Slides or prints?

For all the photographers out there: do you prefer to shoot slides or negative film?

Personally, I like the concept of slides (better range, less development involvement), but the end result seems like, well, a box of slides. At least with prints I have something I can easily show people.

Unless I use a digital camera, I have photos done on CDs for online/email use as well as easy storage.

I take a lot of negatives (prints) but I prefer slides. And even though I am just a “hobbiest” photographer, I’ve been told that slides are preferred amongst the pros.

To be honest, the only reason I ever did prints at all was because the prints are easier to scan and put on my website. Lately, I’ve had the photo lab make one of those Photo CDs, which is even better than scanning. I’d gotten to the point where I didn’t even get prints made at all—I just asked for the photo CD.

But I just got a really nice scanner (with transparency adapter) and finally, finally, I can scan my own negatives and slides and get decent results. (And I’ll probably an even better scanner relatively shortly.)

I think it’s time to stop taking prints and go back to negatives. They’re going to end up being scanned anyway.

Ack! I mean, go back to slides.

I prefer chromes (slides).


You get to see the whole frame as shot. Printers crop proofs.

You get to see the exact color balance as shot. Printers compensate.

Archival. Nothing beats Kodachrome for color permanance. Other chromes are very long lived, too.

Shaprness. Though there has ben major improvement in color neg films, chromes still reign as king in overall sharpness. (of course, technique and equipment can invalidate this point)

I’m used to chromes. I know my films and my films know me.

I use both in my Canon EOS300.

Photography’s been a fairly long-standing, but ‘on and off’ hobby of mine for years, and I tend to match the film type to the purpose I’m taking the photos for.

For everyday use, like ‘before and after’ shots of the garden, etc, I’ll use prints, but when I’m wanting to take a photograph which (I hope) will be good enough for framing on the wall, I’ll use slides and then take prints from that later.

It usually end up that I’ll take slide film on holiday, when I’m taking each shot a bit more seriously: “I may never get the chance to see this again for a while.”

The point made above about color balance also is important when you’re using filters. Slide processing won’t alter the color balance from what you saw through the lens; you retain more control over the eventual outcome than you would with prints.

One downside to slides is that they’re less forgiving of exposure control, so bracketing shots can become necessary - that gets expensive.

I’d probably use slides even more if I’d stumped up the cash for a scanner with the ‘transparency’ option - something I now regret, to be honest.

I shot slides solely for almost 30 years because the visual image was sharper, colors more bedazzling, and the projected image was more engrossing. Then we had our first of two kids five years ago and I have not shot any slides since–but I have shot thousands of prints. Paper is more portable and just easier for everyone to handle and enjoy–and that overcomes the inferior quality. I also have a Photo CD made now and then and alter work using Photoshop, but slides are still the ultimate.

I am currently looking through slides that are over 40 years old. (My late father shot thousands of Kodachrome slides.) They look great, and are scanning great so far. Maybe a little dirty, but Photoshop fixes that up. I regret not sticking with Kodachrome exclusively. Sure, I used it a lot, but not ALL the time. But, as others have pointed out, print film has its purposes and strengths.

Ferris, you probably already know this, but since I have been shopping around for scanners recently, I had to share: Decent scanners are getting more and more affordable! Good news! I just missed out on buying Epson’s up-and-coming scanner with transparency—I got the 2400 dpi model (can scan up to 2400, which will make files from your 35 mm transparencies that will print out 7x9" or thereabouts at 300 dpi). Next month, Epson’s coming out with the Epson Perfection 3200, which will do (you guessed it) 3200 dpi. Pretty good. And about $400 or less. (I am seriously considering keeping my 2400 dpi scanner for a spell, then sell it on eBay and get the new model. I just may!)

I take slides almost exclusively. At my Mom’s house, there’s a wall on one end of the living room where I could see my pictures as 6x8s. That’s 6 feet by 8 feet. You can’t really appreciate a picture of your pet cat until it looks big enough to eat you.

Plus, I’ve got my Dad’s old Honeywell 35mm camera; they don’t even make the right size battery for the light meter anymore. That sucker’s probably been around the world a few times. Taking slides fits the anachronistic image. They don’t make 'em like that anymore.

But most of all, I like to feel some inspiration when I take pictures. Something about prints (and digital cameras) seems perfect for point-click-“Oh, look, isn’t that cute”-write their names on the back-into the shoebox-done. It doesn’t happen often, but I occasionally do it well enough to call it an art, and I like knowing that it’s worth the trouble to do it right.

I got a call a few months ago for a survey about picture-taking and developing. “35-year-old camera” and “Kodachrome” weren’t the answers he was expecting. I’m “none of the above” and proud of it.
Oh, Geoduck, you didn’t happen to go to college about 70 miles south of Seattle, did you?

Had to share: Just scanned in—photo of a cat, (taken by my dad) circa 1961. From a Kodachrome slide. That’s 42 years old and I think it looks damned good. Had to do some Photoshop correction, but that was because the scanner gives a slight magenta cast to everything (common with this scanner). The original file scanned image was much bigger than this—like 20 megs!

Yes, I like Kodachrome (and I like my scanner!).

Once, my dad showed me some slides (taken in the '50s) from Kodachrome that was so slow—I think 15 ASA or something like that (I’ve only seen it go to 25 ASA, and I thought he said it was even slower than that). The colors were so bright and rich. The blues were unnatural, they were so saturated (but not too saturated, if you know what I mean!). They were slides taken in (guess) the High Country of Yosemite National Park, where the atmosphere is really clear. I could not believe the colors. I look forward to stumbling upon those slides one day.

