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View Full Version : please advise.. 4x5 or 8x10 for big prints on handmade paper?



chris77
23-Aug-2017, 05:01
hello.
i have spent an hour today reading on different forums.
and there are many opinions. most people were discussing this question in regard of a hybrid workflow, digital negatives, transparencies, or simply inkjet prints after drumscans..

i have been processing handmade silvergelatin paper, and now that my coating skills have improved quite a bit, medium format (6x7) doesnt fulfill my expectations anymore.
not only looking for more sharpness, but especially more resolution and better tonality.

letting all other aspects aside (enlarger, weight, lenses, price, etc.) who of you has seen the real life differences in 4x5 and 8x10 negatives enlarged to approx. 40x50 inch?

thankful for your input,
best regards,
chris

Two23
23-Aug-2017, 06:01
I think 4x5 might be to small, but 8x10 might be a beast to learn on. I'm going to suggest 5x7. I have both 4x5 and 5x7, and the 5x7 isn't that much bigger and yet it's often big enough.


Kent in SD

chris77
23-Aug-2017, 06:11
I think 4x5 might be to small, but 8x10 might be a beast to learn on. I'm going to suggest 5x7. I have both 4x5 and 5x7, and the 5x7 isn't that much bigger and yet it's often big enough.


Kent in SD

hello there.
i forgot to mention that i do own and use a 5x7.
its a pentacon mentor 2, a very heavy beast. more than 11 kg without a lens... far from portable.
and as i travel a lot, i am definitely looking for portability, but right now i am used to travelling with a rz67 kit (2 lenses, 2 backs.. etc)
so, i am pretty fit ;)

Alan9940
23-Aug-2017, 06:45
Hi Chris,

I own and have shot with both 4x5 and 8x10 for nearly 40 years and I can tell you that I personally have seen the difference between the two in 8x10 size prints! Many years ago, I did some tests whereby I shot a few different outdoor scenes (my usual subjects) on my favorite film at the time (Tri-X) in both sizes. The 4x5 was enlarged 2x to 8x10 and the 8x10 was contact printed. The differences were subtle, but easily seen and I preferred the contact print. For fact, for over a decade during the 80's and into the early 90's the 8x10 and contact printing was the only way I worked. Therefore, I have to believe that in 40x50 prints the more square inches of film you have available the better.

There are still quite a few options available in 8x10, but for portability you may want to check out the new Intrepid 8x10 when it becomes generally available.

Good luck!

jp
23-Aug-2017, 06:50
If you compare a 40x50 inch print with an 8x10 contact print, you will be disappointed. The big prints can look great, but it's not a fair comparison. I have no idea what your styles or subjects are but that can make a difference too. For some things, an 8x10 is impractical and 4x5 works great. For other things 8x10 is the right tool. You'll have to try them.

agregov
23-Aug-2017, 08:42
I've seen silver murals from Josef Koudelka blown up from 35mm negs at the Getty. Technically, I didnít care for them. Thought they looked terrible. But I enjoyed the subject matter in the images. And from what I could tell of those around me, they loved his enlargementsóresolution and tonality didnít matter at all. At the other spectrum, I've seen Hiroshi Sugimoto silver murals made from 8x10 negs. They were technically much more beautufil than enlarged 35mm negs. And I enjoyed the subject matter of the images very much (for example his minimal seascapes). Finally, Iíve seen 8x10 contact prints made from 8x10 negs, some printed on silver chloride papers, from Edward Weston, Richard Avedon and Michael Smith among others. The images IMO were technically superior in resolution and tonal depth from any murals Iíve ever seen. And from each I enjoyed their subject matter.

If you noticed, the one consistent in my experience is the enjoying the final work. While technical acumen in final prints can add or take away from an image, at the end of the day it's about the meaningfulness of the work to viewers.

Every photographer's choices for equipment and final medium for display are personal choices. I agree with others in the thread, you have to experiment with various output mediums/processes and see what fits your aesthetic and eye. I think the idea of picking up an 8x10 Intrepid is a brilliant way to cheaply see 8x10 results for yourself. They also have a great 4x5 solution. But donít discount medium format so quickly. Your eye may see and respond better to handheld shooting. Brett Weston made stunning prints from medium format negs. I'd focus on producing meaningful work and experiment with different formats that fit how you like to work along the way. Otherwise you spend all your time researching technical matters instead of producing work.

All that said, remember it takes many years to become a great printer. The negative is just one step in the process. That's why focusing on real projects and improving equipment and technique along the way is the safest way to approach the technical aspects of this way of art making. Donít get sucked into the equipment/process vortex. You know you're in it if you donít know what to shoot with your exisiting equipment. That's when the best of us start researching new cameras and output methods (guilty as charged). Best of luck.

