Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Aperture and size matters

  1. #1
    jesse1996's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    49

    Aperture and size matters

    Im quit new to LF photography. Im about t buy myself a nice new camera that i plan on keeping for a very very long time (ideally my entire career)
    I like size to my prints, up until now I've always enjoyed helping my friend make plus sized prints that are at least 30" on the short side. He uses a 4x5 Shen-Hao which does a gorgeous job with his Schneider lenses. however the biggest he's ever printed was 58" on the long side. I myself plan on making massive prints that would dominate the entire accent wall of a home or lobby somewhere. while those prints may not happen immediately, id like my film to be future proof in terms of resolution and detail.
    Ive heavily considered getting an 8x10 Canham or other recommended brand if you all have any. I know they're heavy and cumbersome but if they get the print i want and make it tack sharp from corner to corner id say it'll be worth that burning calf muscles. I also would need some help determining what lenses to buy, Id mot likely be wearing out a telephoto, a wide angle for a roll film back, and another lens for the normal use like city and landscapes. If you all have any recommended brands and models of lenses that have served you well then please let me know! As well as any pointers for getting an 8x10 enlarger, I will most likely need a horizontal set up from what I'm gathering so far, but I've also been somewhat inspired by AA's custom built enlarger for his amazing prints. if its good enough for him then it has to be good enough for me right?! does anyone have experience in building their own similar rig or experience in finding/using the leviathan Staltzman-esque enlargers?

    Secondly. I though i had aperture down for a bit, until i started going into LF. I've heard of the F64 group, and i hear many people saying that F64 will give me the sharpest print i could ever hope for, while others say that diffraction would go against the image and cause some softer images vs. shooting wide open to get sharp photos. someone with some experience under their belt or a math degree please set this straight for me! I want my photos to look the best as possible. On my 35mm and medium format experiences sometimes closing the aperture down a bit got better results, however their almost seems to be a different playing field in terms of x5 and bigger.

    Lastly, does anyone have any experience using larger formats than 8x10? 11x14, 16x20? I'd like to hear from you and get your input as well on what to aim for in my purchase. Bear in mind i have some body strength from hiking all over the place so I can probably manage 20-30 pounds for several miles while hiking and setting up. Ive seen some fairly large set ups, though I feel that for hiking around the mountains and desert 16x20 may be overkill unless i can find a 4x4 that can be gentle on a giant camera and lenses. I plan on traveling from Nashville to the Rockies then work my up the west coast while also stopping by Yosemite, yellowstone, glacier park, several large cities, and desert regions sometime within two years or so. Ill have a compact car and a teardrop camper with me the whole journey. The trip will also be over the fall/winter months.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Shodoshima, Japan
    Posts
    828

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    LF is a completely different ball game from 35mm and medium format. If your friend will allow, use the Shen-Hao for a while before going to larger formats. If not, get a cheap camera first to see if you enjoy the experience.

    Kumar

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    St. Louis, Mo.
    Posts
    2,675

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    Quote Originally Posted by B.S.Kumar View Post
    LF is a completely different ball game from 35mm and medium format. If your friend will allow, use the Shen-Hao for a while before going to larger formats. If not, get a cheap camera first to see if you enjoy the experience.

    Kumar
    +1


    Here is Hugo's 16x20 to give you an idea of size. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeIPjxeTNq8

  4. #4
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,126

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    "Lastly, does anyone have any experience using larger formats than 8x10? 11x14, 16x20? I'd like to hear from you and get your input as well on what to aim for in my purchase."

    Scroll down to the next forum. That whole forum is devoted to Ultra -Large Format photography.

    I agree that ou should start inexpensively or withborrowed eequipment to break into LF. There is no one best camera, lens or anything else. As you grow in LF, your prefwrences will change and your kit will evolve.

