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Thread: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

  1. #11

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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    Edward Weston bought a Rapid Rectilinear in Mexico for 25 pesos (1924). He customarily stopped it all the way down to f/256 (f/64 today's scale). The lens is now at the George Eastman house. Its a lesser quality rectilinear (does not even bear a manufacturer's name!) shot at an aperture that brought on major diffraction. Poor lens, poor technique. But what about the contact printed images? Amazing.

  2. #12

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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    .... are some of us too hung up on image resolutions rather than on the actual image captured in the photograph?

    comments very welcome...
    In a word...Yes!

  3. #13

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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    Actually, the lens you use can make a difference in a contact print. Small differences in sharpness between different lenses. Differences in how they render contrast. Flare characteristics - among others.

    My Uncle showed me five 4x5 chromes taken with the same model 75mm Super Angulon lens. Five different copies. Said Calumet got them in and put on a lensboard for his camera then he went with them in the parking lot and photographed the building with the sun in one corner. All at the same aperture and shutter speed.

    Took the film to the lab and in 90 minutes had the information as to which lens he then bought. Lowest flare from the sun in the frame. As a result the chrome had less veiling across the image. Much less than three of the sheets of film and a bit less than the fourth. Told me he tested it this way because he was using it directly into the sun often and had lost too many sheets of film due to excessive flare.

    The lens can make a difference in the final result.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  4. #14
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    Some people like to inspect film/prints with a magnifying glass or microscope. Um, good for them I guess? I was just inspecting some 8x10 and 8x20 contact prints tonight, deciding on what to send in to an open call. They are plenty sharp. I don't understand the quibbling over a few lp/mm in the farther corners.
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  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    If you intend to both contact print and SIGNIFICANTLY enlarge, then all this might be a valid discussion. Otherwise, there are far more realistic options for choosing a lens instead of sharpness reputation.

  6. #16
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    I have made some fine 8x10 contacts with my Fuji W 250/6.7 (and other lenses of the same maker/design -- 300mm, 360mm).

    With most of my images I strive to get a very sharp print -- sharper than it needs for its 'proper' viewing distance. The sharpness is part of the image, and I find that a high level of sharpness projects itself in a strong matter and affects how the print feels. Purely subjective, of course.

    Platinum printing -- a vacuum frame is really needed to check 'resolution' of different papers. How tight the negative is to the paper is a huge variable and most contact printing frames can give mixed results. I do not find pt prints to be a sharp as silver gelatin prints -- but the difference generally is not seen at viewing distances. Besides pt prints, I make carbon prints -- sort of like silver gelatin prints on steroids...acutance is increased by its raised relief.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  7. #17

    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    Perceived sharpness actually higher contrast or real resolution?

    The Schneider HM notes "high modulation" or their variant to deliver higher contrast with increased LPM.

    More often than not, visual perception of sharper is actually nothing more than higher contrast in the print.


    Decades ago, tried using a Goerz 6" Magnar to enlarge 4x5 negatives to print. This lens was specifically designed to enlarge 5x5 aero film to 10x10 aero film to be used for military recon work. When used to enlarge a 4x5 negative to 8x10 one might believe the increased optical performance will result in a "sharper" print. Turns out, absolutely NO. The print paper cannot resolve the HUGE increase of information blasted on to it.

    Much the same holds true with making 8x10 contact prints from 8x10 negatives on toSilver Gelatin print papers.

    Keep in mind a "sharper" print alone does not make it a "better" print.



    Bernice

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    With a contact print, it's not absolute detail in the film that counts, but primarily enhanced edge acutance that you can see. This is largely a matter of film and development choice, unless you deliberately want soft edges like for portraiture. The lens choice itself might lend secondary flavor. But if we want to go on a wild goose chase discussing "HM", MTF, lpmm, etc, we should also be talking about 40x60 inch prints from 8X10 film, not contacts. My gosh, those immaculate contacts which EW made would probably look like mush enlarged much.

  9. #19

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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    While I don't exactly make contact prints on a daily basis...there are two things I can recommend: one, that whatever contact frame you use...make sure it applies pressure evenly, and forcefully enough to ensure good contact. And be careful with "new and improved" products. I remember back in the early 80's...someone came out with a contact printer that they claimed was the "cats pajamas," furniture grade birch ply...thick acrylic instead of glass...and two lengths of what appeared to be rubber lab tubing, which was pulled across the back of the unit and secured by way of a couple of notches to give pressure to the "sandwich." Thing is...the force this applied was completely wrong...and I soon want back to the more conventional "flower press" design with the three flat springs. Second thing (which only truly works with an effective press)...at least in my experience, is my sense that in terms of really "tactile" sharpness, nothing beats a staining/hardening developed negative which gives good edge effects as well as facilitates a migration/hardening of silver to the surface of the emulsion. Take a look at such a negative under oblique light and you'll see what I mean. Rodinal also gives a bit of this "etching" effect...but in my experience not as much as either ABC or PMK pyro, or, to a very slightly lesser degree, Pyrocat. At any rate...my two cents for what its worth.

  10. #20

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    Re: Lenses for shooting 8x10 and making contact prints

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    he was using a Schneider Kreuznach Super Symmar HM 210mm f/5.6 MC... ...he used the Super Symmar HM to get the "sharpest possible contact prints".
    The Super Symmar HM has a large circle (like Sironar-W) of image allowing for extended movements, but IMHO he would not obatin at all shaper contact prints than with other lenses because using an HM and not a Symmar-S or a Sironar-N.

    A 8x10 contact copy may resolve some 30 Lp/mm on the print, and any modern (+1950) lens may deliver way more than that, so no deal.

    Then, nobody will see more than 6Lp/mm in a print, simply eye has a limit, so IMHO any lens will thow those 30 Lp/mm in the print if the shot is technically good, but we'll need a magnifier to see more than 6 Lp/mm

    Some say that the human eye can see more than 6 Lp/mm, this may be true if we see a high contrast target (1:1000, for example), then some people can perceive a bit more, but in a print we have much lower contrast, max is around 1:100 in a good paper, even textures in a print may show much lower contrast than completely Black lines aganist completely White lines, in those conditions no observer won't see more, without a magnifier.



    The Super Symmar HM has a larger circle and will illuminate more the bellows, delivering more flare in some situations if a front hood not used, but no additional sharpness in a contact print, just wider translational movements...

    This is IMHO...

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