Tuesday, April 24, 2012



I miss film.

A lot.

Ok not  a lot ... more like a little.

The expense of it is hard to justify in these times of technological want and excess.

But I'm not going to lament the advent of digital any more than I'll decry the death of newspapers.

Been there. Done That. Moving on.

I burn through film faster than money in my pocket.*** I'm no hypocrite. I'm hooked on digital.

Still, every once in a while, I find myself thinking about those lost days of excited anticipation.

The days of seeing how closely my memory from the viewfinder resembles the actuality developing in the darkroom.

In those moments of nostalgia, which are pretty frequent these days I'll admit, I may buy a roll of film at the pharmacy and dust off my old Nikon F series.

And a day or two later I'm back at the drugstore counter with my spent roll and scant hope for a little of that old-time magic.

More film.

It's not the magic I remember, exactly. But it's still got a little spark.

*** Just learned from PetaPixel, that Fuji is planning to increase it's film prices next month. Now's the time to stock up if you'd like to wallow in nostalgia.


Carl said...

I did enjoy film, but there was no time from when I started using it seriously in 1976 that the cost of it wasn't prohibitive to me. It really inhibited my growth as a photographer, because I was never willing to spend the amount of film (and therefore money) it really took to get better. And being an untimely processor, it was frequently weeks or longer after I made the exposure before I saw the results, and then I couldn't remember what made it work or not work. When I had easy access to black and white chemistry and could do my own, I had some productive years, but after that and trying to do color, it just set too high a cost for me.

I do miss the general feel of film, some of its imprecision and the quality of grain. and i still feel like clubbing everyone in a message forum who complains about how a given camera can't perform well at ISOs north of a couple thousand. Did you young whiners ever push Tri-X to 800? Did you ever see the results of that awful ISO 1000 film? And you're complaining because you can't shoot without flash in a dark auditorium?! And then I get even angrier because they've turned me into my parents.

toyfoto said...

Always wise you are, Carl.

Not worrying about the expense and having immediate results, not to mention constant improvement in technology, far outweigh the technical and nostalgic advantage of film.

There is no going back.

I didn't get a digital camera until Annabel was a few months old. I had gone through high school, college and about 10 years of photography and journalism jobs with a couple of 35mm and two medium format cameras.

Until I had a real job and an apartment, I spent most of my money on film and processing. (Having a job in a newspaper helped a lot, though I didn't do a lot of personal stuff back then).

But ooooooh. I remember the high-iso films. I remember using a Kodak recording film ... I believe it was 3200 speed ... and the grain had grain.

The thing that really struck me lately was that film prices haven't seemed to go up much since the wide use of digital cameras. The store displays for film having shrunk, but the cost is still about the same per roll as I remember paying in college.

I was thinking about that last bit when I saw that Fuji was raising prices worldwide next month.

Carl said...

Someone recently pointed out the irony that Polaroid had gone bankrupt twice, while a company that made your digital pics look like Polaroids was selling for A Billion Dollars. (And didn't Polaroid once have such a thing? Matter of timing, I imagine.)

I think film couldn't afford to go up in price and take a chance on alienating its last users.

The short life-cycle of cameras is something that I can't believe the digital generation has completely swallowed. I had the same Mamiya-Sekor DSX1000 from the time I bought it on layaway at Two Guys in 1977 until . . . well, I still have it. (Basically the same quality as a Pentax K1000, better glass.) Now people were assailing the D70s as hopelessly antiquated, just months after I bought it. And it's true, I need to either repair it (again) or move up, and I question putting money into it.

But then my phone is still a Razr. The old kind. I don't think it has any G's at all.

toyfoto said...

I have spent more on digital cameras, too. But for repairs of shutters and outright replacement because the camera itself had become unreliable not because I wanted the latest bells and whistles.

It may be shoddy construction in addition to planned obsolescence, I don't know. But the thought has also crossed my mind that I'm shooting exponentially more photos than I had when I had a 6-12-roll per week habit.

As for Instagram ... it's crazy to me.

As far as I know the company doesn't make anything (tangible), doesn't actually sell anything (it's free) and has only 12 or so employees. It may not be the typical bubble because of what they're going to try and harness its users for (we are the product, afterall) but it really scares me as an economic driver.

Which, for whatever reason, leads me right into the push for computerized medical records ... Big business for a few companies and what's the real benefit for the consumer? In my own unscientific observations, I haven't noticed medical mistakes decreasing because of technology.

But I digress.