I’m Moving Back To Digital . . .

. . . Yes it’s true.

As much as I love shooting film, the simple truth is that I just don’t have the time (for the foreseeable future) to process film.

With the VW Camper Van now up and running, I’ve been visiting more places and taking more photographs than ever before. On some trips, I can come back with 4 rolls of 36 exposure 35mm film (144 exposures).

Let’s put that into context . . .

I arrive home on the Sunday. Assuming I still have the energy to process the films, I will do it that night. Now, 4 rolls processed in a 2 roll tank takes 2 x 20 minutes + 10 minutes drying the equipment after the first development. The rolls are then hung to dry overnight.

Monday evening (after work), I cut up the negatives into 6 exposure strips. That’s 6 strips per roll x 4 rolls = 24 strips. Two strips (12 exposures) are then placed in the scanner and a preview scan done. The ‘wheat’ is then sorted from the ‘chaff’, and let’s say for example that I get 4 keepers from each set of 12. The 4 shots are then scanned and saved ‘as is’. This is repeated 12 times and takes about 2-3 hours. By now I have 48 photographs and I’m ready to hit the sack.

Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are spent processing the images in Photoshop, a total of about 7-8 hours. Typically though, each negative will need the brightness and contrast altering, scratches, hairs and dust removing with the ‘healing brush’, the size and resolution reducing and finally, saving for the web – 48 times. πŸ˜€

Typically if all goes well, I can have a selection of pictures and a short write-up posted on the blog by Thursday evening.

However with digital . . .

I can download the images, process the ‘keepers’ in Photoshop and SilverEfex 2, resize and save AND have them posted on the blog that evening. If not (and really usefully), I can post the pictures and do a write-up during my lunch break the next day via my iPhone with WordPress App. πŸ™‚

So here (and with a slight tear in my eye), are a few shots from the last roll (though there are more film shots to come) :-




So the Leica M5 and lenses are up for sale on eBay and I have already bought and used it’s ‘digital’ replacement.

But that’s another story, soon . . .

Author: Kevin Shelley

Street Photography. Narrow Boat Documentaries. eBooks. Blog. Reviews cameras. Develops film.

4 thoughts on “I’m Moving Back To Digital . . .”

  1. I suffered through this as well as I was thinking of selling all my digital Nikon gear that I had used as a newspaper staffer. I thought seriously of going back to film exclusively and moving to rangefinders. I have a Yashica Electro35 GS that I have been using and I always enjoy pulling film from the can and seeing that I got something! But toss in the constant need for chemicals as well as the time to process & scan (as you mentioned) and the costs, doing film exclusively just is not feasible for me. But hanging on to pro-size DSLR bodies and f2.8 zooms (along with a 300mm f2.8) was just too much weight to carry anymore.
    So I opted for an X100S and X-E1 with the XF 1.4/35mm. My back is very thankful and I am finding this new method of shooting oddly challenging and satisfying at the same time. Here is to the remainder of my photographic life!!


  2. Of course it’s going to take you a long time if you work in half film/half digital with all the scanning and Photoshop work.
    I do film for B&W and develop and print the traditional way. I also have plenty of negatives from the days before digital.
    For colour I use digital with an X E-1 and an X-10


    1. I know what you’re saying, though for me, scanning was an inescapable part of film because of the need to post images on the blog.

      This isn’t to say that the film urge has left me for good. These last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking more and more about buying another 35mm camera. It’s probably inevitable that I will, as I’ve a total of about 110ft of FP4 and HP5 sitting in bulk loaders, marching ever onwards towards their expiry dates. Not forgetting also, a cosy and well equipped darkroom.


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