Drew Wiley
23-Aug-2017, 09:20
It's easy to get over year head (and budget) with an 8x10 darkroom. It takes a distinct commitment of space and long-term patience. And if you plan to hand coat, is your paper speed going to be fast enough to allow you to optically enlarge it without resorting to an intensely hot "nuke" enlarger? 8x10 gear is also more physically demanding in the field.

John Layton
23-Aug-2017, 09:49
I'll second the vote for 5x7. Although it sounds like your current one is somewhat of a beast - I can also assume that you might already own a number of holders and perhaps lenses for this format...and you will find that upgrading to something a bit lighter (like a Canham) can provide you with a kit which is really not that much more cumbersome (in all ways) than going with 4x5.

I use many different formats...and my most common print size from 5x7 is 20x30. I'll occasionally push a 4x5 image this large...but this really depends on this size being truly appropriate for qualities of a given subject which don't necessarily depend on truly fine renderings of detail. In other words...I do notice a difference between 4x5 and 5x7 when going to this size of print.

Of course I'm assuming that your subject matter and paper coating skills will truly allow what would otherwise (with great film, paper, subject brightness ranges, textures, contrasts, etc.) be, IMHO, a visible difference between the two (4x5 and 5x7) formats.

As for 8x10...this can either be a wonderful format or a logistical nightmare, depending on how, what, and where you like to photograph. Needing/wanting to enlarge from this format (instead of doing contacts) exacerbates these logistics. You'd mentioned that you need something lightweight as you like to travel. Being fit might be the least of your concerns (although this definitely helps!).

It might be really helpful to provide us with more details about the how, what, and where you like to photograph. Do you tend to shoot in windy locations? Do you tend to go for details that render with tactile-sharpness - and/or are you willing to sacrifice depth of focus (regardless of "corrective" movements) to avoid what could end up as visible diffraction given such large print sizes? Do you find yourself taking lots of strong down-angle to straight-down angle shots, and/or are your film holders subject to sudden changes in temperature/moisture as they are moved from vehicle to backpack to camera? All of the issues associated with these questions become more difficult to deal with as format size increases...sometimes to the point that your results could end up being visibly better by sticking with the smaller format.

At any rate...do let us know a bit more!

John Layton
23-Aug-2017, 09:54
hey....don't get me wrong - big, big prints from 8x10 negatives can be absolutely stunning!

bob carnie
23-Aug-2017, 09:55
hello.
i have spent an hour today reading on different forums.
and there are many opinions. most people were discussing this question in regard of a hybrid workflow, digital negatives, transparencies, or simply inkjet prints after drumscans..

i have been processing handmade silvergelatin paper, and now that my coating skills have improved quite a bit, medium format (6x7) doesnt fulfill my expectations anymore.
not only looking for more sharpness, but especially more resolution and better tonality.

letting all other aspects aside (enlarger, weight, lenses, price, etc.) who of you has seen the real life differences in 4x5 and 8x10 negatives enlarged to approx. 40x50 inch?

thankful for your input,
best regards,
chris

I have made silver enlarger prints to 40 x50 from 8 x10 negatives and 4 x5 negatives. taking out all variables and considering each negative is created with the same skill set, and both were printed onto glossy silver gelatin paper, I would pick the 8 x10 negative - print every day of the week.

I am fortunate enough to own a 11 x14 Devere enlarger, but my camera skills fall very short of most of the workers on this site.. However I am considering renting/buying a 11 x14 camera and learning how to create an exposure on film that is technically and artistically satisfying to me and then make 30 x40 silver gelatin prints on Ilford Warmtone paper. I have a series in mind that I would like to do.
I think if everything goes well the combination would be awesome , almost like making an 8x10 print from a 4x5 negative.

Regarding your handmade silvergelatin paper, if you have rough texture I doubt you would see any difference between the two formats.

Drew Wiley
23-Aug-2017, 11:28
Hi Bob. You're first issue is going to be film flatness; so you might need to rethink 11X14 holders. But I also have a question for you. Have you tried presenting MG Classic so it develops more evenly? It's a lot fussier in this respect than MGWT, and 30X40 is obviously kinda expensive to waste.

Drew Wiley
23-Aug-2017, 11:32
Gosh. Pre-wetting the paper, not presenting it. This Dumbphone alters the spelling! We finally got a fiber optic cable back in the neighborhood, but the rates are still way too high to tempt us to hookup again.

bob carnie
23-Aug-2017, 11:45
Drew this is amazing my first conversation with you since you went awol.

I do not have issues with Warmtone @30 x40 , but I am pretty fast with it... I used the classic today but small prints and did not see an issue.

