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Film is less complicated than digital for travel?
Old 12-17-2012   #1
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Film is less complicated than digital for travel?

I like using my M8 and M9 when I am close to home. I was planning to take with me the SWC with its fixed 38mm lens, plus the M9 with a 35mm or 50mm lens.

Then I learned about the need to have a laptop and external drive for back-up, plus several memory cards. I also learned that dust spots may require the cleaning of the sensor, done preferably in a dustless room.

This all sounds rather complicated for overseas travel with a wife and two kids. I am now in Washington DC, and my only camera is a Tower 35 with a 50/2 Nikkor and a CV meter II. It is such a pleasure to take photos with this camera.

It may be more enjoyful to use an old Barnack for the old streets is Tuscany. I could leave behind the laptop and drive and cards and charger and batteries.

I would then carry film with me.
What do you think?
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Old 12-17-2012   #2
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I don't know about the M9 but my M8's sensor has always been a magnet for dust. Other mirrorless cameras (such as m4/3rds and Fuji X-Pro1) have good dust removers so this is no longer a problem for me. Also, memory cards are less bulky than film. One of my 32 Gb cards can hold thousands of photos. To me, the only downside of digital is the need for extra batteries and a charger.
You can travel light either way so long as it is mirrorless. I enjoy film as well. (I just wish I could scan a little better.)
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Old 12-17-2012   #3
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well, i don't own a digital camera and usually take my iiif and an xa when i travel, but i'd guess that even with 2 current memory cards you can take more pictures than with the rolls of film you realistically take with you and i don't really get the backup thing - if you lose an exposed roll of film it will have the same effect as a lost or erased or whatever card. oh, and with film the dust comes in when scanning

Apart from that: film is way cooler of course!
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Old 12-17-2012   #4
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Yup. Film is less complicated in accouterments, although it can be more complicated in technique.

A worthy trade for me.
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Old 12-17-2012   #5
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Agree Nothing like coming home from a day's outing and getting out the laptop, cable, card reader...downloading and backing up the files, charging the batteries, etc VS putting your feet up and discussing the day's/next day's activities!
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Old 12-17-2012   #6
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Ahaa, I'm with you. Even airlines don't ruin your film now, film for me out of the country. Barnack plus my CVII if I'm daring.
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Old 12-17-2012   #7
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We are preparing for a 2 week trip to Myanmar. For film its indeed easy. For the one digital camera (besides the iPhone) I have to pack not only spare battery's but also a spare charger. Just in case that one gets blown by power spike... Rather than taking a laptop with back-up drives and all the jadajada. I simply bought a hand full of 16GB SD cards and a case.. Still...
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Old 12-17-2012   #8
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Well, then there's the cost/time of processing the film, scanning it, etc.

They both have their strengths and weaknesses, in my opinion. But yes, if by less complicated, you mean while out and about shooting, then I would agree.
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Old 12-17-2012   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom33 View Post
Yup. Film is less complicated in accouterments, although it can be more complicated in technique.

A worthy trade for me.
+1. Carrying lots of rolls of film is a challenge but an empty battery or in the charger forgotten battery (happened once to me ... ) isn`t nice either ...
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Old 12-17-2012   #10
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Regarding the backup thing also consider that it's probably more likely to screw up film developing (yourself or - even more likely - the lab) than losing your files. I'm an amateur film photographer and losing photos due to some kind of failure just happens sometimes (i'd almost say it's part of the fun). If I were a pro shooting digital I'd probably be into that backup stuff as well...
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Old 12-17-2012   #11
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I usually travel with both film and digital. For digital backup, I sometimes bring my old Hyperdrive portable storage drive, although these days, an ultra small notebook is more useful. Also, where possible, I upload my digital files to my website.

I get what you're saying Raid, but my issue with primarily shooting film on a major vacation is the time that it takes me to develop everything; whereas, I can at least view (if not post-process) all my digital vacation photos as soon as I get home. To cite an example, I shot over 80 rolls of film while on vacation last March, and I still have about 20 that I have not yet developed. Life just gets in the way sometimes.
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Old 12-17-2012   #12
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Mostly a moot point if you have to travel with a computer anyway. I'd say it's just a personal choice. It helps to have an 11 inch air, which is actually smaller than a lot of magazines.
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Old 12-17-2012   #13
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I disagree.