    Welcome to our world!
    Drew Bedo
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  5. #5
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA
    Posts
    5,359

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    I agree with starting out with a 4x5. This can be very inexpensive. There is a big jump in required effort moving from smaller formats to a 4x5, and another jump moving up to 8x10, If you buy a lens wisely, it could also serve well for 8x10 down the line, something like a 210-240mm G-claron, a Fuji 240A..... A good 8x10 for what you're considering is a Wehman, which is only available used. You should PM Jim Becia. That's what he shoots for color 8x10 landscapes.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  6. #6
    Jim Jones's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chillicothe Missouri USA
    Posts
    2,367

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    In regard to aperture, what worked so well for the f/64 group with their lenses of 80 years ago and contact prints does not apply to today's lenses and huge prints. The subject of large sharp negatives and prints is complex, and should be studied in depth and supplemented by hands-on experience before venturing on a major large format photo expedition. The considerable investment in equipment, film, and travel could be wasted if you don't make the most of it. A good 4x5 camera is a great learning tool, and can be used with a roll film back. One who has mastered the 4x5 system can make wiser decisions involving their own abilities, preferences, and larger cameras.

  7. #7
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    USA, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,156

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    Quote Originally Posted by jesse1996 View Post
    I myself plan on making massive prints that would dominate the entire accent wall of a home or lobby somewhere. while those prints may not happen immediately, id like my film to be future proof in terms of resolution and detail.
    I've made some large prints, 12x enlargements from 5x4 film. They look good on the wall and I'm happy with them still; they've stood the test of time for me (and my wife, which is actually even more important). These are probably not as big as you want to make, but I have perhaps got a clue what you're talking about.

    It's not as easy as it looks. First thing you need, is a photograph worth enlarging that size. The vast majority of anyone's work is not in that category. Then, you have to have executed the capture flawlessly. Because at that level of enlargement, every flaw becomes visible. This means you have to have expert control of your camera movements, exposure, tripod and shutter release technique, etc.

    After that, your film processing has to be spot on -- any processing errors will be visible at that level of enlargement. I struggled with tray development for a while, then tried the BTZS tubes. I couldn't get good even development from the tubes either (I know, go figure) and had to finally move to a Jobo CPP+ and the 3010 tank before I got the silky smooth sky gradients that could withstand 12x enlargement. That doesn't mean you'll have to do this -- what I'm sayin' is that you'll have to find your own path to perfectly smooth and even development. As they say: there are many paths to the waterfall.

    The bottom line is just this: first thing you do is learn your craft. The way you do that is shoot a lot of sheets of film. It took me many hundreds of sheets to iron out my workflow and get it to the point where I could take any one sheet and make a beautiful massive print from it. Then all I had to do was make photographs that were actually both worthy of that, and actually wanted to be that big.

    Notice I didn't say roll film. I said sheets. Because you need to learn camera movements, and to do that you need to be able to see what your movements actually do. Roll film is too small for that IMHO. You also need to learn film holders.

    Hint: If you want really big enlargements, you'll spend a whole lot of time fighting for cleanliness. For example, I learned to never set my film holders down in the field. You read that correctly. My 5x4 film holders only live in four places. Either on my load/unload table in the (spotlessly clean) darkroom, in ziplock freezer bags, in the camera, or in my hand being transported to one of the other three. Film holders are remarkably easier to keep clean if you never let them get dirty in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by jesse1996 View Post
    Secondly. I though i had aperture down for a bit, until i started going into LF. I've heard of the F64 group, and i hear many people saying that F64 will give me the sharpest print i could ever hope for, while others say that diffraction would go against the image and cause some softer images vs. shooting wide open to get sharp photos. someone with some experience under their belt or a math degree please set this straight for me! I want my photos to look the best as possible. On my 35mm and medium format experiences sometimes closing the aperture down a bit got better results, however their almost seems to be a different playing field in terms of x5 and bigger.
    We all worry about the resolution thing early on. There's so much more to a good photograph, but resolution is easy to quantify and obsess over. If you shoot enough film, you'll likely come to the same conclusion that Group f.64 came to. That is, getting the entire image in focus was more important to them than max. resolution. Those people weren't stupid, they knew that f/64 was past their diffraction limit. Trading some resolution to get greater depth of field (DOF) was part of their intent.

