Apps for Film Photographers: Useful or Not?

Over the last few weeks I looked at different pieces of software and hardware that work with mobile devices (i.e. smartphones and tablets) to make the lives of film photographers easier.

Today, I want to do a little recap and also ask the question: To app or not to app?

Smartphones have been around for quite a while but since the iPhone appeared on the stage mobile developers have produced a staggering number of mobile software application to cater for almost every possible need. From useful, to fun, to questionable to downright silly – there is an app for everything. In fact, most of the time there plenty of apps for a particular task. Just check how many calendars and to-do list apps are out there!

But how does using mobile devices together with film photography change the photography process – for better or worse…

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Useful Apps for Film Photographers – Part 6: Film Manufacturers

In the, for now, penultimate installment of this series on Useful Apps for Film Photographers I want to have a look at how the manufacturers of film are doing in the mobile space. As we have seen so far there are many ways that mobile apps can be useful for analogue shutter bugs. Are the emulsion makers big and small making use of that?

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Useful Apps for Film Photographers – Part 5: Bridging the Analogue/Digital Gap

When I started listing some mobile apps that are useful for film photographers I did not know that there would actually be such a lot of apps out there.
Some of them don’t require anything but your smartphone (or tablet, or similar mobile device). Others use dedicated hardware that links up to your device. In today’s post I have again a bit of both.
Today we want to look at ways to bridge the analogue/digital gap both ways.

Let’s face it. Even though many of us still shoot film, most of our images ultimately end up digitally. We share them on the internet, send them to friends, or post them on Facebook. So, what are the little helpers out there to turn analogue to digital and, wait for it, digital to analogue?
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Useful Apps for Film Photographers – Part 4: Reciprocity Failure

Last week’s blog post about incident light metering apps was not only  relevant for film photographers to be honest, but also for digital. This time I want to have another look at apps helping you with the right exposure but it’s going to be more relevant for film. I’m talking about reciprocity failure. (If you think r e c i p r o c i t y is an awe-inspiring word you should know that the German translation Schwarzschild-Effekt is even cooler!)
So what is it? In short, it means that film does not behave the same at all exposure times. At longer exposure times (usually longer than one second) films require even more exposure than calculated by your ASA/f-stop combination. So, if your light meter tells you to expose for, say, 3 seconds in reality it might be 3 seconds plus another x seconds.

Now, there is a physical law behind this, but unfortunately the effect is not the same for every film. Some films are more forgiving than others and have been optimized for long exposures. With other films though, the Schwarzschild-Effekt (I couldn’t resist) kicks in much earlier. So, what can you do?
Film manufacturers provide the details on the film data sheets that you can download for every film type (well, most film types), so that you can calculate the necessary adjustments.  In the field, however, you might not have every data sheet handy and it could  be inconvenient to consult them for your shot. Thanks to the Gods of Photography there’s an app for that!

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Useful Apps for Film Photographers – Part 3: Keeping Track of Your Film

I admit I am a bit unorganised at times and whilst I am trying to be more diligent when it comes to my photo equipment I sometimes forget which film is in which camera. Sometimes I forget to take out (or put in) that little cardboard piece from the film pack and some older cameras don’t even have a holder for it. (Yes, there is always the sello tape option which is what I currently do). And even if I do know what film is in my camera at the moment I might have forgotten all the details about a particular film when I get around to developing it weeks later. Today, I want to look at two apps and services that can help to be more organised about your films and how you used them.

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Get it before its gone: Agfa film


Ah, Agfa. Their old APX is one of my favorite b/w films. So forgiving, yet really nice. (The new stuff that’s coming out is not real Agfa. It merely comes packed in an Agfa box)
Believeinfilm has a little give-away where you can get two rolls of AGFA colour film. It’s branded as Rollei Digibase but there is Agfa inside.
Find it here:

Best of luck

Useful Apps for Film Photographers – Part 2: Incident Light Metering

A few weeks ago I already blogged about useful apps for analogue photographers. In the meantime I have discovered more digital helpers that I would like to share with you.

Let’s focus on light meters this time, incident light meters to be more precise.There is quite a range of light meter apps for iOS or Android devices. Most of them use the reflected light of an object via the built-in camera, just like the light meter in your camera would. However, once you saw how light metering is done at film sets or in fashion photography you will see that the pros hold their light meter right next to the object they want to photograph. In this case the actual light that falls on the object is measured. This is called incident light metering.

Up until now you could only do that using dedicated devices and those don’t come exactly cheap. Luxi, Lumu, and Incident Meter all promise to do this with your mobile device, yet all use different methods to do so.

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