How much can a good photgraph be "blown up" ?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by stradibarrius, Sep 10, 2009.

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  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    When you print or scan your negatives and crop or enlarge, how much magnification should you images tolerate? 50%, 100%, 200%???
     
  2. Denis K

    Denis K Member

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    It depends on your intended viewing distance. For example, if you are enlarging for a billboard you can tolerate a very high magnification.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have three 35 mm color negatives, 1"x1.5" that I had professionally enlarged to 24"x36". Two of the negatives have had two prints each made by different labs. At two or three inches grain can be seen if one looks really carefully.

    Will this work for every color negative, probably not. But then not every negative is worth blowing up 24 times.

    Steve
     
  4. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    When you scan and view your shots on the computer at what percentage would you expect the image to "fall apart"?
    What I am trying to determine is how to evaluate my shots/negatives. For example if I look at a shot at at 100% crop should it still look good?
    I hope my question is making sense...I do understand that if the viewing distance is billboard distance at 2 feet the image would probably look like crap.
     
  5. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    While there may be "correct" sizes based on math or what not, I think the real answer is based solely in the eye pf the photographer. I helped print some 35mm tri-x negs to 9'x6' (yes, that is feet) and frankly, they looked amazing. Just my two cents.
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    The way I was taught to use a scanner, scanning at over 100% quickly starts destroying "image quality". I always scan at 100%, and adjust other parameters (ppi, etc.) to fine tune the actual size of the image. If I ever needed it larger, I would upsample in a dedicated program like Genuine Fractals, not when I scan. However, I have never needed to scan at more than 100% at 4,000 ppi for a desired print.

    However, I'd ask at HybridPhoto.com, not here. You will get better answers and tick off fewer people.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 10, 2009
  7. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    In general, modern emulsions can almost always take 10x enlargement. Slower and sharper films can take more.

    From a practical standpoint, much depends on the image, your technique, processing, etc. The more enlargement you use, the better your original has to be.
     
  8. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Lets see, 50% would be a one- half reduction; thats OK. 100% would be a contact print. Thats OK also. 200% would be my favorite; that is a 16x20 from an 8x10 negative :wink:

    I occasionally enlarge Minox to 16x20. That would be 4600% and it the physical limit of my equipment.
     
  9. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I don't understand your question very well Barry. I will take a guess. When I scan my negatives or slides, I hope to be able to view it at 100% and the image still looks good. Some of my images do but many don't look good at 100%. To view the whole image on my computer screen, although my monitor is 2048x1536, I have to view it at about 25 to 33%.
     
  10. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    For maintaining good detail in a good negative at a close viewing distance could go to 8-10x. I've done images where those technical quality measures are pretty useless, I have a 35mm Tri-x neg of a horse that i enlarged to around 20x30. Printed it as lith and it worked out well, but it is a lot harder, I'm sticking to medium format and up for nor s that I don't need to deal with film flatness and tiny negatives, My current favorite seems to be a Hassy, I sometimes use LF, but the hassy gets all the good shoots. I'm actually thinking about dumping my Tachihara 90 and 150mm wit a bunch of holders.

    Bottom line - MF will suit most of your work unless you shoot a lot of architectural shots then it is the movements and not the film size.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    there are a lot of factors involved ..
    so "it depends"
    you can easily enlarge with an enlarger
    or a numeric gadget and make very large images ...
     
  12. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    It depends on how big the print appears from the distance it will be viewed at.

    A print the size of the moon will look the same as an 8x10 print, when both are viewed from respective distances that make them both 'cover' the same proportion of our field of view.
     
  13. verney

    verney Member

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    One photographer once said to me that negative from his RB67 could be enlarged indefinitely. You just look bigger pictures from a greater distance.
     
  14. clayne

    clayne Member

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    How far can you move back? Anyways, it's not so simple - and by all means bigger is quite often not better.
     
  15. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Depends on what makes a print good.

    Somethings look best in small sizes and you really can't enlarge them.

    Some times all the "defects" from enlarging improve the image. Grain etc can be a positive.
     
  16. mrdarklight

    mrdarklight Member

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    As a professional graphic designer, I have to say this isn't good practice. No application can create detail in an image that is not there. Scanning a MF neg, for example, at low resolution and then blowing it up is something like taking a picture of a MF photo in 35mm and blowing it up. You should scan at the highest resolution practicable for the application you intend. If you need a higher resolution later, it's far better to rescan it at a higher resolution.
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Where did I state to try and do that? I said exactly the opposite: Do not reduce or enlarge using the percentages on the scanner. To scan at 100%, to use variations in ppi while scanning to control image size, and to use a dedicated resampling program if other changes beyond the capability of the scanner are needed are the things I suggested. I did not suggest scanning at low resolution and upsampling unless the limits of the scanner are reached (1x1.5 in. @ 4000 ppi for my particular scanner), and I never claimed that upsampling creates detail. I simply said that if you must upsample, don't do it during scanning, as there are choices that will give much better quality.

    How far a good photograph can be blown up is 100% subjective, unless criteria are listed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2009
  18. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I guess I just dont get "scanning", To me, scanning a negative involves a light table, loupe, and a negative. At that point, enlargement size is determined, and how much grain visibility is factored in. If graininess is part of the "look" I'm after, then I shoot for max enlargment. If minimal grain is desired, then I limit enlargment to where the grain is almost visable. The process is very subjective, its a matter of personal taste, and what you want to portray.
    Rick
     
  19. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I am shooting both MF and 35mm so this question is about both. Of course with all things being equal the RB67 negative will look better than the negative from my Nikon 35mm.
    Chan seem to understand my jibberish as I tried to ask the question.

    For us to communicate on this forum and share our images we have to somewhere along the line convert to digital. I am not trying to start a digital vs. analogue thing here I LOVE my film cameras. I love the experience of processing my on film and I do have an enlarger so I can print my on B&W images. But again for us to share on this forum we have to convert to digital.
    So to try and narrow my question down more, after scanning my negative at what % should I be "reasonably expect to view the image? I will ask the question on the Hybrid forum as well. But I have learned to trust the advice of my of the talented people on this forum. Sorry again for asking this question. The more I shoot film th moe I lose interest in my digital gear.
     
  20. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    For many years, Kodak had a display in Grand Central Station in New York that was called the "Colorama". This was a 18x60 FOOT backlit transparency. For most of the 40 years this was in place, the images were created using a larger format original, but there was a classic instance in the 1970's when Kodak bragged that they had used a 35mm Kodachrome transparency to create the image.

    That means that they enlarged a 1 x1.5 inch film chip to create an 18x40 foot display transparency - an enlargement of over 200X (that's 20,000%).

    As Denis points out, a critical factor that governs how much an image can be enlarged is what is the viewing distance. In the case of the Colorama, the display transparency was hung high over the main hall of Grand Central Station, so viewers were 60-80 (and that's just my guess) feet away. If they had been closer, they likely would have been able to see some image deterioration, but at that viewing distance, the granularity in the image was smoothed out to an acceptable degree.
     
  21. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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