35mm Question

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by LabRat87, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. LabRat87

    LabRat87 Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Location:
    WV, US
    Shooter:
    35mm
    hello, i am just now starting to work with film. and i am curious about how much 35mm film can be enlarged(how large of a print) without losing quality/ looking grainy..etc.
     
  2. karthik

    karthik Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver, B
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It depends mostly on how grainy the negative is to begin with (which in turn depends on your film, exposure, developer, developing techniques ... ). Whatever grain there is in the negative will become more prominent when you enlarge it. Then it is a (subjective) question of when the grain starts bothering you.

    I typically print on 8x10 from FP4+ and Plus-X, medium grain films. Are my prints grainier than my contact sheet - yes. But to my eyes they haven't started losing quality at that size.
     
  3. jpberger

    jpberger Member

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Location:
    Vancouver Ca
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Oh boy,

    the honest but not especially helpfull answer is that
    1 you really need to try for yourself and see what you like-- so much depends on the aesthetic you want
    and 2 if you are really worried about this you should be shooting a larger format.

    but generally up to 6x9" looks really nice and competes well with larger format negs unless you really know what to look for
    8x10 is fairly safe, but will fall apart if you have slight focus or camera shake issues.
    11x14 if you have a perfectly sharp negative (focus, tripod etc.)

    16x20 on a really good day with really sharp fine grain film (ektar tmax100 etc.)

    Sharp camera lenses help to some extent.
    a decent elarger lens helps too.

    And if you can keep people from sticking their nose in your prints than you can go as big as you want. Bring on the billboard size mural-- However the reality is that people want to get close, and a lot of smaller gallery spaces force people pretty close to the prints anyway so this idea doesn't work that well in practice.


    Personally I think many people print way to big for no good reason. Really nice small prints punch above their weight. If in doubt use a bigger mat I say.
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,926
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Like the others mention, there are a lot of variables. Generally speaking 8x10 and maybe 11x14.

    Jeff
     
  5. rcam72

    rcam72 Member

    Messages:
    104
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Location:
    Port Chester
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've never actually tried to print beyond 11x14 with 35mm Tri-X 400. I don't think I would find the increase graininess particularly pleasing. I'd have to agree with the others as far as the variables concerned, your personal taste probably being the determining factor.

    Raul
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,180
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  7. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,261
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The bigger the picture, the further away a person must be to see it. Beyond a certain size a photo becomes uncomfortable to view hand-held (this is why I like 5x7 prints) and must go onto a wall. You've then got an opportunity to place an obstacle in the way of people who want their noses to touch your print in their search for 'quality'. Hang your print above a table or a chair. I suppose people could still inspect the print using a telescope (the analogue version of 100% crops?), but it's unlikely.
     
  8. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,470
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    As others have said, it's a personal preference thing. IMHO HP5 and Tri-X are too grainy even at 8x10 (unless it's grittiness you want!), but Pan-F can go to 12x16 and still look good.
     
  9. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,454
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Like folks said, depends on your tastes and also to a large extent on how careful you are. If you treat 35mm like large format shooting off a tripod at optimum apertures with fine grain film using sharp lenses, then you can get excellent 8x10s and good 11x14s. But it will be much EASIER to get even better quality from larger negatives. If you plan to regularly print larger than 8x10 with medium format gear cheap these days I'd step up for big prints. Of course I love 4x5 but that's another learning curve, a heavier tripod (sometimes) a bigger (though cheap these days) enlarger etc.

    Different cameras for different purposes. I shoot 35mm, MF and 4x5. Each gas it's appeal.
     
  10. hpulley

    hpulley Member

    Messages:
    2,214
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Location:
    Guelph, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Depends on what you want but I often print 11x15 from 35mm. PanF+ is so grainless and sharp that it looks great! Most 100 films are also good but you can start to see the grain in them. Modern 400 film is funny, depending on how you shoot and develop some of them you'll see barely more grain than 100 films but if you push them the grain shows up. Medium format is better of course if you want less grain and better tonality and then large format is even better of course but I still find, with the right negative, 11x14 is perfectly acceptable from 35mm but some shots look better at a slightly smaller size.

    At times grain is what I want! Then I'll push and/or use Delta 3200 film which is really grainy. When a gritty look is what I want, Delta 3200 pushed in HC-110 (or even Delta 400 pushed) gives lots of beautiful grain.
     
