Film or digital?


General Photography Photographic Technique


Graham Miller



I’m enjoying get back into film and have now moved from my 35mm Olympus to a second hand Hasselblad I bought via ebay about nine months ago.  The 80mm I find is restrictive as I’ve never liked standard lenses, but I’m just not prepared to build on the kit until I decide what to do next.  The return to film has caused me to hesitate over my next camera purchase.  The plan was to buy a new Nikon FX body and then use my D700 as a back up.  I’ve been taking chances for too long using just one body. I also feel I need an HD video capability And so two weeks ago the Nikon D4 came along and whilst I’ve got the dosh put to one side the feedback from other photographers has not been that great.  Its not the leap forward that was expected and so there is the risk Nikon follow it up with a D4s and D4x in the not too distant future and at the price it is who wants to be left with the obsolete camera after a year or so.  Having said that I’ve made good progress in outlining the concept for my end of MA course project and as it will be digital media and likely to be shot on a 35mm prime (as that most closely resembles our visual field of view) it may indeed make sense to get the best I can and that for me would be D4 now.

Film has forced me to cut back on the frames I shoot and I prefer that. It was suggested early in the course that I need to take more shots but I found that I was blasting away and then picking through images on the PC looking for the best ones.  When I shoot film and I did a lot of it when I was younger I chose my shots carefully and knew when I had what I wanted without the need to look at it on a screen.  My recent multimedia assignment was shot over two days in less than 2 rolls of HP5.  The piece itself which I really liked wasn’t that well received by the tutor but then he explained why and I now then need to decide if I should modify my approach.  If nothing else I really like the images of people laughing on Blackpools Comedy Carpet.  There is an example below. For one thing I never choose easy topics and that makes it hard for me much of the time but I’d rather it wasn’t any other way.

The conclusion now looks like D4 but then I revert to shooting with it as if it were film.  Carefully selected shots and no ‘chimping’.

Blackpools’ Comedy Carpet from ‘Laughter’


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