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The death of the film camera/housing market?


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#21 Viz'art

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 05:16 PM

Sold my Horseman LS and Zone VI 4x5 with 65mm, 90mm, 210mm and 300mm including pola back, 6x7 & 6x9 roll film back bag bellow tripod and kitchen sink for 2000.00$ Canadian, and was happy I could get that much, same for Mamya RB67 and 6 lens for 3000.00 $ :D I was so depress at the low price I got, that I drank a good chunk of the money I got :D , I have a pair of matching book end N90s and a f100 paper weight. Yeah film is dead, the only thing I miss is the tilt and shift of my view camera. large format is still awesome, but my customers dont care for it anymore. He who dwell in the past... Now to get sober and buy the digital flavor of the month, I love the techo, but not the life expectency of it.

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#22 ReefRoamer

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 07:01 PM

A nice Hi-8 video setup makes a pretty effective boat anchor, too.
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#23 Kasey

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 03:06 AM

Just because they are cheap doesn't mean that film is dead! Prices are driven by market demand - which is driven by volume. Hence, amateurs and recreational users are who really drive pricing. Clearly, for those users, film is dead. There are A LOT of pros that have yet to make the switch, and many have no interest in doing so.

The more the prices crash the better for me - I bought a Kodak slide projector last week for $61! Now, what would it cost me to present my digital images with the same quality?

For me and many others, I don't think that film will ever be replaced. I love spending a day diving without having many hours of computer work to enjoy my productivity. There is also something concrete about transparencies - noone asks how it was manipulated, or suggests photoshop. This is the way the light hit my film...

For traveling, I like digital because it gives me the security that I got the shot. For local (frequent) diving, film is tough to beat! YMMV
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#24 John Bantin

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 04:55 AM

...and just as I made up my mind to abandon film I get a call from someone who has just come back from a very remote island in West Papua. I am going there in September.
He told me the is only intermittent electricity but he took a pile of CF cards and a ton of batteries and managed all right. IGb CF equates to 2 rolls 35mm but costs a lot more. Sounds like a place where I might be better of using film.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#25 MikeVeitch

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 05:10 AM

Funnily enough i just had one of our new guests ask me not 10 minutes ago if i offered E6 processing, sorry no i don't its too expensive to ship chemicals etc when things will go to waste due to lack of demand because everyone shoots digital these days...
Needless to say she was not happy about that and is worried about getting correct exposures...

Personally i have to keep my exposed rolls of film sitting on the shelf until i go to Palau so that i can get them processed, but i have shot so much that i am not all that worried about exposure so i am lucky in that regard.

Believe me, a lot easier to clip off a Nik V and 15mm with no strobes to my BC when i have the video camera than it is trying to strap off the housed system with an 8 inch dome port! (That way i can get both stills and video when things are going off) And don't tell me i can get images that my agency will accept with the latest little P&S in a small housing that can replace my Nik V, not buying that idea!

Mike

ps John i'll offer you $10 for your 15mm lens from your safe if you cover the cost of shipping!

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#26 John Bantin

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 09:08 AM

I think older DSLRs and housings may begin to suffer the same fate. All underwater cameras seem to be disposables these days.
Alex

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


We live in a throwaway world - not just in underwater photography.

As a rule, secondhand kit rarely realises more than half its original purchase price. That is because of the price a dealer can buy a new one for from distributor or manufacturer. People are unrealistic. They think their stuff is worth something as in an investment but in fact they did not invest. They spent their cash!
Buy it because you want it. Once you take an accountants look at the situation you understand what capricious lives we lead.

However, when I tried to bid on any of the S2 Pro on eBay I got nowhere. I bought one from a dealer (with a guarantee) for a lot less than the eBay prices. eBay seems to give people buy buy buy fever!

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#27 Paul Kay

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 11:55 AM

Half new price? I reckon that film housings are now down to as little as 10% of new prices!

But ebay fever is a strange phenomenon. I too have watched buyers bid more for an unseen housing than they could have bought a serviced and warranted one for from a dealer.
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#28 John Bantin

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 01:51 PM

Paul, I meant anything. A car, a washing-machine a computer. Buy it and within a moment it is worth less than half what you paid for it.