What do you mean re think film holders, how in the hell am I going to hold the film???

chris77
23-Aug-2017, 15:45
thanks to you all for taking time to respond to my questions in such detail. its late right now and i have to re-read it tomorrow.
until then!
chris

Drew Wiley
23-Aug-2017, 17:00
Bob - I was referring to vac or adhesive filmholders. The sag of 8X10 film can distinctly compromise big enlargements. ULF is even worse. But I'd far rather optimize 8X10 technique than gamble with 11X14 logistics for non-contact prints.

Two23
23-Aug-2017, 17:11
I wouldn't be so quick to write off 5x7 format just because you currently have a heavy studio camera. There are even heavier 8x10 studio cameras, after all. I don't have any trouble hiking at altitude with my 1926 Gundlach Korona 5x7 field camera. It weighs about the same as my Nikon D800E with a Sigma lens.


Kent in SD

Drew Wiley
23-Aug-2017, 18:01
It's getting difficult to find decent 5X7 holders; and film choice has always been limited in this size. Not many people are going to seriously hike with 8X10 gear. I'm one of the exceptions. But long ago Einstein proved that gravity is a function of time, and that eventually the universe is doomed to contract to a 4X5 rectangle black hole.

xkaes
23-Aug-2017, 19:51
We all have our different needs/standards. What you need for "not only looking for more sharpness, but especially more resolution and better tonality."

My largest easel is eight feet, and I'm completely satisfied with my 4x5 results -- assuming I did everything right. But I've made great eight foot prints from smaller format film.

Several decades ago, I was passing through Grand Central Station. Kodak had a HUGE presentation "billboard" there that was rear illuminated. It was high up on the wall, and you had to walk under it to get to the trains. I had no idea it was there. It was about 75 feet long. Kodak changed the picture from time to time, and the day I passed through, there was a single, cropped image by Ernst Haas of a stream of racing gazelles on the Serengeti. He had used a Leica and Kodachrome 25. No one in the Station could believe their eyes.

Two23
23-Aug-2017, 20:18
He had used a Leica and Kodachrome 25. No one in the Station could believe their eyes.


Viewing distance is another key component of perceived sharpness.


Kent in SD

GG12
24-Aug-2017, 04:05
Having only done work in 4x5 or smaller, and none in 8x10, please recognize these comments are necessarily limited.

There was an old rule of thumb that after 10x enlargement, something seems to go different in a print from a neg. That is, for example, a 35mm neg after 10" x 14" loses something; the same thing would likely apply to 4x5 at 40"x50". And for me, the 10X is too much - I prefer smaller, say 5X. That argues well for the 8x10 neg. Also, that size makes nice contact prints.

But the larger neg/camera has all sorts of difficulties in handling, etc. Just to be aware. Getting the properly exposed, flat negative to print at that size is a significant challenge! Good luck...its a far far better thing you do...

xkaes
24-Aug-2017, 04:31
There was an old rule of thumb that after 10x enlargement, something seems to go different in a print from a neg.

Somehow, none of my photography professors ever mentioned that. And I've never read that in any of the dozens of my photography books.

I've made many prints at 30X or larger, and all I've gotten were statements of awe -- and job offers. But, as stated below, there is an old rule of thumb that larger prints are viewed from a greater distance.

John Kasaian
24-Aug-2017, 06:34
I'm confused.
Is the OP asking which format enlarger he should buy?
Or is he planning to make digitally enlarged negatives from 4x5 or 8x10s, and contact print those?
Sorry, it's early and I haven't had any coffee yet.

Serge S
24-Aug-2017, 06:49
Great response !
I've seen silver murals from Josef Koudelka blown up from 35mm negs at the Getty. Technically, I didnít care for them. Thought they looked terrible. But I enjoyed the subject matter in the images. And from what I could tell of those around me, they loved his enlargementsóresolution and tonality didnít matter at all. At the other spectrum, I've seen Hiroshi Sugimoto silver murals made from 8x10 negs. They were technically much more beautufil than enlarged 35mm negs. And I enjoyed the subject matter of the images very much (for example his minimal seascapes). Finally, Iíve seen 8x10 contact prints made from 8x10 negs, some printed on silver chloride papers, from Edward Weston, Richard Avedon and Michael Smith among others. The images IMO were technically superior in resolution and tonal depth from any murals Iíve ever seen. And from each I enjoyed their subject matter.

If you noticed, the one consistent in my experience is the enjoying the final work. While technical acumen in final prints can add or take away from an image, at the end of the day it's about the meaningfulness of the work to viewers.