Digital camera: carry enough storage cards to last the trip without deletions. Carry a charger and three batteries. That's it. If I want to review and/or post photos while traveling, carry iPad, its charger, and camera connection kit. No worries about X-ray damage, 3000 exposures on three dime sized plastic widgets, done.

By contrast, film: carry SWC plus one back, and 10-20 rolls of film. Add light meter. Add filters. Add second back if you're going to shoot a lot. Optional, carry iPad and charger to tell everyone about all the great shots I was getting assuming the X-ray inspection at the airport doesn't destroy the film. 20 rolls of film is 240 shots: That alone is larger than the accessory kit of chargers and batteries and connection kit. And costs double what the three 32G cards for the M9 costs.

It's a silly debate. Carry whatever camera you want to take pictures with, and whatever other equipment you need to use it effectively.
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Old 12-17-2012   #14
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I am sure that I will change my mind again before the trip. Both types ofphotograph have a cost or pain.

It may be silly, but it is a thought. Maybe it is not silly.
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Old 12-17-2012   #15
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do it. shoot film. i do not regret dropping digital for travel. so what - you have to carry some film. it's light and easy enough to store. Swc and the barnack/tower. good times
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Old 12-17-2012   #16
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I always travel with a laptop anyway, so it's not an additional burden. You could try to find a photo shop at the destination that can dump your memory cards and burn them to CD/DVD. Or, just take enough cards that it's not necessary to dump them. A few cards still holds more images than the amount of film you're likely to shoot.

All of that is simpler than dealing with TSA and foreign inspection officials and trying to explain in various languages that you don't want your film to pass through x-ray machines multiple times during your trip.
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Old 12-17-2012   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
I disagree.

Digital camera: carry enough storage cards to last the trip without deletions. Carry a charger and three batteries. That's it. If I want to review and/or post photos while traveling, carry iPad, its charger, and camera connection kit. No worries about X-ray damage, 3000 exposures on three dime sized plastic widgets, done.

By contrast, film: carry SWC plus one back, and 10-20 rolls of film. Add light meter. Add filters. Add second back if you're going to shoot a lot. Optional, carry iPad and charger to tell everyone about all the great shots I was getting assuming the X-ray inspection at the airport doesn't destroy the film. 20 rolls of film is 240 shots: That alone is larger than the accessory kit of chargers and batteries and connection kit. And costs double what the three 32G cards for the M9 costs.

For travel I would not carry a laptop for downloading purpose only but for internet access, checking travel schedule etc.. If you have an I phone or similar, you don't need it at all. Spare SD cards and you are fine.

As for the dust: I have no M8 experience but I have not had any dust issues with the M9. I do switch the camera off when I switch lenses. All my lenses are w/o caps in my bag and I do switch between them quite a bit. In half a year and 4500 shots I had to clean dust only once. And this I did at my dining table. So I guess every hotel room shot be fine as long as you switch off the fan or AC.
Don't worry too much. You'll most likely have more dust on you negatives than on your sensor. Just at the monitor it's easier to spot at 100%.



It's a silly debate. Carry whatever camera you want to take pictures with, and whatever other equipment you need to use it effectively.
I agree here (with Godfrey) +1.
A couple of SD cards take much less space and weigh less than a x-ray safe bag full of film. Spare batteries are a must but I doubt I would carry a spare charger. It (the Leica M charger) is 110 to 240 V, 50 to 60hz so it works globally.
I would limit the amount of lenses I take for the M, everything wide angle is covered by the SWC. And yes I'd take both cameras if you want to use the SWC at all. On the other hand just the M9 should do the job, but only the SWC is too limiting.
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Old 12-17-2012   #18
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I travel with my M3 and a 50mm Cron, film and my iphone (for the light meter) and a charger for the phone. That's about all the high tech I can handle.

Nice shot on a day's outing.

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Old 12-17-2012   #19
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To me, it's half a dozen of one and six of the other. In my last foray abroad, I took my D700 and two lenses, in addition to my Nikon S2 and abour half a dozen rolls of film. The digital shots worked for those who wanted immediacy (since I was in a study abroad trip, some university authorities liked to see them), but my B&W film shots were for my own enjoyment. Sure, I was traveling with a laptop and several cards, but I forced myself to download the photographs the day I shot them, and then back them up in my computer and a separate USB drive. Did I like it? Not a whole lot. Nothing simpler and safer than storing my exposed film in a safe place (where I would not forget it by accident).