Once a thing gets to be obsolete, yes then it is worth nothing. I remember well putting a Hi8 camera and housing out for the garbage collector. I still bear the scars from when I sold my 10x8 Sinar and its lenses back in 1990! I still have the Polaroid back and processor somewhere in a garage.

However, the 2k spots, also in that garage, which were obsolete then might now be worth something to a digital photographer.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#29 cor

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 03:18 PM

I made the switch to digital several years ago, so I am permanently on the dark side :D But as Im reading this thread, my wife is using a CoolScan 9000 ED next to me scanning some of her slides, and I again know what I am missing. The brilliant colors, the sharpness, the crispness, the huge potential of a 4000 dpi scanned slide. Sure, slides are on its last legs, but those legs are mighty pretty..

What we see when we are on a trip together (4-5 times a year), is that I (with my D100) get a lot more keepers, but her keepers, although much smaller in number, are so much prettier. Once you nailed it with a slide, its just plain amazing. Traveling together with digital and slide is really the best :D

And like Kasey said, the cheaper the non-digital stuff becomes, the better for her. She bought a Jobo developer for next to nothing, an F100 Subal housing for a very good price, and i think she's eying a nice scanner :D (the coolscan isnt ours).

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#30 MikeVeitch

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 04:05 PM

What we see when we are on a trip together (4-5 times a year), is that I (with my D100) get a lot more keepers, but her keepers, although much smaller in number, are so much prettier. Once you nailed it with a slide, its just plain amazing. Traveling together with digital and slide is really the best :D

Cor

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I totally agree, i am taking a lot more photos now, which obviously results in more keepers and more bracketing in composition, lighting techniques etc., the macro is especially benefitting from this
However, just can't get the colour pop, saturation, and crispness when it comes to WA that shows up on film. This could be due entirely to me and lack of processing skills, but the Dig just looks Matte whereas slides look Glossy (to use a metaphor)
But, as i also digitize my slides for everything, they always end up looking somewhat matte as well in the end. Must be me...Have got to hire my own art director i think!

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#31 cor

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 04:59 PM

What is going to eventually kill slides is not digital cameras per se. There is a large enough niche for slides to survive. If it weren't for one small problem. Places like Mike's, but he's in no way alone in this, stop developing slides. I think my wife will move to digital as soon as too many places will not even develop a few rolls anymore, just to make sure nothing is going bad in an unexpected way.

It's a spiral that seems to be unstoppable. Slides become too expensive and cumbersome to develop, so places stop developing, so photographers have to face a tough choice. Take the risk, or take a digital camera..

Cor
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#32 Paul Kay

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 12:05 AM

Quote: "The brilliant colors, the sharpness, the crispness, the huge potential of a 4000 dpi scanned slide. Sure, slides are on its last legs, but those legs are mighty pretty."

I've just had a 30" x 20" glossy print made on Fuji Archiva paper from an interpolated 110Mb file off a wide-angle underwater shot. Whilst it shows up optical problems (common to film and digital), the print is saturated, punchy, very sharp and to be blunt, a lot better than I could have produced from 35mm. But perhaps what really elevates it from film is the cleanness of the image - there is no grain to distract the viewer. I would say though, that I do adjust my files increasing contrast and saturation to produce a more Velvia-like impression. Perhaps Alex would comment on the files he produces?

I had a discussion with a photographer the other day. He reckoned that some photolibraries are happier with film - problem is that none of my professional stock photographer friends are shooting film! If he's right then expect to see more agencies and libraries go out of business.

Don't get me wrong, I think that if you are into film then now is a great time to buy. But in terms of the thread, film housings are only sellable at minimum prices, and not easily saleable even then.
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#33 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:10 AM

Alex, didn't i just read in one of these threads that you were out shooting your Hasselblad the other day??!! :P

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


We put about 20 rolls through the Hasselblad during the shoot last week. Pain in the arse getting out the water that many times, taking the housing apart and reloading. Many digital photographers would have got that many shots on a single card! Personally, I reckon that given the optical limitations of shooting medium format underwater (poor optical port setups, unsuitable wide angle lenses and narrow DOF), that 10MP plus digitals are actually better in real world shooting. But that is not always what the client thinks...

