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  1. #11
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Reading David's comments above, I agree that there is something very special about the 1:1 aesthetic, especially for portraiture and still life. 8x10 is the smallest format permitting 1:1 portraiture (well, okay, there is whole plate). 1:1 is a very special capability when it comes to composition and printing. It links the subject to the perception of the photographer and to the perception of the viewer in a unique way.

    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    What kind of issues? I'm a LF noob.
    Well, my point was that with modern film, precise developing techniques, and modern lenses, the 'large format advantage' as defined in terms of detail and tonality isn't as enormous as it once was. There are many other more important advantages (such as have been enumerated here).

    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I'm confused as to why this matters; is it so you can use cheaper lenses and they will be 'wide' enough on the larger format?
    You can of course do ultrawide on much smaller formats, but the lenses will need far more correction. A relatively simple lens design on an 8x10 can deliver astonishing results over almost any field of view. Generally speaking, I prefer larger formats for wider fields of view, and smaller formats for narrower fields of view.

    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I asked this question after seeing this. Even in digital form this is very impressive, and I understand it came from a 8x10 camera.

    http://www.echonyc.com/~goldfarb/photo/imviaduct.htm
    This is not unusual with LF- it's fun to go back through some LF negs or slides and find all kinds of details that weren't noticed when the shot was taken. Here and here are examples from a simple $150 1902 wooden 5x7 (albeit with a modern 210 lens and velvia 100); these scans really aren't even pushing the resolution of the slides. Obviously, what I like about these results is the ability to relive the experience of recording them, and to find more in the scene every time I look at it. In that way the scene lives on... so it's a very special kind of photography.
    Last edited by keithwms; 08-28-2009 at 12:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  2. #12
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    Reading David's comments above, I agree that there is something very special about the 1:1 aesthetic, especially for portraiture and still life. 8x10 is the smallest format permitting 1:1 portraiture (well, okay, there is whole plate). 1:1 is a very special capability when it comes to composition and printing. It links the subject to the perception of the photographer and to the perception of the viewer in a unique way.
    This is true, but actually I was talking about the ratio of groundglass image to the print, rather than the magnification on film compared to the size of the subject. Sorry about the confusion.


    You can of course do ultrawide on much smaller formats, but the lenses will need far more correction. A relatively simple lens design on an 8x10 can deliver astonishing results over almost any field of view. Generally speaking, I prefer larger formats for wider fields of view, and smaller formats for narrower fields of view.

    This is not unusual with LF- it's fun to go back through some LF negs or slides and find all kinds of details that weren't noticed when the shot was taken. Here is an example from a simple $150 1902 wooden 5x7 (albeit with a modern 210 lens and velvia 100); this scan isn't even pushing the resolution of the slide. Obviously, what I like about these results is the ability to relive the experience of recording them, and to find more in the scene every time I look at it. In that way the scene lives on... so it's a very special kind of photography.
    I agree with this--a wider lens benefits from a larger format that can render all the information that a wide lens can take in. I first realized this when I was looking over an 8x10" contact print of an image I'd made on a market square in Tampere, Finland, and it seemed like there were at least a dozen little stories going on in that one image--some people having an animated conversation over a beer, a man on a bicycle, a woman crossing the street, a police officer, a group of tourists, etc.--all in motion at the same time.

    Now I'm finding that the swing lens camera also has this ability. The negs are weirdly sharp, because there's no falloff of resolution in the corners as there is with a flat projection. There is more information in a 6x12 Noblex photo than in a 6x12 photo made with a rollfilm back on a view camera using a lens with the same angle of view.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #13
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    I have not yet tried 10x8 but I do occasionally think about it. I have 5x4 in the form of a speed graphic and a home made camera but I don't have a 5x4 enlarger as people don't seem to be selling tyhem cheap in the UK like they appear to everywhere else.

    Therefore, if I were to go to 10x8 it would be for the ability to contact print to a decent size rather than any absolute quality of print. If (or when) I get a 5x4 enlarger, any ideas of moving to 10x8 may go away!


    Steve.

  4. #14
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    As Steve knows the British 10x8 & 5x4 formats are vastly superior to the American sized 8x10 and 4x5 versions

    Ian

  5. #15
    bill spears's Avatar
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    I've been using 5x4 for a couple of years now (Sinar F with a SA 65mm) and I have to say I haven't as yet printed a neg from it that is significantly better than anything I've done with my RB67 ... at least up to an image size of 16x20. True - your technique with med format has to be immaculate, slow film sharp developer etc. Also, when I consider the limitations with large format in setting up and being able to react quick enough to dramactically changing light, I keep asking myself why bother ? The truth is I just love the discipline and the challenge, I love the image on the groundglass and the physical size of the neg.

