35mm enlarged to 11x14 is a 10X enlargment. That's pretty ridiculous. I have done a few Kodachromes that way in the darkroom, but I made a
4x5 interpositive first. The idea of making big prints from an original the size of a postage stamp is hopeless if you have expectations of decent
detail. I personally use 35mm for a completely different range of usage than big cameras, namely handheld shooting and small poetic prints.
Yeah, you can blow up anything as big as you wish - the Marlboro Man was a bad snapshot to begin with, yet has been enlarged twenty feet
across tens of thousands of times (and probably killed more people than any other photo in history, if you want to talk about historically
significant images). So it just depends on your expectations.
Great discussion folks. I'm eating this all up. Thanks.
Use a good film and you will be pleased with the results, so long as you also have good processing - but you know that. I recently acquired a Bronica GS-1, and in some ways my 35mm cannot compare even in 4x6 prints. However, I have learned part of this is due to the quality of the lenses and perhaps the fact that I use any old film in my 35mm. Also, I found I use the 35mm differently - always using small aperture and trying to make everything sharp (basically documenting a scene). If you use your 35mm like your medium format, and you have good lenses, most differences will only be seen when you enlarge a lot.
Comparing digital to film can be a problem, as they are different animals with different strengths and different aesthetics. I believe digital is more similar to positive film than print film. It may be more useful to decide what you like best in each format, just as many film users like different films for different purposes.
With film, you may notice grain - I usually don't (unless it is a decent-sized enlargement). However, I do notice the "ccd noise" of digital, where most digital users to do not.
We tend to not notice what we are used to. This will probably be apparent when you compare your 35mm to digital and to medium format - just don't let it stop you.
Well, my first roll of film came back from the lab, and the scans definitely meet my quality expectations. That is when I hit focus. I'm rust with manual focus so several shots look pretty bad, but I expect that to get better.
So I am relieved that my new FM2 is not as big a drop in quality as I had feared. Right now the only lens I have for it is the Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AIS lens. I hope to add a few more in the very near future.
I can only print up to 10x8 and at that size I don't have any quality issues from 35mm and no one I've showed my photos to has commented negatively (apart from my awful composition, perhaps).
We have one crappy P&S digi and 10x8 prints from Superia 1600 look better than 6x4 prints from the digi. I've heard there's better digital, but then, there's also ULF film and I've heard oil paintings are grain free.
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But not brush free. Can you imaging Van Gogh with no brush marks?
Originally Posted by perkeleellinen
What is crucial in 35mm work flow to get great result IMHO is that you need to be careful on very step: from choosing good lens, nice film, careful developing, checking temperature during developing, printing on great enlarger with great enlarging lens, perfect align enlarger and so on. Watching on every little step and perfecting your work will give excellent result on the end. Medium format is more forgiving (my experience from time when I was using 35mm and 6x6).
While "technically" I agree and even strive to maintain the high process standards you suggest. Heck, I believe in and even defend the use MF or LF when people say it won't work in certain situations, but one of the true joys of small camera work lies in its spontaneity.
Originally Posted by darkosaric
What I'm getting at here is that 35mm cameras can typically be grabbed, set up, pointed, and properly adjusted much more quickly than medium format cameras, that typically makes them much more forgiving when just bopping about or when unexpected opportunities arise and, if used consciously, the exposure and focus and the emotion portrayed can be "considerably better", grain and fine detail be damned get the bloody shot and sort'em out later.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
I have never printed optically but I would assume there is more to be had from 35mm if you eliminate the scan step but from my scanning experience with a Nikon Coolscan V ED I find that 35mm film detail is roughly equivalent to a 6 megapixel digital camera with better color rendition. The optics of the scanner are limiting in my case. I'm sure if I chose to get a Flextight or drum scanner I could get a bit more resolution and shadow detail but to me it would be a ridiculously huge expense for a hobby when my main method of display is a web browser. Grain is, of course, dependent upon the film. Some people are vehemently opposed to grain but I tolerate grain well and even add it to my digital photos to give them a bit of texture and "feel". Most of my scans are for web display so there is plenty of resolution in 35mm unless you really need to crop. From a print size my basic rule is to limit to 8x10 or smaller, but rules are made to be broken and I go a bit larger on occasion. I have lots of samples in my film pages if you care to look. They're scanned with the CoolScanV ED. It may give you an idea of what to expect.
Last edited by Lamar; 05-24-2013 at 08:43 AM. Click to view previous post history.
As with so many other photographic questions, the answer is "it all depends".
For street shooting, which I've done for more than 50 years, 35mm is the answer for the best quality/portability balance.
I shoot 400 ASA, I mean ISO, either Tri-X, Fuji or Ilford, soup it in Rodinal and scan and print.
I no longer wet print.
I accept the image for what it is....a quickly captured moment.
This is not fine art photography.
Any size print is acceptable, if viewed at the proper distance.
For superb quality, medium format is required, or even large format if you are trying print like Ansel Adams.
It's so much easier to work with the larger negatives than with 35mm, if ultimate print quality is your goal.
An image from a simple 6x6 Yashicamat will be superior to an image from the finest Leica or Nikon.