I really realised I was a digi-convert, when I was shooting the freediving world records in Cayman a few months ago I had both my D2x and F100 - housed and ready to go on the boat. And despite spending 5-6 hours in the water with the freedivers it never occurred to me to use the film rig.

That said the only camera + housing I have sold in recent years is my Nikon D100 and Subal. I still have all my 35mm and MF housings and cameras. And strangely enough I would like to spend a few 100 to buy an only film housing - like a Subal or Hugy for a Nikon F2, F, FG, FA or something. I want to wind film on again!

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#34 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:33 AM

I would say though, that I do adjust my files increasing contrast and saturation to produce a more Velvia-like impression. Perhaps Alex would comment on the files he produces?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I am with Paul. My taste for how an UW image should look is definitely influenced by years of shooting Velvia. And certainly with the D100 I would always push contrast and saturation in RAW conversion. I do it less now with the D2x because the camera's files look much closer to slide than any other camera I have tried.

I think my taste is also changing. I like pictures that are a bit less saturated these days (because I mainly see so many digital images). I saw some Velvia shots on here recently and my initial reaction was "Yuk, that photographer has over saturated those a bit." But they were probably untouched - straight from the scanner. So I think that like most things in life, our tastes are always changing. And these days taste is for saturated - but slightly less than Velvia! :P

Different digital cameras do have distinctive looking images (especially in conditions you know well). As I am sure most would agree. In january I was judging a photo-comp in Cayman and I could tell which photographer had taken which images, because I could tell a D100, from and S2 from a 10D from the look of the images. Amusingly it was easier to identify the photographer from their blues than their shooting style!

The good thing about RAW is that with the right software you can make your files look like those from other cameras. I was playing with Nikon capture the other day and pushed the noise reduction up, the saturation down a bit and increased the exposure a bit (to the correct one) and suddenly my picture looked like a Canon shot - with super smooth blues and more print film looking reds, yellows and greens.

There are no rights or wrongs, of course. But I think that photographers who shoot with a camera that isn't one of the most popular brands - may find their colours out of favour/fashion in the future! ;) Only joking!

Alex

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#35 John Bantin

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 02:09 AM

I used to be an Advertising Photographer commanding top daily rates. I gave that up 13 years ago to go diving.
Everyone has gone digital now - or so I am told by everyone who has gone digital. So I telephoned a few of my surviving old contemporaries in London to ask if that was the case among top earners.

The reply was invariably a big guffaw and a definite - No Way!

Of course everything gets digitised before printing but it seems that a good transparency and a drum-scanner (or Flextite) still rules where quality counts. And you might ask why Ridley Scott and his ilk still shoots on Panavision 70 (with video-assist) rather than shooting on video.

But then the last picture I took had a production budget of £50,000 (for an ad for Toyota) and that was back in 1992!

I often get offered only £20 for a brilliant underwater picture.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#36 onokai

