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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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It's hard to shoot film
Old 11-06-2019   #1
Bill Pierce
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It's hard to shoot film

It’s hard to be a film photographer. Do you process the film yourself or send it out? When film was king, most folks processed their own black and white and sent color out. Finding that specific film developer that produced the specific look and tailoring the film speed and degree of development to the range of tones you preferred meant do it yourself. And, of course, that personalization carried on through the printing.

You can do that today. But it’s a little more expensive, and finding some gear, like a really good enlarger, is difficult. Understandably, folks turn to processing film, but avoiding the problems and expensive outlay of silver printing by scanning their negatives and inkjet printing. The problem there is a really good scanner for small negatives costs a fortune.

Which brings us to the question - why use film? Talking to a lot of film photographers, including quite a few that work with computers in their day job, it’s not some wonder secret super technical advantage. It’s the simplicity. The very basic, essential, important camera controls, just film speed, focus, shutter speed and f/stop - nothing else. And, unless you are shooting a Hulcher, which is basically a slowed down movie camera, one picture at a time, no 30 (or even 5) frames per second. You pay attention to what is in front of the camera. There’s not a lot more to do.

You pay attention to what is in front of the camera. I think that is incredibly important. And sometimes it is rather difficult. I’m not quite sure why, but our many menued digital play toys can make themselves very attractive when we should be paying attention to what is in front of our cameras.

As the world of film photography and the gear that supports it diminishes, as digital photography becomes the overwhelming norm, can digital photography be practiced with the same shooting simplicity and attention to the subject as film photography. You would think so, but I’m not sure. I shot film for a long time, and I find myself falling into the digital trap of paying attention to the camera instead of… you know.

Your thoughts.
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Old 11-06-2019   #2
Erik van Straten
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I shoot film (B+W) because I can make silver-gelatine prints from the negatives. That is the only reason.

Erik.


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Old 11-06-2019   #3
Axel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
...
As the world of film photography and the gear that supports it diminishes, as digital photography becomes the overwhelming norm, can digital photography be practiced with the same shooting simplicity and attention to the subject as film photography. You would think so, but I’m not sure. I shot film for a long time, and I find myself falling into the digital trap of paying attention to the camera instead of… you know.

Your thoughts.
That all happens in the head

Sure digital photography can be simple. Why not? Take one picture instead of ten, take the settings you are used to instead of a twinky-blinky program and
so on. Why not?

The traps of paying attention to other things than initially aimed are all around us. It´s a challenge. But I have managed my photography to be easier than ever. Digital.

What can be simpler than putting a memorycard in and have my picture(s) available?


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Old 11-06-2019   #4
css9450
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
....can digital photography be practiced with the same shooting simplicity and attention to the subject as film photography?

Absolutely.
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Old 11-06-2019   #5
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I've been having the opposite feeling lately. After shooting film for ~15 years I got my first digital camera this summer, and I have found it very difficult to create a great photograph. Very fun to experiment and learn though.

Shooting film has become logistically difficult in some cases (sourcing material and chemicals, etc.) and certainly more expensive, but still the familiarity makes it more enjoyable for me than shooting digital.

That said, I don't think there is anything inherently pure or authentic about film photography. It is one medium among many.
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Old 11-06-2019   #6
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Like Erik, I photograph with film because I print. Without the darkroom, i'd feel like a musician without an instrument....
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Old 11-06-2019   #7
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I also shoot B&W film because I print. I enjoy the process, even developing film....
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Old 11-06-2019   #8
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I was wondering where is Bill, lately.

Couple of things to debunk.
Enlargers. Very easy to get within major cities. Like Toronto. Burlington camera has something like two dozens of them. I was watching one Leitz mint one, well under 1K$ on Kjiji in Kensington, ON. Nobody wanted it, including me.
Scanner. BH has Plustek on sale every year. Well under 400 USD, software included. This is good scanner if you are not pixel counting gearhead, but want good inkjet print. And Epson flatbed will do 120 very well. Not expensive either.

Is it hard to be film photographer?

Yes. Darkroom paper is outrageously expensive now. Cheap RC is three times more than heavy weight inkjet paper. Film prices are going up every year or more often.
And it takes so much time to develop, scan or dr print.

