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Thread: "Maximum" Print Size?

  1. #21

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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    Thanks all, again. Great points to consider.

    After looking at Clyde Butcher's work online, I have the "go big" bug if the print warrants it. The funny side story was that I was no more than 10 miles from his gallery/darkroom in 2010 and did not know of him. If I did, I probably would have stayed in Venice and offered to sweep floors to hang around!

    I would imagine 16x20's and 20x24's for upscale portrait work from a 5x7 neg. Larger for a truly good landscape, 11x14's and 8x10's for run of the mill stuff.
    Portraits, Weddings, Landscapes
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  2. #22

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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    Every print wants to be a certain size, but sometimes we have to deny them their desires depending on where it is to be displayed. There is no point making a 40" print to be hung in a tiny room, or a 14x11 in a gigantic foyer with bare walls. Its incredible how prints 'grow' when you take them down from the exhibition venue and bring them home!

  3. #23

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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    I rarely print anything from any negative bigger than 11x14". I find I like my prints small and intimate. At a recent camera group meeting, almost everyone showed prints 8x10" and larger, whether inkjet or silver gelatin. All mine were about 6x6" or 6x7". Could they go bigger? Sure. Would they look and feel the same? No. To the original poster, go with the biggest format you can for the print size you're going to make. If you must go with a small format, if you are in control of your lighting and film processing, you can do amazing things with a MF negative from a 100 ISO fine-grained film. I doubt anyone looking at the final images will point at one and say "Oh, that came from a small negative."

    Peter Gomena

  4. #24

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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    I agree mostly, but although I have made 40" documentary images from 6x7 negs off Delta 100 and 400, I would not consider that approach suitable for fine art landscape work. I am happy making 24" prints off Delta 3200 in 35mm for some documentary images, but I might not be happy with 5x4" HP5+ at 16x20 for some landscape images.


    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Gomena View Post
    ..., you can do amazing things with a MF negative from a 100 ISO fine-grained film. I doubt anyone looking at the final images will point at one and say "Oh, that came from a small negative."

    Peter Gomena

  5. #25

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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    Yes, I've seen good documentary images at 16x20" from 6x4.5 on Delta 100. I'm just saying the average viewer probably will not notice a significant difference. As I said above, use the biggest format you can for the size image you're going to make. A 4x-5x enlargement would be a good stopping point for any format.

    Peter Gomena

  6. #26

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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    I think this thread took a slightly unexpected turn...I was just asking typically, (if such a thing ), what the largest maximum print we would agree for any given format/film-type combo. Individual aesthetics aside, I was curious what others experience has been with traditional print making.

    Thank you, though for all the input.

    I get that many can get excellent results with a 4x5 making 40", 50", and even 60" prints that would be relatively sharp. I doubt I will print anything that big soon, but nice to know that a 5x7 neg should be up to the task.
    Portraits, Weddings, Landscapes
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  7. #27

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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    roresteen, but that's the whole point Different aesthetic requirement bring different technical requirements. There is never going to be a consensus, because everyone has different opinions on both counts. Application and intended end 'look' is everything (and then there are display conditions).

    Sadly there is no substitute for making some prints and forming your own opinion, but be prepared for that viewpoint to change. For example, the 10x8 test print of this (35mm, Delta 3200) image (http://www.thomasstanworth.com/album...A-10634171-1#5) disappointed me, but I needed to make a 20x16 exhibition print. I was astonished at how much better it became at the larger size as the grain fully emerged and the detail broke free from the grain pattern.

  8. #28
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    Quote Originally Posted by roresteen View Post
    Given it probably depends on film/developer choice, subject matter and "quality" of light, but what is the experience of the group for maximum "reasonable" enlargement for black and white prints...
    Everyone has an opinion on this subject. I could give you mine, but why should you care what I think? Or anyone else for that matter. The only opinion that counts on this subject, is yours. And the only way you'll discover an answer that means anything to you is for you to buckle down and do the work. That's right, you have to make prints. You have to view prints. You have to put your prints on the wall and live with them. Do this for a while and you'll learn what your comfort levels really are. Not what someone else tells you they should be -- what they really are.

    That's the only way to find out.

    Bruce Watson

  9. #29
    lenicolas's Avatar
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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    To answer the O.P's question "what's the largest print size for a given format"

    My rule is 10x enlargment.
    This means a 10x15 from 24x36, a 20x24 from 6x7, and a 40x50 from 4x5.

    The grain in most films could handle much greater enlargements, but then you have to consider tonality, contrast...

    Very often i would break my own rule to print double spreads (15x20) from 24x36.
    "I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing." Duane Michals

  10. #30

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    Re: "Maximum" Print Size?

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle View Post
    roresteen, but that's the whole point Different aesthetic requirement bring different technical requirements. There is never going to be a consensus, because everyone has different opinions on both counts. Application and intended end 'look' is everything (and then there are display conditions).

    Sadly there is no substitute for making some prints and forming your own opinion, but be prepared for that viewpoint to change. For example, the 10x8 test print of this (35mm, Delta 3200) image (http://www.thomasstanworth.com/album...A-10634171-1#5) disappointed me, but I needed to make a 20x16 exhibition print. I was astonished at how much better it became at the larger size as the grain fully emerged and the detail broke free from the grain pattern.
    Turtle - I understand what you are saying; it's just a step or two past my original technical question. The art that follows is up to the individual.
    Portraits, Weddings, Landscapes
    http://roboresteen.com

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