I often wonder if we could capture all the energy people use to focus upon technical aspects of photography: sharpness, grain, tonality. If we captured this energy and diverted into artistic aspects such as mood, feeling, perhaps even the central message of the picture. I wonder what type of photography would be the outcome.
This is why it's important to master the craft, that then gives you the freedom to explore the artistic and creative aspects.
I agree that it is very easy to OVER examine the image for technical perfection at the loss of the reason for taking the photograph.
Ian your point is exactly why I am exploring this subject. As I grow my knowledge base about photography I will be able to create MY vision.
I appreciate the type of responses that I typically get at APUG.
I was afraid that asking this question was going to draw a lot of negative comments but it is obvious from the responses that everyone understood the the question.
Part of growing for me is knowing when to use which camera. I have some professional grade 35mm gear as well as 645 and 6x7.
Ralph Gibson says that he exclusively uses a Leica and Tri-X. At this particular moment I love his grainy high contrast results.
For more than 40 years the Kodak Coloramas were displayed in New York's Grand Central Terminal. They were usually shot with equipment from an 8x20 Deardorff down to 120 size. At least one was shot with a 35mm SLR. These transilluminated images measured 18x60 FEET, not inches. However, viewing distance was also great.
So far the largest print I made from 35mm was 20x30". The details: neg shot with a 20mm manual Nikkor on an overcast day at f5.6-8, Agfa APX100 developed in XTOL 1:1 with minimal agitation in a stainless steel tank, diffusion enlarger, Rodagon-G 105mm at f5.6, EMAKS grade 2 developed in Ilford PQ. Turned out gorgeous.
It depends on the negative, the subject, the display environment, and the use. I think that 35mm print generally look best as 5x7s. You can almost always get a good 8X10 (or 8X12) from a 35mm negative if you have a decent negative. Fairly often, but not very often, you can go larger. Use of a tripod is generally required for anything over 8X10 (and often for 8X10). Some subjects tolerate grain and some unsharpness better than others, so you can print those bigger. If the print is to be viewed from a sizable distance or if it is used simply to set the mood and is not viewed critically, you can also go larger.
Whenever a question like this comes up the monster Grain becomes the elephant in the room. What many people do not realize is that grain can give the illusion of sharpness when there really is none.
There are many factors involved in making a saltisfactory print and negative size is only one of them. What is often ignored is the print making portion of the process. Without a good stable enlarger and a really high quality enlarging lens it is impossible to make a good print even from the best negative.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
North America just north of that sharp right turn North America makes on the Atlantic coast.
Isn't motion picture film 35mm film?
"Would you like it if someone that painted in oils told you that you were not making portraits because you were using a camera?"
"Shouldn't it be more about the joy of producing and viewing the photo than what you paid for the camera?"
Yes, but the image size is actually smaller than in still cameras. The long dimension of each frame is across the film - about 22mm for "Academy" format. The depth of each frame is 16mm.
Much of the sharpness and detail we see in a movie theatre presentation comes from the combination of the information storage capacity of the medium combined with our brain's ability to track and combine multiple, sequential images.
Oh, and in response to the OP's question, I've been quite happy with 11x14 prints from some 35mm negatives.
I expect as well that I and others who do our own printing are much more bothered by the limitations of the smaller 35mm negative than many of those who have never struggled with a negative that is too grainy.
Last edited by MattKing; 11-23-2010 at 12:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.
“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
Having read this far, you will realise that there is no such thing as a typical image size, or even typical photographic discussions. If grain bothers you at 16x12, try a staining developer, or a technical film (I still have some Kodak Technical Pan, which pretty much has resolution - developed in Technidol - that most lenses won't reach), now by Rollei. In short enlargement is a matter of preference and logistics.