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  1. #1

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    Full frame Printing.

    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. #2

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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. #3

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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. #4
    Dr Croubie's Avatar
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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.
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.

  5. #5
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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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. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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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.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by mporter012 View Post
    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.?
    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. #8

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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. #9

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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. #10

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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?

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