Every photographer's choices for equipment and final medium for display are personal choices. I agree with others in the thread, you have to experiment with various output mediums/processes and see what fits your aesthetic and eye. I think the idea of picking up an 8x10 Intrepid is a brilliant way to cheaply see 8x10 results for yourself. They also have a great 4x5 solution. But donít discount medium format so quickly. Your eye may see and respond better to handheld shooting. Brett Weston made stunning prints from medium format negs. I'd focus on producing meaningful work and experiment with different formats that fit how you like to work along the way. Otherwise you spend all your time researching technical matters instead of producing work.

All that said, remember it takes many years to become a great printer. The negative is just one step in the process. That's why focusing on real projects and improving equipment and technique along the way is the safest way to approach the technical aspects of this way of art making. Donít get sucked into the equipment/process vortex. You know you're in it if you donít know what to shoot with your exisiting equipment. That's when the best of us start researching new cameras and output methods (guilty as charged). Best of luck.

GG12
24-Aug-2017, 06:55
Somehow, none of my photography professors ever mentioned that. And I've never read that in any of the dozens of my photography books.

I've made many prints at 30X or larger, and all I've gotten were statements of awe -- and job offers. But, as stated below, there is an old rule of thumb that larger prints are viewed from a greater distance.

Yes, you can make them, and they may be impressive. But the idea is about tonality - there is something magical (at least to some) about low enlargement that maintains a certain tonal relationship. Its subtle, and you may not agree or see it, but there is something when going big, the prints change - and to these eyes, have less appeal. The absolute version of this is the 8x10 contact print, which has no enlargement and is just wonderful. Its not that the big print doesn't have its oomph, but there is a sweetness in small enlargements. Consider 35mm up to 8x10, MF to 16 x 20, and 4 x 5 up say 30 x 26 or 40 (cropping varies).

All of this has been impacted with really large printing done fairly easily from hi res MF digital backs - where capture and processing is more straightforward. But to each their own.

And the post about shooting MF and trying enlargement is also a very good idea. The "tonal" point is just about one aspect - a good MF neg blown up may not fit the tonal issue, but its much much better than 35mm at the scales you are talking about. Looking at super enlargements of 35mm, 16x20 or larger, seem to be missing something. MF and larger negs hold their own much better.

Drew Wiley
24-Aug-2017, 12:17
This topic is predictably drifting all sorts of "what if" directions. The original question was about making huge prints on hand-made style emulsions. Yes, the biggest silver print ever made was done with paint rollers and Liquid Light on canvas in a blimp hanger.But it never pretended to be an attractive print. I do know people who specialized in big alt coated prints of very high quality. But they had industrial facilities and significant budgets. Their minimum setup fee for a print was 40K. Just working around a big water-cooled xenon enlarger is like looking at the eclipse. It can blind you. You need gsketing and sealants from the aerospace industry. Now industrial lasers are replacing that role; but I mean something capable of etching granite, not a Lightjet printer! In other words, I'm hinting at why it makes a lot more sense to go with standardized materials like rolls of ordinary silver-gelatin paper or inkjet technology. Or just go to the nearest billboard company.

xkaes
24-Aug-2017, 14:01
From the articles and reviews that I've read about Liquid Light -- a long time ago -- there were always issues/problems/differences with it, so I've never used it. My B&W murals were always Ilford Multigrade RC, and color was Kodak RC. Back then I had a hard time obtaining the stuff, and I'm sure that is more true today. Others may know more about the current situation -- I'm all set, so I don't keep up. A few years ago, some mural print shop was going out of business and they sold me all their B&W and color mural paper (a lot) for the price of shipping.

So depending on the size of the print, Liquid Light, et. al. might be the only way to go today.

Drew Wiley
24-Aug-2017, 15:04
I've seen 40X70 in Platinum prints; so just depends on someone's commitment in terms of time (decades) and $$$$. Most either give up when they encounter the first lion or tiger or bear in the workflow, or default to scanning and inkjet. I personally find the idea of huge prints an overblown fad at the moment, if you'll excuse a pun.

agregov
24-Aug-2017, 15:31
I donít think the OP's original post was focused on handmade emulsions but rather general quality improvements seen with bigger negatives with respect to printing murals. Hence the more wandering nature of this thread. That said, I think it's an educational one for many.

+1 on the allure of big prints. It has faded for me as well. Murals do look great on a gallery setting, but most normal people donít have room for such large prints. Also, the bigger the print the more chemistry, paper and framing costs. After seeing Michael Smith crank out four perfect prints an hour, the simplicity of contact printing 8x10 negs is more and more appealing to me as a printer. Notwithstanding when 8x10 contact prints are properly matted, they're a size virtually everyone can put up in their home. And nothing better from a quality perspective, sans larger scale contacts.

xkaes
24-Aug-2017, 15:57
So you don't like murals. Different strokes for different folks. The original question was about ways to make 40x50" prints. Maybe they won't fit in your house. They already fit in mine. Maybe they won't fit in Chris77's place, but he is still interested in making them. Why not try to be a help him out, instead of trying to talk him out of what he wants to do?

