced plenty of nice but ultimately forgettable images.

When I have a number of rolls that don't inspire me, it makes the urge to go out and stretch my legs all the more powerful. It can be a good thing. Every day is different as is every location. This place is a pain in the ***** to photograph in and I find it very tough indeed and so I have more useless rolls than ever before, but I am equally sure that it is helping me to improve what I do.
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Keepers, we are suppse to have keepers?
Old 09-27-2008   #42
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Unhappy Keepers, we are suppse to have keepers?

I voted for 3 because I read a long time ago that the Pro's were happy with 5 to 10 % keepers, but in reality I seldom get any that I really like. As some of the others have stated, technically, focus and exposure are my biggest issues and, well just forget composition, perspective, and timing.

Artistically, I am happy if I get one that others ooh and aah about. Mostly, the image that ends up on the negative is not the image that my mind saw the moment the shutter tripped! Is it possible to have dyslexic vision?

And fwiw, I prefer 24 exposure rolls, although at an event where I know that I will be shooting a lot, 36 Exp rolls mean fewer film changes.
Papa Smurf says, "Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!"
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Old 09-27-2008   #43
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Keep at it!

>>I haven't been photographing terribly long and have only shot a couple hundred rolls of film, but I have yet to have one I'm truly satisfied with yet.
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Old 09-28-2008   #44
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I guess that I average between two and maybe six per roll. It depends on the subject matter, the lighting, and most of all my mood, how involved I'm feeling with what I'm photographing. Sometimes everything falls into place, and I FEEL it while it's happening!

Lately I've been going through my boxes of old negatives and contact sheets. I've had requests to come up with some "historical" photos of people and events here in North Miami going back to the 1960's, and another project involves my Seminole and Miccosukee Indian photos from the 1970's. Looking at the contact sheets from thirty and forty-plus years ago seems to reveal about the same percentage of good shots per roll as I get today. I can't even say that my style has changed very much. I still prefer shooting in B&W with Leica rangefinder cameras, 35mm is my standard focal length, and I love the effect of ultra-wide angle lenses ~ my 19mm Canon was the widest made in the late 1960's and I jumped on the 15mm Voigtlander Heliar when it first hit the market.

I think that if we just go with the flow, and don't try to immitate someone else's style, the percentage of good shots goes up. I've tried to shoot like H.C.B. and make prints like Gene Smith and Jerry Uelsmann, but I really don't "see" the way they do. I don't have their vision, their way of looking at the world. I can come up with a pretty good imitation but it becomes more work than pleasure and the prints never seem to have the "spark" that makes for a great photograph.

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Last edited by Al Kaplan : 09-28-2008 at 08:29.
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Old 10-07-2008   #45
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Originally Posted by irq506 View Post
mmm.. interesting, it seems that exposure issues are a concern to quite a few of you, to me not so much, in fact as long as Im within two stops and focus is reasonably accurate, blur, grain, exposure just doesn't seem to bother me at all. Im very critical however of what is in those frames. Technically, everything is achievable, aesthetically- well thats a different matter... its much more critical, to me, to have an image that speaks, and if it speaks, then the language of technology is no barrier.
I dont know if this makes any sense to anyone other than me, but Im trying to convey a psychology that weighs toward the art and less the tech... Thats why i went back to film, because the cameras are implicitly simplicity!
To a point - and I agree that the content should be most important.

But, I'll speak for only myself: I think getting the "technicals" right should be a subconscious process, thus allowing me to concentrate on the subject matter. I also think that in some cases, it's important to get the technical issues right in order to create the image I want to create, in the way I intended. There are certainly places where technical deficiencies can be overcome by the content, but if I fail to communicate because I was too lax in making sure the exposure/focus was right, then I've failed entirely.

I understand this argument could be spun in the reverse, but that's why I want to always strive to make the basics a natural movement so my brain can focus completely on what's in the frame, and I don't have to have faith in the "fudge factor" of the medium. I see things like focus, exposure, etc. as fundamentals, like dribbling and passing the ball.

I hope I don't come off as dismissive of your ideas - that's not my intent. I think you have correctly pointed out that the thought process goes too far into the mechanics sometimes. Indeed, there are times when I get upset about letting the technical invade my thought process.

