Why is 4x6 so unsupported?
I'll probably be picking up an enlarger soon, mostly for 4x5 works, but I do have quite a few rolls of 35mm negatives from family events that I've never delivered prints from that I'd like to print. 4x6 is such a popular format in the color 1-hour world, but I'm seeing almost none for it in B&W print-at-home supplies. Seems like just Ilford, and Adorama supply paper in the size, and I'm not seeing and set frame easel in the format.
I'll just end up getting an adjustable easel and cutting down 5x7 sheets (using the trims for test strips) and get the results I want, but why the format so not available?
I use the 4x6 format to print on Ilford's postcard stock. It is an RC miltigrade paper. A local supplier here in Tucson sells it for about $18.00 a box U.S. An adjustable easel is all you need, unless you want to make one just for this format. Works great for 35mm prints.
The vast majority of 35mm frames shot are on colour negative film. Most of this film is printed on a minilab, and the paper supplied to machines is in roll for not cut sheet size.
assuming you can lay your hands on some 4x6 Ilford or whoever just grab some of that. It will be fine for what you want to do.
I guess the majority of the DIY crowd don't want to make 4x6 enlargements, I know I rarely print on smaller than 8x10 paper (sometimes the image might be smaller eg. 6x9 for full frame 35mm, but I don't chop off the extra bit). If I do do a 5x7 or wallet sized pic for someone I chop down a 8x10, which is what I do for test strips too. I generally buy 250sheet boxes of 8x10 RC paper working on the theory that is should be consistant for the whole lot. I do use the Ilford postcard stock but that's for a specific purpose.
I don't know of any standard easels that frame 4 x 6. There may be a few specialty ones around of that size.
The traditional standard paper & easel sizes are
- 2-1/2 x 3-1/2
- 3-1/2 x 5
- 4 x5
- 5 x 7, &
- 8 x 10.
Notice that 5 x 7 cut in half gives 3-1/2 x 5, which cut in half gives you 2-1/2 x 3-1/2.
8x10 cut in half gives you 5 x 8 (almost 5 x 7), which cut in half gives you 4 x 5.
4 x 6 can't be had by cutting the standard size paper in halfs or quarters, so it's a bastard size. Like 14 x 17, which is no longer popular.
Since the easels aren't common, neither are the papers!
The 4x6 size came from color processing, and why they chose that over, say, 5x7, is a mystery to me, though it was probably an economic decision. 3-1/2 x 5 used to be the standard size for color prints from 35mm. I suspect they went to 4x6 to give a sense of a much bigger print without it really using much more paper.
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I always just figured it was because it fit the aspect ratio of 35mm (rather than always cropping with 3.5 x 5).
I suspect they went to 4x6 to give a sense of a much bigger print without it really using much more paper.