After being in the saddle every day last week (both on the road and on the trainer) and a big weekend of riding, I needed a day off the bike today. The aging and fat just don’t recover like they used to. With my spare time free to goof off, I decided to take the first roll of film I shot with the new to me Olympus MJU II to get developed. I will say finding a place to develop 35mm film in house is no easy task these days! Right now here in town we are down to exactly ONE place (Walgreens on Mission & Preston for local yokals) that doesn’t send their film out.
As with any first roll there were some good shots, and some not so good shots. One problem I have with film is getting past the way I shoot with a digital camera. I am more prone to snap off a few shots of random things that catch my interest and if I don’t like them or they are shit, I just delete it later. Film is a tad different. I shoot, I hope, I pay to get it developed, and if the shot sucks, it sucks and I wasted money (plus one for digital on that one!).
Having said that, I DO like they way the camera performed. It will just be a matter of time of learning its quirks/shortcomings as well as what film I like and breaking some digital habits. Right now I am using Fuji Superia X-Tra 400 ISO film. Pretty much because it’s all that any of our local stores sell right now. I’d like to order some other types to see how they perform or give some Ilford B&W film a try since it too can be developed pretty much anywhere.
You may recall the photo above from last week. I shot the pic with my Canon s95 digital camera in RAW, then processed it in Lightroom to get the exact look I wanted. I was real happy with the look and the way the photo came out. Now below is the same shot taken with the Olympus MJU II.
I really like this shot too! I think I like the digital because it pops a little bit more, but I like the film version because it just seems more “real.” I like that other than leveling the composition in Lightroom I did nothing to the shot. I even like the issue with the film frame on the far right. I also like the additional black stripe on the brick of the film version, I think it adds to the shot.
Hmm… I could really go either way on which one I think is better and why. I guess I would just say if for SOME reason these shots were being considered for editorial use of some sort and I was the creative director, I would use the film shot.
Another Analog vs Digital Dilemma
All the photos seen above are exactly as they looked on the CD of scans from Walgreens. The only thing I took the liberty of doing in Lightroom was leveling the composition. There were some things I would have liked to have tweaked but left them as it. Don’t ask me why, but I felt it was sort of wrong to monkey with them in Lightroom or Photoshop. Oddly enough, I don’t think twice about endlessly editing digital photos until I get exactly what I wanted or to correct one of my many mistakes.
My question is this: Should I care? Why not correct or tweak to get what I want, who cares if it’s from a digital file or from a film scan? Should I avoid such practices? Am I violating some Code of Film bylaw? By tweaking a shot in Photoshop or Lightroom am I “missing the point” of shooting with old point and shoot film cameras? Would it be like riding single speed, carbon full suspension fat bike?
Here, take a look at these examples…
I took this walking in the rain last week. Not a great pic, but I liked the reflection of the tree and the rain drops. The shot above is straight from the scan. It’s OK, and I would be perfectly happy with it if I didn’t have the ability to bump the contrast up a bit. Since I do have that ability in the form of [insert name of any photo editing software here] I did. But I feel a little dirty for some reason.
I didn’t do much and maybe this photo isn’t one to REALLY make a point with (it’s the whole makeup on a pig thing), but I would like to know where those who shoot film stand on this. If you shoot with film and have an opinion, leave a comment on the Tweet for this post.
Perhaps I worry too much about such things? I know that I enjoy shooting in digital for a multitude of reasons, but I also know I really dig shooting with film too. Whether it be with the Holga or the MJU II. But I think I’ll not “tweak” more often than not.