As for the question: whether film or digital, I want to be "on" (focus, exp, framing) 75% of the time, and 25% were "keepers" I'd be happy. If one or two were "portfolio worthy", then all the better, but having that great pic doesn't make the difference between a good shoot and bad one to me.

Last edited by Jason808 : 10-07-2008 at 13:20.
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Old 10-07-2008   #46
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For me, anything less than 4 keepers (shots that I'm willing to show other people) is a bad roll. Great shots come along a lot less often, perhaps once every two or three rolls. I find I shoot a bit more with digital as I do not yet have the same control over my camera as I do with my film bodies. I usually shoot only one shot of a scene in film, where are about 10% of the time I shot two or three shots. Mostly because of questions I have over exposure (including flash).

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Happiness is a Printable Frame
Old 10-20-2008   #47
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Happiness is a Printable Frame

I work on a 10% basis. If 10% are judged worth printing up to (say) 10x8 then I'm content. More, and I'm happy. Less and I have to try harder.

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Old 10-22-2008   #48
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I tend to shoot all the time - averaging 2 rolls a day. Once processed, i make an effort to find 5 shots/roll for scanning - maybe not because they are that good, but looking at them on the screen teaches me something.
It also depends on what I am doing, just a walk to the cafe or magazine store probably only would result in 1 shot worth looking twice at - but a conscious "expedition" would result in a better "keeper" rate.
There is "state of mind" that you occasionally get into - images pop up everywhere and you just shoot away and 1 or 2 rolls can result in 10-15 shots worth a darkroom session. I also use the camera as a notebook - buildings and places that I want to remember for some reason, and occasionally people, though i am not a portrait shooter.
I also find that you have to take pictures all the time - not necessarily with a camera, but in your mind to keep up the "flow"
We lived in Paris for a year in 1982/83 - the whole idea was to do only what we enjoyed (it was after several years of corporate work and a bit of a "burn out"). Tuulikki studied french 8-10 hours a day and I set out every morning with a couple of M's (usually 35f2 and 21/3,4) and wandered around rather aimlessly for a similar time. Maybe 1-2 rolls a day/average. Some days there were 30-40 shots that were interesting, other days none! Back home to our small studio apartment and process the films in D-76 in the bathtub. After having edited down the films quite "hard" - I ended up with about 150 rolls of TriX and all in all about 200 shots that I feel hold up, even 25 years later.
It was an immens feeling of luxury to a/have the time and b/ make the decision to do this and c/it firmly got me set to stop shooting industrial/commercial stuff and just shoot bl/w and 35. Had to come up something else to do, invented the Rapidwinder and as each winder that goes out is tested with at least one or two rolls - I keep shooting and the rate is still 4-5 shots per roll that might be interesting to me and maybe 1-2 that other people like!
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Old 10-22-2008   #49
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I honesty try to keep about 8 to 12 on each roll, sometimes more.......my kill ratio is about 65/70% I really can`t afford to lose shots doing what I do, 90% of the time it`s the models fault or my assistant missed something going on if there`s a messed up shot.....

Also when I use LTM`s I have to allow for mechanical failure, once I had a IIIC K that was sometime`s capping, sometime`s not and I still have about 6 cameras that need to go to repairs

I`m currently using a M6, two 45' IIIC K`s and a 1970`s Canon F-1 for all my film work. (I need a M3 or another M6 to take up the slack) I also thow in the Canon IIF2 which is a really great camera to work with as well and for those who know me, I work mainly with fast 50`s so focusing is an issue sometimes, depending on how fast we are getting something done etc.

The worst thing really is proofing shot work, I try to do it together with all my gals, right after a shoot, that way they pick at least 5 pics per look and I pick 5 pics per look and somewhere inbetween there`s where I get the finished product and the number we use in the meanwhile it`s just very time consuming - (that`s the part I hate the most)

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I'm also a Vintage Volkswagen Collector, Driver and Enthusiast ~ I own a 1957 "Oval Window" Beetle named "Blauchen" (oV!Vo) Beep!


Last edited by LeicaTom : 10-22-2008 at 20:52.
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Old 10-28-2008   #50
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For me it depends on the subject. Some situations you are in mean that there are very rich opportunities presented, so your expectation of a good hit rate are high. Other times, I'd be happy with just one good shot per roll.
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