Best colour negative film for enlargement

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by razocaine_07, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. razocaine_07

    razocaine_07 Member

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    I've recently been commissioned to produce a series of images for my city library, the biggest images will be printed to approximately 10ft x 10ft

    At the moment I am toying between using Kodak Ektar 100 and Fuji Reala 100 and was wondering if anyone could share their experience when enlarging to large sizes from a 120 negative.

    The subject matter is going to be local landmarks, with no portraits
     
  2. waileong

    waileong Member

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    Use large format.

    Between the two, I prefer Reala.
     
  3. razocaine_07

    razocaine_07 Member

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    Unfortunately the budget won't cover LF although that would be ideal.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. jspillane

    jspillane Member

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    I believe Ektar is capable of rendering greater detail, if exposed and developed properly. Colors are more of a personal preference thing, and I wouldn't choose Ektar for portraits, but for architecture I think it is great.
    Are these going to be optical enlargements or scan/prints? Because if the latter, to get great resolution you'll need to use a drum scanner-- at that point I would suspect the price gets close enough that LF should be achievable.

    That being said, I think 120 can reach very high enlargements if treated correctly. I was blown away when I found out Candida Hofer mostly uses MF. If detail is a must and you are locked in MF, you might consider using high-resolution B&W for the really large prints, and optical enlargement if possible. If you are really pushing a format like that, every detail (film, developer, taking lens, enlarging lens) is going to come into play though.

    Just want to add, I have zero experience making mega-sized prints, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt! I am sure stronger minds will be able to chime in here.
     
  5. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    It sounds like a fun project - and a bit of a challenge to print MF that big.

    My only suggestion would be not to put all your eggs in the same basket.

    Meaning that you should use more than one type of film, to give you more options in the end.

    Would it be an option to use positive film?
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I would think that Kodak Ektar is your best bet but 10ft square prints are a big ask, where do you intend to have the negatives printed ?, because I suggest you find a lab that specializes in this type of work because I think they are printed in sections, I would have some talks with them to discuss the project, your requirements and their recommendations, and get a costing to see if it would be a financially viable commercial proposition for you to shoot
     
  7. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    Yes. Figure out what the printer wants to work with. I would guess if you can afford a 10ft print, you can afford a drum scan.
     
  8. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Ektar 100. Try to use a Mamiya 7 if you can, it will offer the sharpest negs.
     
  9. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    I suggest you figure out how the prints will be made before you spend a lot of time worrying about the film type and size. Most of such prints I've seen were produced on large scale inkjet printers used to produce biilboards.
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    If you use Ektar sheet film in 8x10 then it's should be just fine.
     
  11. omaha

    omaha Member

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    Interesting project.

    Showing some ignorance on my part here....but is there even a such thing as an analog enlargement that size? How would one go about doing something like that?
     
  12. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    It would be produced in panels regardless of origin of output. I have had shots of mine used commercially much larger, 20x30 feet, always in panels.

    If that is an RZ in his sig, then Ektar 100 drum scanned should hold up well although I would rent a 4x5 since a D800 stitched would easily overtake the 6x7 scan. Ideally for maximum impact, that file needs to be 24,000 pixels across to hold a clean 200dpi.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2014
  13. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    Let me repeat: The first thing you need to do is establish what output technology will be used to produce the large images. There is no point in shooting for 200 ppi when the printing technology used can only support 72ppi.
     
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  15. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    No need to repeat, he has not said, so why not give him the info to help guide his client to what is possible? Sure, if it is 72ppi then there is no need to produce a 1GB file, I just gave him a case in which I use higher...
     
  16. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    If there's budget for 10 foot prints, there's budget for large format. You can buy Ektar sheets pretty easily, it's the cheapest colour LF film there is!

    Ektar is very much higher resolution than Reala and is more contrasty and saturated. Reala is much more neutral looking, it makes good portraits. If you're printing hybrid, the Ektar can be tamed, or you might not want to.
     
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    My first reaction is that large format, not medium format, is a requisite. From 4x5, the maximum visual clarity (proportional) enlargement is 1.6m (W) x 2m (H), untiled. Sheet film is definitely preferable above this e.g. for 8x10++ especially if the brief calls for an enlargement of 3.04m (10ft). The negative will also require a very high resolving scan (drum scan, possibly separate contiguous files) for the best result; again, only ULF or digital can get close to this. I don't see how you are going to do this with MF other than repeatedly tiling the image (tedious and costly to do for pro-level labs, but this is still very common with murals) and manual reassembly in-situ.