No. I don't have to worry about batteries getting empty and forgetting SD in PC.
Cameras are plenty if you are OK with modern SLR. Just use same lenses, only switch from DSLR to SLR. (Canon EOS).
I get constantly asked if it is film camera .
Then I'm tired, I move my lenses to digital camera for couple of days or a week.

Taking image on film is not big deal. Bessa with TTL, Canon EOS with TTL and priority mode or just S16 will give good picture. Just don't be gearhead.
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Old 11-06-2019   #9
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I love the simplicity of shooting B&W film, kind of photography broken down to its essentials, light and shadow, and I enjoy (maybe nostalgically) the process of processing the film, knowing I'll get this or that result depending on developer used and timing. Since I currently don't have a darkroom, the film gets scanned and finished digitally.

I hear what you're saying about finding a digital solution that gives "the same shooting simplicity and attention to the subject as film photography". That's a goal I've had for a while, and have tried different solutions from a Nikon Df with MF lenses to my current solution, which ain't perfect, but is getting better. I'm using a Nikon Z6 with Nikkor rangefinder lenses from the 1950's. I have the digital body set up as Aperture Priority, and with the little "zoom to focus" button on the front of the camera (a huge advantage for these aging eyes), I can just concentrate on what's in front of the camera, quickly manually focusing and composing, and pop the shutter when the moment arrives.

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"We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us"
Old 11-06-2019   #10
willie_901
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"We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
.
... It’s the simplicity. The very basic, essential, important camera controls, just film speed, focus, shutter speed and f/stop - nothing else.
Using a digital camera and working as if one had a film camera are not mutually exclusive. There are many digital cameras that support a simple ( I prefer minimalistic) mode of operation. Many of them are relatively inexpensive.

Film - you spend a lot of time leaning how to develop your negatives/transparencies

Digital - you spend a lot of time with a poorly written manual, doing research on-line and using an inefficient, user-hostile interface to learn how to operate the camera in a minimalistic fashion

Film - you spend a lot of time leaning how to print negatives/transparencies; you have to organize and store them

Digital - you spend a lot of time learning how to control image post production rendering

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
.
... You pay attention to what is in front of the camera. I think that is incredibly important. And sometimes it is rather difficult. I’m not quite sure why, but our many menued digital play toys can make themselves very attractive when we should be paying attention to what is in front of our cameras.
Once one knows how to operate a digital camera as one operates a film camera, what exactly prevents the digital photographer from thinking and working as they did with their film camera? I can't think of any intrinsic factor.

Nothing about digital photography interferes with paying attention to what is in front of our cameras. This means the issue is one of self-discipline. It requires keeping our centers of attention on photography instead of technologies. This is a matter of practice and self discipline. If working as a film photographer is really important, the only thing stopping us is dedication.

Using raw files requires initial investments in time and money. It also involves spending time on image optimization in post-production. This may appear to be inconvenient.[1] However the inherent versatility of raw files means one can completely ignore using in-camera menus and concentrate on being a photographer.

Using in-camera JPEGs does not necessarily cause distraction from thinking about what's in front of the camera. It just reduces our options for image rendering.[2] It also means we must pay more attention to exposure (aperture, shutter time) and post-acquisition image brightening (camera ISO parameter selection).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
.
...can digital photography be practiced with the same shooting simplicity and attention to the subject as film photography.
Of course it can. There are two requirements:
  • one has to understand how to set up and operate a digital camera that leads to a minimalistic operating environment
  • one has to think about the in-camera data as data instead of an image.

The later point means we recognize raw-file, post-production rendering can liberate us from using the camera's menu system to change in-camera image rendering parameters as work. This eliminates all distractions but one - battery life. Even camera ISO is not a critical parameter for digital cameras with pseudo ISO-invariant data streams[3].

nb: post title attributed to cartoonist Walt Kelly

[1] With film producing an aesthetically print is also time consuming. If one uses a hybrid workflow, then you have to spend time and money creating those digital tools just as you would in digital image post-production.

