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Film vs Digital Discussions about the relative advantages and disadvantages of Film vs Digital are important as they can help us understand our choices as photographers. Each medium has strengths and weaknesses which can best be used in a given circumstance. While this makes for an interesting and useful discussion, DO NOT attack others who disagree with you. Forum rules are explained in the RFF FAQ linked at the top of each page.

View Poll Results: Migrating to/from film or digital
Category #1 - All film 38 19.19%
Category #2 - Mostly film 53 26.77%
Category #3 - Split evenly between film and digital 36 18.18%
Category #4 - Mostly digital 48 24.24%
Category #5 - All digital 23 11.62%
Voters: 198. You may not vote on this poll

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Migration to/from film or digital... A poll
Old 10-09-2014   #1
kxl
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Migration to/from film or digital... A poll

This is NOT meant to be another film v. digital debate.

Notice that I use the term migration, so this poll is meant for those who are transitioning or have transitioned to/from film or digital. So if you are and have always been in the category of "they'll have to pry my film camera from my cold, dead hands," then the poll is not for you. But please feel free to comment.

I am curious to know what your reasons are for migrating from one medium to the other.

I'll start off: I'm in Category #4 - Mostly Digital. While I still shoot film and love doing so, the requirements of time and physical space required to develop film are constraints for me. At some point in the future, if an affordable DRF is ever released, then I can see myself moving toward Category #5 - All digital.

This should be interesting...
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Old 10-09-2014   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kxl View Post
This is NOT meant to be another film v. digital debate.

Notice that I use the term migration, so this poll is meant for those who have transitioned to/from film or digital. So if you are and have always been in the category of "they'll have to pry my film camera from my cold, dead hands," then the poll is not for you. But please feel free to comment.

I'll start off: I'm in Category #4 - Mostly Digital. While I still shoot film and love doing so, the requirements of time and physical space required to develop film are constraints for me. At some point in the future, if an affordable DRF is ever released, then I can see myself moving toward Category #5 - All digital.

This should be interesting...
Oops, I voted before reading he instructions. I am not transitioning between film and digital. Sorry.
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Old 10-09-2014   #3
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My commercial work has been pretty much digital since 2000 but now that I'm retiring I'm going back to B&W film.
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Old 10-09-2014   #4
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I feel I'm too old to either process film or get it done for me.
If I take a picture I want to see it today - I might not be here tomorrow! LOL
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Old 10-09-2014   #5
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I'm still all film, though I'll probably eventually add digital to the mix. I've been watching Fuji's digital developments with some interest, but I still have a hard time with the idea of doing photography on the computer.

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Old 10-09-2014   #6
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Gave film up several years ago. Hated that I wasn't shooting my Contax G but the delay, quality of scans and general headache associated with film became a problem I didn't want to deal with.
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Old 10-09-2014   #7
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Call it even. Film when there's no hurry, iPhone when there's hurry.
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Old 10-09-2014   #8
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My film->digital transition was in 2002 with the 4MP Canon 1D. While it lacked the detail/resolution of film, it offered the immediacy of digital and ability to custom process color images better than I could get from area labs. Being a time when digital was still fairly expensive, it also offered some competitive advantages over those still shooting film.

There are aspects of film I miss - the tactile quality, the silver image, the smell of cracking open a new roll, the chemistry. But those are nostalgic feelings that have zero influence on my creativity and current photography.

In 2003 I realized I'd probably never go back to shooting/processing film and haven't in the 11 years since. At the moment, no regrets. The digital image backlog requiring attention is too mountainous and I just don't feel I have the time to spend hours/days in the darkroom again chipping away at the analog backlog I abandoned a decade ago. That said, I've been thinking about getting a scanner for those images, to bring them into the digital realm...
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Old 10-09-2014   #9
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just a year ago I was 90% digital and 10% film shooter but a lot changed early this year and have to say that I'm the complete opposite now, 90% film and 10% digital.

for my personal work, I prefer shooting all various type of film camera from 35mm all the way to 4x5.
digital is only for portraits and weddings which I don't do a lot either.

it's just the overall experience of film that I prefer, from shooting, processing and dark room printing.
but this is probably because since I'm in a computer 40 hours a week for work, outside of work I would rather be doing something else
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Old 10-09-2014   #10
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Right down the middle, today that is. I had gone completely to digital a decade ago, but felt something was missing.

So, in a way, I sorta' transitioned back to film!
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Old 10-09-2014   #11
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I'm ready to migrate as it's getting cold here!

99% of black & while is with film.