However, the next time I travel (which wont' be part of a study abroad program), I'll take my film gear and my film rolls simply because walking about with the D700 and the honker of a lens that is the AF-S 24-70 does not appeal to me. I can take a Leica body and an additional lens with, along with some eight rolls of film, and shoot away without a worry.

BTW, regarding the TSA... I've always traveled with ISO 400 film. It's fairly tough and can take up to three passes through an X-ray machine. And if I want or need anything faster, I can always underexpose it and overdevelop it (only if it's transparency, I know).

It's just what I like. Who knows? I may have to change my mind (meaning, either my wife or circumstances will demand that I travel with the digital behemoth) but in the meanwhile, that's my intention. In fact, I know I'll take with one of my M5 bodies.
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Old 12-17-2012   #20
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Im traveling in 3 weeks time. Will be my first trip taking film only but my partner will have a little olympus ep-2. Im looking foward to taking the M4 35, 50 crom and a 90. All that fitting in a bag 1/3 the size of my old backpack carting digital SLR gear. Im sure i will miss the DSLR this trip but i also think using film for a trip will teach me a lot more then having the option of my old digital kit.

When i do travel with digital however i stopped taking a laptop and purchased a lot more smaller SD cards. A few years back i had a 32 gig card that was almost full, lock up on me and lost 85% of a trip cause i didnt have a laptop to back up. Lesson learnt.
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Old 12-17-2012   #21
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The ONLY time I shoot digital is when I travel mostly because I generally don't care about vacation photos and my wife wants to see them and make a photobook with them and doesn't have the patience for me to develop and scan.

I've traveled with my Leica and with a Mamiya 6 and a Rolleicord (not at the same time) before but honestly besides glaciers in Patagonia with the Mamiya 6, nothing I've shot particularly excites me. I do better work with film at home.

I can basically go a couple of weeks with a GRD III and an 8 gig card and rarely charge the battery or fill the card. Don't bring anything to view the photos with and just batch edit when I get home.

That or a Yashica t4 and that's all.
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Old 12-17-2012   #22
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Quote:
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I can basically go a couple of weeks with a GRD III and an 8 gig card and rarely charge the battery or fill the card. Don't bring anything to view the photos with and just batch edit when I get home.
I like the idea of that. Last time i did a longer trip (1 month) with a laptop i found myself sitting in a hotel room for an hour or two every night editing. It would be different if it was a photog trip.
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Old 12-17-2012   #23
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Film - deal with it later
Digital - deal with it on the trip
I'm forgetful so film is the way for me
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Old 12-17-2012   #24
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I've done both, in overseas trips to Asia.

Film is less complications.

With digital you need currency converters, storage, backup storage, and of course forget about anything magnetic.

Film - well, you pick up and go.

I'm not taking sides, I like both. But I know which one I like better.
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Old 12-17-2012   #25
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Travelling around the U.S. digital is certainly more convenient. Travelling overseas, film may be a hair more convenient due to not having to recharge batteries - but it also depends on what film you may be able to find. I'm not one to pack dozens of rolls when travelling.
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Old 12-17-2012   #26
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For France, I took two Barnacks--IIIcs--for black & white. 50mm Collapsible SUmmicron; 35/2.5 CV; 28mm CV; 25mm CV. Plus an M7 with 40/1.4 CV, and adapters to let me use the other lenses on the M7 if desired.

For Color: one D-Lux 3 and one D-Lux 4.

It all worked out so well, I will go with pretty close to the same outfit next time. You can't get the sensors dirty on the D-lux cameras, because the lenses don't come off. Mostly I left the M7 in the apartment and went out with one Barnack around my neck, the other one in my vest pocket. I might have one D-Lux in hand, the other in a vest pocket. Or both in the pocket, taking one out as needed. Or both Barnacks in the vest, and one D-Lux out, in use. Very flexible and versatile!