[2] Some digital cameras will create in-camera JPEGS form a single exposure using different rendering parameters. This means you could have three different in-camera renderings of one exposure for instance vivid, normal and monochrome. This triples JPEG storage space but increases versatility. Newer cameras with newer storage cards experience almost no buffering delay when storing three JPEGs instead of one.

[3] Except in extraordinarily low light, the noise for the data is dominated by photon noise. The noise from camera electronics is constant to +/- 1/3 stop over a wide range sensor exposure levels. This means for raw files there is no advantage to increasing image brightness in-camera by increasing the camera ISO parameter. You can use the cameras base ISO parameter for all exposures (except those few in extremely low light). Of course you need to maximize exposure (aperture/shutter time) just as one does when exposing film. It also means in low light the image will be too dark to review in-camera (which is film-like).
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Old 11-06-2019   #11
Derek Leath
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I still shoot film. It's fun and you take your time and look around more before you push the button. There is a curtain satisfaction from waiting until you develop the film and see what you will get. I'm also an analog kind of guy. I still listen to LP's and wear a watch.

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Old 11-06-2019   #12
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When I compare my Canon Film-EOS and my digital EOS there is nothing what I could
call "more complicated" in the digital one. Get a lens, a time, an aperture and there you go.
P/A/S/M works in both bodies same.

When it comes to printing I get 20x30 prints immediately at my local drugstore. Posters and
special things are handled online.

"Post processing" is a special thing that has its equivalent in the darkroom of the analogue
way. It does not belong to digital photography or digital cameras basically.

Make no mistake - every film user has my big respect and I value film photography very
high. It is a very charming way to take pictures. Digital is matter-of-fact, technical, efficent.
This was only a try to grade some terms
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Old 11-06-2019   #13
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Same here -- I shoot B&W film because I want to print the negatives in the darkroom -- I spend 40+ hours a week "playing" with some of the finest computers out there, and therefore do not want to spend more time in front of a monitor.


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Old 11-06-2019   #14
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Wrestling with a pre-war Balda Pontina folder today I have to dissent from the notion of film being easy to shoot, at least on that! A curious and rather joyless experience. Oh for some buttons and any form of focus aid.
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Old 11-06-2019   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
Digital - you spend a lot of time with a poorly written manual, doing research on-line and using an inefficient, user-hostile interface to learn how to operate the camera in a minimalistic fashion

Its not that hard. Turn the "PSAM" dial to "M", turn the AF dial to "Off", turn the "motor drive" control to "S" and just leave it like that. You don't even have to use the meter if you don't want to.
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Old 11-06-2019   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axel View Post
When I compare my Canon Film-EOS and my digital EOS there is nothing what I could
call "more complicated" in the digital one. Get a lens, a time, an aperture and there you go.
P/A/S/M works in both bodies same.

Exactly. I went from a Nikon N90S to a Nikon D80 DSLR and didn't even have to crack open the manual. The only substantive difference was the digital lets me choose WB and ISO.
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Old 11-06-2019   #17
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On equipment: well, sometimes its easy to find, sometimes not. There's countless 'dead' systems out there, at all number of price points. Heck, the shipping price for my GX680 was almost as much as the camera itself. Between eBay, KEH, and a few local options, its relatively easy to find what you want or need. It does alleviate my small worry that sometime soon all the film gear in the world will be too junked to be useful.

On the other hand, there are cross-compatibility issues. With the right adapter, any old lens works fantastically on a new mirrorless—but I'd hazard to guess the M system is the only truly backwards-compatible system still in use that works fine on film.

But you do make a good point on printing/scanning equipment. I worry about the long-term viability of my old Nikon scanner; there's nothing really on the market that replaces it, and I don't have much patience for DSLR scanning (but its the only option for MF/LF). Enlargers seem to be literally free for the taking sometimes—if you can find them.
I don't do my own wet printing (or even my own inkjet) anymore, but that method really doesn't seem to be an outlier anymore. I really love printing on matte FB paper, which anyone whose attempted in a darkroom knows is a pain and requires a lot more equipment than can fit into a bathroom. Addressing another one of your points, I shoot a lot of film, and batch scanning lets me capture photos I never would have otherwise spent the time printing, but might share online or print in a book collection.'

