typica print size from 35mm neg
what is the typical print size I can expect to get from 35mm film?
That's up to you.
I used to do 20"x16" prints off 35mm but these days won't go higher than around 10"x8". It's down to what you consider you want in terms of print quality, particualrly grain size and tonality (smoothness of tones).
I had 20" X 30" optical prints made from each film type I used to know visually how each would come out. Of course each would vary based on how good the exposure is as well as content/subject matter. Depending on film type, I can routinely make 20" X 30" prints that stand up to close-up scrutiny.
Standing up to close scrutiny is relative.
I've blown a 35mm negative up to about 18ft wide for a client, he (or rather the company) complained about the grain and lack of sharpness (the grain was sharp), to which I said well I asked for a Large format original. I was told the photographer was the best around and very professional I queried teh 35mm neg and was told it very high quality
So putting a print from a 35mm negative alongside an image shot on 5"x4" or 10"x8" at the same enlargement wouldn't need much scrutiny to see there's an enormous difference.
Close scrutiny means nothing.
Last edited by Ian Grant; 11-22-2010 at 06:42 PM. Click to view previous post history.
For me, usually 6x9 or a 7x7 crop looks really good on 8x10 paper. I routinely make 9x12 or slightly larger on 11x14 paper as well. Grain shows up at that size (400 TX) depending on the image and exposure but it is not intrusive.
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Don't underestimate the effect camera shake has on sharpness, and your ability to enlarge past 8x10.
Shots that I swore looked fine in a contact sheet or smaller print really betrayed the difference once blown up past that size. And of course, your lens quality as well as film/developer choice will factor in, too.
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Everything else being equal, larger film produces more detail - this is no secret. When I visited the Air and Space Museum, they had on display a room size print from the very high res and very large film used in the spy plane. It is awesome.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
My former company provides billboards in Las Vegas and those are very low res by comparison. However, those are clearly intended for considerable distance viewing.
Two completely different applications using completely different film sizes, subject matter and yes . . . viewing distance.
I have made 24"x36" prints from 35mm negatives, but the composition has to be worth it, the subject has to be interesting, and the photograph has to be technically good enough.
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I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
Of course, a well-executed 35mm image can go very far. There is no firm answer how far you could or should go with 35mm. Push your limits and see for yourself! It's usually moot, in my book; sometimes 35mm is the only way to get a particular image. And those of us who do LF or ULF typically do it not for detail at massive enlargement but because of the joys of contact printing.
Should it interest you how grain enters the picture, l have short blog entry on this topic. It addresses the issue of grain (and therefore also tonality, I would say) as a function of format size, in very simple terms. Too simply really, but it gives some ballpark numbers.
Many of us have fond memories of 35mm slides projected to mural sizes. I don't remember anybody ever complaining.
i think it is all personal preference ..
i have enlarged 35mm film way-bigger than 16x20