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  1. #1
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    Show on "Ovation" with VERY large prints from 35mm???

    I saw a show on the "Ovation" channel a few weeks ago about a photographer, I forget who, and his process using 35mm gear. He printed very large prints (24"x36" or even some larger). He had to project onto the wall rather than on the enlarger base. The show went on to show the gallery opening of his exhibition that consisted on probably 40-50 photographs..
    How does one get high quality large prints from 35mm??? obviously it has been done by many photographers. Sometimes as I struggle with my L/F gear I think, "my 35mm gear sure is much easier to work with!"

    I am not trying to start one of those 35mm vs. any other format discussions so please don't take it there. I am more interested in the base question.
    Also I am not looking for step by step instructions but rather some of the basic things needed to be technically successful when trying this technique.
    Last edited by stradibarrius; 03-27-2012 at 10:54 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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  2. #2
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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    Careful printing technique, and use of the right film materials is crucial. I have printed 35mm successfully at 20x24, and had it look utterly delicious, with sharp, sandpapery grain, however it is difficult to maintain that look. A girl in my school has been printing on 40x50" sheets cut from a roll of Fomabrom FB paper, and her grain is mushy as hell, not pleasing at all. Shooting good 100 (TMX, Acros, or Delta 100) or 400 (Neopan 400, and TX, in my experience) speed film helps, and I would hesitate to attempt such an endeavor from a bad negative. I don't shoot TMY or any of the other tabular 400 speed films, just Neopan, and TX, occasionally HP5+ if I can get it cheaper.

    Make sure your enlarger is critically aligned, use a glass carrier, and a good lens (I'm leaning towards the APO versions of Componon-S or APO Rodagons, here.)

    While it is rewarding, you run out of room to maneuver very, very, quickly. I've been printing 6x6 Delta 3200 negatives at 20x20" recently, and while the grain is gorgeous, I can't imagine taking them much larger than 25x25 or so, maybe 30x30. That should be roughly equal to printing a 400ASA 35mm neg at 24x36".
    See my work at my website CHRISTOPHER LANGE PHOTOGRAPHY

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  3. #3

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    Well, 35mm stops becoming easy to work with at large print sizes. Use a tripod, and set the lens at around f4 to f8, to minimise diffraction. Use film that gives a crisp grain structure, one of my favorites was Panatomic, later T-max 100. TriX can be surprisingly nice. Make sure the paper lies flat. Use a good enlarging lens, properly setup enlarger. etc.

    Remember that it starts with a good negative, and that every step along the line from negative to finished print is vital. 16" x 24" is about the largest I've printed that I've been happy with, and not many negatives will allow that unless they have been made with care.

  4. #4
    ROL
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    Quote Originally Posted by E. von Hoegh View Post
    Well, 35mm stops becoming easy to work with at large print sizes.
    For me, printing became so much easier once I left 135 and began 120 – at any size, undoubtedly the result of more negative real estate and increased density at equivalent enlargements.



    I don't know why the issue of maximum 35mm enlargement has come up so frequently of late, but suffice to say you can enlarge to anything you want as long as you are satisfied with the printed result.

    I have never been able to enlarge 35mm 25 ISO films larger than 16"x20" to my own satisfaction, but then my tastes run to the full tonal monochrome, which may begin to "pull apart" in very distressing ways when enlarged to 20"x24" or larger. Some compositions and subjects, particularly if less tonal, consisting of simple elements and a limited range of light () will fare well to great enlargement, assuming grain is not at issue.

    To take a slight tangent and broaden the scope of the issue, digital enlargements from fine grained 35mm film can be quite nice, image quality wise. A few years ago I saw an exhibition of 1960's era Yosemite Camp 4 climbing photographs by the ubiquitous Glen Denny. His 35mm negs. were printed digitally, some as large as 36" on a dimension. I was quite impressed, not only by Denny's work, with which I was already familiar, but the hard copy digitally imaged representations and restorations, which by my traditional printing eye, were very fine indeed.

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Who? How big? If you are watching the "War Photographer" video showing James Nachtwey's negatives enlarged then I believe the printer is using an internegative. That is how I'd do it.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ROL View Post
    For me, printing became so much easier once I left 135 and began 120 – at any size, undoubtedly the result of more negative real estate and increased density at equivalent enlargements.
    Yes, the difference between 35 and 120 is huge. One of these years I'm going to get a 120 folder with a nice lens, for just this reason.

  7. #7

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    Even as small as 16x20 becomes challenging (particularly when using contrast reducing masks) due to the enlarger extension reducing light and getting down into the realm of reciprocity failure with papers like Ilfochrome.
    15 to 45 minute long exposures with enlarging lenses nearly wide open require strategies to keep paper and negatives from curling or popping, and critical focus maintained.
    Larger format internegs would be useful here, both to reduce exposure times and to keep the enlarging lens within optimal apertures for ultimate resolution.

  8. #8
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    Yes that was the one, James Nachtwey. What is an inter-negative? Sorry for the ignorance.
    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Who? How big? If you are watching the "War Photographer" video showing James Nachtwey's negatives enlarged then I believe the printer is using an internegative. That is how I'd do it.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Who? How big? If you are watching the "War Photographer" video showing James Nachtwey's negatives enlarged then I believe the printer is using an internegative. That is how I'd do it.
    Even with an interneg wouldn't the limiting factor still be the data source; the 35mm original? Perhaps the interneg, being bigger, would use e.g. 16 film grains to represent one grain of the 35mm image. This 'breaking up' of that one grain would certainly alter the image visually, perhaps in a very subtle manner, but I can't as a thought experiment see where this would improve things, except as an opportunity to effect tonal changes, etc. Perhaps it's the difference between out of focus images with sharp grain verses out of focus grain.

    Just can't figure out how it does its magic.

    s-a
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  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    The internegative is created using an enlarger lens working within a range of magnification that is optimum for that lens. In addition, the illumination available at the (internegative) film isn't outside the range where reciprocity failure kicks in.

    Then, when one enlarges the internegative, once again one uses an enlarger lens that is working within a range of magnification that is optimum for that lens. In addition, the illumination available at the paper isn't outside the range where reciprocity failure kicks in.
    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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