I agree, film is not all that much of a bother. And I can print in the darkroom, and not on my noisy, ink-eating printer!
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Old 12-17-2012   #27
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Quote:
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...It may be more enjoyful to use an old Barnack for the old streets is Tuscany. I could leave behind the laptop and drive and cards and charger and batteries.

I would then carry film with me.
What do you think?
It sounds peaceful and relaxing! Where's the fun in that?
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Old 12-17-2012   #28
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Much of it depends where you will be traveling. You should not need to worry about dust if you are not changing lenses. Why do you need a laptop to back up you images? With a film camera there is not back up. I look at it this way: Traveling/Vacation is for enjoyment and unless you are being paid to take photographs then photography is secondary to the enjoyment of the entire vacation. Not everything needs to be photographed.
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Old 12-17-2012   #29
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I never have a problem carrying digital and film. The charger goes into the checked bag and the rest carried on, no laptop, in a small bag. Really the idea is to buy enough cards. As far as carries, I'm becoming more a 1 body 2 lens guy when out shooting. My D is a Panasonic w/zoom, with an adapter for the 2 Nikon lenses I carry with a Nikon body and 2 filters, 2lb tripod . 2-3 rolls of film usually do it but I can always buy more. I'm becoming more discriminating in shots so I don't have to sit behind a computer forever; Bad back.
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Old 12-17-2012   #30
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Quote:
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I like using my M8 and M9 when I am close to home. I was planning to take with me the SWC with its fixed 38mm lens, plus the M9 with a 35mm or 50mm lens.

Then I learned about the need to have a laptop and external drive for back-up, plus several memory cards. I also learned that dust spots may require the cleaning of the sensor, done preferably in a dustless room.

This all sounds rather complicated for overseas travel with a wife and two kids. I am now in Washington DC, and my only camera is a Tower 35 with a 50/2 Nikkor and a CV meter II. It is such a pleasure to take photos with this camera.

It may be more enjoyful to use an old Barnack for the old streets is Tuscany. I could leave behind the laptop and drive and cards and charger and batteries.

I would then carry film with me.
What do you think?
Someone much smarter than I said that on vacation you should take intimate portraits of your family in cafes and parks and narrow shady streets. For the rest, buy a big coffee table book; the photography will be better than anything you'll ever do.

Seventeen days in Italy looked pretty good to me through a Nikon F full of Tri-X. A Barnack in Tuscany? I think you would get some fantastic photographs (a lot will be in focus) that you will cherish always. That counts, doesn't it?
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Old 12-17-2012   #31
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Quote:
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With a film camera there is not back up.
Yeah, a lot of this cons for digital aren't valid because of this. Digital gives you the opportunity to back up your photos.

And think of spare batteries as rolls of films, and as long as you're rotating three, you can generally survive a week without needing a charger (unless you're shooting video).
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Old 12-17-2012   #32
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The thought of not being able to back up film had not yet occured to me.

Im not sure if this is something to thing about but shooting with family being fast i would assume is a good thing? Shooting a more modern camera in that case (something with metering and Apature priority) might save the family giving you the move along.

A lot of time tavel for me is about visiting places and relaxing. Taking photos is something i find relaxing hence it becomes a big part of my trips.
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Old 12-17-2012   #33
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with film you never know how many you'll need. so you end up taking way more than you think you'll need, gets a bit bulky. bulkier than a charger and 3 batteries and 2 spare memory cards, for sure.

to me a big advantage of digital on trips is that it's less likely losing photos due to user error or lousy lab. i've done trips both shooting film only and digital only. had 8 rolls scratched by a lousy lab, frustrating. in another trip i shot everything with film, and while changing film one day i opened the camera before rewinding, i just wasnt paying much attention to what i was doing. lost all my photos from genova and some others from cinqueterre, i could save some that weren't too badly damaged by the light leak, but it was again frustrating. also there are photos that i took on film that i was hoping for the best but came out just not so good. like one from a lava pit inside a full moon lit volcano crater in hawaii, long exposure, well metered but all 4 frames came out shaky... the ones i took with the x100 were fine.

