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An open letter to the film users on Photo.net: Rise up!

by Josh Root, June 2009

“Be militant each in your own way. I incite this meeting to rebellion.” – Emmeline Pankhurst

“Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being.” – Albert Camus

“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” - Clarence Darrow


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If you use film, love film, miss film, think film photography shouldn’t die out, enjoy sharing the world of film, or simply have film on the brain, this is for you.

Photo.net film photographers, let’s move forward. If you’re tired of the pointless film vs. digital debates, let’s work together on a solution that celebrates film photography equally. I’ll admit, we underestimated our film community during the early days of the digital revolution. For me personally, it wasn’t until I became the site administrator – the guy that everyone yells at – in 2006 that I really started to see just how active photo.net’s film photographers were. And that’s when I started thinking of ways to encourage that side of our community.

Sure, arguing about how film beats digital or digital beats film is fun, at least for some people. It must be fun or we wouldn’t have hundreds of posts every time the topic comes up. But it accomplishes absolutely nothing. The people you are arguing with don’t care about film. Most film photographers I know, even those who like to argue, enjoy digital in some situations. But very few serious digital photographers seem to shoot film these days. Yes, there are exceptions. But those exceptions aren’t the photographers you’re arguing with in those “D5000 kills 35mm” or “Photoshop manipulation is killing photography” threads. Instead of arguing, let’s do something together. Let’s share our expertise in film with new photographers. Let’s carve out a home base for film photography here on photo.net, something to build upon our existing film-oriented discussion forums.

A while back, there was thread about starting a film photography print magazine. While it’s an interesting idea, it isn’t practical right now. The economy is down, making a new magazine venture too risky. Even if the economy was healthier, print media is struggling. Even some photography oriented websites have struggled to stay afloat. Advertisers aren’t interested in spending money on the old print media and subscribers are dropping like flies. For better or worse, the internet has taken its toll on the world of print media. That isn’t likely to change any time soon.

But we don’t need to start a new magazine to create a home base for film photography. We have one of the web’s largest and most mature photography websites right here at our fingertips. With our brain trust, the combined experience of our community, we can create a database of film photography knowledge that can provide a resource for the future. A print magazine’s reach is limited to readers who happen to see a copy. With the power of Google and other search engines an article on photo.net is seen and read over and over, year after year. I am consistently surprised at how much traffic older articles on the site get. To be honest (and a little vain) I get a kick over the idea that years after I wrote something, it is still of interest to people. Makes me feel like I accomplished something neat.

I ask you to join me in making that change. I’m doing my part with the “Filmtown” article series, and they have become some of the most commented on articles photo.net has published recently. I’m not going to lie – they are fun to do as well. It’s been an interesting challenge and the reason that my own interest in film has been re-ignited. But I’m only one man. Not only that, I’m the man who has to consider the needs of the whole site when deciding what he has time to work on. So I’m looking to you, to the photo.net film community to take up this challenge and work to keep film photography and the knowledge of film photographers alive, to help ignite the interest of the next generation of photographers.

Please, write something for the site. Write a tutorial. Write a review. Write an easy reading piece about why you enjoy the traditional darkroom. As long as it is about film photography, has useful information or an interesting opinion and comes from the heart, we want to see it. The photo.net newsletter goes out to hundreds of thousands of people every month and the site itself gets 60 million page views a month. Your words will have an audience. People will be interested in what you have to say.

Will you get paid? Sadly no, and I understand if that 86’s the deal for you. The budget just isn’t there for that sort of thing. I’ll be happy to give, or extend, a photo.net subscription to anyone who helps out with writing. And if I’m lucky I might be able to send out a few rolls of film as a small “thank you”. But in reality this is a labor of love for all of us, myself included. Sure, it’s my job to run photo.net. But if I only went by what was essential for the site, starting a film crusade would be pretty far down on the list of priorities for the site’s success. That’s why I’m sitting here with a glass of scotch writing this on a Sunday night when I should be enjoying the last of my weekend.

What could we write? Here is just a small list of articles and themes that I came up with off the top of my head:

Informative article ideas

  • How to develop black and white film at home without a real darkroom.
  • So you want to set up a home darkroom?
  • Black and white at 400 ISO: how to choose film.
  • A beginners guide to scanning various film (with tips specifically to optimize results with C-41 negatives, color slide film and b/w)
  • Favorite slide films for landscape photography.
  • A review of Vuescan and how it helps your scans.
  • What to look for when buying a film manual focus camera.
  • Where to find copies of instruction manuals.
  • How to use that old camera when the instruction manual is missing.
  • Best choices in an AF film camera.
  • Help! I need a backup film body for my digital SLR, what are my choices for best compatibility?
  • Playing with the big boys: medium format camera options.
  • Playing with the really big boys: large format basics.
  • Humorous articles and anecdotes.
  • Deep thoughts from the darkroom (huffing too much fixer).
  • Photoshop is a lie, and lies made George Eastman cry (Striving for perfection in the camera).
  • Even a monkey can shoot digital, aren’t you smarter than a monkey? (Why I love film photography)

Any of these, anything even close to these, would work wonderfully. The purpose of this sort of thing, to me, is to educate and create a community of film photographers. But heck, if you want to tweak the nose of digital users, that’s fine too, as long as it’s all done in good fun and in an interestingly written article.

And we don’t need to stop with just writing articles and throwing them up on the site. I stand ready to create a different “home page” for this project, call it “film.photo.net” or something like that. It would look more or less like the existing home page, but everything would be based around film. All the “daily sample” images would be film images, and all the articles and active threads would be film based. The site itself wouldn’t be any different, all the drop down menus would still be there – the same familiar format. We aren’t trying to make a new closed community. But this would give a dedicated starting point for people who are interested in film photography. In a sense, it would become that film photography “magazine” that we talked about a while back.

So what if you don’t want to write but still want to help out with this project? We still need your energy and assistance. The most important thing you can do is to tag every one of your gallery images to identify the camera, lens, film emulsion you used AND with the word “film” (you might also add in “black and white” or “b/w” if it applies). Image tagging instructions are right here for those of you who are unfamiliar with how the system works. I can’t overstate how important this image tagging is. It is the cornerstone to building a photo.net database of film photos so people can find them when looking.

Equally important is getting the word out to other film photographers when this thing gets off the ground. Email your film friends when a new article is published. Post on twitter or your blog or the bathroom wall at the camera store. Heck, if it’s relevant, post on other discussion boards about what we are doing here. But be a good neighbor – I have a lot of respect for other photography forums and don’t want anyone to spam them any more than I would want them to spam us. But just as we are happy to have links to useful APUG (for example) content, I would hope that they wouldn’t mind having useful links back to us. Don’t step on toes, be respectful of the policies of other forums, but make sure that all the film photographers out there know that we’re working on pumping up the film community with this project on photo.net.

In conclusion…

Digital is coming! Digital is here! Digital is hiding in the closet! Digital short-sheeted my bed! Digital stole the silverware! Digital ran off with my wife! (my wife actually uses a Canon XSi and is happily at home)

There’s no way around it, the photography world is a much different place than it was 10 or even five years ago. But if I’ve learned anything while running photo.net for the past few years, it’s that not everyone marches to the beat of the same drum. So instead of worrying about the death of film or the onslaught of HDR and Draganizing effects, let’s pull together and celebrate what is great about our photography. Rather than argue with the fools, let’s educate the willing. Rather than leave a legacy of bitter posts and “this vs that” threads, let’s create something that will endure and be a source of education for those who seek it out. Let’s help them understand why the medium and the process are as important to us as the end product, the print.

Digital photography has come to stay but, “Katie, bar the door,” there’s feisty life yet in film. Let’s make sure it stays that way.

The Viva Film! art at the top of the page was done by illustrator Andy Davidson. Anyone in need of an illustrator or graphics guru should stop by his website at andydavidsonart.com. He’s a great guy, a talented artist, and has been one of my best photo critics and friends for almost 20 years.

Readers' Comments

Add a comment

Peter Weyrauch , May 06, 2009; 10:51 A.M.

HUGE Kudos to you for this article! As a professional photographer of close to 30 years I have been so sick and tired of these ridiculous comments all over the web about film vs. digital. I've spent countless wasted hours with some of my students who love the latest gadgets trying to get them away from technology and focused on their image making. Furthermore, besides much of the "information" being biased by personalities, a great deal of it has simply been inaccurate and misinforms aspiring photographers or those looking for legitimate references. I use both "formats" and they both have there pros and cons. As it has been said a gazillion times by some of the best image makers alive and past, it is NOT the camera, it's the eye/brain behind it. I applaud you wholeheartedly for being a simple, clear, voice of reason in this PC/PR world of ours these days. Well done.

dennis sulz , May 06, 2009; 11:01 A.M.

I have been arguing the point of this article for years. I never did fall into the digital revolution and now I have the proof why. THANK-YOU

James McKearney , May 06, 2009; 11:05 A.M.

Many thanks, Josh!

Tim O'Donoghue , May 06, 2009; 11:09 A.M.


I like the direction this is going. I'm awaiting the return of my [new to me] OM-1n from CLA, and I'm looking forward to a break from digital. I'll try to burn a roll or two a week as the budget allows and keep an eye on the "film.photo.net" in whatever from it takes. Hopefully I'll have some images to share soon.

Kent Miles , May 06, 2009; 11:11 A.M.

I prefer to use film. Generally, I get better results with it than I do with shooting digital capture. When I do serious portraits, medium format film is a superior medium, not to mention the advantage of being able to use a waist-level finder. (Attacking a subject with big, noisy cameras held at eye-level is such an aggressive gesture. Very intimidating and intrusive...)

I would like to see a forum to encourage continued use of film, but it is important to be pragmatic. I believe in using the tools that are best for the job at hand. The only standard of measure that really matters is the final product itself. What does it take to make the best final image? I would like to see that as the basis of any forum discussion. If we are to hope for continued commercial production of film there must be a critical mass of photographers who are committed to using film because of what it can do better than digital capture. If that becomes the nexus of what this forum explores, then it will be a beneficial discussion.

Kent Miles -

Tim Everett , May 06, 2009; 11:20 A.M.

As a film user myself, this is a welcome and well written article/development.

Johan Kuiper , May 06, 2009; 11:25 A.M.


Great article, can we please have the logo on a T-shirt? Preferably a black one, it'll make it easier to look at the rear monitor of my digital camera since the shirt isn't reflected as much in it.

I shoot digital and film side by side and would like to continue so for a long time, so I see no problem with wearing a shirt like that while shooting digital.

Cheers, Johan

PS when it comes to a printed fine photography magazine, look here: GUP. Made by some Dutchmen, who started out with selling their magazine from the trunk of their car not too long ago. Collectable magazines for sure, even.

gary geboy , May 06, 2009; 11:30 A.M.

The graphic is great, see if you can make a small ( 2x3, 3x4 ) sticker out of it. Sell them and maybe it can help finance some of your site. I'd buy a couple.

Steve Shinn , May 06, 2009; 11:35 A.M.

Great article Josh,

Certainly there are those who live to find fault in others be it their choice of film vs. digital or some other equally distracting argument. If this forum is about photographic images, as I see it, then let's look only at images. Who gives a flip if it was captured on film or a cf card, with a Canon or what's that other brand (sorry, I slapped myself for that), or digitally scanned from film which I guess is a marriage of both. We won't venture into arguments about digital manipulation/alteration .

My point is that to respect any of these positions is to become, I think, divisive.

I like to see images that are pleasing to the eye. Art, if you will, represented as images of light captured from nature or created from the mind of the digital artist that are usually inspired by natural objects.

