View Full Version : Retro Photography - F I L M!

17th Aug 2010, 09:58 AM
Remember film? It's disappearing from the stores. Some Wal-Marts don't even process film now days.

Because of all the advantages of digital, I sold my Nikon and Olympus SLR film cameras several years ago.

Maybe this is short term, but occasionally, I'm missing the subjective part of film. Trot over to Ebay, choose your favorite film camera, and click on the completed listings. Almost all the SLR film cameras are less than $50. Hey, these were nice cameras...good for rail-fanning and landscape scenic trips. Very usable for mrr layouts too.

Also, film cameras are full-frame. The recent lenses will fit your FX, or prepare your way for an FX camera.

Is there a place in your high tech world for film?

17th Aug 2010, 10:28 AM
I used a film body along side my DSLR body for a while. I finally sold it on e-bay, and the reasons had nothing to do with the quality of the pictures.

1) With digital I can look at the image immediately and see if I got the shot or not, and try again if I didn't. With film it's waiting until it's processed to know if you got it or not.

2) Digital is cheaper in the long run. I've taken 5,000+ photos with my DSLR, at $0.20 per film frame that's over $1000 in film processing costs I have saved! Since most of the photos go online anyway, I print very few making the savings very real.

3) I can take more photos. Be it cost, or photos per roll (compared to photos per memory card), or space in my bag to store spare film and memory cards I was always running out of film, but can take days of pictures on a memory card and still have room left over. I helped cover a wedding once and did 1200 photos in a weekend, all on two memory cards! Think of how many rolls of film!

I suspect these are the reasons E-Bay is flooded with $50 SLR's, like mine a few years ago.

17th Aug 2010, 11:05 AM
Yep, those are the reasons I sold my film SLR's.

Those are also the reasons populated by mass marketing so that we can buy the FX camera that Photikina is coming out with for $2000. Mass marketing (albeit improvement) is also the reason we dispose of $500 to ++$1000 digital cameras every few years. Same with the ink cartridges in our printers which cost about $40 or more to replace, and seem to run out each month, even if we don't print 200 sheets on special bond and texture-finished paper. Some Epsons die if only one cartridge is out, and will not print with black alone.

I agree, that in the retro-days, we did wait an hour on our film to be process, and later walked away while opening the envelope to see how they turned out.

Also agreed that our DSLR can crank out like a machine gun at 3fps and our next DSLR we purchase will do 30 fps. Shucks, that will be 3600 photos on one 500TB memory card and a months of shooting on 1,500,000TB hard drive.

A walk down nostalgia-lane brings back drafting tables, pencils and paper, and all the things that no longer have meaning to many people. I cought myself buying some wooden pencils the other day, and a crank-operated sharpener to go along with it!

I suspect these are the reasons E-bay is flooded with $50 SLR's, like mine a few years ago.

17th Aug 2010, 12:54 PM
A lot of photographers have been on the DSLR "treadmill" for a few years, ditching a $1000-$2000 camera every 3-4 years, however I see that slowing down. Depending on how you measure (because there are multiple types of film and multiple things you can measure) somewhere between 5MP and 24MP is the resolution of 35MM film. When we went from 1-3-7MP cameras there were huge leaps forward. Now someone moves from a 12MP to a 15MP and wonders what changed. I see people holding onto 10MP cameras MUCH longer.

Indeed, both myself and my wife have been on 9MP digicams for the pocket camera for like 5 years now. My new phone has a 5MP camera that takes almost as good a picture, for "free" (came with the phone). I think the Micro four-thirds trend is the result of this, more MP and fancier sensors are no longer the way forward, smaller, lighter, better user features are the way forward.

17th Aug 2010, 03:00 PM
I'm sorry. It's the "RETRO" point. Similar to someone wanting a horse to ride, while everyone else is driving cars. It doesn't matter how many advantages a car has, nor how fast the car goes, nor how many features there are, they still want the horse (or the bicycle, or the sneakers). View cameras and medium format are nice for similar reasons and fit a niche as well.

I also miss my old Yashicamat at times (not so much as my old FM). I don't miss the darkroom though.

It's been a long time since I last saw her (my old FM), and that's probably why I'm yearning for her. Although I do remember that she collected dust in the closet after I got my new digital babe though. It was a 1.8MP Canon A10, and I was astounded at the pictures and entertained by the process. 1.8MP was all I needed to ditch the FM and darkroom at the time. While 1.8MP may sound small, the pictures we post on this website (roughly 1000x600 pixels) are smaller than 1MP. But that's another topic.

1.8MP served me well for the times. Although 25MP in a full frame is inticing. I love to zoom in forever and crop a feature that I couldn't even see when I was there, such as the lettering on an N-Scale engine or car.

Photography is too big to confine in one thread though, so that leads me back to topic...Retro film cameras, especially 35mm SLRs.

17th Aug 2010, 03:22 PM
Now, if you want retro I remember as a kid making a paper pinhole camera that took 110 film. Well, as we all know pinhole gives great depth of field, which is a problem with a lot of N scale photography. We actually could use some of that tech again.

17th Aug 2010, 03:44 PM
Funny ... my wife and I were just looking at a small shoe box last night with our old cameras. There are four perfectly good 35mm cameras in there that we will never use again ... not because there is anything wrong with them ... because we now use digital. We likely can't sell them, probably can't even give them away. We will most likely drop them into the garbage.

Digital is the way to go for us. We like to snap a lot of photos and then later at home we pick out the best of them, save them to a memory stick labelled "Family Album" and delete the rest. We still do print some off, mostly for a few family members who don't have computers, but I really can't see ever going back to film.

17th Aug 2010, 04:06 PM
A couple of years ago, I put a Nikon point and shoot type 35mm camera on Ebay and got $2.00 for it. New, it costed about $150.

17th Aug 2010, 04:33 PM
Some of us still use film and even more "retro" cameras. I use a 4x5 view camera, which as the name implies uses sheets of film measuring 4" x 5". You have to put a darkcloth over your head to focus the camera and the image on the ground glass is upside down and reversed right/left. However the results can be stunning. I've sold razor-sharp 40" x 50" prints I've shot with that camera. And it actually weighs less than my DSLR with lens, though it still can't be hand-held easily.


29th Sep 2010, 02:51 PM
Film looks like it would be fun to try. I know I can get the bodies on ebay fairly cheap, but the cost is the lens. I do own a canon rebel xt and getting a lens that works with both will be more costly then buying a lens for a dedicated crop frame. I shoot in RAW format and have fun "developing" my image.

29th Sep 2010, 03:45 PM
I have numerous SLR's & digitals as well there is nothing better for scenery, architecture and portrait photography than good old black & white. The problem is finding a good photo developer there still is one left in my town who knows how to process & develop film but it is a dying art form. So yes there is still a place in my world for the reliable SLR:) The Walmarts and it counterparts have no idea what they are doing it's all controlled by a preset machine that just does not allow for artistic adventures in film. It's still in print the Kodak Pocket series for photography, it's full of ideas and information for taking better pictures and fits in your back pocket.

29th Sep 2010, 04:18 PM
I think a lot of the film guys in the milwaukee area go to Arts camera.

29th Sep 2010, 04:50 PM
I think a lot of the film guys in the milwaukee area go to Arts camera.

That would be really nice for the guys in that area you can sometimes tell even the Walmarts or other film or digital processors to print with No Color Correction (color or black & white) those will be the actual pictures that you as a photographer shot. The machines usually correct 1/2 to 1 stop over or under unless you specify and the operator knows how to set the machine properly.