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Thread: They say to start with 4x5, but...

  1. #31

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    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    Why don’t you ask if someone will send you an 4x5 and 8x10 neg and print them however you intend. Demonstration of which is most suitable might be better than discussion… although discussion sure helps.

    Question: what’s the normal viewing distance for your huge prints? That, too, matters.

  2. #32

    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by jdk View Post
    This is not the first time I've heard this, and it still confuses me. Is it really the case that the only real advantage of 8x10 is for contact prints? That seems so counterintuitive given the massive scans they yield. I make very large prints - in the realm of 6 to 8 feet. It seems like 4x5 would be stretching itself at that size.
    OK, if you are making prints on THAT scale, then you'll get better results from an 8x10 negative. However, you will still get an amazing print that size from a GOOD 4x5 negative made on a film like Delta 100 and using a very sharp, contrasty lens.

    PS: are you married to the aspect ratio of 8x10? The camera I use more than any other is my 5x7: more real estate, more appealing aspect ratio, plenty of excellent, affordable lenses for that format, and it keeps materials costs down quite a bit.

  3. #33

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    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post
    Question: whatís the normal viewing distance for your huge prints? That, too, matters.
    Roughly equivalent to the planck length. It's definitely not 8 feet away from behind a velvet rope.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulbarden View Post
    PS: are you married to the aspect ratio of 8x10? The camera I use more than any other is my 5x7: more real estate, more appealing aspect ratio, plenty of excellent, affordable lenses for that format, and it keeps materials costs down quite a bit.
    Actually no, I've just been using it is a proxy for formats requiring a 300mm image circle. 4x10 is far more my style. Chamonix makes one with really nice size and weight specs.

  4. #34

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    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    Yes on 8x10 contact prints. 8x10 B&W contact prints are far more special when made from 8x10 negatives created by Soft Focus lenses.

    In many ways 8x10 film for projected prints works against image goals. Based on having done 8x10 film for over a decade back when 8x10 was not that much extra effort or cost, never again. Challenges from keeping the film flat, apertures required to keep areas of the image in perceived focus _even with camera movements applied_ , IMO seriously restricted lens choices once the specific demands and limitations are applied and they are $$$$, the overall 8x10 outfit is heavy, bulky, MUCH slower to set up and work with than 4x5.. Overall, 8x10 often does NOT result in better image quality when projection printed. If scanned, how the 8x10 scanned becomes an issue.

    What is IMO a far better film size choice is 5x7 _ 13x18cm, which has many of the advantages of 4x5 with far fewer disadvantages of 8x10. This opinion comes from using film formats from 35mm to 8x10. While each film format has it's place in the image maker tool box, 5x7 _ 13x18cm remains kinda special in the universe of sheet film image making.

    Cut 8x10 down to 4x10, it become more viable again than 8x10. This is much about dealing with the very nature of sheet film and once the realities of what the ways of Nature will enforce with increasing sheet film size.

    As for information on film, keep that macroscope-microscope 260x magnified image of the STOP sign from a sheet of 5x7 Ektachrome made using a circa 1950's Goerz APO process lens in barrel @f16 in mind. Extremely unlikely any "modern" lens could or would exceed that optical performance rendered on film.


    Bernice



    Quote Originally Posted by jdk View Post
    This is not the first time I've heard this, and it still confuses me. Is it really the case that the only real advantage of 8x10 is for contact prints? That seems so counterintuitive given the massive scans they yield. I make very large prints - in the realm of 6 to 8 feet. It seems like 4x5 would be stretching itself at that size.

  5. #35
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by jdk View Post
    I put the word "resolution" in quotes because I understand it is quite the loaded term...
    In your post #17 above, in response to Bernice Loui's question "Why view camera sheet film, Why 8x10?" you responded: resolution. Without quotes. So I took you at your word.

    Sorry about that. I am a terrible mind reader. Actually, most people here aren't that good at mind reading. Sadly most of us are fairly literal. We need you to be specific about what you are trying to accomplish so we can give you better answers to the question you actually want answered. I did try.

    So, ignore the first part of my reply above. The second part still applies. I think.

    Bruce Watson

  6. #36

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    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    As far as I know, 5x7 colour film is only available as special order from Kodak and OP stated they are interested in shooting slides.
    Op has also mentioned that they want to shoot 1:2 ratio.

    For me the obvious difference is that on a 4x5 camera OP would be able to achieve their desired 1:2 ratio on 120 film.
    On the one hand, the much lower cost of 120 film, with many different emulsions available, no need to carry heavy film holders and the possibility to carry dozens of rolls in your bag without a significant weight increase… on the other hand a non standard format that OP would have to cut themselves from expensive 8x10 sheets and carry a bunch of heavy holders, a film charging tent… on top of an already much heavier camera and tripod…
    For me the choice is a no brainer…. BUT I don’t print 8ft wide.

    I shoot 612 format on 120 film, and I have an 8x10.
    I wouldn’t be happy enlarging my 612 negs to 8ft wide.

    But there’s no way I would carry my 8x10 to the places I can carry a 4x5.