Drew Wiley
24-Aug-2017, 19:18
He specified handmade emulsions analogous to contact prints, but really big. What are the quality expectations? A person could spend a fortune getting frustrated; or they could just have a competent lab print that one or two special images they really want to hang. I don't see what's wrong with pointing that out. I know what it takes to do it well. There is a big fork in the road in terms of investment and learning curve, namely, darkroom versus inkjet (or just farming it out). I've seen a lot of shipwrecks between that Scylla and Charybdis. An 8x10 darkroom equipped for big enlargements can be quite a commitment. Gosh knows I've traveled that road a long time now.

chris77
25-Aug-2017, 01:36
hello. i really appreciate the feedback!
to give you some more information, let me tell you that i am working with emulsion (not yet homemade) on and off since two years. and my workflow is strictly analog, enlarging with a durst m800 up to 75x140 cm from 6x7 negatives (rz67)
i know that i will not reach the brilliance, contrast and sharpness of commercial photopaper. the resolution is far too low using mf and will greatly improve in large format.
i am simply wondering if 4x5 or 5x7 will do it for me, or if 8x10 will be another big step up, not theoretically but in real life.

so far i have only contact printed 5x7.
and as i dont need horizontal printing i will build a simple diffusion enlarger (i am skilled in metalworks).

i hope its more clear now.
thanks to all of you contributing.

ps. its not long since i own the 5x7 and its strictly a studio camera.

chris

bob carnie
25-Aug-2017, 05:59
I've seen 40X70 in Platinum prints; so just depends on someone's commitment in terms of time (decades) and $$$$. Most either give up when they encounter the first lion or tiger or bear in the workflow, or default to scanning and inkjet. I personally find the idea of huge prints an overblown fad at the moment, if you'll excuse a pun.

Drew not to be the doubting Thomas, but where did someone get the negative to make that 40 x 70 surley you mean 40 x70 mm

Pere Casals
25-Aug-2017, 10:05
hello.
i have spent an hour today reading on different forums.
and there are many opinions. most people were discussing this question in regard of a hybrid workflow, digital negatives, transparencies, or simply inkjet prints after drumscans..

i have been processing handmade silvergelatin paper, and now that my coating skills have improved quite a bit, medium format (6x7) doesnt fulfill my expectations anymore.
not only looking for more sharpness, but especially more resolution and better tonality.

letting all other aspects aside (enlarger, weight, lenses, price, etc.) who of you has seen the real life differences in 4x5 and 8x10 negatives enlarged to approx. 40x50 inch?

thankful for your input,
best regards,
chris

It is irrelevant if you use 4x5 or 8x10 to obtain large 50" prints. What it is relevant is the accuracy of the job involved. A 8x10 can contain more graphic information than a 4x5, but normally this won't be critical.

Here you have the technical measurements about all that https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2011/12/big-camera-comparison/ this is a reliable test made by very experienced people.

It is easy to obtain a print that seen as a whole it outresolves human sight, but making a 50" print and viewing it at reading distance it is another thing, if you want to see no flaw at reading distance a very accurate process is required, starting at the taking of the photograph.


There are a number of amazing reasons to shot 8x10, but IMHO resolving power is not critical.


A 8x10 may contain (equivalent) 800MPix (ADOX CMS 20 with a sound lens, and a master shot) ...humans can feel some 60MPix if not moving head but moving eyes.


Regards.

Drew Wiley
25-Aug-2017, 11:26
At that size 8X10 can indeed have a real advantage, but only if you can optimize every step of the workflow, and can afford and handle the bigger gear.Quite awhile back I split a show with the largest collection of AA's mural prints ever assembled in one place. I was still shooting strictly 4x5 color at that time and doing Cibachromes with a Durst 5X7 color mural enlarged, while AA's b&w prints had all in this case been taken with 8X10. But those famous images which look so crisp in a book or 16X20 print were utter mush at that size - poetic mush, but mush nonetheless. People backed up to view them, while they walked right up to mine to view the detail. Film, lenses, camera construction, and enlarges had gotten way better in the interim, even though my ownprints from that event look un-crisp compared to my subsequent 8X10 work. It's all relative. "Normal viewing distance" for me is 3 inches from the print, regardless of size; to a billboard company, it's a third of a mile and film format a non-issue.

