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Thread: Film Still Popular Among Pros

  1. #1

    Film Still Popular Among Pros

    Three cheers for film!

    Sep 19, 1:49 PM EDT
    Film Still Popular Among the Pros

    By BEN DOBBIN
    AP Business Writer

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- Photojournalist Chris Usher usually relies on digital technology. When he wants something special, though, he reaches for a film camera.

    "I shoot just as much digital as the next guy out of necessity," Usher said. "I use film probably a third of the time, on personal projects 100 percent of the time. There's a richness and a depth of field that becomes more prevalent when you're shooting film as opposed to digital. It has a tangible feel to it."

    Even as the digital revolution is transforming photography, more than two-thirds of professional photographers in a survey released Wednesday said they still prefer using film for certain tasks, praising its ability to add an almost organic quality to pictures.

    Eastman Kodak Co., which surveyed 9,000 U.S. photographers who earn their livelihoods freeze-framing news, weddings, nature, fashion and other worlds, will draw some comfort from its findings.

    Putting the finishing touches to a drastic, four-year digital makeover, Kodak is still betting that film, its cash cow for a century, will continue to generate enough revenue to see it through the most painful passage in its 126-year history. Kodak's work force will slip to 34,000 at year-end, half what it was five years ago.

    Even while its chemical-based businesses shrink, Kodak remains the world's top maker of silver-halide film, and the storied product - which George Eastman launched in 1889 - retains an ardent following.

    "If a client gives me the choice, I'm going to shoot film," said Matthew Jordan Smith, a fashion and celebrity photographer in Los Angeles. "With digital, there's this whole thing of, 'Oh, it looks good enough to get by, it's fine, it'll do.' You didn't have that with film. Was it good enough? It was great!

    "Digital will continue to get better and better and better," Smith said. "Maybe film will become an art thing, who knows? But there will always be those who want to shoot film."

    The survey was mailed in mid-August to more than 40,000 of the nation's estimated 64,000 full-time and part-time professional photographers, and 75 percent of the 9,000 who responded said they will continue to use film even as they embrace digital imaging.

    Sixty-eight percent said they prefer film over digital for a variety of applications. Many cited its superiority for shooting larger-format and black-and-white images, the adaptability of color film to a wider range of lighting conditions, and film archives being far easier to store than electronic ones.

    Usher, a freelancer who covers the White House for both Newsweek and Time magazines and is coming out with a book illustrating hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, isn't surprised his colleagues expressed a lingering loyalty to some of the old methods.

    "Film by its very physical nature is layers of grains of different colors," he said. "It's hard to describe, but it does actually have a micro three-dimensionality that you can see in that weird way."

    By contrast, he said, "digital pictures look very flat, and even the prints. ... Digital looks literally cut-and-pasted.

    "Probably the biggest disadvantage of digital - I think if you ask most photographers, at least the ones that are honest will admit this - is you end up spending more time behind the computer than you do behind the camera. If you're shooting raw, you still have to go in there and adjust the images, tweak 'em, tone 'em and get everything just so. With film, there it is."

    While "digital is here to stay," Usher expects film's fortunes will someday brighten once more.

    "In fact, now that the honeymoon and the infatuation is starting to run its course," he said, "I think that in the next five years you're going to see almost a retro backlash because of the things that film gives you that you can't get with digital."

  2. #2

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    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    Quote Originally Posted by Usher
    "In fact, now that the honeymoon and the infatuation is starting to run its course," he said, "I think that in the next five years you're going to see almost a retro backlash because of the things that film gives you that you can't get with digital."
    That, or digital capture and print technology will progress to a level closer to the qualities in analogue methods....maybe?


    Don't get me wrong I am an avid film user and I stand behind silver-based. In fact the amount I'm investing in the gear and the consumables I HOPE it lasts!!


    Nice to know that there are at least 9,000 film users left though

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    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    APUG has over 32,000 members.

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    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    I use between 50 and 200 sheets of 4x5 transparency film a month in my business. I also shoot between 25 and 50 5x7 b/w, and about 50 sheets 4x5 b/w each month for my personal projects. Film sure ain't dead for me!!

  5. #5

    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    I invested in digital a few years back spent tens of thousands. After realizing my mistake I sold everything and went back to film exclusively and this time with 8x10 to boot!

    I will never use digital again for my work. I just love what film can do...

  6. #6
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbram View Post
    APUG has over 32,000 members.
    More like 22,000 registered users at the moment. Maybe you were looking at the statistic for the number of threads, which is a bit over 32,000 right now.

  7. #7
    Japan Exposures
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    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    Bear in mind that the people surveyed actually remember and know what film is (and its properties). Ask the same question in 5, 10 years and the picture may change completely. Unless something else happens

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    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    I think Dirk hit the nail on the head - the issue is not with us old-timers - we will always use film, but with the younger crowd - they never get to experience the difference. Sure, there will always be a few who try their luck with film and will stick with it, but that'll be the minority. The cellphone camera generation could be the last nail in the coffin of the Kodaks of this world.
    Juergen

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    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    Quote Originally Posted by Juergen Sattler View Post
    The cellphone camera generation could be the last nail in the coffin of the Kodaks of this world.
    I'm part of the cell-phone generation, thank you very much. And I know for a fact many young people are drawn to traditional because it's different and "counter-culture" and exciting!

    And this generational problem is being addressed, http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ad.php?t=29037
    Last edited by Sylvester Graham; 19-Sep-2007 at 18:58. Reason: yep

  10. #10
    Dave Karp
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    Re: Film Still Popular Among Pros

    I don't teach photography, but at my college the traditional darkroom classes still fill up every semester. We also offer a full range of digital photo courses. Given the choice, students are still filling up the wet darkroom.

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