Full frame Printing.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by mporter012, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. mporter012

    mporter012 Subscriber

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    Just curious - when/why did it become commonplace to print to the size of 8x10, or even 5x7, when these do not correspond to the actual size of 35mm film? Why don't people print 4x6, 8x12, ect.?
     
  2. Dan Daniel

    Dan Daniel Subscriber

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    Uh... I do print 35mm film (24x36) 8x12 on 11x14 paper. And drugstore labs have been making 4x6 prints for a few decades now, yes?

    My understanding is that paper started being sold (remember, there' s a whole tradition of photography that meant/means making your own materials) when contact printing was still the norm. And until 35mm really took hold in the 60s, other ratios were more common. I also wonder about 'standard' paper sizes in the graphic arts/printing business.

    I always consider the overall paper size to be the starting point and I'll frame the image as I need. Sometimes I can cut off odd strips for test strips.
     
  3. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    Nifty 50's

    In the 1950s Nikon sold a rangefinder camera that shot a neg that was directly in proportion to 8x10 photo paper. Nobody much bought those cameras. They were all used to the full 35mm frame (actually, two horizontal frames used for movies, put together) and there seemed to be something weird about the smaller Nikon neg size. A certain size gets popular with the public and it's hard to change their minds. And all the picture/photo frames being sold fit the 8x10 dimensions.
     
  4. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    I've read a lot of reviews of digital cameras, where one reviewer "didn't like" the Canon G1X because it has an aspect ratio of 3:4 and this reviewer was used to the 2:3 of regular 35mm (and aps-c digitals).
    Then I read another review of a digital 645 back, where the reviewer loved the aspect ratio as closer to the "magical" 8x10 ratio.
    It all sounds a bit like Baby Duck Syndrome

    Each to his own I guess.
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    8x10 and 11x14 paper fit 4x5 negatives so well, that I think maybe the paper sizes came about before 35mm became popular.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Shall we confuse the situation further by talking about whole, half and quarter plate?

    Film and print sizes have been a hodge-podge for just about forever. The only "rationalization" occurred when entirely new film sizes were introduced at the same time as new mechanized printing machines.
     
  7. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I have it mind that these sizes stem back from when film was in a similar format to the paper. Think of 10"x12", 10x8 and 5"x4" A 5x4 neg was enlarged only 2x (4 times the area) to fill a 10x8 sheet of paper. Likewise the 16x12 paper we use today used to be sold in 15x12 sizes which 3x enlargement. Even the 9.5 x 12 used to be 10x12 until it was changed some years back - at least 35 or 40 if my memory serves. (It is still sold in that format by FUJI in their cut RA45 colour papers).

    Ilford actually sell their MG1V resin coated in one odd size not being 10x8 or other conventional size which is A4 and this equates almost exactly to the 35mm frame. I don't know if this is available outside the UK thought

    Apart from the 'short frame' Nikon mentioned before, there was the uniquely designed and British built Wrayflex which also had a 24x32mm frame and I seem to remember that the Swiss made Alpa Reflex also had an offering of the same format.
     
  8. momus

    momus Member

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    It's been a while since I had a drug store print, but I remember they used to make 3x5 prints for the cheapo size and they would infuriatingly crop your photo. Speaking of which, many, many years ago, the first time I had a lab do a color enlargement I asked for 8x10, not knowing at the time what I was doing. I was pretty miffed to see my image sorely cropped. No one told me before hand that I wouldn't be getting what I saw on my neg.
     
  9. momus

    momus Member

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    Bill is correct. Paper sizes were based on 4x5 negs, and they still do that even though most people shoot 35mm these days, and have for eons. Dumb.

    But no dumber than posting a reply twice on one thread! 3AM coffee needed.
     
  10. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    The desire to print 'full frame' seems to be strongest in 35mm photography. I sometimes wonder if 35mm photographers search the world for scenes that have the correct 3:2 aspect ratio for their cameras, then find the exact spot where the field of view of their lens fits the scene properly. I shoot mostly LF, at 4x5, and although my negative aspect ratio fits perfectly the 8x10 paper that I use most often, I very rarely print 'full frame' but almost always crop to get what I feel is the strongest possible image. When I shoot MF, I have square negatives, and if the square shape fits the image best, then I print a square print (on rectangular paper).

    Does it make a difference if you compose your image by lens selection and zooming when exposing the negative, or by doing the same thing on the easel of the enlarger? - As a photographer, do you stop and say 'darn, this image would be perfect with a 3:1 panoramic view, but the only camera that I have with me is my 4x5 LF so I might as well pass up on this image, or do you capture the image on film and then get what I want in the darkroom?

    Are there motorists who have a 400 mile range with the size of their cas tank who are so fixated on getting 'Full Tank Driving' that they plot their routes to be 400 miles long, even if all they need to do is buy a gallon of milk at the corner store?

    Why this obsession with full frame?
     
  11. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Paper sizes originally made to correspond to negative sizes for contact printing, not just for 4x5 but 8x10 and 11x14 as well as other sizes.
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    It works both ways, since film formats like 6x7 and 645 were basically reformatted to fit common paper proportions (downsized from things like
    6x9 and 6x6). In America, the two most standard film sizes have long been 4x5 and 8x10, with 5x7 being less common. Photofinishers who
    cranked out a lot of small amateur 35mm prints obviously used narrow rolls of paper which the machine cut off to length at the correct shape.
    I tend to work within the visual proportions of whatever camera format, though not exclusively. Usually minor cropping only. Since I mostly
    shoot 4x5 and 8x10, standard paper sizes are convenient. When I'm printing 35mm, I tend to make small prints, so the dollar waste of unexposed paper is not a significant factor for me.
     
