View Full Version : Digital 'rolls'

Roger Hicks
07-19-2010, 23:38
Does anyone else think in terms of 36-exposure 'rolls' for their digital shooting? For example, 50 pics = about a roll and a half; 700 pics = 20 rolls. Is it just automatic habit, born of 40+ years of shooting 35mm (which I still use alongside digi)? Or is it a useful way of comparing film and digi usage?



07-19-2010, 23:45
Can't say I've ever thought about digital that way Roger ... my photographic history is limited sadly! :p

07-19-2010, 23:51
Although I don't think of rolls when shooting digital, I do shoot as a "film" photographer. I've an inborn hesitance to shoot more with my digital camera than I would do with a film camera. I hate it when I keep my finger a bit too long on the shutter button and two shots are fired instead of the one I had in mind. And I never shoot more than 20-30 "films" digital during a 2 week vacation, the same as I used to do with film.

07-19-2010, 23:53
I like to think that it's a way to restrain my tendency to "blast away" with digital! Lol.

07-20-2010, 00:08
How about some small WORM (write once) SD cards - for that film replacement feeling ;)


07-20-2010, 00:17
How about some small WORM (write once) SD cards - for that film replacement feeling ;)


Really, I have thought about that. Would be a great way to make digital photographers, who never shot film, concentrate on thinking about composition!

07-20-2010, 00:30
Yes thats exactly what I do Roger. After a day out I look at the frames made and think of the number of rolls of 36 I'd have used.

I used to blast away sometimes with film, after all you don't get to repeat many things so it would be the insurance shots that fillled a roll. But looking at my digital output its not much different, theres a time to blast and a time to walk away. The difference is I know blasting away with digital isn't wasteful, and it isn't costly, so I get more satisfaction from seeing 35 experimental frames and then the good one than I ever did with film. With my ratio for perceived success being ultra critical I don't think its changed much with digital, just the knowledge that I can carry on experimenting because I don't have to worry about film and processing costs. So 'the rule of 36' is alive and well in my head, and an indication of how good a day I've had.


07-20-2010, 00:39
No, never. Even when using film I do not think rolls, at the end of a roll I just change it.

07-20-2010, 01:02
Not to be more of a smart ass than usual, but it makes me

think of Christmas pix and summer vacation on the same roll...

07-20-2010, 01:05
I never think of rolls of film in a digital camera, unless I'm near the end of my memory card and have not backed it up, but need to go out to shoot. If the status reads: "only 50 shots left!!!", I do try to think of it as having a roll and half of film left, which helps me relax but also focus more on each shot.
But really, the two systems are so very different. You CAN overshoot in digital, then perform a first edit in a quiet cafe over lunch, and you bring yourself back down to the amount you probably would have shot with film... so the number of shots I actually take home are probably the same now with digital as a couple of rolls of film. Plus I no longer need to bracket difficult exposures (I use the histogram) or overshoot long timed exposures because I am no longer certain of reciprocity or the precise way in which motion will be portrayed on the film.

Having said all that, do I still take home more shots now with digital than I did with film?
Yes I do.
But what's the problem with that? I am still developing my style, and it gives me a lot of creative freedom. Shooting digital does not mean that I focus any less on each image. That is just a question of discipline - and as someone said earlier in the thread, lots of people used to burn through film.

I think a more pertinent question would be: "why did you limit yourself to only two rolls of film in the past"?

07-20-2010, 01:54
If I am using a 256Mb or 512Mb card, then it seems like a roll of film.

Brian Sweeney
07-20-2010, 02:27
More like using the 250 exposure back on an F2... a really big roll of film.

07-20-2010, 03:59
Maybe it's because I'm used to the metric system, but I find everything that comes in twelves (like inches to the foot, or exposures on a roll of film) a sort of antique oddity. Even considering I shot film on 24 or 36 exp. rolls for more than 30 years.. and that I always budgeted 1 roll per day on a holiday. The dozen thing just doesn't register somehow.

With digital I merely think along the lines of 'a 2GB card holds 250 shots which is a week's worth of shooting..'

So the main change has been moving from thinking in rolls per day to memory cards per week..

Don Parsons
07-20-2010, 04:08
I don't. When I shot Little League this summer, I would fill two 4 gig cards every game. That's +/- 460 shots on my camera or 12.8 rolls a game. Take them home and narrow it down to the keepers.

I usually shoot a2a of antique airplanes that I may not get the chance to shoot again. Here I can blast away without fear of running out of film, but only do so when the light and composition are right. I don't have to worry about change film in small, cramped, windblown quarters.

I still shoot film on slower, more static subjects. I still like the feel of winding my fe.


07-20-2010, 04:13
Not really, but I still shoot with the mentality of having a limited number of shots at my disposal. I don't actually take all that many pictures...most digital photos I "delete" before even releasing the shutter.