bob carnie
25-Aug-2017, 11:37
At that size 8X10 can indeed have a real advantage, but only if you can optimize every step of the workflow, and can afford and handle the bigger gear.Quite awhile back I split a show with the largest collection of AA's mural prints ever assembled in one place. I was still shooting strictly 4x5 color at that time and doing Cibachromes with a Durst 5X7 color mural enlarged, while AA's b&w prints had all in this case been taken with 8X10. But those famous images which look so crisp in a book or 16X20 print were utter mush at that size - poetic mush, but mush nonetheless. People backed up to view them, while they walked right up to mine to view the detail. Film, lenses, camera construction, and enlarges had gotten way better in the interim, even though my ownprints from that event look un-crisp compared to my subsequent 8X10 work. It's all relative. "Normal viewing distance" for me is 3 inches from the print, regardless of size; to a billboard company, it's a third of a mile and film format a non-issue.

Holy Cow, where was this show? that is quite an accomplishment. Are we discussing the Ansel Adams here or Adrian Atworth?

Drew Wiley
25-Aug-2017, 13:49
Hi, Bob. It was here in the Bay Area, and unfortunately, due to the exceptional value of the collection, the insurance company wouldn't allow the show to travel. The prints were a civic investment which came out of a vault just that one time. The show was beautifully done by a local museum director, with AA's murals in between my Cibachr, which I framed myself using my secret technique of that era. It was timed right after AA's death... As per your doubting Thomas question, these folks mass-produced big rolls of Platinum paper and had the ability to directly enlarge onto it. I've seen a number of those prints, mostly

Drew Wiley
25-Aug-2017, 14:00
...mostly from 8x10 and 11x14 originals. Then they moved from NYC to here and dropped platinum for health reasons and went extremely high quality press work and then laser etching. Due to aging, they've gradually reduced their client list to a couplemajor museums, the city of NY, and Chuck Close. Much of the facility has been cleared for teaching promising inner city youth advanced art techniques. Their last commission involved a fifty million dollar installation. Their own profit margin is slim.

Drew Wiley
25-Aug-2017, 14:04
Oh, if you haven't figured it out yet, the AA involved had a bent nose and wore a cowboy hat. He was obviously way too sick at that point in his life to have had any direct involvement in the show.

xkaes
25-Aug-2017, 14:18
"Normal viewing distance" for me is 3 inches from the print, regardless of size

Next time I go to a museum or showing, I'll remember to bring my microscope!

Drew Wiley
25-Aug-2017, 14:56
Well, around the same time there was a sampling of 35mm color contact prints made by a jeweler; and a little magnifying glass on a gooseneck stem was connected to each picture frame!

chris77
26-Aug-2017, 02:36
great thread. from all the information i gathered i assume its maybe best to go with 5x7 (and 4x5) for the moment. i already have a camera with a 5x7 back which i will mount on a toyo field view camera i just bought.
it is definitely going to be a big step for me.
thanks to everybody for the generous contribution.
have a great weekend.
chris

Drew Wiley
26-Aug-2017, 12:24
5x7 is also wonderful from an enlarger standpoint, esp if you start with a Durst 138 chassis. The are many light heads available for it, and it almost instantly converts from vertical to horizontal projection. So you learn a lot of basics making mid-sized prints, then shift to big ones without starting over eqiupment-wise. Less space and budget needed too.

David Lobato
26-Aug-2017, 17:01
Edward Burtynsky is a successful practitioner of making extremely large prints from 4x5 and 8x10 formats. Google his name for details of his careful and precise methods. I saw his huge size prints last December in Toronto. To say I was impressed is an understatement.

Stephen Willard
26-Aug-2017, 20:21
I do big stuff all the time. Big sells for me. I have spent a great deal of time ten years ago examining and testing the differences between 4x5, 5x7, 4x10, and 8x10. This includes lenses, cameras, and clarity of image for making real large prints.

My results are as follows:


The difference between 4x5 and 8x10 is significant. I am the kind of guy who likes to stick his noise into prints, and I found 4x5 to be unacceptable.

The difference between 5x7 and 4x10 was not significant compared to 8x10 which is why I now shoot with only 5x7, and 4x10. I cut my film for these formats from 8x10 film.

I benchmarked several Rodenstock, Schneider, and Nikkor lenses of the same focal length. All lenses were tack sharp at the center. The Nikkors were slightly sharper at the edges, but it was not significant. However, the Nikkor lenses had notably less light fall of at the edges, their specs were very repeatable from lens to lens, and there specs were far more conservative than the other lenses. Because of this and to my surprise, I found that most of my 4x5 Nikkor lenses would cover both my 5x7 and 4x10 cameras.

