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Thread: Why use color film?

  1. #1

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    Why use color film?

    I understand why LF photographers use B&W film - the ability to home process with simple tools, the ability to manipulate the image, etc.

    But why bother with color film? The development process is complex, exacting and not amenable to image manipulation. Any image enhancements seem much more readily accomplished in Photoshop, which means you've moved into the digital realm already.

    It seems that digital capture, processing and printing has so much going for it that color film is literally obsolete. But it's not - people are still using it.

    To quote my dad: Not "no", but "why"?

  2. #2

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    Re: Why use color film?

    You are forgetting one of the chief advantages of Large Format in the first place: Image Quality. Digital has not surpassed Large Format in image quality definitively, not even in 4x5 (unless you get into stitching but please let's not). So if you want a color photography of something and you want quality Large Format is a very valid choice.

  3. #3

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    Re: Why use color film?

    There is not that much digital LF capture around which you can comfortably use on a landscape. While I own a scan back for studio use, carrying that beast, a laptop, car battery and inverter to a scenic sight is not my notion of fun.

  4. #4

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    Re: Why use color film?

    I haven't seen a digital back to match an 8x10 chrome or negative.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  5. #5

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    Re: Why use color film?

    Have you ever seen a well done 8x10 transparency? It will answer your question.

  6. #6
    Greg Greg Blank's Avatar
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    Re: Why use color film?

    Hey Robert;

    I've been doing color printing for 20 years or more, once one gets the basics down it's faster than computer work if your negative is clean and unblemished.
    Also there is the dollars factor. If you buy bulk chemicals, the total price of a 16 x20 is a few dollars. Since I bought my color head and processor years ago those cost were absorbed into my business and paid for through print sales. I have made prints up to 13x19 on the ink jet but I seem to feel the negatives to color paper edge them abit.
    I have a digital color analyzer "color star" As well as a Data color Spyder, both sytems stream line print making.


    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hughes View Post
    I understand why LF photographers use B&W film - the ability to home process with simple tools, the ability to manipulate the image, etc.

    But why bother with color film? The development process is complex, exacting and not amenable to image manipulation. Any image enhancements seem much more readily accomplished in Photoshop, which means you've moved into the digital realm already.

    It seems that digital capture, processing and printing has so much going for it that color film is literally obsolete. But it's not - people are still using it.

    To quote my dad: Not "no", but "why"?

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Why use color film?

    Ever look at a well-made Cibachrome or dye transfer print from large format real film?
    No contest. Well, these do tend to be expensive and time-consuming processes. So
    lets looks at an ordinary C-print on something like Crystal Archive paper. Last time I
    calculated it, there was something like a twenty to one cost ratio between direct
    enlargement from a color negative versus scanning and Lightjet. That's right, twenty
    to one! And you get a sharper print the old-fashioned way. Well, you could adjust that
    cost factor if you own an actual scanner and Lighjet or Chromira machine, but how
    much does that cost? So then you go inkjet. Ever add up the cost of the paper and
    replacement inks for large prints? And whether you like the look or not, it isn't equivalent to a direct print. It's different.

  8. #8
    Greg Greg Blank's Avatar
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    Re: Why use color film?

    Sooo Correct you are. There was an article in Great Output magazine a few years back stating that the R&D cost for printers would make them unaffordable if ink sales were not so outrageously priced. At the pro-sumer level ink cost more than Dom Perignon Per ounce ink is the most expensive stff you will ever buy, if you buy the manufacturers ink.


    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Ever look at a well-made Cibachrome or dye transfer print from large format real film?
    No contest. Well, these do tend to be expensive and time-consuming processes. So
    lets looks at an ordinary C-print on something like Crystal Archive paper. Last time I
    calculated it, there was something like a twenty to one cost ratio between direct
    enlargement from a color negative versus scanning and Lightjet. That's right, twenty
    to one! And you get a sharper print the old-fashioned way. Well, you could adjust that
    cost factor if you own an actual scanner and Lighjet or Chromira machine, but how
    much does that cost? So then you go inkjet. Ever add up the cost of the paper and
    replacement inks for large prints? And whether you like the look or not, it isn't equivalent to a direct print. It's different.

  9. #9

    Re: Why use color film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hughes View Post
    But why bother with color film?
    Because I don't have $42,000.00 for a P65+

  10. #10

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    Re: Why use color film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hughes View Post
    I understand why LF photographers use B&W film - the ability to home process with simple tools, the ability to manipulate the image, etc.

    But why bother with color film? The development process is complex, exacting and not amenable to image manipulation. Any image enhancements seem much more readily accomplished in Photoshop, which means you've moved into the digital realm already.

    It seems that digital capture, processing and printing has so much going for it that color film is literally obsolete. But it's not - people are still using it.

    To quote my dad: Not "no", but "why"?
    The development process? It's a 10 minute drive from my house.

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