Do I care if my meal was prepared using an expensive gas range or from a pot over a fire? I care about the taste sensation. Let's eat together and enjoy the wine.

Ben Ballard , May 06, 2009; 11:41 A.M.

I'm really glad you are doing this. It will help to focus the energy and interest of the many film enthusiasts on photo.net.

Frank Doering , May 06, 2009; 11:43 A.M.

Funny coincidence: two days ago, I wrote a piece for my website on using 4x5" film to make high-quality but affordable mural-size prints.

Alexander (Sandy) Scott , May 06, 2009; 12:38 P.M.

That is a great idea. Even those that enjoy film, still often need to get a digital image for posting to the Web etc. I am sure there are others, like myself, who have a difficult time with all the mumbo-jumbo usually associated with Scanning procedures. I would love to have a simple tutorial or two that actually explains how to make a decent scan, without attempting to teach the reader all the wonderful science behind what is actually happening. Cheers!

Doug Williams , May 06, 2009; 12:41 P.M.

Excellent! This is a great idea. It is important to help keep film alive. The positive attitude is very important. I am sure there are many professional photographers out there with a wealth of knowledge that should be shared.

Kathy McClure , May 06, 2009; 12:41 P.M.

Great idea! I've shot film for 50 years! Love it. I also shoot a few digitals. I built a darkroom just a few years ago, and I've just recently developed a roll of Delta 100 myself for the very first time. What fun. Let's encourage camera artists to rediscover the joys of film and let the pros and cons fall where they may. I believe in using the best tool for the job.

Michael Ging , May 06, 2009; 12:51 P.M.

Josh, this is a great idea, let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Jeffrey E , May 06, 2009; 12:56 P.M.

What a great article, and it's exactly right on the money. I never cared about entering into the debates; I simply very happily shot film, processed and printed my B+W, and I just ignored the digital world. And lots of people who bought into digital are now privately telling me that they wished they had done the same thing. I have no kicks against digital, I just continue to enjoy the process of photography, and as long as film continues to be available, I'll continue to do so..

Lawson Wild , May 06, 2009; 01:01 P.M.

Josh. Thanks for a great article. I'd just hit a low patch, my Minox ML is back in at the makers in Germany with another bout of shutter problems - must be to a camera what Swine Flu is to humans. But the injection of your letter has me on the mend rummaging for my backup Minox 35GT amongst a collection of Canon EOS film cameras. And you've set me thinking about doing a short article.

Lawson Wild

Tom Cheshire , May 06, 2009; 01:07 P.M.

film.photo.net? So, now, film users are going to be segregated and walled into their own ghetto? A virtual photo leper colony? Ha.

(Was that controversial enough to get things started?).

But, seriously, I could see putting film into its own website as removing it from the mainline of digital users making it even more obscure and diminishing the number of crossover converts.

Of, course, that is a good way to get all the crotchety old guys out of the way of all the high power digital users who take themselves too seriously. And advertisers can't make $ from just selling film to old guys. It is the digital users who are supporting those advertisers and, hence, Photo.net by gobbling up new eq. Us old film guys, there is no "new" eq. to buy and you can't make a buck off that.

Oops, controversial side of me got out again. Down, boy, down. There, that did it.

Dan McClain , May 06, 2009; 01:07 P.M.

Well articulated Josh. I'll join the list of those who would buy a T-shirt with your logo on it.

rui morais de sousa , May 06, 2009; 01:10 P.M.

With a Rolleiflex 3.5F and a Leica M5, Feb. 2009

Your words sound like music to my ears. Now, it seems, I will have a stronger reason to care about photo.net... Yes, I also shoot some digital SLR for convenience or need, or whatever...

But MY HEART BEATS FILM! Mostly black & white film.

I shoot all formats from 35mm, all the way up to 8x10 inches, with very few exceptions. I develop all b&w film myself. (I also used to develop all my color transparencies, but I gave up on that one: it is not economical for me). I still have a wet darkroom equiped with a Zone VI 5x7inches enlarger, and a Leitz Focomat Ic. As far as I am able to, I won't give up using film. I just love it. Wish you a lot of success with your new project. Many greetings,

Rui Morais de Sousa


P.S.: I invite you to take a look at my blog. Lots of film photography!

Josh Root , May 06, 2009; 01:23 P.M.

But, seriously, I could see putting film into its own website as removing it from the mainline of digital users making it even more obscure and diminishing the number of crossover converts.


You misunderstand. The website will be exactly the same, film.photo.net would just be a different entry portal that will display slightly different photos/links/etc than the normal photo.net homepage. But a link to the Leica forum will still be the same Leica forum as ever. A link to a photo in the gallery will still be the same gallery. Nothing will be segregated. Just think of it as a way to have topics of interest presented to you more easily.

Howard Stapleton , May 06, 2009; 01:46 P.M.

Great article. I love the idea and support gary geboy on the idea of a sticker - great graphic. But I have some concerns on the film issue. I have shot Kodachrome 25 from the 1950's until it went away and Kodachrome 64 since then. About 20,000 images as a serious amateur and all of them still look very good (even sold a few but made my real money shooting TV docs.). Now I hear that Kodachrome 64 may be going away and it seems that there is only one place in the world that someone from the U.S. can get 64 processed. And it seems they mucked up my last batch of pictures - they have not yet responded to the problem. So I'm thinking of replacing my OM1 with another Olympus now that they have a 12mp chip. Any comments on Kodachrome processing or Japanese film will be appreciated.

Josh Root , May 06, 2009; 01:50 P.M.


You are going to get better responses to your questions on the Film & Processing forum since most people commenting on this page will be talking about the ideas and concepts that I posted in the article above.

bing huey , May 06, 2009; 01:56 P.M.

This is a wonderful endeavor. My only addition would be to elicit the involvement of the film manufacturers and processors, perhaps folks involved with Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford who would have a well-placed finger on the pulse of the industry, and who would be advocates for continuing existence of film.

Josh Root , May 06, 2009; 02:01 P.M.

This is a wonderful endeavor. My only addition would be to elicit the involvement of the film manufacturers and processors, perhaps folks involved with Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford who would have a well-placed finger on the pulse of the industry, and who would be advocates for continuing existence of film.

Way ahead of you on working towards that. We already have good relationships with a few of the film companies and are working towards establishing that with the others.

Howard Stapleton , May 06, 2009; 02:03 P.M.

Josh, Thanks. I registered today after reading your article. I have just posted my comments on the forum you suggested. howard

Chris Tobar , May 06, 2009; 02:36 P.M.

Excellent idea, Josh! I use exclusively film. For me, it's just a lot more fun. There's just something about the tangible nature of film and the snap of a real mechanical shutter. I have an 8 megapixel digital camera, but I mainly just use that for casual snapshots when I'm hanging out with my friends. I could probably count the number of pictures on my fingers that I've taken with my digital camera in the past 3 months. But I've lost count of the number of rolls of film that I've used during that same amount of time.

I'd love to write something for the article when that gets going.

Pretty much everything I've learned about film (or photography in general), I learned from Photo.net. I've loved taking pictures ever since I was a little kid. I grew up with film. But I was only familiar with the 110 and 35mm point and shoot cameras that I used when I was a kid in the 80's and 90's. I didn't understand anything about manual exposure until I became interested in using vintage cameras and came on Photo.net. In about 2007, I learned how to use manual exposure from asking questions on the film forums here. Then I learned how to develop my own B&W film and prints. Then I started using 120 film. Everything progressed from there. I've slowly improved my photography and I'm even starting to develop (pun intended) my own style. I feel like I've come such a long way. I learned completely on my own, but the film forums at Photo.net were a huge help.

Jeffrey E , May 06, 2009; 02:51 P.M.

Way ahead of you on working towards that. We already have good relationships with a few of the film companies and are working towards establishing that with the others.


Kent Miles , May 06, 2009; 03:21 P.M.

Years ago, while hanging with some Kodak friends, one of them shared this insight: If George Eastman had developed digital technology a hundred years ago, an now along came a young turk with a kodachrome slide, what would the response be? We don't have to boot up any machines to see it. It is a very stable image that will store conveniently for decades without loss of image quality. It is easily scanned, and if you were to capture all the information contained in it you would have a 300 mb file. And it costs fifty cents.

We would all be raving about the new technology!

Film is not the solution for every problem, but it is the best solution for many problems. Can we get some of the manufacturers to provide us with their perspectives on advantages of film, where the market will take it, and whether or not they see the pendulum swinging back a bit before the market completely tanks?

URL REMOVED - NO SIGNATURE LINKS PLEASE - The only place for your blogs or websites should be in your Community Page

Paul Wainwright , May 06, 2009; 03:27 P.M.

I recently returned from a photography retreat on an island off Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Sitting next to me on the boat were two digital photographers lamenting about the hundreds of images they each needed to edit. They asked me how many photographs I had made during the 3-day weekend. I replied with a smile: “only two.” And they were both keepers.

I am often described as one of the last living dinosaurs. I think the endless discussions about film vs. digital photography completely miss the point that they really are two completely different artistic media. True, both (usually) start with a camera, and (usually) end with an image on a piece of paper, but the technology and process for creating the image are completely different. I like the slow pace of working with film – sheet film in my case. It forces me to slow down and really think about what I want the photograph to look like – a quality that, in my humble opinion, is missing from a lot of digital work. I think my work is better for it. I know I am.

I have recently finished a series of photographs of New England’s colonial meetinghouses, which is soon to be published by University Press of New England (see www.colonialmeetinghouses.com). I have found the process of working with sheet film and a view camera to be a most rewarding one. To me, life is more about the journey than the destination.

Joe Thiry , May 06, 2009; 03:57 P.M.

Great article. The digital vs film debate is endless. They both produce images, but that's where it ends for me. Photography (to me) is more than (the point, shoot, repeat mentality of) digital. It's the sense of accomplishment from getting the desired exposure is what I'm after. When I only have 12 exposures in my 6x6 Bronica to work with, I put a greater amount of heart and effort into each shot. With digital, each shot is one of a million. I'm not looking for averages...I'm looking for exception. If I get one out of twelve, I had a good day. Looking forward to anything you can give us film lovers.

Rishi J , May 06, 2009; 04:02 P.M.

Congratulations & thank you for this impetus. I will be happy to contribute an article on film scanning technique, with the help of & reference to a number of techniques & methods developed & tested by photo.net contributors themselves.

Will try my best to do this in a timely fashion :)


P.S. Josh, if you're reading this, are you also based in Seattle?

Bill Gieseke Sr , May 06, 2009; 04:09 P.M.

Oh yes! Thank you for talking film.. I zooming through New Mexico stopped by the road to capture an image via digital on film with 'manual medium format' having to actually think. Weeks before had zoomed by the same area coming from WA State to Texas and stopped by, pulled out the 'auto digital' shot a few and zoomed on. End result of digital - yuk for auto doesn't like sun in the eyes and I was brain dead depending on auto. Film? I had to think even though I was brain dead again from driving straight through ... but took the time to think, had to, and the shots were right on. So, nothing against one or the other but it is definitely refreshing to have to think about an exposure, light, potential lens flair and so on. Film for me wins hands down. Yes, I scan the negs to digital to play on PhotoShop CS but would rather do the wet lab archival stuff in reality. Thank you again for thinking 'FILM'. Bill G.

Image Attachment: andrea 006bc web copy.jpg

Patrick Mont , May 06, 2009; 04:17 P.M.

WOW! I felt like I just listened to an adress from the film gods. Thanks. I am going to write an article now....

Barry Calero , May 06, 2009; 04:19 P.M.