That’s a cool shot! :cool: And thanks for the scanner info., all. Need to look into that some time.

Yes, the next item to be upgraded will be the scanner if prices keep coming down! I guess I got a Canon scanner 'cos I got a Canon Camera.

(Bit of a tongue-twister, that was…) :slight_smile:

Oh, and:-

sticks tongue out back at (damn good-looking) cat

Wow, thanks for the compliments on the cat photo!

Well, I am still scanning tonight, and discovered another one with the cat: another 42 year old Kodachrome slide. Notice the kitty in the middle of the two girls. I didn’t notice the cat at first! It is indeed adorable!

I cropped and reduced this image a great deal. I still fuss over color (and I’m not sure if you are seeing the same thing I see on my monitor, since monitors differ so much) but I think it looks OK. Certainly a more expert Photoshop guru could get the most out of it. I only took a few moments to do a few Photoshop basics to it.

Some of the slides are dirty (I tried to cover up some of the spots with Photoshop, but got lazy) but other than that, I think they hold up pretty well. And slides are SO compact. My dad had decades of memories stored in one chest of drawers. It’s eerie to think that he was the last person to touch some of these slides (he’s been dead for over a decade). When he took a lot of these pictures, my aunties (his sisters) bitched about “wasted time”, since he insisted we wait and pose for him, etc. But now I know they’ll sing a different tune. These photos are indeed treasures. (He’s got tons of slides from his Europe trips. I look forward to going through those!)

Sorry, got off on a tangent there. I guess what I’m saying is, you can never take too many photos! That, and Kodachrome holds up well over the decades.

Cool kitty, Yosemitechick.

Kodachrome was ASA 10 for a long time. That was pretty slow. B/W films of familiar names were slower then, too. Pan-X was ASA/ISO 25, Tri-X was 320 (250?). Every now and then, I pick up old Kodak Data Guides. Things were just as interesting then as they are now, just for different reasons.

Robot Arm, using older cameras is fun, isn’t it? You might look around for that battery. I found a replacement for PX-27’s and RM-400’s not too long ago. If I can remember it, I’ll post an address or a link in a little bit.

My camera doesn’t really show its age, except for the name over the lens and that it doesn’t have electronic anything. 35mm cameras looked pretty much the same for decades, mine just goes back farther than most.

The battery’s no real problem, either. I found one that’s the right voltage but smaller. The electrical contacts hold in place, works great.

Cute cat, yosemite. There is a definite trick to taking good cat pictures.

NoClueBoy: So, Kodachrome was ASA 10 for a long while, eh? Well, that sounds about right. That must have been the ASA of those old '50s slides that my dad showed me. All I remember is that my jaw dropped at seeing the incredible color.

Robot Arm: Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with an old camera, dammit! I have an old Olympus OM-10 that is about 22 years old. (Which is damned near sprightly compared to your camera!) I only got a new camera (a manual Vivitar) recently because I couldn’t find the Olympus (it got “put in a safe place” during a recent move).

And thanks for the compliments on the cat pictures! My dad loved cats and he definitely had a “feel” for photographing them. Another thing—he hated “automatic” anything on cameras and insisted on using a hand-held light meter. I remember on one vacation, he kept on losing / breaking / screwing up the hand-held light meters, so he’d go and hunt down a photo store in whatever town we were in, get a new light meter (and then it’d have something wrong with it, so on to another light meter in the next town, and so on…).

Sorry, another tangent. I guess I want to ask: what do y’all think of hand-held light meters? Anyone still use them?

Hand held meters, I love 'em!

When I’m out with my beat up old M-3, I carry my Gossen Pilot (Selenium cell, no batts) or my Gossen Polysix Electronic (CDS, needs batts)

For real critical stuff, like portraits or something I’ll sell, I use my Minolta Auto Meter III (GAS, I believe). Super accurate, changes from 35° to 5° and incident.

I rarely rely on my SLR’s meter except when just snap shooting. Even then, I’m constantly over riding.

Plus, I have a feel for exposure, been doing it a rather long time.

I’ve got an external light meter, but it clips on to the top of the camera body (the pentaprism). And there’s a shutter-speed dial on the meter that links into the dial on the camera and the calibrations on the meter, with an adjustment to compensate for the ASA rating of film. Hard to describe, but very clever.

The result is that it doesn’t do through-the-lens metering, you have to look at the top of the camera. But settings on the meter go straight to the camera. So you hold the camera to your chest and aim, set the f-stop and exposure, look through the viewfinder, focus and shoot.

I just did a little poking around on the web and found an interesting history of that line of cameras. It’s an Asahi Pentax (sold in the U.S. as a Honeywell Pentax) H3. Might be even older than I thought, it was introduced in 1960.

Robot, you have a wonderful camera. Smooth operating (except for a fairly clunky mirror slap), EXCELLENT shutter (top speeds within 15%, great for mechanical), hockey puck sturdiness (except for that meter, be careful), and the UM-42 screw mount for lenses giving you literally thousands of lens options (since you don’t have to worry about full aperture metering, virtually any brand, Asahi to Zeiss, will fit).

I’m glad you like it. When I taught photography, I reccomended older manual cameras. The Canon FTbQL is a great choice, too. (I also sold and repaired cameras at various different down times in business.)

You should do a web search on your name. Robot made some amazingly advanced and specialized cameras, few for the general consumer, though.

We were called “greeners” way back then.