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Thread: 4x5 vs 8x10

  1. #1

    4x5 vs 8x10

    need help!

    I shot 35mm and medium format for the past few years and would like to move on towards large format. They would predominantly be used for still life (with speed lights and strobes) in colour. I often do macro shots as well. I'm moving to large format because I would like to make large scale print (as large as 48x65 and 32x96 as well as smaller 30x40 / 24x72).

    Could anyone give me advice on this?

    Whilst an 8x10 system would give a sharper negative, I worry about purchasing 8x10 lenses (which I heard aren't as sharp?), as well as how hard it is to process 8x10 with a larger margin of error (I would most likely be sending them off to a professional) and film flatness. Would a 8x10 give a drastic difference in terms of quality to the 4x5 if, let's say, they were both drum scanned. Would the 8x10 or 4x5 film be obsolete anytime soon?

    Would a 4x5 be sufficient for a 48x65 inch print?

    Further, what brand would you recommend, especially considering my usage with strobes and speedlights. I predominantly use speedlights, but often time borrow strobes from a friend when needed. What sort of lens should I be looking at as well...

    Thank u.

  2. #2

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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    For a 4ftX5ft print I'd recommend an 8x10in camera, but it depends how much grain you want to be visible and how it's processed.
    Are you wanting to do darkroom prints or inkjet prints?

  3. #3
    Dave Karp
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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    I don't have any experience myself, but I once knew a guy who photographed automobiles. His work was often put on billboards. He used an 8x10.

  4. #4

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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    40x50 is about 5X for 8x10 and 10X for 4x5. The equivalent 35mm magnifications would be about 5x7 and 11x14. Those are very approximate, of course. If you put your nose up to an 11x14 from 35mm, is that amount of detail and grain good enough for you, or do you greatly prefer the look of a 5x7's quality and grain? If the 11x14 looks bad to you, then I'd say you need an 8x10 camera.

    You are right that everything about 8x10 color, with modern lenses, will be $$$$.

  5. #5

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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    Image quality is directly related to the degree of enlargement, the film grain and the lens aberrations are magnified in the process. Sharpness is related to lens quality but also to the aperture used and the DOF, camera shake, and film flatness. Given the same film and same lens quality in the three formats under discussion, and taking as an example ten times magnification from original camera film to print, which is often able to render a high quality print, the medium format reaches a print size of about 36in diagonal; 4x5 reaches about 65in diagonal; 8x10 reaches about 130in diagonal.

    4x5 is an affordable and convenient format, on the other hand 8x10 is much less so, being bigger, heavier, more rare and more expensive.

    At the risk of being accused of discouragement I urge consideration of the fact that we are in the age of decline of film, in all formats, especially the large formats 4x5 and 8x10. When (not if) the film becomes unavailable how will you recoup the investment in the camera, lenses and accessories?

  6. #6
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    Quote Originally Posted by eyunicean View Post
    Would a 8x10 give a drastic difference in terms of quality to the 4x5 if, let's say, they were both drum scanned.
    Nope.
    8x10 will give you a small improvement in apparent sharpness, and increased depth and tonality. All of those can quickly be negated by poor technique, which takes a while to overcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by eyunicean View Post
    Would a 4x5 be sufficient for a 48x65 inch print?
    Yep.
    But you ask about 4x5 vs 8x10, having had no experience with either; the learning curve for both formats is steep, expensive and time-consuming.
    If I were in your shoes, I'd instead look at the Fuji GX680 system.
    You already have experience with MF; the GX680 gives front movements, lots of lenses to choose from, and with top-notch technique & scanning, will yield fantastic mural-size enlargements.
    Last edited by Ari; 14-Oct-2017 at 15:24.

  7. #7
    Les
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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    I think Ted and Ari are one the money.

    You don't have to take anyone's word and rent both formats (few places still rent these cameras), shoot what you desire, spend the $'s on printing and drum scanning....and you'll be able to determine yourself. Either way, there is lots of experience on this forum....so may consider that too. Good luck.

    Les

  8. #8

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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    Before I bought my Chamonix 45-F2 recently it helped me a lot to start at the end of the pipeline instead of at the beginning (which is the camera):
    - how do I develop my sheet films stainlessly, I hate stains so Id rather avoid tray-development. What developing tanks can I find and where, to develop my 8x10 or 4x5?
    - can I get filmholders for 4x5 and 8x10, and where?
    - how do I want to move with the whole pack: walking, bike, car, backpack, bike-pack, trunk
    - is my tripod stable enough; do I need something else and more expensive for 8x10 than for 4x5; and the same for the tripod head/ball head

    The answers to these questions led me to start with 4x5 with scanning of negatives at first. Along the road Ill decide whether I go back to wet printing again.

  9. #9

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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    Quote Originally Posted by eyunicean View Post
    used for still life (with speed lights and strobes) in colour. I often do macro shots as well.
    This info alone is enough for me to say 8x10 is not a good choice

  10. #10

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    Re: 4x5 vs 8x10

    Do yourself a favor and price 4x5 color film versus 8x10 color film. This is why I only shoot 8x10 b&w.

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