  13. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    Never seen the logic of cropping to accommodate the paper's aspect ratio/size if the negative isn't in the same ratio, especially for square negs. I also shoot to the respective format, and can't visualize crops in the viewfinder. If I do crop, I maintain the ratio, and it's usually very minor... just to straighten up a horizon or vertical, or to nail the symmetry exactly.
     
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  15. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    Personally, the framing is determined by the camera I choose at the time. The "crop" is made when the exposure is made. From then on I want it all and don't want to cut any of it off. To accommodate the image I just print on a bigger sheet of paper and then matte it to the image.

    RR
     
  16. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I recall a couple of decades back a number of photo store chains offered 8x12 inch color prints which were nice for 35mm. Getting frames the right proportion for them was sometimes a little challenging unless one went with custom or sectional pairs. Doing my own B&W prints I'm willing to waste a little paper to print the whole negative, whatever format that happens to be.
     
  17. ROL

    ROL Member

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    So the tool dictates your "artistic" experience. How evolved. You must carry a lot of different tools with you to accommodate visions other than by a single manufacturer, if you have them.

    The beauty of the DR, enlarger, and easel is that you can make decisions such as cropping all by your little lonesome, without anyone's interference.
     
  18. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    I'd dare say that there are many Henri Cartier Bresson fans out there who are obsessed with it, hence the filed negative carriers. The image has to have this rather irregular thin black border, in order to show that no cropping was done to the original image and they print whatever they saw in the viewfinder. I find it a self imposed severe restriction that I'll never understand. There are so many times that the 3:2 aspect ratio of a 135 negative is far from ideal for the scene I photograph and I'll crop to my heart's content. There were times where a square negative was all that was needed, so I chopped a third of the image, because it was weakening the composition. So, why disregard the endless possibilities that cropping can give? By the way, I'm not suggesting sloppy composition. I try to compose the best that I can, but I refuse to let my camera's aspect ratio impose any limitations on me.
     
  19. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Cropping takes place when making the final print. If shooting slide film, then the camera does the cropping, although by making a copy slide, further cropping can take place. Artist crop when they choose what to include in the painting. In that way, making the negative may have more info than is wanted in the final result, hence it is cropped, similar to a painter. JMHO
     
  20. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    No, I dictate by making the choice of the tool. I may make the choice at home when I choose the bag of stuff I'm taking with me. Or I may choose to take a selection of tools with me, in which case I decide in front of the subject and then make my choice. No one interferes with me at any stage as I work alone (apart from the dog who often comes along). I like to use all the space available to me and not cut bits off later when making the final print. It's how I work right now, that's all. It has no greater or lesser merit than anyone else's preferences.

    RR
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2014
  21. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I probably can't explain it in a way that you would understand, and I'm OK with that. But I have to have the irregular thin black border to satisfy an irrational desire to see all there is to see. It's more like an addiction than a desirable standard. My favorite advice to those who don't like or need to see the whole frame is "save yourself, it's too late for me"...
     
  22. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    I understand and used to do the same and may even go back to including the border, sometimes very wide black borders to hint at what it was almost like to look through the viewfinder. Personally, the photograph is there for its own sake and the black border was, for me, a characteristic of photographs, just as a big fat dent in the paper all round the image is a characteristic of prints from engravings. Recently I have eschewed the black border to change the overall feel of the photograph to be one of hanging there in the "white" surroundings of the paper. The black made me feel that the image was laid on the paper. Nowadays, for now, I want it hanging there. I still make the "crop" (from the physical world) at the time of the exposure as that is, for me, part of making the photograph, that is the final decision time rather than when making the print.

    RR
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2014
  23. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    ROL,

    Brutal, but so true IMHO... My interaction with my subject dictates the framing, aspect ratio and perspective I choose to use, not my film or camera. I don't think that the world comes packaged neatly in 4x5-inch packages anymore than it comes in 24x36mm or 6x6cm or ... packages.

    Whatever tool I choose to use is under my control and all its possibilities stand open to me, including shooting full-frame, which I occasionally do :smile:

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  24. Regular Rod

    Regular Rod Member

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    Hardly brutal. More like sarcastic and oblivious of how others might think and act to make their photographs. Don't you find that if you go out with, say, a square format camera that you see your potential images in square format, or if you have your 35mm camera with you that you see them in the one to one and a half format and so on? Surely part of our work is packaging the world up into these various packages we take with us?

    Maybe the best explanation of "why" I work the way I do is that it is a continuance of the contact printing process that was how I made my first photographs? Who knows? Who cares? Does it matter? The final result is the only thing that matters.

    RR
     
  25. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I also like printing full bleed, or using an unmasked large format glass carrier to print not only the edge of the film, but to black out the entire sheet of paper aside from the image. Suits certain images really, really well.
     
  26. Maris

    Maris Member

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    The black border around a full frame photograph has been called a verification border. The photographer includes it to signify that they take full responsibility for everything the lens laid on the film. It's either a boast or an affirmation depending on how you want to take it.