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Thread: The comeback of film?

  1. #1
    Marco Fantin
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    The comeback of film?


    is film photography really coming back? Do you have any story to share? Either positive or negative?
    This thread is meant to collect some anecdotal evidence on the subject. Please feel free to contribute with any personal story of "feeling" about the topic. I would love to hear about that.
    My Youtube Channel - Darkroom and large format tutorials

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: The comeback of film?

    For LF I never knew that film went away. For negative I shoot Portra or FP4+. For positive I still have a bit of Ektachrome but donít shoot it anymore.

    How about you?

  3. #3
    Marco Fantin
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Re: The comeback of film?

    I will keep it close to the topic of the title... I'll try. I started with film 12 years ago, in the full growth of digital. I am a chemist so the whole process is somewhat natural for me.
    I don't know if film is coming back, but for sure I know that digital is slowing down (if we don't factor in the cellphones). I have a Hasselblad that I don't use and goes up in value 10-20% every year, which tells me that there is some demand. Large format is still too expensive for digital, if you're not a telescope owner. But one day we will have widespread large format sensor, I think it is inevitable looking at the progress.
    Regarding the process, I think that film still makes sense for 90+% of non professionals, but many people love tech more than art. Also, 99% of teenagers probably don't know exactly what film is.
    These are my thoughts.
    My Youtube Channel - Darkroom and large format tutorials

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    South Dakota

    Re: The comeback of film?

    I shot only film (of course) from 1985 until 2005. Bought a Nikon digital camera in 2005 and shot no film until 2010. I then got possession of my mother-n-law's Kodak Brownie and thought what the hell, might as well try it. Shot a few rolls and loved it! I started shooting 4x5 again shortly after, this time I only shot b&w where before I was shooting only color. I began buying more old cameras and old lenses (and I mean really old, like 1850s!) I'm now also shooting the dry plates (love them) and am seriously looking into wet plate. I always take a film camera with me on trips along with the Nikon digital, and sometimes I go out and am only shooting film (or dry plates.) I'd say I'm using film about 40% of the time now.

    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    The Netherlands

    Re: The comeback of film?

    Obviously I did shoot film, 135, medium and large format. Started digital, and occasionally I shot medium format (Mamiya gear C330, RB67 Pro S / SD). A few years back I collected images for a workshop. Worked digital mostly for more than 10 years, yet it turned out that the best images were shot on film. In the digital age, I was asked to do a wedding on film, which I still could and did. A few years back I got again into large format, now with the camera's I dreamed of decades ago (Sinar P2 4x5" and 8x10"). Landscapes are now mostly on film, as is architecture. Digital is for ease and speed, airshows. Love both formats. In my workshops, a 64"x80" print made from a drum scanned 8x10" film is breathtaking.
    I own the gear, but those don't make masterpieces. My everyday experience.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2016

    Re: The comeback of film?

    At one point nobody would have said that this 2018 film still would be manufactured. Ilford reports 5% growth in sales. Last Star Wars 8 and Mission Impossible 6: Fallout have been shot in film. Last James Bond film was shot in film when the predecing release of the franchise was shot digital...

    ... and we have a legion of top wedding photographers, the elite in that sector, that are making an amazing film usage, demonstrating to anybody that wants to see, the truth: film it's still a unique medium for making images.

    But we are still critically endangered, we are witnessing the Neopan's vile assassination (one of the greatests BW films ever !), we also have seen that Fuji discontinued color negative film in sheets. We hear worries about the future availability of Velvia/Provia sheets. New Ektachrome is not arriving....We also see that some manufacturers (Kokak and Fuji) fix high prices for sheets, discouraging LF newcommers...

    But what I also see is that newcomers to film show happiness in their eyes. This is a powerful new hope.

    To me the challenge is to gather a film user's base that allows Kodak and Fuji think in the long term for color film.

    My guess is that current sales do allow to keep the color business running in the short term, but color film has refined high technology inside that requires skilled technicians and scientists, it looks that this kind of professionals are now scarce in the manufacturing sector, not only new developments are mostly halted but also, as time passes, it should be more difficut to handle the amount of knowledge that color film requires.

    So nothing will stop BW analog photography, but we need more photographers engaging the amazing film subculture to protect color film aganist future discontinuation.

    It is important that all of us make an effort to promote the film subculture, of course it's not about fighting digital, at all, digital it's amazing !.

    Film it's a unique tool that has a century long heritage in their back. It's a unique tool that allows a way to craft and a way to interpret light that has been refined by incredibly good artists and technicians, providing an amazing set of unique aesthetic and creative resources, I think that this has to be our message...

  7. #7
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Neverland Blues again...

    Re: The comeback of film?

    Quote Originally Posted by marcookie View Post
    I have a Hasselblad that I don't use and goes up in value 10-20% every year, which tells me that there is some demand...
    Some of that may be owed to digital backs for Hasselblads. But yeah, film is being wiped out by new technologies like wet plate and Daguerreotype.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Bend, OR

    Re: The comeback of film?

    I exited in 2012 when the Kodak 5 liter E6 kits became scarce. I missed it for 6 years and am now back with the ability to get Fuji E-6 developing kits from Freestyle. I regret some of the stuff I sold as it is currently going for about 3x what I paid but I have a reasonable facsimile of my old kit in hand and as soon as the wildfires die down a bit will get out and use it on fall colors. Hopefully Provia and these kits will be around for some time to come- if not, Ill deal with their absence when that time comes.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Re: The comeback of film?

    Film look is only important to those who value it's unique visual offering. For most, the film look is not significant enough to place greater monetary value into the film based (this means film to wet print to finishing print, NO digital involved) images.

    Notable was when the original digital files for -Toy Story- was lost resulting in any further work to be done or achieving this cinema release had to be done on digital copies... which are NOT identical to the original digital files. Since this event, some of the cinema industry has been archiving major cinema releases on film and digital.

    Having used both digital and film based image making processes, IMO both have their place in the world of image making. What would be better for all involved would be acceptance and support by manufactures of these media technologies for both film and digital. There should be a place in the market for both. Have yet to see ANY digital based B & W print that is the equal of a GOOD film based B & W print, then again this is my opinion.

    Digital is a disruptive technology, a means to force sales and keep the system of monetary Capitalism functioning. Forcing Digital on the market then destroying offerings of film does increase profitability in the short time. This can satisfy stock holders-investors-bankers addiction to ROI, but it tends to destroy state of the art technologies that have much to offer.

    Only time will tell if film based images can endure and survive the mass acceptance of digital images.


  10. #10
    Thalmees's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Re: The comeback of film?

    Wondering, is there photography without film?.
    It could be digital photography, but not photography!
    Community still wondering: is it photoshopped?
    Hopefully, the same query involved video also.
    Discovered a small miserable lab that still use 15min service for postcard size printing and developing C41 films.
    Some young digital photographers in my town started recently to buy film cameras and use film, some to satisfy curiosity, others for just show up as veteran.
    Stopped buying too much film because I much reassured that film will stay forever and later.
    Started photography mid 80's, the only ever money paid for a digital camera was $80 for a small Fuji digital compact for my daughter.
    Thanks so much for the subject.

    The generosity of spirit in this forum is great, its warmly appreciated.

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