How big can i print a shot by a Nikon Fe2

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Langstrup, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. Langstrup

    Langstrup Member

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    Hi

    Just turning into analog and i was wondering how big a print i can make and still get it pin sharp?

    Is it the same as with megapixels, if it gets to big you can start to see the pixels?
    Thanks
    Stefan, Denmark
     
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Welcome,

    No, not the same when printed with an enlarger, no pixelization.

    Some images look great big some not so much.

    As to whether it looks sharp or not that depends on a lot of factors.

    Scanned though you get back to pixels. For questions on scanned film you might try our sister site DPUG. Hit the link at the top.
     
  3. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Treat it the same as any other 35 mm. film: Using readily available film, properly exposed, correctly developed and carefully printed on a good enlarger, you should be able to blow a negative up to 11x14 in. with little trouble. An 8x10 in. print should be no trouble and if you take the time to do the job well, you might be able to get a 16x20 in. print.

    If you are extra careful, if you use fine-grained film and if you work with due diligence it is possible to make even larger prints from a 35 mm. negative but, for the average hobbyist, 11x14 in. is about the practical limit. As always, your mileage may vary. This does assume that you are making full-frame images and not cropping in or doing extreme blow-ups.

    While it is not possible to say that film's resolution can be measured in megapixels, you can say that there is a rough parallel between film grain and digital pixels. Just as you say, if you blow a negative up too much, the film grain can become apparent. However, because film has a randomly distributed grain structure and not a Cartesian pixel structure, when you blow a film image up to the point where grain becomes visible it is often not nearly as objectionable as an over enlarged digital image.

    Some photographers expose, process and print to highlight grain. Done properly and judiciously used, accentuated grain can be quite pleasing to look at. In fact, many digital photographers will slave over their computers to simulate film grain in their images.

    In the end, it's all about the photographer's artistic vision. Some like to have "razor sharp" images. Some like grainy images. Many people do a little of each, depending on their mood.

    For a hobbyist who is just starting out, 35mm. film should be able to produce nice, sharp prints for 90% of anything you want to do. If you want extra-sharp images, consider moving up to a medium format film (e.g. 120 film which usually produces frames 6 cm. square on the negative.) If you want images so sharp you could shave with them, larger format is probably in your future. (4x5 in. or even larger.)

    For now, stick with your 35mm. Learn it and understand how it behaves. When you get more experience you can decide whether you want to move up but, for now, your equipment will probably serve you well.
     
  4. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Also depends on the intended viewing distance
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Here's my experience with 35mm using ISO100 or 400 films.

    I can enlarge all of my images to 5x7 and no visible grain
    I can enlarge just about all of my images to 8x10 without grain becoming visible and obvious.
    I can enlarge many but not all of my images to 11x14 without grain becoming annoying
    I have some images at 11x14 I was amazed how clean they are.... really, no grain and it was Tri-X!
    I have no capability to go larger but my friend blew it up to 16x20 and grain wasn't objectionable or readily visible.

    There are no pixels in film but there are grain. Similar concept but not the same. When analog photographers use faster film, we KNOW we have grain and we try to use it to our advantage. It tends to make image moodier for one. It's not seen as an annoying "problem" as most digital photographers perceive pixels. Just recently, I purposely used ISO3200 film so I can see grain and it worked out great.

    So switching of your mind and perception is necessary here.

    If you want absolutely pin sharp, crazy sharp, and no grain, try Tmax100 and enlarge it to 8x10. You'll see no grain. You can even go to 11x14 and you'll have to really try with your face up close to print to see anything. To me, that's not always desirable.

    Have fun with film. Try grabbing a few rolls of each type and try them out.
     
  6. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Some points I'd add:

    As your print size increases, your natural viewing distance increases. So a large print will look "better" at a natural viewing distance than it does right under your nose.

    Everyone has a different tolerance for grain. Personally, I don't like it. But grain is never as objectionable as the pixelization from a digital print.

    "Pin sharp" is a process that begins with lens design and manufacture, through film selection, exposure, development, and finally enlarging/printing. Your FE2, with a good lens, on a tripod can deliver "sharper" prints than almost anything digital in an equivalent format.
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    you can print 35mm bigger than 32x40 without a problem
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I shoot the slowest films possible for a given project, and use a sturdy tripod with a cable release. I have, in the past, enlarged to 30x40 with minimal grain using iso25 film. These days, I rarely print larger than 8x10, and generally 5x7 with 35mm film. I do keep a pack or two of 11x14 and 16x20 paper in my freezer for that odd time when a specific print shouts out the need for large.
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  10. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    You definitely can. But if you want it to look really good, you need a proper lens, such as Rodagon-G, G-Componon or - a taking lens!