ive done trips taking only a digital and it was a walk in the park in that sense. less volume to lug around, having instant review is great because you know you won't be going back there so soon, so you are sure you got the picture (you can be sure with film, but then you might be stupid like i was and screw up your film or have the lab do it for you). also the autonomy is much bigger, since you can take many more shots, have more raw material to then select and edit back home. i take a charger and 3 spare batteries usually, taking a laptop along with an external hd is just nonsense, it adds unnecessary bulk and it's a waste of trip time to edit photos while travelling, while you can be enjoying your time wherever you are. film has no backup anyway.

i love film, but for trips i think digital just suits best.
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Old 12-17-2012   #34
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somewhat related question, how much film do you shoot on a trip ?
this somewhat affects the number of rolls to carry. on 2 recent trips,
i shot around 2 - 3 rolls a day. i decided to get those small "egg-cases"
to store the film to make the formfactor smaller.
The last 2 days are the worst, I agonize how much to shoot vs reserve.

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Old 12-17-2012   #35
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buy a big coffee table book; the photography will be better than anything you'll ever do.
speak for yourself, buddy!
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Old 12-17-2012   #36
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Don't sweat it. Everyone seems to pack way more than they really need, especially in this battery dependent, digital world of ours. Take the Tower 3 (or Leica III), a 35 and a 50mm lens (both collapsible of course), 10 rolls of Tri-X (or your favorite color 400), and your favorite little light meter (a Sekonic L208 works great.) You will find more film to buy along the way. Mail the exposed stuff to yourself or to Adorama every now and then. If that is too much of a hassle then wrap it in a (clean) sock and stuff into the bottom of your backpack.

You can easily pack the camera, the spare lens and several spare rolls of film into one of those silly looking little fanny packs and it won't even count as carry on. It works, and everything is there at hand when you need it.

Your images may not look quite as good as that coffee table book, but there is no reason they can't. The equipment is certainly capable.
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Old 12-17-2012   #37
Rayt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
somewhat related question, how much film do you shoot on a trip ?
this somewhat affects the number of rolls to carry. on 2 recent trips,
i shot around 2 - 3 rolls a day. i decided to get those small "egg-cases"
to store the film to make the formfactor smaller.
The last 2 days are the worst, I agonize how much to shoot vs reserve.

raytoei
I always bring more film than necessary. The worse is to run out of film in a strange city. I got introduced to color Era film this way
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Old 12-17-2012   #38
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i take a charger and 3 spare batteries usually, taking a laptop along with an external hd is just nonsense, it adds unnecessary bulk and it's a waste of trip time to edit photos while travelling, while you can be enjoying your time wherever you are. film has no backup anyway.

i love film, but for trips i think digital just suits best.
Agreed. Just because you can bring a boatload of digital accessories doesn't mean you have to. No need to overcomplicate things.

My lightweight digital kit is now an RX100 + a few extra batteries + small charger. I could basically put the camera in one jeans pocket and the rest in the other. Certainly less bulky than my lightweight film kit (GR1 + a dozen or so rolls).

I only ever use one memory card. A fast 32 GB SDHC card is like $20 these days. That's 1400-1500 RAW shots for me. If you're really trigger happy, 128 GB SDXC cards are $100. I've carried an extra card for years but never used it. Stamp-sized and 1/13 the weight of one roll of film, so I can manage.

No need to worry about anything magnetic, by the way:

""There's nothing magnetic in flash memory, so [a magnet] won't do anything," says Bill Frank, executive director of the CompactFlash Association. "A magnet powerful enough to disturb the electrons in flash would be powerful enough to suck the iron out of your blood cells," says Frank.

The same goes for hard drives. The only magnets powerful enough to scrub data from a drive platter are laboratory degaussers or those used by government agencies to wipe bits off media."

(Busting the Biggest PC Myths)
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Old 12-17-2012   #39
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Digital really isn't difficult at all. Take a couple of batteries.

Threads like this always make me think people are trying to kid themselves that there's a place for film in their workflow, rather than just accepting that they're choosing film because they want to. Why the need to rationalise it like this?
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Old 12-17-2012   #40
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On holidays my wife shoots a digital compact and I shoot colour film. We like to make an album of each trip.

After we get back, it takes her weeks to sort through her hundreds of images and then another three days to receive the prints in the mail.

While I just drop off my film and collect the prints next day, do a quick first selection of the prints and then could start making the album. On longer trips I have even had prints made locally, so my final edit was ready by the time we got home.
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