What most people do not realize is that enlarger lenses can make a huge difference in the production of large prints. I benchmarked Rodenstock, Schneider, and Nikkor enlarger lenses. Again, all lenses were tack sharp at the center. However, the Nikkor enlarger lens were significantly sharper at the edges with far less light fall off. I use the EL Nikkor 180mm for my 5x7 work and the EL Nikkor 210mm for my 8x10 work. The El Nikkor 180mm lens is very hard to come buy.


Hope this helps....

xkaes
27-Aug-2017, 05:55
For LARGE prints there are the Rodagon-G and G-Componon series of lenses which are designed for greater magnification, and available in many focal lengths. I use a 50mm f2.8 Rodagon-G and a 150mm f5.6 G-Componon for my murals. I have no idea what the "G" stands for, but both companies use it. For me, it is short for GREAT.

Drew Wiley
27-Aug-2017, 18:01
The labs around here liked Apo-Nikkors for big mural work, though they're a stop slower than "G" lenses. I use for even small repro work too.

Pere Casals
28-Aug-2017, 01:37
I do big stuff all the time. Big sells for me. I have spent a great deal of time ten years ago examining and testing the differences between 4x5, 5x7, 4x10, and 8x10. This includes lenses, cameras, and clarity of image for making real large prints.

My results are as follows:


The difference between 4x5 and 8x10 is significant. I am the kind of guy who likes to stick his noise into prints, and I found 4x5 to be unacceptable.

The difference between 5x7 and 4x10 was not significant compared to 8x10 which is why I now shoot with only 5x7, and 4x10. I cut my film for these formats from 8x10 film.

I benchmarked several Rodenstock, Schneider, and Nikkor lenses of the same focal length. All lenses were tack sharp at the center. The Nikkors were slightly sharper at the edges, but it was not significant. However, the Nikkor lenses had notably less light fall of at the edges, their specs were very repeatable from lens to lens, and there specs were far more conservative than the other lenses. Because of this and to my surprise, I found that most of my 4x5 Nikkor lenses would cover both my 5x7 and 4x10 cameras.

What most people do not realize is that enlarger lenses can make a huge difference in the production of large prints. I benchmarked Rodenstock, Schneider, and Nikkor enlarger lenses. Again, all lenses were tack sharp at the center. However, the Nikkor enlarger lens were significantly sharper at the edges with far less light fall off. I use the EL Nikkor 180mm for my 5x7 work and the EL Nikkor 210mm for my 8x10 work. The El Nikkor 180mm lens is very hard to come buy.


Hope this helps....

Interesting first hand information, thanks for sharing it, I'd like to ask you at what print size do you think that there is a noticeable difference from 4x5 to 8x10 for color prints ? 6x, 8x?


Anyway I guess that film sharpness may also have a share, as your work (in your web site) is color, perhaps this is a major factor for going to 57 and 410...


This is TMX vs Provia resolving power:

168887


I guess that in the color case film sharpness is the limiting factor, rather than a good lens, what I mean is that (from graph) provia barely resists a 10x enlargement if we are to evaluate a big print from reading distance (rather than "common" viewing distance), while a 10x enlargement from 45 BW still may fulfill what human vision can see at reading distance...

I think it can be interesting discussing the 4x5 limits depending on if we are talking about color or BW...

xkaes
28-Aug-2017, 04:49
I know this is probably getting out on thin ice, somehow, but can you provide any sort of definition of "reading distance" vs "common viewing distance"? In my mind, they are the same thing!

Pere Casals
28-Aug-2017, 05:40
I know this is probably getting out on thin ice, somehow, but can you provide any sort of definition of "reading distance" vs "common viewing distance"? In my mind, they are the same thing!

For a 10" print reading distance and "common" viewing distance may be the same, but not for a 50" print.

I was using those (elastic) terms in this sense:

"common viewing distance": You are viewing the 50" big print from some >1m distance, so you can see the whole print at once with confort, and just moving eyes (without moving head) you can explore different areas with your fovea, just as if you were viewing the actual scene. From that distance you can perceive well the 50" picture composition.


"reading distance": You inspect the 50" print as close as you see the detail with same confort you read a book. A near sighted person will view it closer than normal, so he/she would see finer detail if it is in the medium. You only can see a region of the 50" print, and you don't perceive the picture composition.


Normally a picture is intended to be seen as a whole, then composition plays a role and perhaps there is a message in the image from interaction of depicted elements, and from the sequence in what the sight explores all, in advertising eye tracking is used to know how people explores the image, so how the story is told.


You also may want people exploring the print with their nose on it, to make them discover fine detail. In that case one needs a print resolving more graphic information, still it is sterile having more than 6Lp/mm. And at 3 Lp/mm few have good enough sight to see any flaw.