    Prof. Pixel: Print technology supports upward of 300ppi. Where did you get that 72ppi from??
     
  18. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Depends on the shot
    If it is impact and movement then blur and 35mm is ok.
    If it should be sharp you need a solid tripod or support.
    If it is on a bill board who cares about people who graze noses on matt surface...
     
  19. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I think this pretty much sums up what I was going to say. We can calculate dpi and pixels and grain and enlargement factors all we want, but it all depends on how 'good' is 'good enough'.
    10' prints where you're going to be looking at it from 1' away? Then you definitely need the best quality you can get, 300dpi or whatever equivalent grain-enlargement-factor.
    But if you're only going to see them from 5m away or more hung high up on a wall, then you could probably get away with 35mm or even a camera-phone...
     
  20. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Member

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    In the movie industry, they produce images from 35mm size that are printed onto a plastic type paper that can be hung and stretched flat. They are very cheap, a 60x70 foot print only costs $2,00-$3,000 which is truly reasonable. So it's do-able even with medium format, just depends what you hope to accomplish.

    Based on what everyone said, do you have more info to share about budget and display area?
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i would contact your printer and ask him / her what their opinion and experience is.
    sounds like a fun project ... and it can probably be done with any format and any film ..
    as long as you give your printer what they need to make the prints ..
    with excessively large prints its important to remember that
    viewing distance is everything, else even the best of images will
    end up looking like a monet painted it ...

    have fun ..

    john
     
  22. omaha

    omaha Member

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    I'm pretty sure there are banner printers more than wide enough to print this in one shot. 10ft really isn't that big.

    Count me among those with the opinion that just about any source media will work here, depending on the desired result.

    Some years ago, I took a photo with my 6MP D70 that ended up being used on a billboard. I don't know how big the print was, but it was certainly way bigger than 10'x10' and it looked fabulous....from the road below. I never saw it up close, but I'm sure it was massively pixelated. No matter. From a reasonable viewing distance it looked just fine.

    Nothing wrong with shooting an 8x10 negative and getting a zillion MP drum scan. If the objective is to have some crazy high resolution where people can walk up to the print and read the waist size off the back of a distant subject's Levis, then something like this is the tool for the job.
     
  23. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Subscriber

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    Zeiss camera lens news no. 19 (March 2003) has an article titled "Resolving Power of Photographic Films" which reports the tested resolution (lp/mm) of some films.

    For example Kodak Portra 160 VC/NC is listed near the top of the CN films with 150 (VC) and 140 (NC) lpmm. I expect the current (2011) Portra 160 should be similar.

    I remember there was a follow-up article in Camera Lens News with test results for additional films but don't have the reference handy.

    Andrew

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2014
  24. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Yes, there absolutely are. I'm in the graphic arts industry and saw this in a trade magazine the other day.

    http://w3.efi.com/Vutek/Products/GS5000r

    That beast will do about 16 feet across and nearly endless width since its rollfed. UV cured too so it can print at high speeds....man I'm working for the wrong company....
     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    That does not tell the whole story. The only important thing is the largest scale the images would be looked at finally.


    It is a huge difference whether one could put ones nose to them or if one stands off that far that they impress as a print at hand of 10"x10".
     
  26. nateo200

    nateo200 Member

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    So far I only have experience with Ektar 100 in 35mm but I've shot about 20 rolls of it so I'll go ahead and give my .02cents. I have some shots of Ektar 100 that are cleaner looking than digital when examined on my computer with scans of equal res, its not the norm but its possible, the stuff is scary fine grain. Was my first roll of 35mm film I used and 8x10's of 35mm Ektar 100 look as clean as my digital shots when printed. Portra 400 is also very impressive, it looks better than most consumer 200 speed film allot of the time, so if you needed 400 ISO stuff it'd be a good choice. Reala is also a good choice, although I have not shot it myself, only seen negs and scans. The other day I was entertaining the thought of renting large format and looked into 4x5 Ektar 100 and it was remarkably cheaper than stuff like Velvia and Provia and honestly Ektar 100 is right on par with Velvia and Provia (don't shoot me chrome fans!), of course you don't get lovely chrome positives to look at on a light table but for optical printing and high res scans I really think its the best Color Negative film if you need that E100VS or Velvia look. For large prints viewing distance is key though, I honestly wouldn't worry about going insane with large format and the best resolving film if the average viewer is a more than a dozen feet away, I'm a resolution Nazi but I'm also a realist.