Those WORM cards are really interesting--I am tempted to get some. I have multiple backups of my hard drive, but I honestly don't trust any of it.

07-20-2010, 04:58
No, never. Even when using film I do not think rolls, at the end of a roll I just change it.

That's pretty much me. I was usually pretty much aware of my frame count, but I always had more than one roll with me when shooting, so it didn't matter that I was finished with a roll or not usually. Only if I needed what was on the film quickly, and wanted to just shoot something. But that never came easily either. Poor confused me. :p


Even considering I shot film on 24 or 36 exp. rolls for more than 30 years.. and that I always budgeted 1 roll per day on a holiday. The dozen thing just doesn't register somehow.


Wow, its hard to believe it has been a little over 35 years since I shot my first roll of 24 exposure film. I got some during a stopover in Japan on my way back to the states from Korea. The first time I turned it in to the local camera store, they apparently didn't notice, until the lab people mentioned the then odd frame count. How many remember the 12 exposure rolls. 12, 24, 36 exposures, must have really bummed you out I guess, eh pdvhaar? :D :D

07-20-2010, 05:04
12, 24, 36 exposures, must have really bummed you out I guess, eh pdvhaar? :D :D

Yes, especially the ones where the box read 24+3 or 36+3 :p

07-20-2010, 07:11
Yes, especially the ones where the box read 24+3 or 36+3 :p

I like that! :D

Leigh Youdale
07-20-2010, 17:17
I was at a seminar yesterday for professional portrait photographers and at one stage the presenter really got my attention when, in answer to a question about weddings, said she normally shot "about 70 rolls at a wedding".
She uses a Canon 5D II.

The photographer who did my daughter's wedding in January (a friend who is a professional) said that between her and her second photographer they shot about 3,500 images. Near enough "100 rolls" between them. The final album had 38 prints in it!
That's about a 1% strike rate. OK, so the images don't cost anything. What about the time cost involved in reviewing and editing?

07-20-2010, 18:53

For what it's worth, I think the coolest thing about digital is that we can accomplish two things at once.

On one hand, we can shoot with abandon for those obligatory travel/tourist/family shots that we'd like to keep for the future, especially children.

On the other hand, when we get a chance to be more careful and artistic, we don't have to worry about reloading film or wasting frames.

That's why shoot only three rolls in my recent trip abroad. Not because I don't have anything to shoot, but I can afford to be picky for my film shots because the digital took over the burden of recording everything else.

07-20-2010, 19:21
A while ago, I stared to use SD cards as "film roll" in a way. I download pics to computer, but keep all images on the card and keep it in a card binder with labels. They are cheap enough I can use them like that keep as backup.

Wes Medlin
07-21-2010, 14:43
When I started shooting digital, I had been shooting film for more than 25 years. Those negatives and slides are all organized, and cataloged. Each roll of film had it's own roll number. So the digital just fell into place, and continued on with the roll numbers. I've always thought of the digital images in terms of rolls of film. It's just natural to me.

07-21-2010, 15:21
I still think of shooting in terms of "rolls" - and dont fire off thousands, even if it is perfectly possible, with digitial.

Bob Ross
07-23-2010, 19:11
One habit I still have is proof sheets, so I still think in finite numbers of frames. In digital though, I can sort a bit, for what I want on the sheet and allow for the occationa 44 frame roll.

08-04-2010, 05:22
I can't just blast away with digital because after over 50 years of shooting on a tight budget, every time I press the shutter release I think, "17 cents".

Now I prize my time as my most valuable asset, and each digital shot costs time.

08-04-2010, 05:27
Old digital P&S with 8MB internal memory takes 10 picures in finest quality and biggest resolution, that's close to 12exp roll. I know this and delay accordingly.

08-04-2010, 20:32
I use a 16Gb card in my Lumix G1, so I never think of it in terms of a finite number of images. Even shooting RW2 for a week-long vacation, I've not come close to filling the capacity of the card. I'm more thinking along the lines of the post-processing regimen required, once back home.

So for me, my image files are structured in terms of folders on my computer. A naming convention that's date-relevant, as in "2010.08.04," for all the images off-loaded from the G1's memory card today, become the equivalent of a "roll of film." The main difference is that the quantity of images contained within this "roll" varies considerably, from a mere dozen or so taken on a short jaunt, to several hundred while on holiday.

Interestingly, my grandson is learning the photography ropes using my old Minolta X-370, so he's learning all about having only a limited number of frames with which to shoot, and learning the discipline required to anticipate when and where one might need to save a few frames for a special moment.


08-04-2010, 20:38
i am a counter. mainly because i occasionally find myself in the thick of some affair or another shooting film and need to know where i am at. even when i am shooting the big dlsrs i find myself counting frames out of habit.