What it is very clear: When viewing a 50" print from 1.2m far the viewer won't distinguish at all if the print is resolving 7 Lp/mm or 2 Lp/mm on it, simply because human sight cannot see 2 Lp/mm at 1.2m distance, specially in a print, as max contrast on a paper is around 1:100.

Some investigations have concluded that beyond some 60 Mpix (in digital printing terms) no quality improvement is detected by humans (if whole picture is viewed at once...) , Note that a 4k TV has around 8Mpix, and a Full HD Tv has 2 MPix.

xkaes
28-Aug-2017, 05:55
You also may want people exploring the print with their nose on it, to make them discover fine detail.

Years ago I tried this. All I ended up with were greasy pictures I couldn't sell.... So now I put all my photos behind glass -- but the cost of Windex is killing me!

Pere Casals
28-Aug-2017, 07:11
Years ago I tried this. All I ended up with were greasy pictures I couldn't sell.... So now I put all my photos behind glass -- but the cost of Windex is killing me!

There is a good glass for that, https://tru-vue.com/ , the anti reflective version it is impressive... but perhaps it is cheaper printing it again than preserving it with museum glass :)

Drew Wiley
28-Aug-2017, 10:38
I like my LF prints to function as an effective composition when taken as a whole, but also to yield interesting fine details upon closer inspection as the years go by. In this respect, I generally don't like to print larger than 4X, even with the best lenses. Small camera work is a different subject.

consummate_fritterer
28-Aug-2017, 12:02
I must admit, this conversation is a bit depressing to me. I sold my 8x10 gear to raise funds and because the monorail I had was too heavy and cumbersome for me to operate with any safety. I want to make huge prints too, though this is increasingly less likely to happen, and was thinking 4x5 would be good enough to make 10-20x prints with extreme detail even at nose-rubbing distance. I could probably afford a lightweight, easy-to-use 8x10 with 3-4 good lenses if I sold everything else I have in 4x5. Finding a good 8x10 enlarger that I can afford and setting it up... highly unlikely.

xkaes
28-Aug-2017, 12:08
I've made lots of 20X+ prints from 4x5 with great detail -- in my opinion -- but then I usually don't examine my prints from two inches away with a magnifying glass. Mea Culpa.

Pere Casals
28-Aug-2017, 13:53
I must admit, this conversation is a bit depressing to me. I sold my 8x10 gear to raise funds and because the monorail I had was too heavy and cumbersome for me to operate with any safety. I want to make huge prints too, though this is increasingly less likely to happen, and was thinking 4x5 would be good enough to make 10-20x prints with extreme detail even at nose-rubbing distance. I could probably afford a lightweight, easy-to-use 8x10 with 3-4 good lenses if I sold everything else I have in 4x5. Finding a good 8x10 enlarger that I can afford and setting it up... highly unlikely.


I like my LF prints to function as an effective composition when taken as a whole, but also to yield interesting fine details upon closer inspection as the years go by. In this respect, I generally don't like to print larger than 4X, even with the best lenses. Small camera work is a different subject.

If using a very sharp BW film and a very sharp lens, and shot is very good (no shake, perfect focus, best aperture) you can make perfect 70" prints from 4x5.

Joe Cornish measured 461 MPix dfrom a 4x5 Delta 100 sheet, this is 19200 optical pixels, se table here: https://www.onla19200ndscape.co.uk/2011/12/big-camera-comparison/

8x10 resolves slightly more in that test, 627Mpix (optical) . But don't think you are to feel a difference from 461 to 627 Mpix, a real difference is detected when you have x2 the amount of "optical pixels" or x1.4 more total Line Pairs in a row.


A 4x5 lens (normally) resolves more Lp/mm than an equivalent lens covering 8x10, at the end an 8x10 sheet resolves more than 4x5, but this is not proportional to surface.


In the color case film resolving power is a limitating factor for 4x5 max enlargement, but with BW it is another war, CMS 20 (a difficult film to shot...) resolves 800Lp/mm.


What I mean is that (IMHO) most of the times limitation comes more from photographer's technique than from format size.

Drew Wiley
28-Aug-2017, 14:53
Believe me (or not). All this number crunching means very little unless you've optimized your technique step by step to control all the variables. For example, a 4x5 enlargement might easily be more detailed than an 8X10 one if you allowed your film to sag in a conventional holder, or if you don't understand that image plane management and depth of field is quite a different game in 8X10 than 4x5. There is indeed a much bigger payoff with 8X10 in terms of print quality once you master it. But at some point you have to weigh the logistical pros and cons. I shoot both formats.