Film, The Alternative Process

"We live in a digital era with modern and well made cameras. So, is it a good idea to get back to using film or should we wake up to reality? Martin Henson has a hybrid solution and explains everything in these pages"

Many at the younger age end of budding photographers probably have never used film; only people as old as me, who were born and bred with it, know its benefits.  Sadly, its popularity since the introduction of digital capture has dwindled considerably over the last few years. However, it’s still out there, and interest in using film again is increasing and can be integrated into the digital world; it’s called hybrid.

So what is hybrid film to digital workflow and how does one work with it? First let me give you some facts that hopefully might encourage you to try...

Read this and many more articles in High Definition inside Issue 19 of Landscape Photography Magazine.

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    No i do not think film can teach you anything that digital cannot. Now that we can get tilts and shifts – albiet stacking – we are completely done with film. sorry to see it go in some ways, but the only good thing about film was that it made images a little more difficult to get and thus more valuable, but i have gotten over that by no longer doing photography for money

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    The low popularity of film is largely connected to people who have never used film and then take up the hobby, they do listen, however digital is the modern way of capture and its rare that people move backwards, especially when there is no understanding of film and its merits. I moved from film to digital then back again, mainly LF film because I love the whole process and feel more in control and a sense of satisfaction that the greats such as Adams etc used the same cameras and lens as I do now.

    “HDR, why not use masks”, the way I work from scanned negs means I have the best of both worlds, the joy of LF film capture and neg development, scanning then enables me to mix both the traditional way and digital processing for contrast , tonal range etc on the computer, a mix that works well.

    I cannot comment on colour work as I only do BW imagery , however it does make the traditional way harder to do and would and does stop people from going down that road.

    My article here gives a brief insight showing that film is not a dead duck, an alternative way of capture that’s still alive and kicking, it might be old fashioned, however I strongly believe that using a basic light capture camera, a hand-held light meter and the way it slows one down and think before pressing the shutter button is a great way to learn the art of exposure, composition etc and really makes one see that the most sophisticated digital cameras don’t make the photograph or photographer, it just makes the process easier to get to the end result, good or bad.

    Thanks for your comment

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    Well said Martin.
    I agree entirely with your initial remarks, and I hope the rest of the article is as comprehensive and informative.

    Only those who come from a serious use of film know the truth but I sometimes wonder if the new photographers are listening. I have made similar points for some time and in general I find that the new digital photographers, including those who should know better feel that there is always a better digital solution to getting your hands wet in all those smelly chemicals.

    Is HDR as good as a correctly exposed and processed negative? Why not use tonal masks. This seems to be the way they would rather go because they understand computers, and anyway the other way takes too long.

    You do not have to convince me about what can be done with a black and white negative but it’s not so easy with a colour one. Digital photography is more akin to the use of transparency film which had its own techniques of exposure, the use of filters and processing.

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