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  1. #1

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    Prime lens quality and 12" x 16" enlargements.

    Using a prime lens on 35mm and taking all the care normally associated with MF eg use tripod etc, would most people be able to differentiate an enlargement to 12" x 16" from say Delta 100 on 35mm and 4.5cm x 6cm negatives? And would a 35mm Delta 100 negative produce as good a result as MF on Delta 400? I assume that an expert could see a difference but would a viewer in a gallery be able to differentiate when the prints were mounted behind glass?
    If anyone has practical experience around this question your advice would be appreciated because I am in a dilema whether to invest in primes for my 35mm or expand my MF kit.
    PS at the moment I have a 75mm Bronica PE lens and I would get Minolta primes.
    Thanks

    Jeff

  2. #2

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    All things being equal, in my experience, real estate always wins.

  3. #3

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    As far as your enlargement size goes, according to Barry Thornton in Edge of Darkness 11" wide (with 35mm) is the limit for getting the best possible print when you are using your best technique for printing. So 12x16 would exceed his parameters.

    I Only bring Thornton up because he is considered by many as the guru of super sharp prints.

    With MF 6x6 (good lens and best technique) you can go 17" wide. So you would be fine with your 12x16 prints.

    So looking at it this way, (and if you accept Thornton's ideas on printing) the film used is irrelevant. You would be better off adding to your MF kit to produce the best prints in the size you want.

    I suppose the 100 speed film compared to 400 might buy you additional sharpness, as well as using a developer such as Dixactol. I used to think that with the right combination of developer and film you could get MF results up to 11x14 on 35mm film, but it just is not going to happen. Especially when the same film/developer combination you use to get optimal results in 35mm will be that much better in MF with the same size or larger print.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  4. #4
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    Jeff,

    If you are printing by hand I would have to agree with Jim. I am a color transparency shooter and have not shot B&W for a long time, but I would put stock in Jim's suggestion. I print my transparencies digitally on a Chromira or a LightJet printer. If you add digital printing to the mix however, it may become a little less obvious. If you print both forms digitally the difference will probably remain about the same as long as the lenses in both formats can resolve about the same. If however you print digitally from 35mm and by hand for 6x4.5 however the difference may not be seen or as noticeable.

    However using the same film for both formats, grain will be much more evident from the 35mm. If however, you shoot 100 film for 35mm and 400 for 6x4.5 the difference will not be as evident.

    Digitally printing off of the machines that I mentioned in color I am able to get very sharp images (when carefully focused and exposed, when using an excellent lens, and lighting contrast) and my 35mm Leica SLR was on a tripod to 20" x 30". These prints are almost as sharp as my images digitally printed as 16" x 24". However, depth of field are less and grain is more the larger you print.

    Rich
    Richard A. Nelridge
    http://www.nelridge.com

  5. #5
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chorleyjeff
    Using a prime lens on 35mm and taking all the care normally associated with MF eg use tripod etc, would most people be able to differentiate an enlargement to 12" x 16" from say Delta 100 on 35mm and 4.5cm x 6cm negatives? And would a 35mm Delta 100 negative produce as good a result as MF on Delta 400? I assume that an expert could see a difference but would a viewer in a gallery be able to differentiate when the prints were mounted behind glass?
    If anyone has practical experience around this question your advice would be appreciated because I am in a dilema whether to invest in primes for my 35mm or expand my MF kit.
    PS at the moment I have a 75mm Bronica PE lens and I would get Minolta primes.
    Thanks

    Jeff
    You can get excellent 16x20 prints from 400 Delta negatives enlarged from a 35 mm negative. They won't look the same as a 16x20 made from medium format neg. of the same film but they will look very nice.

    It all depends on what you expect.
    Don Bryant

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by donbga
    You can get excellent 16x20 prints from 400 Delta negatives enlarged from a 35 mm negative. They won't look the same as a 16x20 made from medium format neg. of the same film but they will look very nice.

    It all depends on what you expect.
    Thanks
    I am OK about grain but would detail and tone be lost in 35mm compared with 4.5 x 6 even using a high quality prime lens for 35mm?
    In other words would the image break up using the smaller negative.
    Cheers
    Jeff

  7. #7
    donbga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chorleyjeff
    Thanks
    I am OK about grain but would detail and tone be lost in 35mm compared with 4.5 x 6 even using a high quality prime lens for 35mm?
    In other words would the image break up using the smaller negative.
    Cheers
    Jeff
    There is very little grain in a 16x20 enlargement made from a 35 mm neg with 400 Delta. Detail and tone are fine. Films like 100 Delta, FP4, and even Tri-X or Fuji Neopan 1600 enlarge very nicely. I would suggest you make some enlargements yourself and decide if you like the results. That's what counts.
    Don Bryant

  8. #8

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    1. Size matters.

    2. If in doubt, refer to point #1.


    Even a cheap 6X6 (Yashica A) shot at its optimum aperature will blow the doors off ANY 35mm.

    Rick.
    Rick Jason.
    "I'm still developing"

  9. #9

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    I guess one main factor is the type of photography you do. If it requires you to handhold shooting movement and action, then the extra bulk of MF may become a hindrance on your style. In that case 35mm is your best option and tailor all your processing to achieve the best possible prints within its limitations.

    If on the other hand your subjects are mostly stationary or more formal style portraits, then you need to take advantage of the increase in negative size that MF provides and work off a tripod with mirror lockup if you have it.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  10. #10

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    There would be major differences between the print, but as was said before, that doesn't mean that one is better than the other. Each will give their own look. The only way to really know is to do a test yourself, with the materials that you'd use. You can probably rent or borrow a medium format camera to compare. Depending on where you live, I bet there's an APUG member nearby who'd help out.

    I've spent the last 10 years mainly shooting 4x5. Recently, I've revisted some of my early 35mm HIE negatives. This stuff is really grainy, but this look suits a number of the images.

    If I could have only one camera, though, I keep a medium format rangefinder. You can always add grain with a texture screen, or whatever, but getting a finer grain and more detail in a negative is next to impossible.

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