Great artical, Josh.....My opinion is.....If film ends....So does the Hollywood/Cinema business.....ends.....I support film.... this is the first stage of learn about photography & its HISTORY.......I bought a Nikon D1 just to start learning/understanding the Digital World....So I can support either side.....Also the photo business has changed.....this is another issue.....Thanks for your consideration.....

Sam Norris , May 06, 2009; 04:48 P.M.

Love the idea Josh. As a film to digital and back to film shooter I welcome the opportunity you are advancing. Well written article, sure to inspire many to participate. We'll see what "develops" out of this.

Stephen Asprey , May 06, 2009; 05:05 P.M.

What a great boost to us defenders of the faith. I am still persisting with digital, and its complicated and seems to take the spontaneity away with all those settings to decide on, but I have an even better extra use for my magnesium bodied colour matrix meter - my D300 - Its going to be the meter I use for my film shots. I love my Nikon film cameras. Using them is so easy and instant. I'll be glad to step up from being a regular forum commenter, to being a proper contributor. Really well done, Josh. And to everyone out there who has been in the foxhole while digital launched the assault...get up, take your shots, get them scanned - your multipurpose printer will do, and send them in. Don't forget to mention the exposure info and film type. On our side, lets ignore the temptation to take the bait in the film versus digital argument...Its photography!

Vikki Goodman , May 06, 2009; 06:01 P.M.

Canon Elan-7, Kodak Porta Film 400VC ISO, taken at your photo summit in Monterey last year.

Grand idea, Josh! I will really enjoy reading the articles. I also am a "film dinosaur" and use film for my photography business. I use Canon SLR's and Canon Lenses and prefer Kodak Porta film. I really enjoy the challenge of getting the shot right the first time, the test of cropping in the camera and thinking about what I'm capturing. I personally see a big difference in film and digital photos (end result), but I also own a digital camera that I use when on vacation or family events. It is also a Canon (I do like Canon, did I say that?) and it takes great photos. But when I'm on assignment, it's my film SLR's I take and use exclusively. I truly see them as two different art forms..digital imaging is amazing with the results talented people can achieve..and film photographers for truly capturing that moment or emotion completely on their own and presenting their unretouched capture. I think the world is plenty big enough for both artists and the audience is there for both. I will be submitting some of my film shots for the article soon. Happy Shooting! Vikki g

Tim Sturm , May 06, 2009; 06:28 P.M.

I would be happy to write some articles, especially from the perspective of someone who has grown up in the digital age but who still uses a Rolleiflex more than their DSLR.

Michael Christensen , May 06, 2009; 06:37 P.M.

Good idea. Photonet was born in film and it is important not to dismiss that for whatever new technology emerges .. and equally important that the experience of those who have the inside scoop on what is great about using film continue to share their insights ... before it is forgotten and buried in the archieves of yesteryear.

Perhaps this will bring in others who have felt alienated to other websites to come and share their experiences .. photonet has been the one-stop-shop for a lot of photographers .. and those photographers are a rather diverse group of interests and opinions .. from which we all benefit. Bring it on ..

j s , May 06, 2009; 06:52 P.M.

A Mecca for film users: www.apug.org

Rod Lawson Kerr , May 06, 2009; 07:06 P.M.

Hi Josh,

A most welcome addition. I am a user of both digital and film and have found that going back to film has made me a better photographer, because film makes you think about your images as there is no delete or ISO change between shots. It is also more exciting because you have the anticipation of waiting to see if you nailed the shot you were after. I am willing to put together the occasional article for the site. Regards, Rod.

George Miskovski , May 06, 2009; 07:37 P.M.

Thank you. It's great to see the support film gets on photo.net. It must be about time I subscribed...

Mark Harris , May 06, 2009; 07:41 P.M.

This is a great idea! I love the existing forums but would welcome a place where we could have serious film shooting and processing discussions without the inevitable "Why don't you just switch to digital?" question.

OK, enough on the computer, I need to get back to the darkroom to see how my latest batch of film is drying.

Bill Clark - Minnetonka Minnesota , May 06, 2009; 08:25 P.M.

Finished a gig Saturday May 2 and used one of my film cameras. Film: APX100 & Delta400.

Nice to be back using film!

Keep up the great work, thoughts & ideas.

JDM von Weinberg , May 06, 2009; 08:56 P.M.

I will never give up film photography, or maybe more accurately, my film cameras which need film to work. Nor would I dream of giving up my digital cameras either.

By all means lets do it all here.

Kozma Prutkoff , May 06, 2009; 08:59 P.M.

Josh, That an excellent idea. It would be fun to have a special dedicated forum on film.photo.net "film vs. digital". I know that you do not like that approach, but I am most positive that digital advocates and enthusiasts will come and spoil that community, just let them have a special corner to manifest their view.

Robert Cadloff , May 06, 2009; 10:12 P.M.

Not only is the film vs. digital debate endless, it's meaningless as well. And who ever decided it was a competition between the two? They're just two different things. The whole debate, to me at least is as moronic as the Mac vs. PC vs. Unix crap that's been going on for years. Or Canon vs. Nikon, or Ford vs. Chevy. It's an artificial war dreamt up by gearheads whose only goal is convince everyone else that whatever they use is the best. I'm so tired. I shoot both, I embrace both. One guy on Flickr actually started baiting people by suggesting that rather than use film, they should use glass plates. Why do people waste their time with these silly strawman arguments? Sometimes it seems people actually loathe film users. Aren't there other issues to be more concerned with?

Phil Salisbury , May 06, 2009; 11:28 P.M.

Ken Rockwell seems to agree. Check out his comments at:


JD Elliott , May 06, 2009; 11:39 P.M.

I have mixed feelings about film, although I have been using it for 38 years and do not own a digital SLR. This is because gelatin is used in the production of film and photo papers. As we all know, gelatin comes from animals (hooves and bones), and is thus tied to the meat industry, factory farming, and animal suffering. How can I make something truly beautiful or inspired if it's based upon the suffering of a sentient being? (Of course I am a vegetarian for decades, in case you're curious). So, in spite of my misgivings about the ability of digital to truly handle all zones (especially low zones), I have been looking at a few digital SLRs. I am an active exhibitor of my work all over the USA (see www.TheHumanPulse.com), so this is quite a sea-change! But I feel I can finally make the break, and, frankly, 90% of the fine arts audience won't notice the difference! Digital will be liberating me and breaking one of the final connections I and my family have to cruelty.

Rishi J , May 06, 2009; 11:52 P.M.

That Ken Rockwell article is exactly the sort of thing that gives a bad name to die-hard film fans. I shoot Velvia exclusively, but I'm not inane enough to make the unfounded comments he makes against digital in that article. Sure film might be the ultimate 'RAW', but a 80MP scanner (e.g. Imacon 848) 'from the future' just isn't going to extract any more information out of a 35mm frame of Velvia that can't resolve beyond 22MP (Fuji rated, @160 lines/mm) or the 25MP that Mauro & I, on these very fora, have concluded is barely, but still, possible to squeeze out of 35mm Velvia under ideal shooting conditions.

I vote that we keep discussions in a new film forum *reasonable*, and check emotional arguments at the door. As helpful as some Ken Rockwell articles are, he certainly has a tendency to incite when he writes things like "Digital cameras might, in their dreams, have a 14-bit linear range, but film has no fixed endpoints." Well, I don't know about Mr. Rockwell, but I'd certainly call a Dmin section of Velvia where absolutely no dye formed, because you blew it out, as much of an 'endpoint' as a pixel captured with a digital camera that has all its channels clipped.


ant boyd , May 07, 2009; 01:25 A.M.

These are fantastic ideas Josh! And a great letter too.

I would like to say, I think the film vs. digital debate is important, as long as it is transparent. Since the beginning of serious consumer digital production, we have heard so much from the marketing and public relations machines of the camera corporations that the 'debate' has been skewed with poor information.

The film vs. digital rallies of recent months on photo.net have done much to educate me, if nothing else, on the level of my ignorance of film's true capabilities - and I use film solely!

Ann Peterson , May 07, 2009; 01:36 A.M.

Love this idea. I'm used to digital now and enjoy it. But every so often I have a hankering for shooting a roll of Tri-X in my old Olympus. So when, in an earlier post , Tim said that he was "awaiting the return of my [new to me] OM-1n from CLA" I felt that I had to respond to let him know that it is a great camera and he will just love the results. I'm inspired now and off to buy some rolls of film! My carry around camera for many years was my Olympus and a little 21mm Zuiko lens. Anyone got some good tips for scanning Tri-X on an Epson 4800 scanner?


Dr WOOD , May 07, 2009; 02:13 A.M.


I just had to sign back up to comment on this after it was sent to me by a client.

While I can applaud this letter, most certifiably, many words come to mind; like; I told you so or better late than never. A few other harsh words Ill refrain from saying.

I have been boasting the kind of things you state for years, and where did they fall, on deaf ears. I am happy to see all the positive support this letter has received as well. It wasn't even a few years ago we made such bold suggestions only to be lambasted by the majority on this forum and the only support photonet ever offered was to offer none. I am actually shocked to see anything "pro-film" come out of photonet.

I have been saying for years that the film and digital imaging arenas needed to be separated. Yes they collide in many ways, but the 2 have always need to be separated. Those of you that know me and my creation, certainly know my opinions on "digital imaging" and its relationship to photography. Rishi S has made my point and no other comment is needed from me here.

As, what you call a 'Labor of love" [but i cant drink], we are more a service to the photo community rather than a highly profitable one. As with us and others like us, I have not seen support by this forums ownership of any kind. I would like to see support on this website to the companies that have a well-placed finger on the pulse of the industry, and who would be advocates for continuing existence of film, as it was mentioned.

Good luck in this endeavor!

Best regards


Artur Cansino , May 07, 2009; 02:25 A.M.

Great idea Josh and I will support it in what ever manner I can. I have been shooting film from 35mm to 4x5 for over 20 years and although getting the chems can at times be difficult in my part of the world, I will still find ways to put a few rolls of BW or slides through the Toyo or Bronica a week.

Look forward to its development


Mark Smith , May 07, 2009; 04:40 A.M.

It's a great idea, promoting film use and the positive side of film photography can only be a good thing. Over the last two years I've published many articles on my blog Photo Utopia- if you would like to re-publish one or you would like me to write one I'll gladly do it. I have had 28 years experience as a photographer/lab owner and would love to share some knowledge and experience. Also have you thought of having a film only gallery, a showcase for film users? If we can create a buzz round the film using people here it would be a good thing for all film users. Good luck

Mark Antony


Rick Beckrich , May 07, 2009; 08:35 A.M.

Nicely said, Josh.

I posted a link in the RFF (Rangefinder Forum).

Steven Guynn , May 07, 2009; 08:42 A.M.

All this time I thought that I was the only person still storing 35mm slide film in the deep freeze. I also have E-6 working chemical solutions in the deep freeze. I'm a View-Master format stereographer and digital cannot produce the depth required for 3d reels without expensive computer software and digital to film transfer. Even View-Master is giving up on producing any new 3d scenics after 70 years of Kodachrome stereoview reels. LONG LIVE FILM! .

John Hermanson , May 07, 2009; 08:47 A.M.

A great idea, always nice to hear when people are enthusiastic about film use. John

Nigel John , May 07, 2009; 09:03 A.M.

Very interesting indeed, I personally don't care what format one uses to produce an image. I abhor digitalists who sneer at film users as much as I abhor film purists who look down on digital users.

I use medium format B/W and develop/print it myself for two reasons, a) the size of the film plane creates a much greater depth of field effect at big apertures which I like and b) I have found that overall, bizarrely, wet printing is cheaper than digital printing.

Reading some of the comments above I wonder if JD Elliot has ever seen inside a factory that makes the chips etc. for digital cameras and memory cards.