100% of color is digital capture.
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Old 10-09-2014   #12
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I started all film - like everybody else at that time, it was 1972. Then I had to give up all but slides for many years, and when I realized inkjet prints were getting close to darkroom output, I tried to go all digital. I quickly realized I wanted to do only B&W and at the same time, that digital B&W was looking ugly to me, as if the whole point of shooting B&W would have been betrayed. Since then I am B&W film only shooting, developing scanning and printing on inkjet myself. I have physically no space for a darkroom and even less time to work in it.
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Old 10-09-2014   #13
f16sunshine
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I do it all.
I added Digital to film relatively late after starting with my first Yashica SLR in 1982 as a teen...2007/8 added an Eos 40D and then 5D and RD1.

I Prefer B+W film. Scanning at Home and outsourced. inkjet printing all outsourced.
Color is mostly all digital with the acceptation of an occasional roll through the Rolleiflex and especially the Holga Cameras (holga and E6 creates some very fun images).

Cheers!
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Old 10-09-2014   #14
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Still all film, and likely to stay the same for some time to come.
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Old 10-09-2014   #15
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Amateur here, when shooting serious I prefer film. Shooting more digital when I need to document daily life, events or when trying something different...
I voted 3, even if numerical is more digital...
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Old 10-09-2014   #16
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In the past few years, I've mostly moved back to film from digital. I have also been trying to "transition" my portrait customers back to film...but honestly it is only me who really cares.
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Old 10-09-2014   #17
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During the Spring of 2000, I had the opportunity to travel to London. I had landed an unbelievable deal for flight and hotel room that was hard to pass up. So I decided to purchased my first digital camera (Olympus C3030Z) to see what the fuss was about.


Still is a pretty nice photo for 3.3mp.

After that experience we always had 2 or 3 small digitals around the house which we used for vacations and family photos. As time went by the old M3 sat relegated to the bureau. But in the studio it was the Hassy or the Nikon F series.

It wasn't until the Nikon D70 that I wanted something a bit more digitally serious. I purchased a D70s in the summer of 2005. There's been a parade of digital cameras ever since.

Today all of the film cameras are gone (that's a bit of a lie as there's a Yashica MG-1 badly in need of seals sitting around here somewhere). So I'm all digital. Since I retired the D3's are gone but I've got a D700 (it's a bit old but I like the darn thing so much), a D7100, and a Fuji X100s.
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Old 10-09-2014   #18
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Good films are disappearing one by one. Can't really find a good lab for processing, and usually don't have the time to process on my own.

I still occasionally shoot medium format film, though. There are times when small formats don't cut it.
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Old 10-09-2014   #19
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I started when digital was not mainstream... 1990. By 1998 I was burnt out. In 2007, I decided to start photographing again and used both film and digital. However, once I saw the scans from supposed 'Pro" labs, I was horrified. I knew digital was going to be the route I had to go. Now, I've pretty much transitioned from film to digital completely (I haven't used film since early in the year)...and as primarily a color photographer, digital just works better for my needs. The film cameras are nicer of course, but you gotta use what works best for your current photography.

When I was in school with a color darkroom, then film made sense. I've never liked the results from affordable / lab scanners. So basically, if I had regular daily access to a darkroom, I might use film more (probably B&W since color is preferred in digital). However, digital just fits my lifestyle and photography better at this time.
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Old 10-09-2014   #20
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Went from all film to all digital for a 3 years and went back to film. The last transition took 1 year while I tried out medium format. Think I'm going larger next year.

I do have a digital camera but that is used when I take stuff apart so I can get it back together afterwards.
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Old 10-09-2014   #21
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I went from film to "digital plus film", but I bought two film scanners, but in the end, I never had the film developed, so I stuck with digital.

One day, I may (or may not) return to film.
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Old 10-09-2014   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
I'm still all film, though I'll probably eventually add digital to the mix. I've been watching Fuji's digital developments with some interest, but I still have a hard time with the idea of doing photography on the computer.

- Murray
This sums up where I am almost perfectly. I have a couple of digital point and shoots that are very handy, and for which I've paid very little, but I've not made any sort of major digital purchase as yet. The Fuji X30 is very intriguing, however.
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Old 10-09-2014   #23
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I love film and I love my film Leicas. I have been shooting film since the late 1950s and film is where my heart is. Over the last couple of years I have grown from just tolerating digital to liking it since it fits better with the volume of work that I can do now. With the A7r I like the way my files look and I like the quality of the prints that I make from them. I still have my M3 ready to go with me someday soon. I guess I shoot about 95% digital and 5% film where it used to be just the other way around. - jim
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Old 10-09-2014   #24
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2004 was my permanent transfer to digital.
Lack of time & space mostly.
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Old 10-09-2014   #25
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This has been a very good mix so far, and I'm always interested in reading about people's experiences as they go through different phases in their photography and especially as they relate to changing life circumstances. Keep the comments coming.
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Old 10-09-2014   #26
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Poll doesn't reflect my case, which isn't rare at all.

I migrated from film to digital, completely.
And few years later I moved back to film at completely different level.
All kinds of cameras and formats, learned wet printing.
One of the reasons is because it is more affordable now.
Just yesterday, I get for free Canon FTb, lens and flash.