Other than the dearth of good, affordable scanners these days (something I started a thread on a while back, it baffles me), I think the hybrid approach is a net plus. My alma mater still has a very well-stocked darkroom available to access.


Re: cameras and simplicity. Others touched on that, but either film or digital is as complex or simple as you can make it. I've shot with an F6, which is essentially a 'film D2x,' with all that era's latest tech; and own a digital M, which, other than the digital guts, puts you back in 1978. And with a hybrid workflow, one doesn't have the luxury of eschewing digital post processing. One small advantage with film, however, is the lack of dependence on proprietary rechargeable batteries that can be difficult to find later on, or just a pain to have to charge. I don't like having to remember to charge 8,000 things every night.

It's true that I do reach for a mechanical RF or meter less MF SLR for a little bit of simplicity at times, but that's not the primary reason I shoot film. I'm not really sure if I can totally articulate it. Part of it is the surprise and delayed gratification of a successful shot. A little bit of satisfaction of keeping a useful piece of machinery useful. An enjoyment of working with my hands for part of the process, and reliving the magic of first learning the darkroom. A bit of my contrarian streak in proving film is still viable beyond Lomography-type shots.

Mostly, I just like how it looks. When it's good, it's good.
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Old 11-06-2019   #18
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I shoot film and develop BW at home. I get color film developed at the lab. The negatives then get scanned. I hate darkroom printing. Hated it when it was the only option and love the fact that I don't have to mess around with it now.

That search for the perfect negative developer is also gone now. All you need is a decent negative that doesn't have blocked highlights. All manipulations can be done in post. Overall I'm not a huge fan of anything darkroom related. I love the results I get from Film and love using film gear. But that's it.
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Old 11-06-2019   #19
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The truth is, excepting seeing the image right away, I cannot think of a single good reason to pick up a digital camera. If I don't need, or want to see the image right away, I have little reason to use my DSLR.
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Old 11-06-2019   #20
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I shoot digital for an impatient world... time has shrunk in my perception and digital is were the image will end up so there's that. With the dSLR and mirror-less I tend to shoot an extra frame or three... but I set the camera to my preferences and don't fiddle with anything.

At the same time I enjoy shooting film... developed at the local mom & pop shop were I like the conversation and connection... always a wave when walking by.

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Old 11-06-2019   #21
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For me it depends on how close you are. I think that with a .22 and at no more than 15 feet I could knock a 135 cartridge off a fence post.
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Film (and digital) User
Old 11-06-2019   #22
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Film (and digital) User

I agree fully with your points. As someone who grew up with Minolta SLR's and who taught himself film developing and printing, I enjoy the simplicity of shooting film, now only B&W. While I shoot digital as well, I find that digital is indeed distracting - too many choices; and the temptation is to focus (no pun intended) on the camera, optical or EVF, film choice, ISO, etc. and less so on the subject. There is a certain pleasurable feeling in anticipating what awaits when one unspools a roll of film after processing. In addition, manipulating and, in my case now scanning decades of carefully filed B&W and (some) color negatives is pleasing and rewarding.
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Old 11-06-2019   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
It’s hard to be a film photographer.

Which brings us to the question - why use film? Talking to a lot of film photographers, including quite a few that work with computers in their day job, it’s not some wonder secret super technical advantage. It’s the simplicity. The very basic, essential, important camera controls, just film speed, focus, shutter speed and f/stop - nothing else.

Your thoughts.
Answered your own question. Only a film camera can operate so simply, and no batteries needed, least ways for the cameras I like.
Digital can be useful to put negatives into file for easy printing, and I find my digital handy as a meter for my film cameras to. My brain is already too scattered to remember all the stuff that might be needed to set up my digital or change it when I change lenses.
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Old 11-06-2019   #24
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My Df smokes my F2 at many levels....do hard things!
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Old 11-06-2019   #25
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I shoot film because (1) I have the time and capability to do so; (2) I prefer a deliberate and introspective workflow; and (3) I like the way the final images look ... and this is true no matter how the final image is produced and shown.

