Changeover phase


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
...Read More

Changeover phase

12 Mar 2021 8:01AM   Views : 438 Unique : 323


Last week, the weather wasn’t great, so I started excavating old negative files for my Film Friday post. And I discovered something interesting… There was a time when I owned a digital camera, but didn’t really take it very seriously. I think that was fair enough – it wasn’t until 24mp full frame cameras started to arrive that digital could really claim parity with 35mm for quality. For me, it was the Alpha 900 that resolved my doubts about digital, and gave focus that was as reliable as film, and detail that was on a par with what my Contaxes did.

Before that, it was playing, and – crucially – I didn’t put in the effort that digital needs to get things to function really well. I shot JPG files only, because a friend who earned his living from photography did the same.

(He was mistaken, but for a good reason. For a general practitioner photographer to make a living, their sales need to consist, mostly, of machine prints. This keeps the cost to the client down, while allowing the business a decent margin: hand prints cost two or three times as much, and were a premium product. Most photographers couldn’t sell that high.)

The same period as my ‘trainee’ digital time was also professionally busy. Although I’d been redundant from my last permanent job in 2004, I was pretty fully employed in the interim market all the time until 2007, and so I took a lot of pictures (high earnings meant I had disposable income to pay for models and studios) but limited leisure time, because my first two freelance gigs were down south, and I was staying away from home several nights a week. This meant that I spent a good deal of leisure time processing film, but didn’t have time to print it.


Hence half-a-dozen medium-format films of Niki Flynn, and plenty of other treasures, including pictures of Joceline at my local garage. If these seem unnaturally neat and tidy, I should emphasise that my friend Dave, who works there, is a particularly careful man. And I’ll add that a garage I used to have my car serviced at had a carpet on the workshop floor – but Geoff Keys of Geoff Keys Autos in Stone, and Fred (who did most of the mechanical stuff) were exceptional men.

I’ve found the same in my slide files as in my 120 negatives, and I’ve been pleased by the general competence of my exposure and processing. It’s easy to think of film photography as being as difficult as it seems when you do it every few weeks: one forgets the familiarity and fluency that weekly darkroom sessions gave, and the relatively-fast feedback that kept exposure in the zone (so to speak). My digital work from the same period is – shall we say – generally less competent.

Please note:
1 the name and address of the garage are available on receipt of a stamped addressed envelope and a Postal Order for five shillings; and
2 Joceline does not routinely put in a shift in the MoT bay, where these shots of her were taken.


Recent blogs by dudler

Focus scales

If you’ve been taking pictures since before autofocus arrived, you’ll be very familiar with focus scales – they are one of the primary controls on an old-school camera, and just one more of the things that you really needed to get right. With autof...

Posted: 27 Dec 2022 7:01AM

Porcelain processing

People commented on the look in my last post and it seems like a good idea to share the secrets for Christmas. I learned the technique several years ago: a model’s boyfriend told me about it, and a website that described it in detail: I tried it, l...

Posted: 23 Dec 2022 10:47AM

You develop your own films don’t you?

If you have your own darkroom, or if you use film cameras regularly, there are always a few people who mention the attic. As in ‘Grandpa’s cameras are in the attic. I don’t even know if they have film in them!’ This leads me to ask if I can have a l...

Posted: 16 Aug 2022 11:17AM

Choose your pond

There’s an old saying about being a big fish and a little pond. Do you want to be the most important person in a small organisation, or are you content being a relatively small cog in a big machine? It’s the same in photography. With relatively mo...

Posted: 3 Jun 2022 2:25PM

Graduated filters

This is for Hannah, and anyone else who has come across the casual way that a lot of togs talk about one or two types of filter that landscaper photographers use a lot: graduated filters and neutral density filters. A graduated filter is one that i...

Posted: 25 Apr 2022 12:18PM


dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
12 Mar 2021 8:15AM
I scanned these negatives at the 6400dpi resolution I usually use for 35mm film: consequently, they are nearly 17,000 pixels on the long side of the 6x7 negatives, as is my gallery upload of Harlie Wilde looking comfortable on the sofa.

To put it another way - you don't need to resize digital images before uploading.

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.