Photographic Paper Size

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cliveh, May 18, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    35mm with its 3:2 ratio is probably the most popular format of all time. So why have paper manufacturers not make paper to the same ratio?
     
  2. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I understand that they did at one time but it didn't go over well. Which doesn't make any practical or aesthetic sense, since it is considered the golden ratio.
     
  3. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    3:2 ≠ 1.618:1
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The "Golden Ratio" (aka as the Golden Mean) is actually approximately 1:1.618 ..., not 1.5:1.

    Paper sizes are imbued with a lot of history, and vary with location - e.g. 12x16 is common in the UK.
     
  5. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    They have and still do! Given the fact that the vast majority of 35mm work is snapshots, you've got
    4x6 and 5x7. Much bigger than that and you've got a sheet of fuzz.
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    5 X 7 is not a 3:2 ratio.
     
  7. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    5x7 is close enough. Besides, the automated printers are using paper in rolls. Saunders once made
    an 8X10 easel with the frame cropped down to 35mm proportions. Seems silly to me, since most of
    us want to crop more precisely to whatever, not just to the fixed ratio.
     
  8. OzJohn

    OzJohn Member

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    Paper sizes have always been a bit messy. 5x7 is often not close enough to a 2:3 ratio which is why many pro labs and all modern automated printers like Frontiers and Noritsus can make 5x7.5 prints to get closer to that ratio. These machines can also make 6x9 prints instead of 6x8 which itself is an odd size derived from the old full plate 6.5x8.5 (I think Ilford still make full plate paper). The machines can also do 5.5x7 that is close to 4:5 ratio. To cap it all off, inkjet paper is largely made in office paper sizes like A4 and new sizes like A3+ have been introduced in that market. OzJohn
     
  9. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    In France (Europe?) 7x9.5 is a common paper size (whereas 8x10 is not). I didn't use it much since it was more of a pain to use for contact prints, but it was a nice size to print 35mm full frame.
     
  10. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    [h=2]

    It's an evil plot to drive us nuts. The only answer is to shoot slides and project them.
     
  11. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    SMHA - "35mm with its 3:2 ratio is probably the most popular format of all time. So why have paper manufacturers not make paper to the same ratio?" Popularity is not a measure of goodness or rightness, look at the results democracy has given us over the years

    35mm still format grew from two standard 35mm MP frames (in still photography called 1/2 frame or single frame) - The 35mm standard is 18x24mm which is 3:4 which is still not 5x4 ratio of paper - Oh the joys of confusion

    In reality, the only negative sizes that matter to me, and I am right about everything, are 10x8" and 5x4" and the paper fits them perfectly, so there is no problem

    John
     
  12. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Thank you both for correcting me. The bad part is I knew that and forgot. However, it is close enough that my point on aesthetic reasons still basically stands.

    I know that inkjet paper manufactures are now making 8 x 12 paper. But photographic paper has mostly stuck to 8 x 10. This leaves me wondering what size paper did Cartier-Bresson have photos printed on, as he preferred full 35mm frame.

    Speaking of aspect ratios, I recently did a 2' x 3' painting in class and it looked odd which is ironic. Maybe this has something to do with the print ratio preference. I know that many painters used canvases that were not 3:2.
     
  13. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Because paper manufacturers acknowledge that in reality, the only film size worth printing is 4x5 or 8x10 haaaaaaaa.

    But I've been wondering (since you brought up carte de visite) 11x14 and 8x10 are not so bad... You can quarter an 11x14 and get four 5x7's out with a couple test strips... and you can halve an 8x10 to a couple of 5x7's and get a couple test strips. So maybe 5x7 is the ideal size?
     
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  15. Bill Burk

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    I was reading too fast and didn't realize you made the same point
     
  16. Jerevan

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    Yes, it is. At least as a film size. But 5x7 paper negatives are nice too. :tongue:
     
  17. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    My local supplier offers Ilford MG in 140 x 89, which has an aspect ratio of 1.57. I think that traditionally the demand for large prints was from professional photographers who mostly shot medium- or large format, which have aspect ratios closer to 1.25 (5:4). I see the "golden mean" as a red herring since while it has an interesting mathematical property, I see no evidence that it is aesthetically superior to 5:4 or any other similar aspect ratio.