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Old 11-06-2019   #26
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It's amazing to me sometimes when people — even those who should know better like artists — ask in amazement if you can still buy film.
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Old 11-06-2019   #27
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It's hard to shoot film

No, it isn't.
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Old 11-06-2019   #28
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I shoot both film and digital. For the last almost three years I have been working on a project covering national populism in Catalonia, and I made a conscious choice to shoot this on film after having previously shot related material digitally.

The key is to have a clear reason for choosing the medium. That can be because of aesthetics, or simply because you prefer the process - but there has to be a clear reason otherwise the choice is unlikely to be sustainable.

In this project´s case the main driver was to obtain a style recalling 20th C documentary photography, using the medium help visually bridge current events to historical analogues. This could have been done digitally (the project in fact contains three digital images processed to match, where I did not have film equipment to get a key shots), but shooting real film with manual focus and exposure changes not just the look of the image but also the approach to shooting. Everything from trying to avoid changing film at a problematic moment through to the constraints of shooting pushed 35mm film at night in a dynamic environment.

I use a hybrid workflow. Photography is mainly seen online today, so the ability to put scans online is essential. A secondary aim was to produce a book, which again requires digital copy.

The biggest downside to working like this is the time required to develop and scan (I do this myself), and the cost - about 2k euros in film and chemicals for this one project alone. Processing and scanning a block of four 35mm films takes me about three hours of work before dealing with image selection and any editing (dust!).
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Old 11-06-2019   #29
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Don't know what the fuss is about... I use a camera in exactly the same way regardless of whether it's film or digital. I could take photographs differently if I wished - but that applies as much to film cameras as to digital ones. Same goes for "post-processing" your negatives or raw files - obviously the base process is different, but it can be made simple or complex.

As others have said, taking photographs is about how you do it, not the camera.

Folk distracted by their digital cameras are simply bad photographers, or at least need to learn some discipline and technique.

(As an aside, I prefer simplicity: manual aperture, shutter speed, focus, prime lenses. ISO 400 is my default, and either my white balance is permanently on "sunny" when I'm outdoors or I'm using daylight film. So, I can pick up any camera with manual controls and use it immediately.)
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Old 11-07-2019   #30
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Postscript:

That said, I've pretty much given up on film.

First, C-type prints from film and digital cameras are now equal in quality, and can be made identical in appearance.

(I add slight noise to digital photos, not to replicate film for its own sake but to do the job grain does: break up solid areas and edges, so the eye continues beyond what is visible rather than meet a visual wall. So, you look into or even through the photograph's surface, rather than at the surface. This is the fundamental difference between "straight" prints from film and digital images. This is also the reason why I make C-type rather than than inkjet prints: with the former the image sits within the print in a transparent layer, in the latter the image sits on the print and is solid; the difference is very visible.)

Secondly, film and digital are now equal in technical quality - resolution, colour, dynamic range, etc. But film is way more expensive and time-consuming. For me, speed is important: I want to see what I've taken immediately, and make decisions ob the spot.

In short, film is inconvenient and no longer has any technical or practical benefits over digital.

All that said, I go back to my post above: my approach to taking a photograph is the same whether I'm using a film or digital camera, and the camera type makes no difference whatsoever to how I think about or use it.
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Old 11-07-2019   #31
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... the camera type makes no difference whatsoever to how I think about or use it.
That´s a good point. You have to use it to get used to. No matter what the medium is.

And you can refine this to films and (perhaps) processing, projection of slides or even using a
software. Nobody but the enthusiast will take the burden of developing, scanning and post-processing
his pictures. Because it is nor burden for him, it´s just fun.
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Old 11-07-2019   #32
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This is essentially why I still shoot film, but also why I bought a Leica M10. Using a hand focused Rangefinder with digital “film” allows me the flexibility of digital with the disciplines of film.

However, digital photos look like digital photos. Film has its own look. Both make fantastic photos. Right now my mind is grappling with the stunning photos my iPhone 11 Pro can crank out.
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Old 11-07-2019   #33
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Don't know what the fuss is about... I use a camera in exactly the same way regardless of whether it's film or digital.
That surely depends on what you are shooting.

In my case, I have shot with film in riot conditions where changes happen frequently. With all the best will in the world I know from experience that I could not have stuck to shooting as if I had all the same restrictions while using the contemporary photo-journalist´s luxury of a digital camera, telephoto zoom and stabilisers.

