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Thread: 35mm Question

  1. #1

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    35mm Question

    hello, i am just now starting to work with film. and i am curious about how much 35mm film can be enlarged(how large of a print) without losing quality/ looking grainy..etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat87 View Post
    ... how much 35mm film can be enlarged(how large of a print) without losing quality/ looking grainy..etc.
    It depends mostly on how grainy the negative is to begin with (which in turn depends on your film, exposure, developer, developing techniques ... ). Whatever grain there is in the negative will become more prominent when you enlarge it. Then it is a (subjective) question of when the grain starts bothering you.

    I typically print on 8x10 from FP4+ and Plus-X, medium grain films. Are my prints grainier than my contact sheet - yes. But to my eyes they haven't started losing quality at that size.

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    Oh boy,

    the honest but not especially helpfull answer is that
    1 you really need to try for yourself and see what you like-- so much depends on the aesthetic you want
    and 2 if you are really worried about this you should be shooting a larger format.

    but generally up to 6x9" looks really nice and competes well with larger format negs unless you really know what to look for
    8x10 is fairly safe, but will fall apart if you have slight focus or camera shake issues.
    11x14 if you have a perfectly sharp negative (focus, tripod etc.)

    16x20 on a really good day with really sharp fine grain film (ektar tmax100 etc.)

    Sharp camera lenses help to some extent.
    a decent elarger lens helps too.

    And if you can keep people from sticking their nose in your prints than you can go as big as you want. Bring on the billboard size mural-- However the reality is that people want to get close, and a lot of smaller gallery spaces force people pretty close to the prints anyway so this idea doesn't work that well in practice.


    Personally I think many people print way to big for no good reason. Really nice small prints punch above their weight. If in doubt use a bigger mat I say.

  4. #4

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    Like the others mention, there are a lot of variables. Generally speaking 8x10 and maybe 11x14.

    Jeff

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    I've never actually tried to print beyond 11x14 with 35mm Tri-X 400. I don't think I would find the increase graininess particularly pleasing. I'd have to agree with the others as far as the variables concerned, your personal taste probably being the determining factor.

    Raul

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    The OP should feel in good company, because this has been the subject of numerous previous APUG threads. As an example:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum52/2...-blown-up.html

    If the negative is good, 11 x 14 isn't a stretch at all.
    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

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    The bigger the picture, the further away a person must be to see it. Beyond a certain size a photo becomes uncomfortable to view hand-held (this is why I like 5x7 prints) and must go onto a wall. You've then got an opportunity to place an obstacle in the way of people who want their noses to touch your print in their search for 'quality'. Hang your print above a table or a chair. I suppose people could still inspect the print using a telescope (the analogue version of 100% crops?), but it's unlikely.
    Steve.

  8. #8
    polyglot's Avatar
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    As others have said, it's a personal preference thing. IMHO HP5 and Tri-X are too grainy even at 8x10 (unless it's grittiness you want!), but Pan-F can go to 12x16 and still look good.

  9. #9
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    Like folks said, depends on your tastes and also to a large extent on how careful you are. If you treat 35mm like large format shooting off a tripod at optimum apertures with fine grain film using sharp lenses, then you can get excellent 8x10s and good 11x14s. But it will be much EASIER to get even better quality from larger negatives. If you plan to regularly print larger than 8x10 with medium format gear cheap these days I'd step up for big prints. Of course I love 4x5 but that's another learning curve, a heavier tripod (sometimes) a bigger (though cheap these days) enlarger etc.

    Different cameras for different purposes. I shoot 35mm, MF and 4x5. Each gas it's appeal.

  10. #10
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    Depends on what you want but I often print 11x15 from 35mm. PanF+ is so grainless and sharp that it looks great! Most 100 films are also good but you can start to see the grain in them. Modern 400 film is funny, depending on how you shoot and develop some of them you'll see barely more grain than 100 films but if you push them the grain shows up. Medium format is better of course if you want less grain and better tonality and then large format is even better of course but I still find, with the right negative, 11x14 is perfectly acceptable from 35mm but some shots look better at a slightly smaller size.

    At times grain is what I want! Then I'll push and/or use Delta 3200 film which is really grainy. When a gritty look is what I want, Delta 3200 pushed in HC-110 (or even Delta 400 pushed) gives lots of beautiful grain.
    Harry Pulley - Visit the BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE FORUM

    Happiness is...

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