I’ve decided to change my work flow for colour film photography.The old work flow wasn’t really working for me.
Instead of building up six to nine months work and then having it processed at a professional laboratory in one hit, I’ve decided to have the 35mm and 6×6 film processed on the day of the shoot. I can drop it off to Photoco’s one hour minilab in the Central Market on the way back from the shoot. The sheet film can be processed at the professional lab—Atkins Technicolour.
My reason is that it is cheaper, more convenient and I can quickly assess what I’m doing in terms of feedback. I did a dummy run on Friday to see how things would turn out:
My last day in Tasmania was spent in Hobart. Since the plane for Adelaide (via Melbourne) didn’t leave until 4pm I had a day to wander the streets with my old Leica film camera. I wasn’t scoping for large format. I was just taking a look at what was there as the New Tasmania features fresher arrivals and returnees, lured by the notion that Tasmania is an optimal testbed for a niche range of clever cultural and economic initiatives.
I started the day with some photos of the view from my hotel window on Collins Street. This overlooked the Royal Hobart Hospital, which is in the process of being renovated, and the Hobart Private Hospital.
I love Hobart. I think it is a delightful city to walk around and explore. It is a city that still retains its 18th and 19th century architecture. In Sydney and Perth these heritage buildings would have been pulled down to make way for the modernist glass towers of the late twentieth century.
I then pick up my prints in the exhibition on Sunday, and stay on in Melbourne until Thursday to do some urban photography in the CBD:
I’m picking up where I left off when I was over there about a month earlier: I’ll be poking around in the grungy alleyways off and around Flinders Lane and exploring the architecture of the city in Australia.
I started out using the Leica with a 35mm lens (a Summicron F2-ASPH) as I walked through the dense shopping precinct that is Rundle Mall. It was just as I would have done in my pre-digital days. But I actually ended up using the Sony a lot more. I did so without thinking about it. It was instinctive in a photographic sense.
The film Leica with its expensive lens was basically put away in favour of the pro-sumer digital Sony because the latter was more flexible, I could get more shots with the variable Zeiss lens, and I felt a lot more more comfortable experimenting with digital than film. Film costs money. Towards the end–on the way back through Rundle Mall after having the blood test—I only used the Lecia if I thought that I had a worthwhile image.
So this confirms what I said in my earlier post about using 35mm cameras. The shift to digital at this format is a worthwhile investment. That means the film camera is used in order to get that film look. Or the Leica ‘look’.
My days of late have been taken up with scanning some of the old 35mm + medium format negatives, plus some of the medium format film that I took earlier this year. Scanning sure is a time consuming business. In terms of workflow it is probably better to shoot a couple of rolls of film, have it processed, then scan it; rather than allow the rolls of film to build up to 30 or so.
I’m not persuaded that the combination of 35m film plus a flat bed scanner, such as the Epson V700, is better than its digital equivalent. People do use a dedicated film scanner–eg., a Nikon 5000— for 35mm film to improve the quality of the scan. However, if 35mm is the format of choice, then it would probably be better to invest in a top end, full frame, DSLR and some really good glass.
Maybe 35mm film would be the equivalent of a high end DSLR if I used a really top line desktop scanner (such as the Imacon Flextight 949 Film Scanner or the Flextight X1); that is, the ones the pro labs use. However, these are a big dollar investment for just 35mm, and it is hardly worth the investment for that format. Those photographers who don’t have high volume requirements will not be able to justify the cost of these pro scanners. They are designed for Photo Labs, Printing Bureaus and professionals that need to scan hundreds of negatives each week or day.
If 35mm is the format of choice, then clearly, it is more worthwhile to shift to, and work with, the new technology. It would be easy to work within, and around its limitations with good image editing software.