Tim Gray , May 07, 2009; 10:50 A.M.

This is great. I didn't read all of the comments, but I'd certainly be willing to write a Vuescan/photoshop tutorial about how I get B&W scans. Maybe some reviews on some other equipment too - RH Designs Stopclock Pro, cameras, whatever.

Josh Root , May 07, 2009; 11:14 A.M.

Also have you thought of having a film only gallery, a showcase for film users?

That is why I am asking, pleading, with people to use the image tagging system and tag their film images with the word "film". It will make it a thousand times easier for us to present film images in a gallery format if the PN system knows what images are "film" images.

Daniel Bayer , May 07, 2009; 11:45 A.M.

Return to film..

Game on baby, game on! Great article, great timing, I will come up with a couple pieces. I will also get right on the tagging thing. Worked on my new darkroom all week..:-)

Sasvata (Shash) Chatterjee , May 07, 2009; 01:19 P.M.

Josh, excellent thoughts, and will do my part (in time :-)).

Ton Mestrom , May 07, 2009; 01:21 P.M.

great initiative that deserves to succeed

Steve Smith , May 07, 2009; 02:06 P.M.

Excellent article.

It is obvious to anyone who reads any of my posts that I am 100% a film photographer. This is not to do with quality but because I hate the idea of sitting at a computer processing images.

I have seen great images produced with film and digital.

We need to realise that we don't need to hate one thing just to love another.

Bruce Cahn , May 07, 2009; 02:17 P.M.

Film is still king. I got into digital recently with a D700 and used it to shoot my first book, B&W Nudes. Yesterday brought a proof copy. It is not bad, but does not compare at all favorably to large format film, which is what I usually shoot. Luckily I shot 8x10 backups of many of the pictures. I probably will hold off publishing the book until I can use all large format film pictures. Digital has it's place, of course, but for fine work film is still better. So thanks for the effort Josh.

Kevin Cotham , May 07, 2009; 02:39 P.M.

Film teaches us all

Hear hear! We need to continue to educate people on how to use film. Having been a film photographer from the early 80's (and one might argue the 70's), I'm constantly amazed when talking to young people. College kids that have never even seen a film camera is simply amazing to me. They look at my FM3a like it were some kind of relic from an ancient past, not a camera made 3 years ago. I recently took a formal class on photography (an intro class) to refresh my memory and skills. Even though the class dealt with film photography almost exclusively, it made me a better digital photographer. And that's where I think the importance of film lies. The use of film, and the mastery of it, will make everyone a better photographer. When one fully understands exposure and printing, one can work better no matter what format they use. We have to walk before we run.

[I'm an avid 35mm photographer, occasionally dabbling in 6x6 cm and point and shoot digital.]

Dave Luttmann , May 07, 2009; 02:56 P.M.

Thanks Josh. I love this idea. I'll pretend it was all my whining that got it started. I'll look into what I could contribute for B&W scanning, and using film as part of a portraiture and wedding workflow.

Edward Ingold , May 07, 2009; 03:22 P.M.

How nice! A new choir room with a pulpit. I wonder how long it will take for members to tire of the familiar faces there and venture forth to convert the digital "heathens"?

If you entertain scanning issues under the film heading, you let the camel get his nose under the tent. Conversely, if Medium Format is limited to the film domain, then the future is bleak for that forum as prices go down for digital backs. TANSTAAFL!

Mihai Costea , May 07, 2009; 03:45 P.M.

Great initiative Josh. I'm all for it. I shoot film 95% of the time and have lots of fun using classic cameras. I will follow up on this and help where I can.

Gary Bruce BOWEN , May 07, 2009; 04:38 P.M.

That is great treatise!, we needed a solid, informed apologetic on the aesthetic value of film photography.

Funny anecdote, (I've been shooting film for 30 years) my cousin brother and that group up until very recently have been poo pooing my love for film and the solid camera. My cousin, really trying to put on the squeeze about me changing to digital till I had to finally tell him to mind his own business. He has a beautiful FE2 that he never uses, so I offered to take it off his hands, pay for it of course. He WON'T part with it.

My brother and my sister-in-law wanted to give me a digital camera as a gift for shooting their wedding (I shot it in film of course) so I got this lovely gift of a G10 with a 300 page instruction manual. I really enjoy it, I really do, it's a beautiful instrument, but nothing, but nothing could replace the joy I get by heading out to the old town (300 year old btw) with my Nikon's and shooting in HP4, DELTA, or Neopan, having those beautiful negatives slip out of my Kinderman's with the fresh fragrance of Hypo on them.

then the joy of seeing what I had shot. Most gratifying, most rewarding. VIVA LA PELLICULE!!

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Lex Jenkins , May 07, 2009; 04:53 P.M.

Edward Ingold, May 07, 2009; 03:22 P.M.
If you entertain scanning issues under the film heading, you let the camel get his nose under the tent.

Edward, I understand your concern and have shared it for many years. However, since 2003 on the b&w forums we have consistently encouraged sharing relevant information about the hybrid film/digital process. And so far the camel hasn't managed to get more than his nose in the tent without a firm whack from me.

Use of the hybrid process is essential and unavoidable for anyone who wants internet exposure. At the very least, a fine art print must be digitized, either by scanning or photographing it with a digital camera, in order to display it on the web. If not for that hybrid process we would not see even thumbnail sized JPEGs of prints from any of the great photographers of the past century.

My policy, developed with feedback from our veteran participants on the b&w forums, has consistently been to encourage sharing of information that will help us all take advantage of what the web has to offer. Part of that policy has been to require some form of traditional photography to be an essential step in that hybrid process: a scan from negative or positive film; a digitally created file printed on silver gelatin RC or fiber paper (which I hope will be a healthy industry); the creation of inkjet transparencies for contact printing to any light sensitive emulsion.

We have accommodated those discussions of hybrid processes for several years now and - with the exception of occasional trolling by pests who are more interested in being disruptive than being constructive and therefore best ignored anyway - many of our longtime members have welcomed and contributed to these discussions.

Lex Jenkins , May 07, 2009; 04:58 P.M.

gary geboy, May 06, 2009; 11:30 A.M.
The graphic is great, see if you can make a small ( 2x3, 3x4 ) sticker out of it. Sell them and maybe it can help finance some of your site. I'd buy a couple.

It is terrific, isn't it! Josh showed it to me a few weeks ago and I had the same impression. It looks great even in a tiny thumbnail GIF size, a sure sign of a great visual cue.

Zane Johnson , May 07, 2009; 04:59 P.M.

> can we please have the logo on a T-shirt?

Amen, brother! I'd buy a couple, but please offer "tall" sizes.

Josh Root , May 07, 2009; 04:59 P.M.

Edward Ingold, May 07, 2009; 03:22 P.M. If you entertain scanning issues under the film heading, you let the camel get his nose under the tent.

Perhaps more importantly for those of us who want to see this effort succeed and interest in film use grow is the fact that if you exclude everyone who doesn't do traditional wet darkroom work, you are cutting out a LOT of people. In addition to not being something I am interested in doing as far as this project is concerned, it would be a stupid move for film users to splinter themselves up in little groups. Divided we fall.

Dave Luttmann , May 07, 2009; 05:02 P.M.


Do you think I'd be permitted to have it my website (when it's done)? I too would purchase a sticker or two.....

Oh....yes a T-Shirt....PLEASE!

Lex Jenkins , May 07, 2009; 05:48 P.M.

Gotta ask Josh or the designer of the logo, illustrator Andy Davidson, about usage: andydavidsonart.com

I think it's a great idea, tho'. I still have a t-shirt from the Photography Review website, where I was active for awhile several years ago.

Stephen Asprey , May 07, 2009; 06:26 P.M.

Hey Josh, The techno types have hijacked the discussion. For my film shooting, I buy the film, shoot, send it for processing and get a proof sheet back. Then I choose which ones to scan from the negatives. It's as simple as that isn't it?

Josh Root , May 07, 2009; 11:07 P.M.

I'll look into t-shirts and/or stickers at some point. Please do not use the artwork on your own site without my and the artist's permission. That's the same as someone using your photographs without permission.

Andy is a great guy and I'm sure he's pleased that people like this piece or art, but he needs to be respected as an artist as much as any of us.

Doug Grosjean , May 07, 2009; 11:12 P.M.

Added my thoughts to this. Piling on, I think is the term.

I'd buy 2 T-shirts and a few stickers with that "Viva Film" logo. It's very cool.

Next, regarding film use... I'm an enthusiastic film user, in spite of also having just purchased a D90 Nikon. As proof, this weekend I'm going on a motorcyle trip to southeastern Ohio, to enjoy the paved and dirt roads in the Appalachian foothills there, and in my tankbag will be the D90 and my Widelux FV, plus some of the new Ektar film, and some T-Max stuff too.

I'm pretty confident both will take shots I'll be happy with - but maybe I'm easily satistfied. ;);)

Actually, I'm also agreed that stressing film use is a great idea. I keep hearing from many corners that film use is up.

Barrett Benton , May 08, 2009; 12:02 A.M.


There I was on Rangefinderforum.com (about the only photography-related site I bother hanging out at any more), and someone decided to start a thread about this most-recent happening at Photo.net.

Generally speaking, I'm happy to hear about this. I've long been of the mind that, in order to "love film", I don't have to hate digital. Hell, I have a few of the things around the house, and use them for largely-utilitarian stuff where burning film isn't terribly practical to my mind. (See? Digital isn't totally worthless, even in my worldview.)

But, the other 90% of the time, I'm shooting film. Why? Because of the gestalt of the process: the cameras (can't say I love shooting with any dSLR...or too many film SLRs anymore, for that matter, hence my wholesale switch to RFs seven years ago), using film types whose characteristics I know nearly like the back of my hand, and the fact that I've been using a "hybrid" film/digital workflow for a bit over a decade (putting me ahead of the curve of many a contemporary digital shooter), and gotten the system down cold, means that, generally speaking, I can't think of a better way of working for me, and I couldn't care less what the pro down the block is using for her/his bread and butter.

So...can't we all get along?

My photo.net account has been rather dormant for some years. Can't promise this most recent "happening" (whoa, a sixties-ism!) will get me coming back with alarming regularity, but I will be checking in more often, for a start. Thanks for the words, and ideas, Josh.

- Barrett

Chris Nagle , May 08, 2009; 01:57 A.M.

Bloody marvelous! I rediscovered my archive of almost forgotten Medium Format transparencies last month; how good they look too.

I love my digi stuff, but bought a 6x6 Bronny a couple of weeks ago........Viva-velvia !

Chris N.

Janet Cull - Western NC , May 08, 2009; 10:15 A.M.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! (I'm rushing out to the airport, but will read entirely later. I just didn't want to miss the chance to say, "thanks", now!)


Richard Small , May 08, 2009; 12:19 P.M.

Great article. Been a shooter for 45+ years, have been dabbling in digital as many have but the alchemy is not there as in film photography. Keep up the good work and I look forward to the future!

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John Conway , May 08, 2009; 01:30 P.M.

Cudos to you Josh. Excellent idea. Over on the Nikon Forum they have a wildly popular "Wednesday Pic" thread. The idea is to get out and use your Nikon equipment on a regular basis instead of leaving it to collect dust on a shelf. Each week members post a photo (99.9% of which are digital) that they have taken over the past week. Having a similar thread where each week members could post a recent film capture would be a great way to showcase films infinate capabilities as well as promote its continued use.

Jake Purches , May 08, 2009; 01:33 P.M.

I am very happy to contribute what I can to this forum. I have been a film photographer since 1981 and in the early 90s was quick into Photoshop (Version 2.5) which then was a means of correcting film mistakes and putting the results back onto film via a film recorder. Digital cameras came later - and whilst I like the idea of Digital image capture the end result is usually a disappointment no matter what I use. I have just spent a month in Indonesia shooting 6x7 with my Pentax 67 and 35mm on Fuji Velvia / Nikon and Canon EOS. I process the E6 myself in my lab/Studio. I am lucky to have a drum scanner as I don't print analogue anymore but scan and make lightjet prints in my studio. The lightjet provides the best of both worlds and it prints to Photographic silver paper - Colour or Black and white. What more can one ask for? So I am very much a fan of the Film/Digital hybrid. It works best for me. Shoot film for the superior colour and resolution - then bring it into the computer. Black and white film drum scans like a dream. For Digital I use a Canon 400 D which is very quick but its true - the 67 makes better pictures because you have to think very hard to get the right result. My 4 year old can take good digital pictures....

Pankaj Purohit , May 08, 2009; 01:34 P.M.

Thanks Josh, after a long time I saw someone encouraging 'us' too with 'those' who almost captured the whole.website and made us feeling alone in the dark.

I would like to know how and where to write whatever I know...?

Russ Rosener , May 08, 2009; 02:51 P.M.

The new URL is now bookmarked in my Toolbar. I really get sick of the constant digital "What $8000 Digicam should I buy now" questions popping up on the main photo.net site. I would surely buy one of those T-shirts with real money. Very cool rebel logo for us film fanatics. I bet a lot of my photo students would be interested too....

Thanks for taking the time and effort to do this. As an educator I'm doing my best to get students interested in analog photography, one by one!

Javier Gutierrez , May 08, 2009; 03:23 P.M.

This is very cool. I have read through the first 1/3 of the posts and will need to finish when I get home, but what a great idea. In my world, I am glad to see I am not alone. It is a shame that even in many of the photography schools, they are going the way of DSLR's.. The best I thing I ever did for my Son Daniels photography passion is teach him how to use film. He understands the basics of what certain settings do...We often go out only with our film cameras and leave our digital stuff home.

James McGinty , May 08, 2009; 06:38 P.M.

Greetings Josh and all you film lovers out there!!! I am a film user myself and shoot plenty of it-specifically good ol' Kodachrome 64 Slide Film in my trusty Pentax K1000's and i dont leave home without one!!! So yes,this is an interesting development(sorry,pardon the pun)and i will be following this with interest.So,we all seem to agree-we all love film;Thats fine.But in order to keep film alive,we have to buy it and use it,not wax nostalgic about it.As Dan would say on the Kodachrome Forum(free plug)"Use it or lose it"-and it is so true.We want to have film around when we want to shoot it,but we have to show that there is a demand for the stuff.For me the answer was simple-i started thinking that for every digital photo i take there is one less slide in my collection.So,i have stopped using my Digital camera! So there it sits on its "Printer Dock" dusty and unused.Meanwhile,the film is flowing in my K1000s!!! Sounds extreme but it works for me.Kodachrome and Slide Film forever!!!

John Dowling , May 08, 2009; 07:49 P.M.

As a camera collector who likes to put film through them (some are "classics' some are ho hum,most are capable of good images if used within their limitations) I will fight as long as possible to keep using film,how great to see some support in that endeavor. as an aside,only last weekend I went on a boat/coach trip,I took two Nikon bodies (em and fg20,also a Pentax mz7 because I thought the built in flash would be useful in a museum we visited) most of the others were of the same age group as myself,over 60,and I saw at least two other film cameras in use,a Nikon F601 and a Ricoh compact,most heartening. John.

Louis Meluso , May 08, 2009; 09:10 P.M.

Thumbs up to the idea, Josh. I'm happy to help if I can.

Louis Meluso , May 08, 2009; 09:22 P.M.

Just a quick addition. I love the "idea" of the graphic the artist created, however, in the implementation, the fist is very dominate an element and the film, which looks like no film I've ever used with those multitude of sprocket holes, needs to be more dominate (perhaps a stronger forced perpective feel) and more lively. It reads like a limp, black noodle. A bit of refinement can make that graphic come alive. In any event, when the final form is presented, I'll take two T-shirts and a couple of stickers, please.

Josh Root , May 09, 2009; 02:01 A.M.

Folks, I'm not interested in dealing with people who are negative and don't want this to succeed. This isn't a debate on the senate floor, it is a project for those who love film. I have no problem deleting posts from those who have no interest in film or this project. There is far too much "crapping on the other guy" around here.

Let those who are excited be excited. If you aren't, go start your own project.

Daniel Bayer , May 09, 2009; 02:05 A.M.

I like the logo just the way it is and I too think there should be a shirt / sticker. I had 75 t-shirts printed for the "Kodachrome Project" and sold out of every last one of them in no time. Might be time for a second run actually..:-)

And as for anyone who is negative of critical of this project Josh has created, look your self in the mirror and ask your self why you think that is. Because I see this as good for the entire site. It brings a more even playing field to the site and fosters interaction of all sides in a positive light.

This idea is good for the whole of photography and sits very well with the site's goal as a place of learning and sharing. The knowledge base on Photo.net is enormous and yet, unlike other sites, it is easy to search. This has incredible value.

The adding of this format for the furthering of film photography is perfect for it. I can't speak for anyone but my self, but when it comes to my use of film and the reasons why, it is really simple:

I am not done with it, nothing has replaced it, just been added to it is all. For me personally, I see a lot of uncharted territory in film photography, I was just getting warmed up with it when our editor *made* us go digital in 1994.

So I am in it for the long haul.

Josh Loeser , May 09, 2009; 02:20 A.M.

I love film. That's pretty much all I have to say. I'm glad it's still around, and I plan to be using it for a long while to come.

Josh Root , May 09, 2009; 02:41 A.M.

Here's the first list of articles people have offered to write:


More to come.

Dawn Penso , May 09, 2009; 01:53 P.M.

Music to my ears! To be able to come to one place for all kinds of information on film and to discuss matters, ask questions is to find a treasure cave. I used a digital SLR for about 4 years then went back to film and found I'd lost most of what photographic skills I had - after a year of horrible mistakes and results and much time spent searching for solutions and answers I'm better, but still have a long way to go so your film users info is so very welcome! I shall pass the news on to my film user friends.

Dawn Penso London, England

Jeffrey E , May 09, 2009; 02:48 P.M.

Folks, I'm not interested in dealing with people who are negative and don't want this to succeed. This isn't a debate on the senate floor, it is a project for those who love film. I have no problem deleting posts from those who have no interest in film or this project. There is far too much "crapping on the other guy" around here.

Let those who are excited be excited. If you aren't, go start your own project.

HEAR HEAR! Well said.

Bob Mullins , May 09, 2009; 03:01 P.M.

Two Dozen Tee shirts and a hundred stickers please!

Seriously, I love film too. Great article, Josh. Hope to contribute an article or two later.

I run a photo lab in Seattle, and most of the labs around town have closed their doors. You could almost say, Digital killed the photo labs. We are still hoping to survive by offering traditional film services, along with scanning and some digital printing.

It is encouraging to note that there are several new emulsions have come on the market in the last couple years. I realize the choices of film will be diminished, but I really believe film is here to stay. I'm not badmouthing digital, or the hybrid film-scan-photoshop-print process. But there is nothing like a fiber based print made from a well exposed and processed negative. Thanks!

Brian Kim , May 09, 2009; 07:03 P.M.

How will you deal with subjects which straddle both film and digital photography?

Like selecting an exposure value for a scene in color?

Or, why I think a tripod is valuable?

I'm new, guess I don't know if there will be two independant sites and shared forums or not, eg. digital metering and film metering, or metering including both digital and film.

Josh Root , May 09, 2009; 07:22 P.M.

How will you deal with subjects which straddle both film and digital photography?

Like selecting an exposure value for a scene in color?

Or, why I think a tripod is valuable?

This project is really meant for film specific topics. Anything that is a more general article won't show up in the "vivafilm" area, it will show up in the general photo.net site just as articles do now.

I'm new, guess I don't know if there will be two independant sites and shared forums or not, eg. digital metering and film metering, or metering including both digital and film.

There won't be two sites. There will be a second "homepage" that will be organized around this film project. This allows people who are interested in film topics to find them as easily as possible and with a minimum of distraction from the digital stuff that they aren't interested.

David Pickard , May 09, 2009; 11:33 P.M.

This is a great idea. From amateurs like me (I shoot for myself and family), we need your knowledge and will read the articles but if you really want to help film more is required. The only way to increase the availability is through use. Increase the use of film then the business will return. I think a challenge needs to be started to increase the sale of film so that it’s not all lost, rarely found in store, priced out of reach, or unable to process. If you shoot film then shoot more, or at lease buy more.

V A L , May 10, 2009; 11:37 A.M.

My name is Val and I am dedicated to photography and film

I am an up-and-coming artist and student in my early 20s, with an interest in not only art, but in the natural and social sciences. I come from a scientific background, so I appreciate how the natural sciences and mathematics fit into the larger picture to create art. I naturally gravitated to the camera from an early age, and photography has been a major focus in my life for a long time. Although I am intrigued by current digital imaging technology and the possibility of hybrid digital-to-darkroom workflow, at the same time, I remain dedicated to film forever, because that is what I learned with and I enjoy the process greatly.

I was planning to write some articles on photography anyway, and came across your idea here at the right time. So I'd like to offer to write an article or two in the future. I'm not sure what topic I want to write about yet, but to me, photography is about much more than a guy and his camera. It is about seeing and experienceing light and time.

Time is a fascinating concept. Perception of time is the only thing more fascinating than time itself. As a people photographer, I pride myself on having the best possible timing, and being able to react in a split second. This training, or conditioning in time perception has had unexpected benefits. Yesterday, we were involved in a car crash. I was in the passenger seat. Being able to perceive time was a benefit, because I saw the whole process unfold in detail. I saw the oncoming car go out of control after it was side-swiped by another vehicle, and then I saw it swerve, lose control, and head into the front left of my car at between 20 and 30 mph. I remember the impact, getting turned around by the momentum...my body going the opposite direction and then snapping back, the seat belt keeping me fixed in place despite the force, the blue spark of the electronic match setting off the airbag...the airbag inflating and hitting me in the side of the face, and then a loud ringing in my right ear. So, even though the impact itself did not last more than a fraction of a second, I felt like I was able to see everything in detail due to my training in perception of time.

Early this year, I photographed a well-known time travel researcher as the last part of a large photographic project that I had created a few years ago while I was working on my undergraduate degree. It was interesting to hear his story, and to figure out how to connect with this person. I eventually found out that this person and I had a connection, and that he played a part in my life without me ever realizing it until I met him and talked.

There are not many men who go by the name of Val, but many of them have been great leaders. I am hoping that the name will help to differentiate me as I progress through my career in photography. Val, more common in Europe than here in the US, connotates strength, power, bravery, fortitude. That is all great and wonderful. But there is also an emotional sensitivity and humanistic awareness necessary when you're photographing people.

Thank you and I look forward to contributing in the future as I progress as an artist and as a person.

Val J. Albert

Wayne Crider , May 10, 2009; 01:22 P.M.

I think we can agree that digital (electronic) photography has had a great effect on the size, capabilities and bottom line of the photographic industry. With digital photographies tie in to the computer industry thru software, printing and related equipment, we now enjoy capabilities on our desktop that in it's way transcend the abilities of photographic houses of yesteryear. So I believe the digital really revolutionized photography resulting in millions of jobs being created, tho albeit at losses elsewhere. But as good and revolutionary as it is, we all know that it is not the be-all to end all and that it has it's problematic results elsewhere; Namely in our lower backs and most often in the vicinity of our wallets. Sitting in front of a monitor for sometimes hours on end, and using expensive software to edit files on ever increasingly outdated computer equipment, ( and that essentially needs to be replaced at great expense to stay at some adequate level of performance), in order to accomplish a job for someone who is reluctant to pay for my time and abilities is not necessarily by idea of photographic nirvana.

My recent digital lesson was last month when I shot a small monthly job I do for a recording studio using a borrowed high end digital camera for the first time. Before that I had been using my Leica with b&w film and a Nikon loaded with color. 10 billion images later, (clogging up my computer resources) and after converting color shots to b&w so I could publish them in a newsletter, and then after editing and uploading color images to a website for the perusal of the interested parties who most likely stole them, I came to realize that my original plan was better but it needed some tweaking. So this month I'll shoot film again, develop the b&w as I love to do and then hand everything including the color rolls to the printer for proof pictures. These will be posted on the wall at the studio for consequent sale. Net loss; hours of my time. I think I'll use it to weed my garden, change my oil and maybe bake some bread.

Larry Ledlow , May 10, 2009; 02:53 P.M.

I adore -- no, LOVE -- film; e.g., I nearly cried when Agfa Scala went extinct. However, I never joined the film versus digital debate, even though I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the world of pixels. I always thought they were just different media with different uses. (Do sculptors debate granite versus bronze?)

I have invested heavily in Canon EOS digital gear in recent years, but only because for some of my shooting interests, digital finally approaches utility and performance of 35mm film. I characterize myself in part as a street shooter these days, and the convenience of ones and zeros outweighs the hassle of lab work and post-developing scanning, etc.

Medium format film, on the other hand, remains king in my world when I am not shooting street life, weddings, etc. The rich detail captured on 120 or large format film is unsurpassed, IMHO, and the equipment used to do it is really quite simple and inexpensive when compared to the digital alternatives. MF digital backs are still way out of my league, price-wise. Moreover, I feel like the complexity of electronics, storage, and software requirements that go along with digital photography grow significantly as sensor size increases. It's a trade I am not yet willing to make.

Long live film!

John Voss , May 10, 2009; 05:47 P.M.

I pretty much dismissed pnet as condescending and arrogant in it's manner of referring to traditional photography, and almost completely stopped visiting here.. As one of more than 33,000 members of apug I can attest that traditional photography is most certainly a vital and robust medium. It's also useful to note that apug has long since repudiated the film vs digital silliness that used to pop up all too frequently. So, as a long term member of that site, and an even longer member of this one, I'm happy to see this thread, and hope it leads to a more mature and inclusive embrace of ALL approaches to making a worthy image. BTW, we have a D90, a Canon digicam p&s, a medium and large format array of film cameras, a working darkroom, and all the digital means necessary to produce high quality digital negatives for solar plate photogravures so I'm more than happy to be informed in all those areas. Best wishes for success in this endeavor!

john robison , May 10, 2009; 11:25 P.M.

Wow Josh! The sheer volume of comments shows this as an idea whose time is now. Like many I still use film and have a modest darkroom. I also have a DSLR and share lenses between the two. For all who have fully adopted digital I want them to know that mine and others continued use of film is in no way a challenge to their personal selection of digital capture. My wife takes snapshots with a little Sony P&S and loves it. To tell the truth she's a lot better at composition than I am. But, I'm so used to stinky fingers. It's what I know and love.

Will Gunadi , May 10, 2009; 11:45 P.M.

Good call.

Let's do it, I think I can contribute. Sent you an email.

Steve Smith , May 11, 2009; 03:06 A.M.

I recently returned from a photography retreat on an island off Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Sitting next to me on the boat were two digital photographers lamenting about the hundreds of images they each needed to edit. They asked me how many photographs I had made during the 3-day weekend. I replied with a smile: “only two.” And they were both keepers.

I was drawn to your comment as I live on a little island just off Portsmouth but in my case, it's the Isle of Wight just off Portsmouth in the original Hampshire in England.

The point about only taking two photographs reminded me of my first trip out with my home made 5x4 camera. I only had two film holders which meant I had four pieces of film. I was using digital before that so it was quite a change in thinking (I have more film holders now!).

Jay F , May 11, 2009; 09:20 A.M.

Sorry....I didn't have time to read all the comments so I may (hopefully) be somewhat repetitive when I say:

film.photo.net is a BAD idea.

Why divide film and digital into an either/or proposition?

Why divide the photographer community?

If the goal is to promote/preserve the use of film, moving film to its own site will likely prevent many digital users from reading about (and acquiring and interest in) film.

Instead of film.photo.net, why not place a prominent link on the photo.net homepage that will open a page of links to film related forums.

Cheers! Jay

gary shaw , May 11, 2009; 09:58 A.M.

Thanks Josh, I feel lke i've been reborn and good to go for a least another five years!

Kayce Baker , May 11, 2009; 02:35 P.M.

Wow!! Diggin' this post! I've shot film since I was 8. I've been shooting digital cameras since 1993 starting with the Apple Quicktake..etc. etc. and I LOVE FILM!!! As a hybrid shooter I see the pros and cons of both but as you say the battle of this VS. that is crazy...the real photographer is an artist, a visionary and should be open to using any and ALL creative mediums. I would hate to wake up one day and have all my options taken away and all I had to make images is some digital camera and some inkjet printer. Ick...shudder to think. Photographers should rise up and take control of their creative future, to leave it in the hands of the mainstream is like having only one place to eat...and yeah, it's a fast food joint.

Lex Jenkins , May 11, 2009; 08:01 P.M.

Jay F, May 11, 2009; 09:20 A.M.
Sorry....I didn't have time to read all the comments so I may (hopefully) be somewhat repetitive when I say:
film.photo.net is a BAD idea.

Jay, take a look at the previous replies and Josh's responses in context. He's already addressed every concern you've stated. This won't be a divisive issue but an inclusive endeavor.

Scott Turner , May 12, 2009; 09:24 A.M.

Lot's of kudo's for the article, and I'll certainly add my own, but:

It seems as though many don't interpret what Josh wrote quite the way I do, as I see the usual, tiresome, "film is better than digital and here's why..." theme cropping up again and again in the comments. Why can't film just be good and stand on its own merits? It certainly does for me.

I'd also disagree with Josh a bit, as he and others seem to want to get digital people out of the discussion. I question the wisdom of that, and echo the concern that Edward voiced - narrowly focused special interest groups tend to get into "Rah-rah, aren't we special" mode when no one is around to point out that the emperor is not always as well-dressed as everyone would like to believe. Learning and innovation diminish as a result, and the group becomes dull, and loses, rather than gains audience.

I also disagree on how to get "new blood". Simply going after new photographers is limiting. No, the folks you're trying to convince aren't the ones blasting film users as Luddites, but there are MANY in the digital world who have seen enough when encouraged, rather than ridiculed, and have been intrigued enough to reintroduce film into their shooting.

The problem, in my eyes, isn't with good, rational discussions COMPARING and CONTRASTING film and digital, it's the constant film VERSUS digital debate that wears thin, as do the folks on both sides who take it personally, and steadfastly refuse to see value in what the other is doing. As I've followed the film and processing group these last few years, I've seen just as many film bigots, unwilling to actually listen to reasoned arguments as I do digi-bigots.

My own photographic journey started over 30 years ago with film. I migrated to a mostly, but not exclusively, digital mix in the early years of this century, and then largely back to film through last year. I now shoot a fairly even mix of both and could not be happier about it. I LOVE photography, and revel in the fact that both film and digital are available to me, and I'd like to keep things that way. It's been an interesting journey, and I've learned a lot, mostly by keeping my mind open and by always keeping the big picture - literally and metaphorically - in mind.

I'd love to chronicle that journey (and bust a few myths on both sides along the way), as I think reasoned discussions of the advantages, disadvantages and differences are of value to the film AND digital communities, and could help in the opening of a few eyes to film's possibilities in the digital age. But I fear such an article would do mostly harm, as the usual suspects would come out of the woods, axes ready to grind, bulwarks in place to defend their close-minded positions.

Viva film! indeed. I talk it up all the time, but based on its own merits. If the argument from many of film's proponents continues to be "film's great, because digital bites, and isn't REAL PHOTOGRAPHY!", I don't think we're going to attract much interest - only well-deserved derision.


Tim Everett , May 12, 2009; 10:08 A.M.

P.S. I feel sorry for youngsters or anyone new to photography who have never used film cameras, for the simple reason that film teaches the true fundamentals of photography, which will make you a better photographer regardless of what you use.

Wayne Crider , May 12, 2009; 02:17 P.M.

Scott, although I didn't read every post, on subsequent perusal of ones here and there, I read in quite a few instances where a lot of people are saying they enjoy both mediums. It's seems the only debate is whether there is a continuing existence of a debate, which many grew tired of, and as noted quite often.

Mention of both mediums does not necessarily need to lend itself to the existence of a debate instead of an intelligent remark of ones own thoughts concerning their belief pattern particular to their own interests or findings. I say, when it Rome, do as the Romans. Let's talk film and enjoy it, but let us "all" not be so ignorant as to regard every comparison as a debate. They are just remarks, and natural to a society. The wisdom is in appreciating it all.

Michelle Morgan , May 12, 2009; 06:13 P.M.

Just want to chime in and say that film.photo.net would be wonderful and I'd hang out there all day long.

Tim O'Donoghue , May 12, 2009; 10:13 P.M.

Ninety-One Something

I've started my return to film. Today I picked up the test roll from my refurbed OM-1. It's a nice change, a different way to think about exposure and how many shots do I get before this gets spendy, Also a good way to realize, for good or bad, how much we become dependent on chimping and re-tries.

Here's a shot of a location I've been watching under different lighting for a while now. Olympus OM-1, 50mm 1.4, Fujifilm Neopan SS 100

Elio Di Claudio , May 13, 2009; 07:22 A.M.

I shoot both digital and film, even for academic research on quality of images and image processing, and made several experiments. Matter of facts for films are: - 160 lp/mm of a Velvia 50 equate 8000 dpi, hence 85 Mp for EACH colour (4:4:4). - 25 Mp /colour can be routinely extracted from Velvia by a (i.e., my) 5400 dpi scanner (I checkhed on screen and 40 x 60 cm prints) by a proper processing including advanced denoising, deblurring and edge enhancement, common to DSLR, but seemingly unknown to film shooters. Velvia 100F obtains a little more. - A D3x has only 12 Mp for green/luminance resolution, and 6 Mp for R and B (4:2:2) and a much smaller gamut than slides. Therefore the graduation of colour, texture and sharpness/resolving power of a slide film (say 25 Mp *3) will be superior for low ISO, say up to about 400 ISO. Also, you may need a special gamut and 16 bit wordlenght... - The grain of 50-100 ISO films (3-5 levels/ 256) does not degrade the subjective Mean Opinion Score of images in controlled trials, if properly treated (denoising, sharpening...) and may also add some punch to landscape or other textured images. So the grain is not a negative point for Velvias and similar slide films. - Hybrid printing of film is superior to the optical one, because of intermediate enhancements. Please scan... - You need a great technical experience, personal processing, perfect (not meaning professional) cameras and some great lenses to routinely get those results. Use primes, please, with filters on. Therefore, Ken Rockwell estimates are really right and can be even easily surpassed by proper machinery, skill and processing.



Rome, Italy

Alvin Lim , May 13, 2009; 10:07 A.M.

Thanks Josh for the wonderful article! You have taken and conceptualised a lot of our thoughts! Thanks!

I am willing to contribute articles!

Rishi J , May 13, 2009; 02:23 P.M.

Elio: Good points regarding the often overlooked de-noising, deblurring, edge enhancement etc. that needs to be applied to film scan before comparing to digital images, since digital cameras do all these things!

At the risk of starting another film vs. digital debate (which, for the record, I don't understand why people hate-- at least the technical debates serve as gargantuan resources of knowledge & an objective way of comparing the two methods... there's nothing wrong with that, as long as we leave emotions aside), I have to correct you on one of your calculations:

Velvia doesn't resolve 160 lp/mm, it resolves 160 lines per mm... a subtle but important difference. If it were 160 line pairs per millimeter, then, yes, that would be 160 x 2 x 25.4 = 8128 dpi. But in fact Velvia is rated by Fuji to resolve, at 1000:1 contrast, 160 lpmm; in other words... 160 x 25.4 = 4064dpi.

Which equates to 22MP for 35mm. 5MP for 1.6:1 contrast though :(

Viva Velvia!!



Robert Ch W. Svensson , May 15, 2009; 06:28 A.M.

I love the article!! I use digital like most people do, but I use film for serious B/W work and exhibitions. I use Hasselblad, Leica and Kiev cameras. There is nothing like making prints in my own lab and have full control of the process. Perhaps will the film world go down the same avenue as the Electron Tube Amps. The tubes never died, a few factories in the world now supplies us with tubes. These few factories have full time job to supply all customers with tubes. Probably EFKE and and a few more will survive to supply us w/ film and paper when the big dudes are gone... All the best, Robert from Sweden

Michael DiMarzio , May 15, 2009; 04:22 P.M.

What kind of Scotch was that?

This sounds like fun, I'm in. Keep us posted on the progress on the PN News Letter? And how we can contribute.

Alex S. , May 17, 2009; 02:36 A.M.

Nicely written article, Josh, and I dig the quotes. I am trying to imagine Darrow speaking in defense of film.

I use both digital and film but am exclusively a digital darkroomist. (How is that for a neologism?) I love my M8 and RD-1s (and my school's Pentex ist D that resides in my office) but have my reasons for sticking with film.

Digital is indeed eating its way into film use, but film is hardly dead, and probably won't be in our lifetimes. It may never die, for all we know. Even when it seems near death it might come back to life the fountain pen in the age of the ball point pen and e-mail, the bicycle in the age of the automobile, slow food in the age of fast food.

Meanwhile, I would love to write essays on photo.net on film (and other topics). How do I start?

Andy Collins , May 25, 2009; 01:56 P.M.

Outstanding idea and endeavor. Sign me up to help in whatever way I can.

Clive F , May 26, 2009; 05:19 A.M.

I use film exclusively and darkroom much of it, so am glad to see so many fellow travelers. I can't be bothered to read all the comments, but would love to get a T-shirt with the logo! Also, check out filmwasters.com.

Robert Ch W. Svensson , May 26, 2009; 05:43 A.M.

A previous comment states that Velvia equates 22MPix@35mm. I am not going to dispute this. However, I just think a little about the artistic view on nicely ordered linear pixel patterns compared to the irregular film grain structure (i.e. Tri-X). I like the Tri-X stuff. What is your opinion, guys??? Cases where grain/pixels are totally invisible is out of discussion. Greetings from a lukewarm Sweden, //Robert

Chris Fernando , June 05, 2009; 11:27 A.M.

Hi. I'm just curious if anyone out there can lend me a helping hand. I've backed up about a years worth of photos to my Western Digital hard drive and about 3 months ago it just died on me - it clicks at start-up and then just dies. I've tried everything: different USB cords, different outlets. Western Digital's customer support is atrocious, even if the thing was still under warranty. And now they want $14.95 just to diagnose the problem! I'm trying to make sense of this as I'm not sure what I was doing writing images to a hard drive (CF card) and then transferring those same priceless memories, that I had every intention of sharing with future generations, to another hard drive. At least I still have some negatives and prints that I archived before I decided to go the "latest and greatest" route.

Bradley Gordon , June 05, 2009; 01:26 P.M.

Dear Friends of Film, I heartily agree with the proponents of establishing a new film magazine. I have purchased more used film cameras in the last 3 years than in the prior 30, because now they are affordable. But at the same time, the choices in film have dwindled, as well as the labs to process them. My favorite film that vanished is Kodachrome 200, & I almost cried in my beard & beer when it disappeared! I was a freelance photojournalist for decades before being forced to change careers in order to support myself. I'm sick & tired & bored with all the drivel I see & hear everywhere about the superiority of digital to film. It makes me want to gag & vomit! Photography is film. Digital is a computer. I would love to write & photograph for the print edition of your publication, if & when it comes out. I'm sure it would be very popular these days & you would have a large following. Sincerely, Bradley Gordon

Geoffrey Barnett , June 05, 2009; 02:18 P.M.

Thatk you so much for this effort. I have been a Black and White photographer for over 50 years and am struggling to get the emulsions which I favor. I am with you!!

Ken Smith , June 05, 2009; 02:28 P.M.

Hi Josh This is my first posting so please forgive if it is too long. Thank you Josh for a wonderful initiative. Film is not going away, it is still alive with dedicated film lovers despite what some people would like is to think. I am suffering from an addiction call Ebay-syndrome - my wife is quite worried about me. If one searches Ebay daily it will be noticed that for just about every film camera up for offer including some pretty ancient ones, there are always bidders. Somewhere I read that there are possibly some 500 million film cameras still in use. I am sure that I saw some note from KEH suggesting that one joins the move back to film. I myself own six film cameras. Certainly Fuji is not rolling over and dying and is still investing in film research. I believe that even Kodak have introduced new films. However E6 processing can be a problem with a number of labs closing and in Cape Town there is now only one lab (ORMS). What always blows my mind is when we goto to the local movie house and see the vividness and sharpness of a 35mm movie reel on a large 8 x 5 metre screen. I have heard that it is likely that 35mm movie film will be us for a long time still. The digital revolution has had some positive spinoffs for film lovers - the availability of top notch professional cameras at give away prices. Some time ago I was in my dentist's waiting room and started paging through National Geographic Magazines (circa 1996 - 98) and was immediately humbled by the quality of these images - all probably shot with top of the range Canon and Nikon's using VELVIA. Few if any current digital cameras will better those images. For those that need convincing look at Galen Rowells book "Poles Apart" - images taken with a Nikon F4 and Velvia film. I purchased an unusing Canon EOS-3 for $300 and subsequently bought another hardly used one for $250 - what cameras for a song. Now is the time to move up to medium format and have purchased (on Ebay) a practically new Mamiya 654 PRO TL and have 6 lenses, 4 backs etc - all for around $1200. One would need a 60 - 80 Megapixel camera to came close to those chromes. I love slides and nothing can beat a well exposed slide viewed through a Leitz projector on a large screen. Digital projection cannot come close to it. I belong to a local section of the Mountain Club and invariably the Friday evening socials show digital projection but every now and then, like a breath of fresh air, someone comes up with slides projected with the Leitz and it's long throw lens. I am fortunate in that my favourite processing lab has an Italian optical printer (Polie Electronica), apparently there are only 2 in the Southern Hemisphere and prints from this machine make digital printing really look sub-standard. However the owner is struggling even with his digital printers as no one seems to be printing photos anymore. For those digital users who don't print, I wonder how many of their images will survive the next 10 - 15 years due to technology changes as well as CD, DVD and hard disk crashes. Good luck with the new forum and I hope it revives interest in film.

Doetze Sikkema , June 06, 2009; 08:00 A.M.

I use medium format film for pictures that I hope may be important; digital for quick e-mail communication. The big difference [apart from the quality issues] that I see is, in a slightly overstated form, that the digital folk click-click-click away and hope to extract something useful later; film users try to capture the significant moment. This is partly by necessity, but it also amounts to a different approach of the medium and works out into a different mentality about what they are doing. As the great photographers observed, photography is about capturing significant moments, using insight, foresight, patience and vision.

Steve Smith , June 08, 2009; 03:20 A.M.

I get this:

Sorry, we were unable to process your request.

When trying to sign up for e-mail updates at the top of this page.

Tom Fowler , June 08, 2009; 08:23 A.M.

Me too. Can't subscribe and would like to.

Josh Root , June 08, 2009; 12:49 P.M.

There appears to have been some sort of glitch with our newsletter company's servers. Everything seems to be working now. Please give it another try if you had problems previously.

Alejandro Castro , June 08, 2009; 04:35 P.M.

Mr. Root,

I think it is an excellent idea. Keep it alive. I use both film and digital and for me there is nothing to compare to the feeling on going through the whole film photography and processing. I live in Caracas, Venezuela and for several years we have been through a currency exchange control ruled by the government; one of the practical consecuences of that police is that for local photographic stores it is very difficult to get the dollars they need to import film and material related. Add to it the digital revolution and you end up in a country where is everyday more difficult to get a roll of film and when found, the price is close to gold. But film lovers in Venezuela are hanging there. I support your initiative.

One more thing, the Viva Film art by illustrator Andy Davidson is just a very fine piece of art. It is well known that some early photographic inventors choose not to patent their processes to allow the growth of photography. Not offense, but I would like to invite you and Mr. Davidson to follow that phylosophy by allowing the free use of that art and to grant permit to everybody that request its use for non-profit reasons and/or non-commercial motive for the use of the art. I think that the mass use of the art would benefit both, the promotion of photo.net, including Mr. Davidson´s rights, and the world preservation of film production by the main companies. Of course, the permit should include the compromise that proper credit should be given with the use of the art.

Alejandro J. Castro

Caracas - Venezuela

Josh Root , June 08, 2009; 04:58 P.M.

Not offense, but I would like to invite you and Mr. Davidson to follow that phylosophy by allowing the free use of that art and to grant permit to everybody that request its use for non-profit reasons and/or non-commercial motive for the use of the art. I think that the mass use of the art would benefit both, the promotion of photo.net, including Mr. Davidson´s rights, and the world preservation of film production by the main companies. Of course, the permit should include the compromise that proper credit should be given with the use of the art.

While I appreciate your enthusiasm, the VivaFilm art should not be used without express permission no matter how well intentioned it may be. To do so would be no better than stealing. While Mr Davidson is interested in all forms or art and loves to see creativity happen, he is also a professional artist. Creating art is what puts food on his table and a roof over his head. Getting "proper credit" doesn't pay the rent. If you think it does, I encourage you to offer it to your landlord next month.

Ângela Márcia dos Santos , June 08, 2009; 10:40 P.M.

Wonderful idea , Josh! I think the main reason film users must get together is to show film manufacturers that the market for film / slides may have shrunk , but it is still alive. I'm not interested in discussing film X digital stuff .I think it is wonderful to live at a time when there are different technologies at hand . Showing film manufacturers that we count could be the main achievement of this special part of this website.Here in Brazil , for example , we still find films to buy ( color / B&W ) but it is sometimes difficult to find certain kinds. So thanks to organize the "family"

David R. , June 09, 2009; 03:03 P.M.

By all means let's get away from the film vs digital debate so we all can get back to the Holga vs Leica debate. I mean really, doesn't the sharpest picture make the best art? Wait a minute, the sharpest 35mm can't come close to a sharp 120 which absolutely pales next to a good 8 x 10 contact print. And if you don't use my favorite film stock it just doesn't look right, know what I mean? Don't get me started on pinholes you, you, pinhole! You need the right equipment to make art!

Picture this for a moment. You go back in time to 1970 and get a chance to talk to 100 of the world's top photographers, you get to bring a 12 megapixel camera with Pictbridge, a nice printer, and supplies. Take them outside and shoot a couple of pictures. Take them inside and shoot a couple of pictures. Take them under a horrible fluorescent light and take a couple of pictures. Print out the results. Tell them they could buy it all for a month's wages. Does it look like a high end photograph of the time? Well, no, but It would be interesting to see how the debate over using it would go.

