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Thread: How to print large - 6 foot possible

  1. #1

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    How to print large - 6 foot possible

    OK, i'll show my ignorance here. There is a thread on the Rangefinder forum where a guy is asked by a client to make a 6 foot print. Yes, from 35mm. Besides the obvious grain problem of enlarging a postage stamp that big, what is the largest size silver gelatin photo paper you can easily get? Come to think of it, how did LF photographers in 1940 make a giant print, say, Ansel Adams? I've seen 5x7 enlargers, but that's all. And I only contact print. But say I have a beautiful 8x10 B&W negative, what is the procedure today (or back in the day), to make it 3 or 4 times larger? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    paper size is not a problem. Ilford make roll sizes that will easily cover 6ft X 4ft

    The question is how does he want to do it. If he's thinking of doing it himself then he needs a lot of space with enlarger that can best be set to horizontal and paper position on wall at correct distance. Then he'll need the right lens, a rodagon-g 50mm. But even that lens is right at its limit at 50x magnification so print won't be very sharp.
    Then he needs to be able develop, stop and fix. Those will be big trays but instead you can use troughs and roll the print back and forth through the troughs. Then some where to wash it, mabe a shower wall if it big enough. All the while taking care not to crease the print. Then somewhere to dry it and somewhere to mount it etc. It can be done but would require some meticulous planning.

    However, if its for a commercial client then I would opt for getting it drum scanned. An ICG scanner can now do 12000 dpi so that would give you a 17000x11338 pixel image file. That file can be taken to a pro lab with a Lamda or lightjet printer (both laser printers) which can print to real silver gelatine paper. The benfit is you get the chance to work on the image before sending to print and you get people who really know what they are doing to actually produce the print. Persoanlly I think you'll get a better result this way if he's never done anything like this before. And if its a commercial client then they have to pay what it costs which won't be cheap.

    On the other hand if he's up for it and has the space and tools to do it then why not. Enlarger alignment will be critical. But again, I'd say scan to print will probably yield a sharper and better looking result on real silver gelatin paper.

    One other thing. You better make sure the neg is of the absolute finest quality. Perfectly focussed with zero camera movement and very fine resolution and preferably fine grain so that either doing it himself or scanning has at least a chance of creating something half decent.

  3. #3

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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    Click image for larger version. 

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    When I worked at Contact Photo Lab this is what they used for large black and white prints. Everything was evenly developed

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    I have no advice how, but it was done all the time.

    I have a cheap poster 24X36" enlargement from a shaky friend shooting 35mm handheld. It seems to be printed on newsprint.

    It looks fantastic, done in 1986, under plastic, it's like the day I got it.

    Shot with Leica III.
    sin eater

  5. #5

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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    Well, it depends on the roll paper size, and how to handle/process that piece... Over that, it was a common practice to "tile" overlapping pieces to make a billboard etc...

    The largest print I ever saw was at the old Denver airport, that (up as close as I could get) looked like a 35MM Kodachrome slide image of a shot by Galen Rowell of the Rockies, that was at least 50-75 feet wide, but I did see that it was tiled... From a distance it looked great!!! Then there's those old Kodak Coloramas (I think tiled)...

    For digital printing, GP Color in LA can produce murals that can (and do) cover the sides of skyscrapers...

    Steve K

  6. #6
    David Lobato David Lobato's Avatar
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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    20 odd years ago my friends at Gerard's Photo Lab in Colorado Springs made wall size enlargements as a normal routine in the lab. They had an 8x10 horizontal enlarger with a 300mm lens on floor rails. There was a 10x10 foot wall mounted vacuum easel to hold the enlarging paper. They were very adept at making mural size prints, and impressed me with how much volume they ran.

  7. #7

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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    Eastman Kodak used to make billboard prints from Kodachrome 35mm film. Making large prints from 35mm is not a problem and in many situations the grain structure is part of the planned image.

    Not everyone wants 8x10 enlarged grainless prints.

  8. #8

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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    Check out this: http://clydebutcher.com/about-the-ar...l-information/. I've seen Clyde's old darkroom in person; that big enlarger is something to see.

  9. #9
    Les
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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    Garrett, if this guy can't do it, not sure anyone can. He's in Portland, OR.

    http://www.commercialfineart.com/rom...he-canopy.html

    Get this, the images were shot with D300, which are appx 43% of full frame (35mm)....and he did fantastic job on creating huge posters out of them.

    Les

  10. #10
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: How to print large - 6 foot possible

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    OK, i'll show my ignorance here. There is a thread on the Rangefinder forum where a guy is asked by a client to make a 6 foot print. Yes, from 35mm. Besides the obvious grain problem of enlarging a postage stamp that big, what is the largest size silver gelatin photo paper you can easily get? Come to think of it, how did LF photographers in 1940 make a giant print, say, Ansel Adams? I've seen 5x7 enlargers, but that's all. And I only contact print. But say I have a beautiful 8x10 B&W negative, what is the procedure today (or back in the day), to make it 3 or 4 times larger? Thanks.
    There's still plenty of 10x8 enlargers around and a handful larger.

    A six foot print is relatively easy even with a 36mm/MF enlarger, the heads on my Dursts can be rotated to work horizontally and as been pointed out Ilford make large rolls of paper.

    In the 70's/80's I was regularly printing very much larger and had a horizontal 5x4 enlarger the largest from a 35mm negative was about 15ft long but used an inter negative.

    Ian

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