    Quote Originally Posted by jesse1996 View Post
    Lastly, does anyone have any experience using larger formats than 8x10? 11x14, 16x20?
    If you're going to enlarge, 10x8 is your practical limit. There's really no point at all in shooting bigger formats if you're going to enlarge.

    Thing is, you'll know if you need to move up in format. But you won't know it now, you'll only know it as you make more photographs. Usually, a lot more. Eventually you'll reach a point where you can't do what you need to do because of the format -- that's the time to change.

    I personally thought that I'd shoot 5x4 for a while, then move up to 10x8. Never happened. Because I found that I didn't need it for what I was doing. What I needed more than the increased film area was a light weight kit, because I wanted to photograph those things that were farther from the car than 100m. My 5x4 kit I could schlep up and down the mountains. A lightweight 10x8 kit would have cut my hiking distance probably by 4x. And I could make the prints I wanted to make from 5x4 without any problems. The image quality gain I could get from 10x8 wasn't that big for what I was doing, and it certainly wasn't worth the weight penalty.

    But that was me. Every LFer is different, with different goals and different workflows. You'll know if you need to move up in format. You will.

    Bruce Watson

  8. #8
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA
    Posts
    5,359

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    That's a great post, Bruce.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,591

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    When you're contemplating big prints and hope to keep them relatively crisp, diffraction starts becoming an issue with 4x5 lenses stopped down more than f/32,
    or comparable 8x10 work below around f/45, depending. This is based on my personal experience with various lenses. With 8x10 it is also harder to find subject
    matter where you can tame the whole depth of field on the focal plane. And the biggest logistical problem is actually keeping the film flat enough in the holder for precision work. There are a lot of variables involved; and of course, your end result is also determined by the printing workflow. No 12X enlargement is going to be truly sharp at close view. So 8x10 film will give significantly better results than 4x5 in big prints, all other things being equal. But there's a distinct learning curve and expenditure commitment involved. Any camera bigger than 8x10 is going to prove unrealistic for enlargements. You might be interested to know that AA's 40X60 prints looked like utter mush up close by today's standards, and his homemade enlarger was primitive even by pro lab standards of the time. I know big prints are a bit of a fad nowadays, and lots of beginners seem to aim at this kind of result without realizing what is involved. Of course, it you
    have a particularly nice shot there are any number of commercial services which could blow it up big and mount it for you. But if you plan on seriously hiking
    around with something like 8x10, I hope you are young and in shape. I know what I'm talking about, since this is the kind of activity I've done for decades now.
    In other words, I'm not young anymore, and have to work out routinely with heavy packs to stay in the necessary shape. The average twenty-something backpacker in our mountains here in the West would melt if a view camera were added to his camping kit. It takes dedication and serious conditioning. But it
    sure does beat running like a rat on a treadmill in some stinky gym, by a country miles!

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,591

    Re: Aperture and size matters

    ... Oh, I just noticed you posted an aim of twenty or thirty pounds. That might be realistic for 4x5 gear close to the road, but certainly not for true backpacking
    or 8x10 work at any significant distance. You can't just wander off in the mountains even for a dayhike without a certain amount of extra gear. The weather changes too fast.

Similar Threads

  1. 9" f:4.0 Verito aperture size
    By Bill_1856 in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 29-Jan-2015, 07:41
  2. Aperture Size For 5x4 Printing
    By Stanley Kubrick in forum Darkroom: Equipment
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 29-Jan-2013, 07:24
  3. Can I calculate focal length from aperture size?
    By DanK in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 25
    Last Post: 5-Sep-2010, 22:07
  4. size matters!
    By eddie in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 7-Jun-2010, 03:36

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •