Railfanning with film

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David Collins
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Railfanning with film

Unread post by David Collins »

So today I got the pleasant surprise of taking home a Nikon N80 film camera from school, My photography teacher gave it to me "as-is" and I'm getting some work done to it. I just want to experiment shooting with film on this, I have a few questions about photographing on film if anyone knows the answer to them:

1. What film would you recommend for shooting trains with?
2. What's the best company for digital film scanning?
3. Should I invest in its future? Or try to sell it and see if I could get money for it, It's relatively new and in good shape.
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Saturnalia
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Re: Railfanning with film

Unread post by Saturnalia »

What's this "film" you speak of? What does it do? What is it made of? How is it possible for anything but ones and zeros to encode information?
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David Collins
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Re: Railfanning with film

Unread post by David Collins »

Saturnalia wrote:
Thu Oct 21, 2021 7:11 pm
What's this "film" you speak of? What does it do? What is it made of? How is it possible for anything but ones and zeros to encode information?
I mean film, Like photo film, like old school
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SD80MAC
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Re: Railfanning with film

Unread post by SD80MAC »

Can you even get film developed anymore?
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trnwatcher
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Re: Railfanning with film

Unread post by trnwatcher »

SD80MAC wrote:
Tue Oct 26, 2021 10:20 am
Can you even get film developed anymore?
Yes. There are a few places left in GR. Slide film is the one that is almost impossible to get developed. There are a few places in the US that still develop slide film.
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Re: Railfanning with film

Unread post by GP30M4216 »

David Collins wrote:
Thu Oct 21, 2021 4:38 pm
So today I got the pleasant surprise of taking home a Nikon N80 film camera from school, My photography teacher gave it to me "as-is" and I'm getting some work done to it. I just want to experiment shooting with film on this, I have a few questions about photographing on film if anyone knows the answer to them:

1. What film would you recommend for shooting trains with?
2. What's the best company for digital film scanning?
3. Should I invest in its future? Or try to sell it and see if I could get money for it, It's relatively new and in good shape.
That's a cool gift! I have an Nikon N65 and it's still my primary railfanning equipment - yep, I still shoot film! To answer your questions before getting too far down a side track:

1. The lower the speed, less grain the film will have, producing a higher quality image. Higher speed film will shoot in more diverse conditions (dark, dim, in a tunnel), but will be more grainy. So lower speed film will best work in more optimal conditions (outdoors, sunny or bright), but will have a higher image quality. THEREFORE, my two primary go-to films have been Fuji 200 (available from Meijer, look by the USB cards), and Kodak Ektar 100. I order this online. These are print films, not slides.

2. Contrary to popular antiquarian message board belief :wink: , there are still numerous places that can develop and scan film, including some labs in Michigan. But the convenience of 1 hour photo is mostly gone.

Image

Film developing requires patience, because you don't get instant results! I've used a few different labs, but for the past several years I've been using www.thedarkroom.com, which is in California. They have multiple levels of film scanning, you can order prints, they upload them online for a limited time, and I like the quality. It's about $25 to submit the film, develop a set of prints, have them scanned at the middle of three quality levels, and sent back to me. They charge the same amount for a 24-frame roll as they do a 36 roll, so lately I've been springing for the 36. I've also used Dwayne's Photo Lab in Kansas, and their quality is good too, but I found the color balance to be a little off more than once. TheDarkroom and Dwayne's can also process slide film, in case anyone wonders. I also tried a lab on the east coast, based in Maryland maybe, but I found their quality abysmal.

As to your #3 question, I say, go for it! Buy a package or two of film - that Fuji 200 you can get in a three pack at Meijer for only about $10-12, and see what you think. If the N80 is in pretty good shape, then there is probably a market for it among a film-aficionado group, but you should give it a shot and see what you think.

If you want to learn a bit more about all the various film types, the film index from TheDarkroom does a great job enumerating the details and comparisons: https://thedarkroom.com/film-index/

The photo below was shot on Ektar 100, which has warmer tones and slightly more saturation than the Fuji 200. This has been downsized by over 30% from the original scan, since it was too large of a file to upload here.
CC0858 X326-10 Zeeland 7-11-2020.jpg

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Re: Railfanning with film

Unread post by Dan Cluley »

https://blog.jimgrey.net/2021/09/20/whe ... veloped-2/

This blog post has a whole list of places that do developing & scanning.

The last film I shot was a couple of years ago, and had good luck with Fultone, which is the first place he mentions.

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Re: Railfanning with film

Unread post by PatAzo »

1. What film would you recommend for shooting trains with? If you want the full film experience take a photography class that include darkroom work and shoot some black & white. I think GRCC offers one.

2. What's the best company for digital film scanning? I can't say. I bought my own scanner.

3. Should I invest in its future? Or try to sell it and see if I could get money for it, It's relatively new and in good shape. If film tickles your fancy and you get into it the art maybe. Otherwise stick with digital.

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