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  1. #1

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    35mm Black & White print size 1920s-1940s

    Does anyone know what the "standard/normal" Black& white size print produced from 35mm B&W negatives was in the 1920s to 1940s?
    Today we have 3"x5" and 4"x6" prints. The 3"x5" is a corruption I believe of the 3 1/4" x 5 1/2" "Postcard" print and the 4"x6" print is perhaps a corruption of the 4 1/4" x 6 1/2" "Cabinet" print.
    I am trying to find out if 2 1/2" x 4 1/8" / 6.35cm x 10.48cm, which is the old "Carte de Visite" size or most likely with a corrected aspect ratio it becomes 2 3/4" x 4 1/4" / 6.99cm x 10.8cm a "STANDARD" size for printing of 35mm black & white prints in the early days of 35mm photography.

    With great thanks,
    Sam Hotton
    Last edited by Samuel Hotton; 09-26-2006 at 01:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel Hotton View Post
    Does anyone know what the "standard/normal" Black& white size print produced from 35mm B&W negatives was in the 1920s to 1940s?
    Today we have 3"x5" and 4"x6" prints. The 3"x5" is a corruption I believe of the 3 1/4" x 5 1/2" "Postcard" print and the 4"x6" print is perhaps a corruption of the 4 1/4" x 6 1/2" "Cabinet" print.
    I am trying to find out if 2 1/2" x 4 1/8" / 6.35cm x 10.48cm, which is the old "Carte de Visite" size or most likely with a corrected aspect ratio it becomes 2 3/4" x 4 1/4" / 6.99cm x 10.8cm a "STANDARD" size for printing of 35mm black & white prints in the early days of 35mm photography.

    With great thanks,
    Sam Hotton
    I don't know how helpful I can be with this, but ... assuming you're referring to drugstore, etc., processing:

    The only 35mm prints I ever had done for me before the 1980s were made in 1965, and were standard Jumbo print size (I'll have to dig for some and measure them). Jumbo was the standard for rectangular prints at that time, whether 35, 120/620 or 127 ... though 116/616 Jumbo prints were somewhat larger (or at least longer).

    I seem to recall that 4x6 only showed up in, perhaps, the early 80s. Before that, 3.5x5 was the norm (and pretty close, if not identical, to the aforementioned Jumbo size). For a while they were called 4R and 3R respectively.

    I can look at some ancient processing envelopes I have and see if specific measurements are listed.

  3. #3

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    The first two Leica enlargers (1925-35) were simple boxes with a negative carrier on one end, a place to hold the paper on the other, with a fixed 65mm lens between (code names: FLEIN and FILAR). The size of prints were 2.5x3.5" and 3.5x5.5" respectively.

  4. #4
    Ole
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    The old "metric" standards were 7x10cm, 9x12cm, 10x15cm and 13x18cm. The 7x10cm was most common, judging from old family albums.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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    I have a copy of Kodak's How to Take Good Pictures from 1946 which states that standard size prints from 35mm were 2 1/2 by 3 1/2. I assume that at that time the customer could order larger sizes.

  6. #6

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    OlProfBear- Yes, yes, I do now remember the nomenclature 4R and 3R. I agree that the 4"x6" print size seems to have come about in the 80s.

    Bill Mitchell- I was not aware of the FLEIN printers! This would confirm my belief of the existance of a smaller standard print size than 3.5" x 5.5" This would possibly account for why I've heard of 6 x 9cm sized prints from 35mm in photo collections found in Europe. Do you have a FLEIN printer?

    Ole- 7 x 10cm, a size I was not familiar with! It would seem that prints ranging in size from 6 x 9cm to 7 x 10cm, would look better and provide more continuity when displayed with and along side the contact prints that were so popular with roll film cameras of the era.

    Paul Howell- Great find from 1946. That kind of confirms what I thought that a smaller size was the "Standard"

    To all; I have just been told of a Argus brand printer from 1938 that was called the "Argus Electromatic Speed printer model EFA" for making a "Standard" size print of 2 3/4" x 4 1/4" or converted to metric 6.9cm x 10.5cm. This matches up with the smaller sizes you folks mentioned.

    It would seem as though these smaller size prints with less than a 3x enlargement when exposed through a Eljy, Chema, Argus A or venerable Leitz with the older emulsions, with out a light meter, focused by guess and developed in home brewed soup would be wonderful to look at. At first this size seems small, but when you consider the number of contact prints from the 6x9cm folders such as Voigtlander and Zeiss Ikontas that many enjoy so much, I think these little jewell size prints from 35mm may really be quite pretty with the sperical abberation (Bokeh) found in the simple lenses. I shall have to give it a try with several older simple cameras.

    Sam Hotton
    Last edited by Samuel Hotton; 09-27-2006 at 10:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel Hotton View Post
    Ole- 7 x 10cm, a size I was not familiar with!
    I'll have a rummage in my stack of outdated paper - I'm sure there's some there - to find the exact size. I remember there were some decimals there somewhere, but it's getting difficult to remember after more than 30 years. 7.something times 10.2? If so, that could be 4 inches?

    Some of my first prints were on this size paper, probably due to school budgets.

    The 7x10cm size was only for paper, all the others were both film and paper. I can't remember ever having seen 6.5x9cm paper either, although I'm sure that must have existed?
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  8. #8
    DBP
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    The paper in the old Kodacraft homw developing kit in my attic is 2 1/2" by 3 1/2" which was probably a standard print size at the time, and probably closely related to the size of a 120 negative.

  9. #9
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    My first job was in the darkroom of a large photography store in 1939. Our automatic printer for 35 mm was set at approximately 3 1/2 x 5 1/2".
    There were so many differnt roll film sizes I would really have to stretch my brain to remember them. Everything larger than 828 was contact printed on Velox.
    All roll film was developed to completion in D-23 enabling us to get a usable print from essentially every frame. We had a special carrier for the enlarger to print 828 on the same paper as the 35mm.
    I think it important to note that 35mm was probably the least popular film size because it was so small, and box cameras and inexpensive folders did not take this size.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  10. #10

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    Good evening Mr. Noel, I am so pleased to hear from someone with first hand knowledge from such a shining era in photography. You bring a wonderfully solid fact to the table. 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" was a standard size for 35mm in 1939, plus the fact of it being exposed by an automatic printer . The D-23 film developer and the Velox paper is great information that confirms what I suspected.
    A few questions sir;
    1. In what city was this darkroom you worked in?
    2. Did anyone on occasion request smaller than 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" prints from 35mm as if that had been a size that had been offered perhaps in the late 1920s or early1930s?
    3. What is your favorite camera & film combination now in 2006, after 67 years of experience with silver based technology?
    With great respect,
    Mr. Noel your knowledge and experience is certainly an early Christmas present to me! Thank you.
    Sam Hotton



 

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