    One sensible aspect ratio that is not used much in photography is 1.41:1 (square root of 2), which has the advantantage that if you cut it in half with a cut midway through the long side then the two resulting sheets have the same aspect ratio as the original. This is used for the European A paper standard (A3, A4 etc). It always annoys me that if I cut a sheet of 8 x 10 in half, I end up with two 8x5s and cannot use the same crop as I would on an 8x10. Of course since 8x5 has an aspect ratio of 1.6 this may be the solution to your problem - simply buy 5:4 aspect ratio papers twice as large as you require, and cut them in half to get two sheets with an aspect ratio of 1.6.
     
  18. Mick Fagan

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    Ilford make an A4 B&W paper in 100 sheet boxes, cat No. 1770478

    This is virtually a direct proportional enlargement at a smidge over 8 times enlargement both ways, 8.75 times enlargement one way and 8.25 times enlargement the other way. Very nice prints from this size with 135 film.

    6x7 and 645 negs work virtually perfectly on 8x10" paper as well, as does the aforementioned 4"x5" sheet film, although with 4"x5" film, the actual image size on the negative, is generally 95mm by 120mm.

    Mick.
     
  19. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Have to think you are right! I'd have to contact print, but that's not a problem since it's the perfect print size already.

    My wife nixed the idea when I saw a 5x7 Graflex SLR on a popular swap stuff site...

    (p.s. I really use 11x14 paper for everything. How else can you tell what you really have on the negative?)
     
  20. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    On the Ilford photo site there is a list of the stocked producst which includes paper sizes that they make, whith many sizes only sold in some parts of the world.

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/download.asp?n=766&file=WW_MONO_PAL_MAR09.pdf

    if you see a size you would really like, you can probaly get it form a dealer in one of the areas it is sold, or in some cases your local distributor can be persuaded to get you a case or three on their next order.
     
  21. chimneyfinder

    chimneyfinder Member

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    Regional availability of desirable paper sizes is frustrating as I find 11x14to be a very convenient size to print most formats on with a fair to generous border: I don't feel cheated printing 6x6 to 10" square, 5x4 and 6x7 to @ 12x10 (or smaller), and 35mm to 12x8 (or smaller). The more common 'mid' size in the UK appears to be 9.5inx12in which I find less satisfactory, whilst 12x16 is often too large.
    Regards, Mark Walker
     
  22. ath

    ath Member

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    If you include a white border of the right size the image area becomes 2:3 on many papers.
     
  23. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Why do hot dogs come in packs of 10 and buns in 12? The sweet mysteries of life. Me I shoot 2:3 a lot and 11x14 is my regular paper. I cut it 1/2, 7x11 is close enough, or if I want something smaller I cut it in 4. I keep 8x10 rc around just for contact sheets. And why does 4x5 film come in 25 sheet boxes? (well it did do) sheet film holders hold 2 after all, most do anyway.
     
  24. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Buy a paper cutter. Cropped, at one time, meant exactly that.

    In my opinion the paper should match what the image wants, not the size of the negative. However, I will admit to being strange, if you like.
     
  25. scheimfluger_77

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    This used to drive me crazy, but now i crop my image as it demands and print on the size I'm using and not worry about it. The paper can be trimmed later during mounting. Most of my work lately is 6x6 on a Mamiya tlr and a pinhole. Some of it needs a square frame, some doesn't. I just go with it, I'm the kind of guy who would get stuck in little details like this and not produce at all if I'm not careful.
     
  26. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Another point to consider. 8x10 became the professional size print because it fit in a standard 8.5 x 11 filing cabinet. For 125 years or so that was how prints for publication or archival use were stored. Now of course we store them on a computer.

    As for myself, my favorite format is 3:4, I usually print them on 8.5x11 paper with a 1/2 inch border, that is a 7.5x10 inch image. Both my digital cameras are Olympus 4:3 format so they work perfectly for that. None of my film cameras are that, but I often crop to fit that format. Oops, I forgot, I have a Kodak 620 Duo that is 6x4.5, but I have not gotten around to respooling some film to 620 for it.

    But as I said in my previous post, ideally we should fit the crop to the image and not the image to the crop.