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  1. #1
    Stephen J. Collier's Avatar
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    Here's a topic for 35mm shooters

    I shot 35mm exclusively (for economic reasons alone) with a Canon "new" F-1. Over the last 6 months I have set-up a working darkroom and I am now doing all my own work. In all the photo classes that I have ever taken (beg. and inter.) we printed 8x10's, so naturally when I began my own darkroom I continued with 8x10's. But having studied much more photography on my own than I ever did in any of my photo classes, I have become accustomed to looking at a certain level of print quality that my 35mm 8x10ís donít come close to (they are not even in the same city, let alone the same ball park). I have tried different films and different developers and although there is some difference in the grain and tonality my resulting prints still lack the overall quality that I want. So the only answer that I can come up with is that 8x10 is too large to blow up 35mm negatives (of course I donít pretend that this is at all a revelation, I knew that a 35mm print will never be as nice as MF or LF, but I never minded before). Although an adequate 8x10 print can be had from a well processed 35mm neg, I feel that in my case 5x7 might be much more pleasing, so I am going to get a box and see what happens. Sorry. This is really just a rant, but I would like to know how other 35mm shooters feel about the issue and how they might have gotten around it.

    Thanks,
    Stephen
    [COLOR=DarkOliveGreen][SIZE=2]"We are not at War, we are having a nervous breakdown". Hunter S. Thompson[/SIZE][/COLOR]

  2. #2
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Don't throw out the 8x10. You get two 5x7 sheets and two test strips out of each.

    Actually, I think 5x7 from your 35mm might be closer to what you're looking for.

    Good luck!

    David

  3. #3

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    I find I can usually get clean 8x10s out of even 400 speed B&W film. Assuming you're using good lenses on the F-1 (which as far as I know is almost all of the FD line) you should be able to manage it. What might be an issue is that your enlarging lens might not be up to the task--8x enlargements are almost always doable from the film but stress crappy enlarging lenses to their limits. Accordingly, what's your enlarging lens?

    I should note I've gotten clean 11x14s from 35mm before. It's not always possible but I find I can do it from time to time.

  4. #4
    Mongo's Avatar
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    Although I can sympathize with your thoughts, there are things that an 8x10 enlargement from a 35mm negative is good for. I've been happy with a lot of the architectural shots I've done in 35mm as 8x10 prints. Also, sometimes you want to accentuate grain (for example, early morning low contrast pictures, especially with fog, can have a lot of character when shot with fast film and enlarged to 8x10).

    If you haven't read it yet, you'd be well served by reading Les McLean's "Creative Black & White Photography". I've been shooting MF and LF for quite a while, but this book really got me thinking about 35mm again (as well as creative ways to use the larger negatives), and I've done some of my best 35mm work since I read it (almost all printed at 8x10).

    5x7, by the way, is a great "standard enlargement" size for 35mm.
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  5. #5
    BruceN's Avatar
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    I notice that my 8x10 prints from 35mm negatives have improved vastly since I got better lenses for both my camera and my enlarger. Amazing how that works.

  6. #6

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    i've shot 35mm off and on with a k1000 since way back when (30+ years?). i used to shoot a ton of tri-x exposed @ 300 and processed in sprint film developer ( like d76 but metol-free ) for more than 10 years --- i never had any trouble enlarging to 11x14.

    maybe it was my subjectmatter or maybe i just never noticed i should have enlarged to a smaller size ?

    i'm not a landscape-er ( except industrial landscape ), and shoot mostly portraits of run-down buldings and people...

    while i have never really been a one film one developer kind of person --- i guess sometimes it helps to just concentrate on the bare essentials.

    good luck!

    -john
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
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  7. #7

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    Yeah, 35mm B&W won't make a good 8x10 if you're shooting landscapes or architecture. With people pictures the grain seems much less relevant. The standard size for 35mm on 8x10 paper is a 6x9 image. Slight underexposure and underdevelopment (so that you can print on a grade 3 paper as normal) will help with grain and apparent sharpness. You shouldn't try to get the same amount of shadow detail with 35mm as you might with larger formats. Unless you shoot subject matter that requires 35mm (action or low light) you might be better off buying a used medium format camera (they're pretty cheap right now) for the quality you're coming to expect.
    As an experiment, shoot some delta, acros or tmax 100 using a tripod and lens set to f8. At least then you'll know what the upper limit of 35mm quality can be. I generally enlarge 35mm to 5x7 and only rarely to 6x9.

    I think your realization about print quality is part of a natural evolution.

    After shooting a variety of formats up to 8x10, I find myself shooting 35mm about half the time, because the subject matter requires it.

  8. #8
    rogueish's Avatar
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    When printing on 8x10 paper I generally enlarge at 6x9 to preserve the ratio unless I intend to crop. I have also had no problems going to 11x14.
    Having said that, I should also mention that I have moved up to MF and now shoot 6x7.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen J. Collier
    But having studied much more photography on my own than I ever did in any of my photo classes
    I have also found this. Books,(Les McLean and Tim Rudman) experimentation, and APUG have been the biggest help to me. Although nothing beats hands on

  9. #9
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Do you see better sharpness in pictures taken at higher shutter speeds? There are plenty of photographers still going around with cherished Nikon Fs and F2s, Pentax Spotmatics,etc. but in general SLRs don't get better as they get older, since component wear can lead to higher vibration levels which wreck sharpness. Even so, any good 35 mm SLR should deliver good results with slow film and a stopped-down lens when mounted on a heavy tripod (a flimsy tripod will make matters worse).
    On the other hand, it could be that your personal standards have been raised to the point where you just don't like 35 mm any more!

  10. #10

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    Wish Elijah a happy birthday from his father for me...

    Kind of ironic this is in the Ethics and Philosophy heading...
    Last edited by WesC.Addle; 03-07-2005 at 04:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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