The Future Of Film (For Me, At Least).
A consignment of film arrived from 7dayshop.com. 5 Propacks of Fuji RVP 50 and 10x 36 exposures of 35mm Kodak BW400CN. The cost for this modest amount of film was in excess of £106 plus postage. It's going to cost at least the same again for processing. If I shoot the Velvia on 6x17 format, that gives me exactly 100 frames at a processed cost of over £2 per exposure. On 6x9, the running cost is halved and on 6x6 the processed cost per exposure is around 70p. In addition to the material cost of shooting film, the time spent on scanning, adjusting and cleaning up the files makes little commercial sense in the face of falling revenue from stock and library sales. So, I have a dilemma.
Is the time approaching for me to change my fine art landscape photography workflow to digital capture? I use digital equipment exclusively in other areas of my business and have done so for over a decade since I made the big switch, so there is nothing new for me to learn there. The problem, if there is one, lies with me.
I like my chosen film and I like my analogue equipment. I like those big Fuji and Zeiss lenses and the squares and rectangles of my favourite formats. I enjoy the challenge of using the medium and I like the huge file sizes that can be created from it.
I like the process of making images on transparency film, especially on Fuji Velvia 50asa, and I like the results. Looking at a correctly exposed 6x17, 6x9, 6x6 and even 35mm transparency on the lightbox is far more satisfying to me than looking at the subsequent drum scanner-derived tiffs at 100%.
Where do I go from here when I decide the time has arrived? Digital medium format, whilst appealing in many ways presents other issues. I like wide angle lenses and different aspect ratios for my landscape work and this is a major area where MFD falls short.
Even with some major concerns, that time can't be far away and resistance is rather futile.