    Someday I'd like to go with a bigger camera for contacting printing but would probably skip 10x8 and go to a ULF

  6. #16
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill spears View Post
    I've been using 5x4 for a couple of years now (Sinar F with a SA 65mm) and I have to say I haven't as yet printed a neg from it that is significantly better than anything I've done with my RB67
    I was going to say something similar to that. I also have an RB67 and am more than happy with the quality I get from 6x7 negatives. Therefore, if I could enlarge 5x4 I'm sure I would have no reason to go to 10x8 with regard to quality.

    I do like the eccentric look which this would add though when out in public with it!


    Steve.

  7. #17

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    The reason 10/8 was ,and still is sometimes used in high end commercial work is because it is better than 5/4 ,the size of the plate is a bit of a clue, The tonal range is wider ,the information is superior and you have to know what you are doing to produce the highest quality product , to try and convince your self that anything less than 10/8 will give you the same quality is simply wishful thinking

  8. #18
    Curt's Avatar
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    I restored an older, then green, Calumet C1 with a huge bellow ext., to me, and the 8x10 negatives are a joy to print. I contacted a couple on Lodima and was blown away. I work faster in medium format and use it for travel but in the back of my mind I always wish I had a larger format. The 5x7 negative fits the bill for ease of use and a larger negative but the 8x10 there is a negative you can get your hands on. I bought a Shen Hao but I don't use it much, I think about it but for me I might as well use the RB67 for what I shoot. I have a 5x7 reducing back for the C1 but when setup why not shoot an 8x10? I have a Seneca 8x10 with the extension and a new bellows but it's not a field camera as such so it doesn't get out of its original case much.

    If I had the money I'd get an Ebony 5x7 or 8x10, it's a toss up which. I have a 5x7 enlarger so that gets a nod, if I converted it to 8x10 I'd save and get an Ebony 8x10 field camera without a doubt.

    When I saw the small prints by Paul Strand, Photographs of the Southwest, I realized that 5x7 wasn't too small for contact prints. When I see Edward Weston photographs I realize that 8x10 is an excellent contact print size. It's a good size for contact prints of all types.

    In my opinion 4x5 is great for learning and some are happy with it as a main format, no problem there, it has a secure place, I found that I prefer a larger film size, 5x7, 8x10, even 11x14 but I see myself with a 5x7 for the most part so to answer the question it's part personal taste, what you judge to be acceptable in the final print, requirements for the shoot, and economics to mention just a few. I think cameras are like a lot of things in life, you need to try them on for size and see for yourself how they fit.

    For absolute image quality, all things being similar, the larger the format the better it is going to be.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  9. #19
    Muihlinn's Avatar
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    Thinking about to compare absolute image quality is a wrong way to judge a format, there are marvels from subminiature to the biggest ULF sheet ever made regardless objective qualities which are technically desirable. Also, it's a fallacy because you'll have to compare it against something else just for reference, which will always favor one side or the other as you change what you consider the standard, despite what has been considered historically.

    If you're trying to rationalize a change to a bigger format, technical matters in those terms are the wrong way either (at least to me) because if proportions does not please you or the intended print size is below the perception of reasonable improvement, in case of enlarging, the dissapointment is guaranteed.

    my 2 cents.
    Luis Miguel Castañeda Navas
    http://imaginarymagnitude.net/

  10. #20

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    It's really all about the final product. If you are printing no bigger than 16x20 you will see no noticeable difference in a print enlarged from a 6x6 or 6x7 negative over one enlarged from 8x10 at normal viewing distance. That is taking into account using a quality MF camera and lenses. You will begin to see some differences in grain and sharpness at 20x24 but I doubt a non-photographer would notice even at that size.

    Since most people don't have the ability to enlarge 8x10 it is really about contact printing. I bought my 8x10 to print on AZO and do platinum. After AZO went away and with the increasing cost of sheet film it pretty much stayed on the shelf. Now I shoot MF, or 4x5 if I need movements and have a digital negative made for contact printing, (untill I learn to do it myself). I want to learn the wet plate process so I will keep the 8x10 for shooting tintypes and ambros.

    If your goal is 8x10 prints then of course an 8x10 contact should be superior to anything else, but that depends on the quality of the 8x10 lens. Some would argue that some MF lenses are far sharper than most 8x10 lenses. But if you are shooting anything requiring movements than 8x10 wins hands down (as long as the camera you buy has the movements you need).

    There is something to be said about using a big camera when shooting portraits. It's not the size of the sheet of film, but the physical presence of the camera that adds a certain quality to the sitting.
    Last edited by Jim Chinn; 08-28-2009 at 06:50 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
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