48" from what size negative?
48" from what size negative?
I suppose I'm spoiled.
Nikkors vary in quality depending upon the specific design. The longer large format focal lengths tend
to be universally good, but for 35mm and MF applications they offered budget versions too. Oddly,
I found that the 75/4 is excellent for 35mm use, using only the center of the field, though it would
be a rather poor performer for the 6x6 application it is officially marketed for. And it does have a bit
of focus shift the first stop down (so I always critical focus one stop down). Their better model for
actual 6x6 use is 5.6, with more elements. And among their intended 35mm products, the 63 is allegedly better than their 50's. But I only tangle with such things for casual work. Normally I reach
for my Apo Rodagon or Apo Nikkors.
Twenty feet wide from 35mm used to be quite common. It's called a billboard. And if you believe all
that "correct viewing distance" nonsense, it doe indeed look agreeably sharp from four-hundred yards away!
Of course using such a lens for very large enlargements is impractical as the head would have to be very high above the paper to get anything larger than a 16x20, right?
In pre-inkjet days there was a franchise that made huge enlargements from small amateur film at very reasonable cost called Bigshots, if I recall correctly. They attached a box-like tower to the side
of the building reminiscent of a grain silo to get the necessary vertical distance in a small lease space. The better pro labs simply used a big floor space and horizontal enlarger on tracks, since they
had to accommodate a variety of films, including large format pro sheet film. Most enlarger lenses are
not intended for significant magnifications. A notable exception would be the Rodagon G.
I may work from 35 or 6x7... the project I'm obsessing over is likely more about "feel" than technical perfection. Of course, I may find that "feel" requires absolute perfection in printing. Right now, test images shot 35 with pushed HP5+ are pointing me towards some mild diffusion and low DOF; I really love how grain becomes sort of a "paper texture" when there's that many soft gradations, and it's something I worked on extensively in color, multiple exposures with 320T 35mm pushed up to 3 stops - a simply luscious look which I'd then dupe to 8x10 Velvia for client presentation. RIP 320T, I truly adored you. I have ONE roll in the freezer...
As far as commercial shooting goes, I came up in the film world and shot some cool projects and major brands and got a good rep amongst the shooters in my market as a guy who could light - all that to say, I'm not a newbie to this stuff overall, but this is the first time I've really explored rating B&W negs for personal development, the zone system, etc - commercial stuff was much more about accurate product colors, clean whites, etc., with a personal style and working quickly. So there is some newbie-ism for me (and how cool, learning huge new things after all these years).
Anyway - I'm somewhat influenced by Jan Saudek, but less of his "humor", not sharp/clean/clear, a little more amorphous. B&W on large emulsion canvas, hand colored and likely distressed all to hell as well. I'm slowly working my way larger, heading for 20x24 this month. I'm a little torn between a sort of hyper-real, exaggerated perspective of some of the european surrealist painters to a more ghostly, dirty look.
My plan, for those interested, for going really big: enlarger on a raised platform with a 4-way level-able base. A very large exposing and developing "tray", maybe 8" deep, on wheeled platform with 4-way leveling screws as well - some sort of 5-gallon valved wet supply through an inlet baffle, and a 4" quick-drain to 5 gallon buckets, and a wash drain for water. Test prints of the full image at 16x20 to plan dodging/burning, then full-size test sections on large segments of test materials dev'd in 20x24 trays, then finally a full sized take. If I go a little dilute with the developer, I should be OK with draining a tray quickly. Selenium toning if I need more blacks.
I live in a duplex where we converted it to one big house - my studio/office is the upstairs living and dining. For now there's a 20x15 kitchen upstairs that was just storage and the fridge and appliances removed. It's turning into a pretty killer darkroom space (if ugly) and someday will be gutted into a master bath, so running drains and supply (I have all the PEX tools - that stuff is just awesome!!!) and punching holes in walls and blacking out the windows - the wife is like "whatever, can I pose for your nekkid photo project soon?" I have a really wonderful wife!
Reminds me a lot of what Ken Rosenthal has done. I would love to see a different interpretation.