© Mark LaMonica. All Rights Reserved.
The "Love" part comes in where film is actually a great way to learn the technical aspects of exposure and lighting. Film is unforgiving when it comes to exposure. If the exposure shifts 1/3 of a stop an
experienced eye will see this on a "Light Table", remember those? You also have to know color temperature in terms of Kelvins. Film sees light differently and therefore you need to adjust your film to
match the lighting. The way you do this is to add different filters to the lens to shift the way the film will record the scene. It's not as complex as it sounds, you just need to buy all those filters and different
films to handle this. Pictured above is Fuji 400X a daylight balanced film and T64 a tungsten balanced film. If you use 400X in daylight or with flash, no filtration is required. If you want to use that film in
Tungsten lighting you have to use an 80A filter on your lens. If you use it in Fluorescent lighting, there are several options due to the variations of available lights. There's Daylight, Cool White, White
and Warm White. You can use a combination of CC filters or a special FL filter. The same rules apply for the T64, it's a Tungsten balanced film and requires no filtration in Tungsten lighting. To use it in
Daylight you add an 85B filter to the lens and again the same rules apply for Fluorescent. Not all films are the exact Industry rated color temperature either and I'll cover that in a future issue. The whole
filter situation is also a seperate subject that will be covered in the future. So if you still love film, this is the place to be, I'll cover Black and White and well as color. I always hear how people are
disappointed with their pictures and they don't look as nice as they did when they were using their old Pentax film camera. Well there's reasons for that and they will be covered in a future article.
Why I still love film, but I just don't use it
Text and Photography by Mark LaMonica
Averaged out with purchasing, processing and all of the shipping from point of purchase to processing. If you buy a ProPack of Velvia 50
for $137.99 plus the $14.62 shipping total cost is $152.61 for 20 rolls or 720 exposures. If you ship and process all 20 at an average cost
of $10.00 per roll with round trip UPS shipping the cost is $386.51 for 720 exposures and you might have to wait at least 5 days to review
what you did. Now I personally don't waste exposures when it comes to film, so I generally have a return of 90% to 100% keepers. You are
looking at 2 inches of receipts for film purchases and processing. The average cost is 60 cents per exposure or $21.60 per roll lesser if I'm
photographing action. If I limit myself to 1 ProPack a month my annual cost is $4,638.12 to use film. If I let my traveling creative spirit roam
at 2 ProPacks a Month I'm spending $9,276.24 per year just on buying film and processing it. That's all based on "self assignment"
photographing what ever looks good, it's not an assignment that has the expenses covered by the client, so you can see if you are a real
shutterbug photographing stock images for "possible" future sales, you could find yourself with a pretty hefty bill. When you look at it this
way, that $7,999.95 price tag on a new Pro digital body isn't looking so bad. The camera would pay for itself in 1 year with enough money
left over for a new lens and I bet the exposure rate would at least double per month, not that it would generate twice as many keepers. So
with all of this doom and gloom about the cost of film, why on earth did I title this article "Why I still love, but I just don't use it"? The answer
is simple, it's a matter of economics per exposure. There's just no sense in spending that kind of money to do stock images that might not
earn a return, when you can photograph the same scenes with a digital camera at a fraction of the cost, right? My digital cameras pay for
themselves with assignment work, so essentially I could go out and photograph stock images without the expense of film and processing. I
won't get into the depreciation factor of that new digital camera compared to using a film camera, that's a new subject.
So one can only ask why in the world would anyone want to go through all of this expense and hassle to use film? That's simple too . . . . it's the look and feel of an image when viewed on a Light Table.
There's just something that says WoW when you see an amazing slide or transparency because you're really looking at it. Film is something you can hold and look at just by holding it up to the light. So
if you really want to perfect digital, then think like film. Take your digital camera and start using the "M" setting and dialing in "White Balance". A digital camera offers essentially the same tools to "learn
photography", without the expense and So one can only ask why in the world would anyone want to go through all of this expense and hassle to use film? That's simple too . . . . it's the look and feel of
you came across a fabulous opportunity to photograph eagles on a lake and need the 400X instead. That 1 digital body has all the tools you need built right in. You won't get the exact results you would
from film since digital is a different medium and is processed on your computer. Film is what it is and that is why it gives you that film look.
Film was great when all I had was film. With digital at a point where you can get all of those great film qualities with less gear to carry, it's really hard to make a case for film these days. Yes there's more
work on the other end, but remember, if you take pictures like you are using film, you'll perfect the exposure on location with minimal post processing to do at the end of the day. I'm fortunate to have
learned the old way with manual cameras and can really appreciate the research and development that Camera manufacturers put into every new digital camera. It's just simply amazing and I'm doing as
much as I can to learn all aspects of the entire process of what makes them work and how they are built. It's the "new film" and I'm determined to perfect my knowledge as technology changes. Film has
been around a long time and it's easy to use once you take the time to "learn photography".. Everyone thinks Digital is the magic bullet to being a Pro and it's not. Today's cameras are high tech
precision electronic image capturing devices, so problems could arise from electromagnetic radiation ,magnetic fields like high tension wires or radio transmitters and static charge.  There's a reason why
camera manufacturers have Liability Disclaimers these days. I average at least 1 failure a month of some kind from click to print or storage. Some are big, some are small, it comes with the territory and
you have to take those risks to be fast. computer to print . . . it's the digital age and we are continually evolving into a new way of capture. I use digital for the clients that want it now.
I seriously don't use that much film a month, even if I'm out for stock images. I think you get the point that it can add up, but if you don't waste exposures, film really is a better means of capture from the
time you click the shutter to the time you pull that transparency out 10 years later to make a print. Digital has a lot of hidden costs and I will write many great articles about digital for my digital followers,
but you really should think about the future of your images. Yes, I still love film . . . . . I just don't use it like I did 20 years ago. . . . . Everything is speed today and if you're not fast, you're left behind.
Digital isn't cheaper and it isn't a stable medium for future retrieval or readability. Film is proven technology. My film images are beautiful, bold with color, you can see them without a computer, they are
real, you can touch them . . .  If it's film . . . it's good . . . if we're using digital . . . it's . . . . well . . . .digital.