Similarly, someone going to the trouble of transporting and setting up a LF camera for landscape work, knowing that they can only take a handful of shots, is inevitably going to shoot differently than someone carrying the latest Fuji MF digital gear no matter their intentions.

Gear and medium matter because they define an envelope of shooting parameters that directly influence the approach that the photographer must take - and by that they change the photographic result. This matters vastly more than the usual vacuous debates about film vs digital etc.
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Old 11-07-2019   #34
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With digital you play at taking virtual photos, which will all disappear sooner or later because digital archiving for amateur photographers is a joke, nobody here will go into what an institution can do and pay for digital files archiving.

Now that the greatest slide or negative color films are gone (Kodachrome and Reala) digital is the way to go for color photography. But you must have your best photos printed. Photos left on an HD as digital files are nothing. That's the problem.

With film you make photos (and leave a solid archive behind if this matters for you and your family, your friends, etc).

Shooting film is easy and unexpensive if you shoot BW and process at home, from developing to wet printing (which is the only reasonable way to go). And a film photography which hasn't been printed on paper is a photography nonetheless, the negative isn't nothing.

BW film isn't expensive yet, neither are chemicals, wet printing stuff can be got for dirt cheap and enlargers are now often offered as a gift from people wanting to make room in their house if you can manage a local pick-up.
Wet printing paper is expensive but, as written above, non printed film negatives aren't tears in rain.
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Old 11-07-2019   #35
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But you must have your best photos printed. Photos left on an HD as digital files are nothing. That's the problem.

With film you make photos (and leave a solid archive behind if this matters for you and your family, your friends, etc).
I feel under no obligation to do this.
My daughter has most of the stuff I`ve taken of her …. the rest doesn`t matter and I would suggest that is the norm.

At least once a year the local history society makes an emergency run to the local dump trying to rescue stuff from a house clearance.

I myself have a stack of MF negs from the `30`s which were dumped in a damp garage.

People care less than you would imagine about these things .
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Old 11-07-2019   #36
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Don't know what the fuss is about... I use a camera in exactly the same way regardless of whether it's film or digital.
That surely depends on what you are shooting.
My point is that whatever I'm shooting I'd do it in the same way regardless of the camera - what I'd do depends on the situation, not the camera (given it can do what I want - I'm not talking about an SLR vs basic point-and-shoot, for example.)

My main camera is a Sony A7R II and I can honestly say I don't use it any differently from when I used my go-to film camera (Mamiya 645 Pro - now gathering dust).
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Old 11-07-2019   #37
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...
However, digital photos look like digital photos. Film has its own look...
This old story persists continuously.

If that were true I had never taken one digital photo.
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Old 11-07-2019   #38
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People care less than you would imagine about these things .
What matters for me is how I care about these things as a photographer (and as a citizen). I don't care about people who don't care. I know that people who don't care don't belong to the minority.

The MF stuff from the '30s you cleverly grabbed in the garage before it got destroyed should be given to a public library of your neighbourhood, not kept in your house where nobody can study nor see it.
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Old 11-07-2019   #39
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However, digital photos look like digital photos. Film has its own look.
Film does look different - but expertly processed and printed digital photos can now be very hard to tell apart from film photos. See my last post above for my "recipe" (essentially add noise and print C types - though the process is of course not that simple).

You're talking about technically poor digital images, either from a cheap camera or phone, or badly printed.

For my final project on my master's degree in photography, I used my Mamiya 645 film camera at first, switching to a dSLR (Nikon D800E = 645 film resolution) later for convenience. I made the two honking big prints below for my degree show, and my tutors (one a Magnum photographer!) awarded me a distinction and praised how film really suited the project ... I didn't have the heart to tell them that they were taken with a digital camera! (If I had, it would have made no difference to their appreciation nor my grade - they may even have been more impressed by the prints!)

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Old 11-07-2019   #40
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Film does look different - but expertly processed and printed digital photos can now be very hard to tell apart from film photos.
Imagine : photography comes out in the mid-XIXth century as digital, directly.

And... it has to mimic impressionist paintings and lead drawings to look pretty.
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