I have a reprint of an encyclopedia of photography from around 1911. At that time there were plate photographers still arguing that taking a picture with FILM wasn't really art. If you didn't make your own plates and use a view camera you were just a box pointing hack. The new cameras did everything for you, right? Where is the art in that?

All new art processes (or even industrial processes for that matter) are different aspects of the same art form. Painting, photography, printing, etc. all of the 2 dimensional visual arts have grown from the same roots of pictorial representations and symbols. When a new art develops it's own following there are always those that see it as 'wrong' somehow. It's not what a person has grown up with and therefore is seen as a threat to something we can't quite put our finger on. Art is so tied into our 'culture', our personal experience that often a newcomer is viewed with suspicion. It's easy to forget that photography almost completely wiped out the portrait painters, a group of artists that had been gainfully employed for centuries.

Yes, another group, magazine, or website dedicated to film would be a nice addition to the ones already out there. The more, the merrier! The more visible people are that actually support the film producing industry with their pocketbooks, the longer film will stay viable. If the film industry can't sell film, it will be gone like yesterday. And it is quite possible with the ever increasing computer-run personal manufacturing machines coming onto the market that we'll live to see the day you can just custom make your own film stock at home.

Don't get frustrated, get perspective, get organized. More ways to express art makes more artists but it is important that artists of a particular art work together to maintain a community of knowledge that would otherwise be lost.

Let's see what develops!

Bibiana Medkova , June 12, 2009; 05:24 P.M.

I have not had time to read through all the posts, but i am thrilled and will take the time to somehow be a part of this. I am already doing my part by buying film, chemical, papers, using labs... One thing i wanted to just throw out there: I am possibly one of the younger people in this forum, i always get the impression that a lot (not all!) photogs on photo.net are people who have been shooting film for several decades. I just took up photography 8 yrs ago, but the traditional approach, for many reasons, is the best suited to my work and i would never want it other way. My school, Pratt Institute, was also really a fine-art photo dept, which I am very glad was the case. In any event, I know other younger people who shoot film way more than digital eventhough by the time they came to photography the digi revolution was already full speed under its way. Also, as much as I have qualms with Lomography, I also have to give them props for re-introducing film photography to the flickr-snapshot-happy-non-photographers and are, thereby, ensuring some pop-commercial support for the film industry---which it needs. Those are my 5 cents for now. Glad this is happening!

Steve Brudney , June 13, 2009; 04:13 P.M.

The practice of scanning film is the link between film and digital. I'd like to see that be a major chapter in the film section. Besides detailed, refined, knowledgeable discussions, people's basic, fundamental, most naive questions should be addressed--like, If I'm going to scan it, work the digital files in Photoshop, and then make inkjet or some other type images from it, why start with film in the first place? (i.e., if your going to scan the film, what advantage is there in starting out with film?) What are the best films to scan? If I wanted to be able to make exhibition quality 16"X20" or larger prints from 35mm scanned film, is there any more chance of being able to do that if I scan the film first and would I have to get drum scans and is there a way to get that done at an affordable price? What more reasonable alternatives are there, price-wise, to buying a $2500 Nikon scanner or paying $10 per scan at my photo store?

Rishi J , June 13, 2009; 04:31 P.M.


Very good points. It amazes me that there doesn't exist even one fully knowledgeable and comprehensive book on film scanning.

But with the volume of information on threads here on photo.net, along with personal conversations with a number of folks around the country, and world for that matter, I've amassed a huge amount of information on how best to scan 35mm film... and I'm still working on some experimental methods for achieving perfect flatness without the pain of wet-mounting.

I hope to, soon, incorporate this all into an article so, as we enter the 'fully digital era' (inevitable, in my opinion), film will be able to make its stand in the form of high-quality digitized images... and users won't have to spend countless hours, months, if not years, trying to figure out how to get the highest quality scanning results.


Kurt Driver , June 25, 2009; 12:48 A.M.

Thank you Josh, and to everyone else in the film community. One of the topics Josh suggests is: "How to use that old camera when the instruction manual is missing." A great resource for people with that problem is www.butkus.org.

Larry Gassan , June 26, 2009; 01:31 A.M.

Lee, Western States 100 Finish Line, 2007

Thanks for the breath of fresh air. It's like saying there are girlfriend "pictures", and "girlfriend" pictures. On with the show!

Paul Teseny , July 02, 2009; 03:56 P.M.

Like records, there is something that is missing in a digital photo that is not missing in analog film. We can't measure it, but we see it. We feel it! Just like people have been saying for years about records; "Records sound better than CD's".

Maybe the analog media is better because it takes more work to get it there. Maybe it's because it's something we can play with, tweek, make it our own. Digital takes that away. Maybe not all, but some of the creativity that we experienced with film is gone in the digital world. You don't have as much lattitude with digital images as you do with analog film.

Digital Camera's are smarter, so we don't have to know anything about the way the image gets to paper. With film, you need to understand how light effects the film, how different chemicals effect the development process, how different papers give different results. It's a lot simpler with digital because there is less for us to adjust or compensate for.

Maybe the only real difference is, that there is not much for us to do with digital photography. Just like playing a CD, put it in the player and push the button.

With a record there are a lot of steps involved besides just putting the record on the turntable. You clean the record, clean the sytlus (needle), adjust the speed, maybe even select a different stylus or cartridge for this recording; then finialy you can play the record. Then in 20 minutes you have to repeat the process.

But is there really a difference? Yes - film is analog, records are analog, what you see is analog, what you hear is analog. The universe is not digital!

Karim Ghantous , July 03, 2009; 07:23 A.M.

I've read pretty much all comments so far. Most seem positive. Some however betray attitudes which are not completely realistic. Like the idea that a film camera can teach you photography better because you have to think more. This isn't corrosive or negative but it is a little puzzling.

IMHO equipment matters. For many or even most tasks, anyway. Let's not pretend.

A couple of years ago I posted on a forum here that I'd never shoot film again for practical reasons (I never stopped liking film though). I revised that decision and bought a couple of Leica Ms last year. I didn't use them much but then again I haven't taken many photos in the past year with either media.

I have some article ideas that I hope Josh likes. I look forward to reading all of yours!

Chris Williams , October 17, 2009; 12:37 P.M.

I am thrilled to see the outpouring of support for people who are still shooting film. It gives me hope that the folks out there at Kodak, Fuji, Rollei, etc will sit up and take note that film isn't dead. And as long as film is available (and Sover Wong lives forever), I'll still be shooting my Nikon F2's until they pry them from my cold dead hands.

I am looking forward to seeing more film-centric articles on photo.net.


frank menesdorfer , November 01, 2009; 07:50 A.M.

Just read my biography I call them others. Wannabies producing posters.

Joseph Wisniewski , December 13, 2009; 07:49 P.M.

Why is the "Viva Film" poster showing the film clutched in someone's left hand?

Is this some weird parallel between the film users and left handed people, minorities that mainstream society would like to sweep under the rug?

Robert Ch W. Svensson , December 14, 2009; 04:59 P.M.

-Who wants to be mainstream??!

SG Adams , December 16, 2009; 02:08 A.M.

Nikon 35mm shooting Crown 45 at work with a lot of film. Left Handed

I'm left handed. Way proud of it too.

Frank Perri , February 08, 2010; 09:38 P.M.

I'm a lefty. 100%. And proud of it!

Luca A. R. , June 30, 2010; 11:03 A.M.

Film is very different from digital.

Not better, not worse. Different.

It would be nice to have a separate section of photo.net for it.

colin denis hyman , November 19, 2010; 11:46 P.M.

I recall reading an article in a photography magazine that two new films were developed in 2009, does any one have the details?

Rats leaving the sinking ship? In Hong Kong camera shops are still selling a wide range of film cameras, but are generally not buying used film cameras, ie they are not replenishing their stocks.

My ideal scenario is to use digital & film side by side. Its quality, not quantity which counts! OK, another cliche, but I know that one, or two great images from a good fine film camera are still better than those churned out on mass from their digital counterparts. Remember the movie "Day of the Jackle', he didn't use a machine pistol, just a hand-made 'crutch' rifle.

Patrick Wells , April 23, 2011; 10:01 P.M.


 Great idea. I enjoy shooting both digital and film .   Looks like it could be a great place to learn more about the nuances of shooting film.

colin denis hyman , April 23, 2011; 10:55 P.M.

Why not open up a new film and print magazine in HK, or here in China?

There are people here as rich as Knossis! There's no slump here, everywhere there are new high rises being built, the government has immense coffers to spend on infrastructure & innovation. People are still rushing to buy Canon and Nikon cameras, despite the surge in prices due to the earthquake/ nuclear disaster in Japan and the shortage in supply. Here in Xi'an you can't move because of all the swanky new cars, Buiks, Mercs, 4WDs, there are hardly any traffic lights, its murder crossing the streets here.

Tunnel vision - saying that there is a depression in the West is an example of this. You need to look East and change your negative perception of the world.

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Daniel Högberg , May 01, 2012; 03:35 A.M.

I would almost exclusively shoot b&w film if it didnt get so EXTREMELY grainy when Im home-developing.. I cant remember film ever being so grainy when I was younger.. So, for now I shoot colour negatives instead and send them away for developing. Its like NO grain at all in comparison.

Robert Ch W. Svensson , May 02, 2012; 02:23 P.M.

Hi Daniel,

I have the same experience concerning film. Earlier this yr. I scanned a Kodak 400 T-max ISO negative with my Epson F-3200 film scanner. The negative was exposed in a Hasselblad 500 ELM. When I blew up the negative in my Mac I found it very grainy. Okay, 400 ISO (ASA) is rather hi-speed stuff for being film, and compared to the "negative" from my Canon EOS 60D in the 1600 ISO setting the film neg. was very grainy. I shot the picture again with a ISO 100 T-max, and the grain was better, of course. I think we all get somewhat tricked when we scrutinize a picture in the computer and we blow it up to enormous proportions; far more than for example a 20x24 in. (50x60 cm) print. Then you see everything.

When I make a real print in the 20x24 in. w/ an ISO 100 film I have no grain problems. However, we are spoiled with digital cameras that can take good pics at a very high ISO setting (EOS 600D/60D/7D for example). Grains do not exist in digital, everything is neatly ordered in sterile military rows and columns. The pixels. They are probably no more beautiful than unordered grains.

Then we have to take another parameter into account. I have never seen a really good B&W picture taken w/ a digital camera and then printed, that can be compared with a print from a 6x6 negative shot w/ a German lens. A really good 35 mm camera (Leica, Canon for example) w/ a slow film will probably produce B&W pics w/ a finer grey scale than a digi, I think. The ultimate challenge for a camera and lens is to shoot a polished antique dark wooden dinner table with a low angle light source facing the camera. The lens and film contrast function is really put to test.

Sincerely, Dr. Robert Svensson,

Steve Carthy , October 20, 2013; 04:48 P.M.

I began getting serious with photography in the 1970s with a fully manual 35mm SLR. While I don't have that particular camera anymore, I still have the 35mm SLR I bought after that one and I still use it sometimes. Now, I mostly use my DSLR equipment. For me, it is not a matter of film vs. digital; it's a matter of film and digital. They compliment each other and are not competition for each other.

Using my film camera keeps me in touch with my roots in photography and I like that.

paul RON , December 08, 2015; 05:36 P.M.

if you are frustrated with digital, n want to join an exclusive analog film users group... then stop complaining here and join APUG.... http://www.apug.org/forums/forum13/

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