  11. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,199
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2005
    Location:
    Los Alamos,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This question comes up a lot on APUG, and you can find many good threads about it. How big an enlargement you can make depends on a lot of things - the quality of the negative, the subject, the viewing distance, the printing technique, how steady the camera was, etc. Traditionally, 35mm was printed to 5X7, and that is still an excellent format for it. But you can almost always get a good 8X10 (roughly 8X) enlargement out of a decent negative. If the camera was on a tripod, and the exposure and development were correct, you can often get a quite decent 11X14. Going bigger is a very iffy thing. Some subjects do not depend on detail, and a bigger enlargement works well. If the print will only be viewed at a distance, or if it is used to set a mood rather than to be viewed critically, bigger enlargements work. How big? It depends on the subject and the use of the print. I've seen many good 16X20 enlargements from 35mm, but I've seen many more terrible ones. For some mood setting photos enlargements up to 6 by 9 feet are reasonable (but not very often).
     
  12. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    2,386
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's not size but viewing angle that's important.

    An 11x14 viewed at 3 feet can look fine.
    If the viewing distance is 5 feet then an enlargement of 20x24" has about the same quality to it.
    If the photo is to be mounted high in Grand Central station in New York then a print size of 18x60 feet is about right.

    But all of these will reveal the same level of detail as a hand held 5x7" print.

    I feel 20x24" made from a 35mm TechPan negative is about the limit for a print hung in the home.

    I find a 10x loupe handy when attending a photo showing -- examine an 8x10 contact print and a whole new world of detail springs from the print; examine an 11x14" made from 35mm and not much detail is revealed, mostly grain; examine a giclée (French for 'spit' - ob smiley) print and all the detail vanishes into a confusion of multicolored fly poop.
     
  13. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,620
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :D
     
  14. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

    Messages:
    874
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I only shoot 35mm and rarely print anything smaller than 8x10. Film selection is a big part of how big you can enlarge and crop as others have said. Taking two nominally 400 speed films, Tri-X at 8x10 is usually pretty grainy and about as much as I like - but it's a part of the Tri-X look. XP2 OTOH is pretty grainless at the same enlargement. I'm working on printing a roll of XP2 right now and I haven't decided yet if I like it.

    Modern color films (ektar, portra, NPS and so on), and I'll include XP2 and BW400CN here, can print very smoothly and I feel I can get away with more cropping on an 8x10 than with B&W films. Then again, I've been printing mostly color lately so that might have a lot to do with my opinion.

    I've not had any paper larger than 8.5 x 11 so I can't comment on larger sizes.
     
  15. LabRat87

    LabRat87 Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Location:
    WV, US
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for all the comments. Very helpful. Yeah, most of my shots are handheld,
    so as a few of you have said camera shake would definitely be a problem at times.

    How would the lens affect this?? I shoot either a 70-210 vivitar, 50 1:1.8 Zuiko. depending on what i'm doing.

    Thanks again, this is very helpful info. LbRt87
     
  16. hpulley

    hpulley Member

    Messages:
    2,214
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Location:
    Guelph, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The general rule is 1/focal length but others say anything slower than 1/500th is not sharp hand held while others claim that they can shoot at very slow speeds, 1/8 or 1/4 without problems. As with all things, camera shake is subjective. If you can see the effect of it in your prints then you have a problem you need to fix.

    If you notice your shots are not as sharp as you'd like and you've ruled out focusing issues and lens problems then it is likely due to camera shake. Of course there is a double edged sword as higher shutter speeds require either higher speed film or larger apertures which generally give larger grain and narrower depth of field respectively which will affect how much you can enlarge before seeing parts of the image which are not fine and sharp.
     
  17. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,470
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The 1/f "rule" is very much a rule of thumb. It will give you a no-camera-shake shot 90% of the time if you have "normal" levels of shake in your hands and use good camera-holding, breathing and release techniques. However, the shakiest people are about 2 stops shakier and the steadiest people are about 2 stops steadier than this "normal", so you need to figure out what sort of shutter speeds *you* can shoot at reliably.

    If shooting people (just standing there, not being particularly active), anything slower than 1/80 is iffy due to subject motion, even if your camera is perfectly still, e.g. on a tripod. 1/125 s kind of a minimum for really good reliability wrt people in a frame (unless the magnification is lower, e.g. a group shot or a person taking up only a small part of the frame); faster still if your lens is longer than 100mm and/or you're a caffeine addict :wink: You can get the occasional lucky shot at 1/8 to 1/15 and plenty of people will brag about those shots but it doesn't mean that shooting at those speeds regularly is the route to a high keeper rate.
     
  18. hpulley

    hpulley Member

    Messages:
    2,214
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Location:
    Guelph, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yeah and sports or racecars much higher than 1/125 unless you pan or want blurred effects.