I also can't say if even, more, less. It is absutly different.
Film mostly for myself, digital mostly for others.
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Old 10-09-2014   #27
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Started off on digital, but moved to film. Then tried digital again, but again returned to film. Digital would be so easy and convenient, but it just does not work out for me. It's so easy to prefer the game of Pool to Snooker, cheaper and easy to find a big enough room for a Pool table, but in the end, I want to play Snooker more than I do Pool.
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Old 10-09-2014   #28
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When I was young(er) I shot film because thatís all there was.
When I got older and married and had kids, I shot film because thatís all there was.
I didnít shoot as much as I would have liked because paying for kids took precedence over paying for film.
I really enjoy a fine mechanical device such as a good film camera. I canít say any of the digitals Iíve had so far have given me that same feeling, yet, Ďcause you see deep down inside Iím a hardware guy.
Iím about to start a new adventure tomorrow when my new old digital camera arrives that will let me mix some of the old mechanical lenses in my possession with the new(er) digital format. At this time in my life I find digital is the answer for me. Things may, or may not, have been different if Iíd taken a class in school and learned all the inís Ďn outs of photography using film. I marvel at the simple complexity of my M3, made before the advent of computer aided machines, while at the same time Iím impressed with the amount of technology that is in my D7000. It probably has more processing power than the Apollo space capsule that went to the moon.
So yes, Iím a film guy living in a digital world. It is easier for me to justify having a new(er) computer than it is to wish for a darkroom set up. I can make pretty good use of the former, but frankly, would be lost in the dark in the later.
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Old 10-09-2014   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helenhill_HH View Post
I'm strictly Film... love to scan but am getting frustrated with my developing
for years it just worked ...like magic
now i am increasingly getting too much grain, or water stains etc

have dabbled with digital but am never quite Satisfied
really want to Embrace digital and create an interesting workflow
small pocket digi cameras don't work well with me.... i need a solid body in the hands
hence I am considering an M9

I Vacillate between throwing myself into digi
or the fear factor of will I Get bored or sensor dust , both are similar phenomena

All of this I have experienced at some point or another.
Including the M9 desire. If you were not happy with the M8.... well, the M9 is not really much of a difference.
Possible Dust on sensor, Suspect reliablity, Need to charge batteries, strange exploding clock noise everytime you push the shutter button


Cheers!
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Old 10-09-2014   #30
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Grew up when there was nothing but film, but didn't get serious until I bought my first DSLR. Gave that up a few years ago for the RF experience and bought a CL, then M8, then RD1, etc, etc ad nauseum. I've recently moved more toward film. Perhaps I'm becoming something of a luddite as I mature, but I prefer to have a physical negative. I've come to appreciate not having the instant gratification of digital (though I do still have my M8 for lens testing and occasional snapshots that can't wait a week or two to develop.) Now I carry my MP and an extra lens with me just about every day, and most of the pictures I make are only seen by friends and family.
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Old 10-09-2014   #31
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In high school I got my first point and shoot (canon digital elph). I had a blast with it but never care about getting serious. I bought a Canon 20d in college to get serious but I never caught the shutter bug. Then, after college I bought the 5d Mkii and started shooting on the streets of NYC. I liked it but never cared that much.

A trip to Honduras for scuba diving changed it all. I rented an Olympus point and shoot with an underwater housing and became hooked. I then traded my 5d for the canon 7d and bought a housing, ports, lenses, strobes, control arms... I fell in love with underwater photography. I did the majority of it In Southeast Asia in 2011 on a trip of a lifetime.

Back in NYC I sold all the underwater gear and started shooting in the streets with a voigtlander R and 15mm CV. I was hooked on film and on street.

I've now gone almost exclusively 120mm film. I'll shoot BnW or color, color usually for traveling. And that brings us to now.

I totally transitioned from digital to film. I don't like the burden of developing and scanning but I love the quality of the photos. And it's impossible to shoot 6x9 in digital :-)
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Old 10-09-2014   #32
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I assume the poll is refering to digital capture and analog capture of images, rather than what happens afterward. All of my film images are digitized from negative scans, but I don't consider them to be digital images in the same sense as the images captured with my digital camera.

That said, I'm about 98% film for black and white and likely to remain there, b/c I love using cameras from the 1950s and '60s and enjoy the process of developing my own b&w film. And I'm shooting much more b&w these days than color, so that makes me a "mostly film" person.

