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  1. #1

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    How big can a 35mm print be blown up...?

    Hallo,


    How big can a print be blown up to without losing too much in the grain?

    Assuming that the camera lens and enlarger lens are of good quality, one has a fast/slow film and that effect wanted is defined by clarity and not grain the size of golf balls.....

    Again, very curious and most grateful for any input.

    M.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by melmoth
    How big can a print be blown up to without losing too much in the grain?
    Slow film is one thing.

    Otherwise the developer should be chosen carefully. Some devs can bring you very small grain and some will bring you evident grain (Rodinal brings grain, but that is nice grain IMHO).

    Finally the question is very difficult to answer as you and I may have different opinions on how much "too much" is.

    But with a 100 ISO film and Rodinal I produce 18x24 cm prints that has fairly discrete grain. So with a slower film (or lower rating) and a developer suited for fine grain you can make prints up to at least 8x10 without having to worry too much...but then...with 35 mm you have to live with a rather large amount of magnification. If you hunt invisible grain in large prints you have to go at least up to MF.

    I live the grain (and love them ) as I like my 35 mm equipment and don't think that buying MF would make my photos any better at the stage of learning I am at.

    Greetings Morten

  3. #3

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    Blown Up

    All depends on how much explosives you use. HA!

    Now if you want to enlarge an image, depending on the process you use, the size can be very large.

    The key is your viewing distance. Too many people get too close to very large prints, and then complain about grain. Very large prints are meant to be viewed at a normal, comfortable distance that you'd experience from visiting a museum or gallery or someone's home.

    To judge a 20x24 print like a 5x7 by inspecting it from only inches away is not that way you'd enjoy the image once it is on your wall.

    I have a friend whose commercial work enlarged from a 35 mm image to a billboard was display in London, and it look wonderful from street level, but don't get within 5 feet of it because you'd see the halftone process.

  4. #4
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    I've seen 16x20" prints made from 35mm negatives - they were grainy, but the grain was an inherent part of the image and didn't detract from anything.

    But the extreme was that years ago when Kodak had the large backlit billboard display in Grand Central Station in New York, there were a couple of notable instances in which the enlargement originated from a 35mm Kodachrome slide.

  5. #5
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    M. I've enlarged 35mm (portrait) prints (photographed with Nikon gear on Agfa APX400 and dev'd in Xtol) to 20"x30" + toning, and have been very happy with the results. Even close up the grain is very acceptable although as already mentioned, larger prints are made for viewing from further away. Personally I prefer smaller, more intimate prints.

  6. #6

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    It depends on a lot of things. The grain of the film is only one limitation. Most of the time, the inherent sharpness of the negative limits more than the grain of the film. I've pulled tiny sections of 35mm Tri-X negatives shot at an EI of 1600 and made very sharp prints. I've had 35mm Kodachrome slides done by a custom lab and printed to 16x20 that were too soft. As mentioned previously, billboard size prints and wall murals have been made from 35mm original negatives and slides.

    I also like smaller photographs as opposed to big prints. But if I were planning to make huge prints from 35mm I would plan ahead. Use a fine grain, sharp film--I like Ilford PanF+. Use a heavy or rocksolid tripod when shooting. Use a sharp lens stopped down to a medium aperture. Focus carefully. Try to avoid flat lighting or backlighting of the subject--sidelighting will make the subject appear more sharp. Process the film in a high actuance developer. Use shorter developing times to get a slightly thinner negative. Be sure to dry in as dust-free an area as possible. And, as previously stated, when viewing the print don't stand too close. Following this procedure helps to stack the deck in your favor.

  7. #7
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    I've seen some very striking 16"x20" prints by Salgado made from 35mm negatives. (shot, of course, with M mount lenses, I believe!). They were grainy, I think he shoots Tri-X, but from far away looked great. The most important question, I think, does the size suit the subject matter? Salgado is dealing with very big issues...

    Personally, I make portraits of small children at their homes. For my own work, I find the intimacy of say, a 6"x9" image size from 35mm just perfect. Depending on the image, though, I'll go up to 10"x12".

    Somehow, the image always dictates the size for me.

  8. #8

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    Aside from slow speed films, I've often used Ilford XP2 Super (a chromogenic B+W film) and find 16" x 20" prints to be easily attainable.

  9. #9

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    This is great stuff.
    Thanks to all. M.

  10. #10
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    Calypso imaging in Santa Clara has an image of a lizard on a beach behind the counter--it is about 6 feet across. Looks awesome. It was done on 35mm--or so I was told.

    Matt

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