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 01:29 AM

Time to chime in on the film naysayers. First film is the history of photograpy so before you toss all the past for the latest and greatest new dig wonder. Consider where this photo thing all came from and how long it took to evolve. That said I just got back fro a 25oo mile Indonesia liveaboard. Sorong to Bali in 28 days. That was 83 dives. The boat split the trip into 2 trips we signed on for all. There where lots of housings aboard and for a month I saw why ikeilkes are clear. One fellow had a tampax in his leaking Ike to soak up the mosture every dive. Subal was by far the best one ahead of all others on this trip except for a sea cam. The viewfinders on ALL dig housings I saw including the $1000 latest magnifier on a subal D70 could not hold a candle to my F5 sportfinder. That was what folks told me.Yes its a film camera heaven forbid and I did shoot only 83 rolls of 36 only 2988 images but hey they all blow up to clean 14 x20 prints. If your selling shots to magazines or making small prints heck you can shoot them with a point and shoot dig but until very recent digitals could not compete whith huge blow ups. Pro's in the large print field all use scanned film still. Thats wildlife -senics -ect. As John said in previos post drum scanning is still tops.Now with the d2x and cannons new line these are up to speed for large prints but thats all just very recent. So realize that your latest just bought dig will lose value just like your computer the moment you buy it.. I would not trade in my sportfinder for anything less that that huge nonmagnifided image. What you see is what you shoot.
Film is not for the gotta see it now folks. Film is for quality. film is how we got to here and this should have meaning. If you cannot grasp that your pixel may be wet.. Yes you have to wait to see the results. The world is slowly becoming all gotta have it now -right now
I too will pick up a used d2x or the like in a few years when they are pennies on the dollar as will the housings. Meanwhile I very happy with my subal and f5 with the best dam viewfinder on the planet. . Did not mean to offend but bashing film seems to disregard where your camera in your hand came from.. Dig cameras up until very recent where a cruel joke for serious photohogs.
Now if you really want to get to the meat lets talk about boiyancy control and divers especially photograhers. I saw more problems with this single issue on this trip. The push to move divers through to certify and not teach skills is more harm than good but thats another issue for another forum.
I'll try and not bash digital even though I know the media cards and readers will be obsolete within a few years. Yes film has slowed down but out I do not trhink so. Hey what happened to floppy disks & Zip drives ???. The times are a changing but film will stay around longer than your stored media will be able to be read. Mark
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#37 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 01:55 AM

There are some excellent points being made on this discussion. Seems to me like a candidate for "Best of Wetpixel" at some point.

Alex

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#38 MikeVeitch

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 02:06 AM

And when it moves over there perhaps Paul (PGK) can give each participating member a free film housing!

( ya ya ya...another boring evening for me....)

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#39 cor

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 05:07 AM

Time to chime in on the film naysayers.

I dont think it's a matter of there being naysayers. For most people digital is simply good enough. It really depends on what you mean to do with your images. There is (imho) no question that slides (and lets not forget medium/large format) are in some ways superior to anything digital can do at this point. For instance, personally I think digital can still not compete with any film type (maybe except for normal 35mm negatives) on huge blowups. I guess that also depends on your application. For me, digital is good enough, and I still use a D100. Havent seen a reason to move to a D2X yet. (thats another funny discussion, which digital is the best :P

Two interesting articles to read:

Ken Rockwell's view on film vs digital
Arizona Highways Magazine's view

My wife and I really have it good, she uses an F100, I use a D100 ;)

cor

ps: I put a tampax in my Subal housing, so that in case of a minor leak, the camera can most likely be saved.
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#40 Paul Kay

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 05:54 AM

I'll tell you what, I could quite happily thrown in a Subal F100 housing & Nikon F100 (or F80 Hsg/camera) to a purchaser of a Seacam D2X or EOS1DSMkII outfit (money where mouth is)!

But seriously, The EOS1DS (not even the mark II), and the D2X I expect, really do produce better large prints than 35mm imho - The quality obtainable is staggering and certainly for underwater use beats anything I have produced on 35mm. As far as I am concerned, and having shot Velvia for as long as it has been available, the EOS1DS produces, cleaner, sharper and tonally better images. Ok its an expensive camera, but for me it will have paid for itself in film costs well before it is worthless. After 18 months its worth about half its new price, but its saved the difference easily.

My biggest problem these days for my commercial photography topsides is that I often have to downsize files for clients to be able to view them on their own computers.

If you want another way of looking at it, I reckon the smaller format favoured by Nikon, Fuji and some Canons, has replaced 35mm, whilst the 'original' 35mm full frame format is now very close to if not as good as (and in some cases better than) medium format. I say this having shot on Rollei, Hasseblad and Contax medium format camera over the years. In my opinion we now have the equivalent of medium format in a viable to use underwater package - full frame digitals. The disconcerting part about this is that cameras like the D2X are actually so good given their sensor size and the boundaries are blurring. I'm sure that more opinions will be voiced after this!
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