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  1. #1
    Poohblah's Avatar
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    big enlargements from 35mm film

    i was just wondering what you guys typically consider the limit of enlarging 35mm film. i've noticed softness on my prints starting at 8"x10", but that's what i get for examining my prints with a loupe.

  2. #2
    Thanasis's Avatar
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    It really depends on the film type, exposure and the desired effect I am after. A nice grainy image can look fantastic enlarged to even greater than 8" x 10". If you are after sharp images (which it looks like you are, given that you are examining prints with a loupe) then i probably wouldn't enlarge beyond 8"x10" but I would pay more attention to how I am shooting rather than how i am printing. With a hand held Nikon F5 with a manually focused 50mm lens at f2.8 at shutter speeds faster than 1/60 sec I have noticed softness at 8" x 10" also.
    Last edited by Thanasis; 09-06-2008 at 12:40 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Cause I felt like it, OK?

  3. #3
    Frank Szabo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poohblah View Post
    i was just wondering what you guys typically consider the limit of enlarging 35mm film. i've noticed softness on my prints starting at 8"x10", but that's what i get for examining my prints with a loupe.

    8 X 10 out of a 35mm neg/slide is about 8X enlargement - more would be ossible but the film's grain typically gets magnified too, sometimes to the point it looks like the print is made up of colored balls if it's taken far enough.

    8X10 is my perrsonal limit for 35mm, 120/220 film (Hassy) can go to 16x20 or so but remember - the film's grain is the same size and perceived grain in the final print is lower. 20X24 might be my max there. 4X5 can easily go 30X40 and 8X10 - well, the first thing you'd have to do is find an enlarger. They're few and far between anymore.

    8X10 on the 8X10 negative - that's measuring the print in feet, by the way.
    ...

    "Beer is proof that God wants us to be happy."

    Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4

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    I recently made this print

    http://www.gerryyaum.com/P4.html

    into a 20x24 print on Ilford warmtone fiber paper. I was surprised at how good it looks. I guess it depends on the quality of the negative and whether grain bothers you or not. This image was made with a Nikon F5 zoom lens and 3200 asa Tmax exposed at 800asa (I think!)
    Last edited by gerryyaum; 09-06-2008 at 02:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    dances_w_clouds's Avatar
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    I've done 11 X 14 prints out of 35mm negs and they look great. You have to look for the film you like and the film developer you use. Its all a issue of what YOU want.

  6. #6

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    nan goldin has these huge ilfordchromes made out her 35mm transparencies...helmut newton also had huge stuff made from his trix(?) 35mm negs...so it depends on the photographer and what your trying to say.

  7. #7
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    I will repeat that it depends on the style of the final shot you want and add that it also depends on the film's ISO. Obviously, the lower the ISO the larger the negative you can make without grain becoming a significant factor. That said, other elements (like transitional tones) can become a factor when pushing a negative to such an enlargement.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler View Post
    I will repeat that it depends on the style of the final shot you want and add that it also depends on the film's ISO. Obviously, the lower the ISO the larger the negative you can make without grain becoming a significant factor. That said, other elements (like transitional tones) can become a factor when pushing a negative to such an enlargement.
    That's my experience, for 35 mm you can go to 11x14 and maybe larger sometimes. 120 film of course you could go larger (I don't print much past 11x14).

    Jeff

  9. #9

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    The other factor in all this is the proper or optimum viewing distance for the size of print. If you blow up a 35 mm frame to 16x20 and look at from say, a normal reading distance, it will look soft and show lots of grain, regardless of the camera, lens, film, exposure, developer or whatever else.
    That's not to say those factors aren't important, they are, and a soft or poorly exposed negative will never look "good", big or small.

  10. #10

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    There are no limits if the enlargement matches your creative vision in the resulting print.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

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