With color, however, I'm making the transition to digital. Getting C-41 color film processed and properly scanned locally is getting increasingly difficult and costly, and the image quality from current digital cameras has pretty much closed the gap with color film. I may yet try my hand at home development of C-41 color film, but I'm not ready to jump in yet.
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Old 10-09-2014   #33
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The transition from 100% film to 100% digital was very quick. Convenience, and then quality improvements confirmed it. Gave away my darkroom gear, no room for it in the current house anyway.
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Old 10-09-2014   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f16sunshine View Post
All of this I have experienced at some point or another.
Including the M9 desire. If you were not happy with the M8.... well, the M9 is not really much of a difference.
Possible Dust on sensor, Suspect reliablity, Need to charge batteries, strange exploding clock noise everytime you push the shutter button


Cheers!
oh, I dont know Andy, there is a real continuity from the film M to the M9.
Went from M7 to M9 pretty seamlessly. From an M4 could be a little bumpy at first, but the main difference between the M8 and M9 is that with the M9 your frame lines and lenses dont change so your relationship with the camera kind of stays the same. Anyway I know you know all this but ...

To answer the poll. Currently all digital. I absolutely loved the M7 but just dont have the time to process and scan.
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Old 10-09-2014   #35
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kwesi

^^^
I can't argue with any of that but... the M9 as good as it can be was/is still not what I was wanting it to be. Subjective for sure!
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Old 10-09-2014   #36
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I currently find myself in a situation where the only way I can shoot for at least the next 12 months (if I want to be able to see the results) is to use digital. However, having said that, I would still describe myself as a film shooter - have way too many film cameras and even more film in the freezer.

Being only really interested in B&W and currently shooting digital has forced me to work on processing files to achieve the look I want (I want digital B&W to look like film B&W). Some images I've reworked 20+x because I'm just not happy with it [As a caveat, for the last few months Ive only been working on a notebook monitor so I have no idea of how recent images look to everyone else ]. I'm now learning which lighting situations don't lend themselves to what I consider good conversions; but being aware of this and, given comparative results like below, I'm actually surprising myself as to what can be achieved in digital B&W - don't believe I'm saying that.

These two images were taken at the exact same time. The first is HP5 @640 in DDX with a Pentax 645N. The second is a Sony Nex 5N with a Leica 21mm Elmarit Asph.





No special effort actually went into the Nex conversion and no attempt at the time was made to make one look like the other. In fact the digital was processed 3 weeks before the film version. Just using DxO Labs FilmPack as a starting point and local tonality adjustment as I would even with film.
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Old 10-10-2014   #37
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Quote:
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The giveaway for me is usually in the lighter tones and rolloff into whites.

John
John,

I completely agree with the give away (or issues) usually being how the highlights are presented. I use DxO Labs Filmpack to get my initial position for the conversion, and prefer it to all other major B&W conversion software I've tried. Something I learnt from how they often do a conversion is that not to set the white point at 255. I find with digital B&W that pulling the white point a little, removes the appearance of the image being dominated by the highlights. YMMV

BTW, the images posted were processed on a calibrated monitor; its these ones I'm concerned about...
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Old 10-11-2014   #38
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They both look great, but once you start to look longer than a casual glance it becomes visible. Like already said, highlights and for me skin as well. Then again two very different systems that could just as much contribute to any difference.
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Old 10-11-2014   #39
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I voted 'all digital' because I don't own any functional film cameras anymore (just a Fed-3 body, no lens, a broken Zenit-C, because it's pretty and a 6x9 pinhole I made).

I started out with digital years ago, with a cheap compact. Wanted an SLR, but couldn't afford a dSLR, so got a brand new EOS 300v instead. Started liking film, discovered rangefinders, had a bunch of FSU RF's, which were a source of frustration. Finally got a nice Pentax ME Super with a 50mm 1.4 Takumar. Then got a Yashicamat.

About two years ago had a falling out with photography. It felt like the workflow of film got in the way of producing images, and digital cameras were either too expensive (Leica M8/M9) or not what I wanted them to be. Was also lacking in subjects. I wanted to shoot humans, but it's difficult if you're anti-social. I sold the cameras. Don't remember who got the Pentax. Yashica went to some guy who bought it as a christmas present for his sister.

Got curious about photography again recently. I don't feel like going back to film, and digital cameras have arrived where I want them to be and in my budget.
I bought a Fuji X-E1 with a 12mm Samyang lens yesterday (yes, a superwide as my only lens), so let's see what happen.
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Old 10-12-2014   #40
BlackXList
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I have to use Digital for work, but was shooting all of my street stuff on film.

I love film, love using film, and love the images.

Then Kodak killed the only b/w film I use, and to be honest I've taken it quite personally.
I've come to the conclusion that I have to future proof my work flow, and as such ordered a couple more digital cameras, for street use, a 5d and an EOS M.
The M is due to arrive shortly.

I don't want to abandon film, I will shoot all that I have, and I want to keep using it, I'm just not "friends" with it at the moment.

I realise that these are emotional responses to it, but that kind of thing is why we end up attached to certain pieces of equipment, and partially why we photograph in the first place.
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