    So what about an in between solution :
    OP gets a 4x5 with an extra 612 back… BUT they also make sure that their camera has at least 1.5inch of rear standard shift in each direction.
    That way they can shoot a bunch of pictures on the cheap roll films, but when they encounter a scene that they know they have to capture large, they can use the rear shift to capture a 4x8*perspective on two sheets of 4x5.
    "I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing." Duane Michals

  7. #37

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    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    So, ignore the first part of my reply above. The second part still applies. I think.
    It does. I just didn't want the thread to be derailed into film-digital comparisons. The differences between 4x5 and 8x10 in the context of their optical compromises is really what I was trying to focus on. Someone else linked a great article from 2011 that had a ton of great info on the subject, specifically accounting for diffraction limits. So this has been helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by lenicolas View Post
    As far as I know, 5x7 colour film is only available as special order from Kodak and OP stated they are interested in shooting slides.
    Op has also mentioned that they want to shoot 1:2 ratio.

    For me the obvious difference is that on a 4x5 camera OP would be able to achieve their desired 1:2 ratio on 120 film.
    On the one hand, the much lower cost of 120 film, with many different emulsions available, no need to carry heavy film holders and the possibility to carry dozens of rolls in your bag without a significant weight increase… on the other hand a non standard format that OP would have to cut themselves from expensive 8x10 sheets and carry a bunch of heavy holders, a film charging tent… on top of an already much heavier camera and tripod…
    For me the choice is a no brainer…. BUT I don’t print 8ft wide.

    I shoot 612 format on 120 film, and I have an 8x10.
    I wouldn’t be happy enlarging my 612 negs to 8ft wide.

    But there’s no way I would carry my 8x10 to the places I can carry a 4x5.

    So what about an in between solution :
    OP gets a 4x5 with an extra 612 back… BUT they also make sure that their camera has at least 1.5inch of rear standard shift in each direction.
    That way they can shoot a bunch of pictures on the cheap roll films, but when they encounter a scene that they know they have to capture large, they can use the rear shift to capture a 4x8*perspective on two sheets of 4x5.
    I did consider 617 as an alternative. The Fuji GX617s are very cool, compact, and the benefits of roll film are obvious. But print size is the issue, which is why I started looking at 4x10 as essentially 6x17 on steroids. I get two shots out of an 8x10 sheet, and the camera size and weight is far more manageable than 8x10. Once I started down that path, the only question was whether to start out with 4x5 in accordance with conventional wisdom or just jump in and go for it. Turns out conventional wisdom may have shifted.

  8. #38
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    They say to start with 4x5, but...

    Coupla points. One I didnít see stated yet and the other has been said but Iím not sure you are hearing it.

    The one I didnít see is that the diffraction you asked about in the initial post isnít the only limiting factor. Other aberrations also must be controlled, as well as image circle. Large format lenses, unlike lenses for 35mm and smaller cameras, are not optimized for wide-open shooting. The typical high-end plasmat is optimized for f/16, and the typical biogon type (Super Angulon, Grandagon, etc.) is optimized for f/22. Partly this is because at larger apertures, the barrel occludes the aperture if movements have pushed to the edge of the image circle, and you get vignetting. Partly itís because these are not the newest designs. So, youíll likely have suboptimal results at f/8 even in the focus plane, because diffraction isnít the thing limiting sharpness at f/8.

    And the thing Iím not sure you are hearing is that f/8 has very little application in large-format photography in any case, for those who include ďresolutionĒ in their stated objectives as you have done. No aberration or any amount of diffraction causes fuzziness like being even a little out of focus. And at f/8, any three-dimensional scene with a foreground photographed using large format is going to have a lot stuff that is out of focus. Thatís another reason lenses are not optimized for wide aperturesóLF photographers use the wide apertures only for viewing and focusing.

    8x10 suffers from this limitation more that 4x5. But for me, even using 4x5, I consider myself lucky when I can get sufficient depth of field even at f/22. And I use tilts and swings extensively to try and manage the focus plane optimally so I donít have to stop down as much. LF exposures are often measured in seconds rather fractions of a second because of this, so those fast-moving things are still a problem

    Finally, scanning. I find that Epson scanners produce the quality I want up to 4x enlargement. (My standard is sustaining the illusion of endless detail even viewed up close.) Thus, 16x20 prints for 4x5, and 30x40 prints for 8x10. The film will support much greater enlargements, of course, but will need a better scan.

    I used a composite of three 6x12 negatives (in my 4x5 Sinar), scanned at twice the useful resolution of an Epson flatbed in a Nikon film scanner, to get a scan that would support a print of 5x8 feet and sustain the illusion of unlimited detail when viewed up close. I didnít have time to send it out for drum scanning, but that would have made it easier.

    (Judging from what I see in mural-sized ad photos these days, that is no longer the operative standard. But it used to be.)

    Rick ďdonít hire a cat to do a dogís jobĒ Denney

  9. #39

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    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    If you want to shoot 8x10 stop being a Nancy about it and shoot 8x10.
    Life is too short to futz around.
    It's only $$
    If it's what makes you happy you'll only wonder why it took you so long to grab the ball and run with it.
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for men if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  10. #40

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    Re: They say to start with 4x5, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by rdenney View Post
    The one I didnít see is that the diffraction you asked about in the initial post isnít the only limiting factor. Other aberrations also must be controlled, as well as image circle. Large format lenses, unlike lenses for 35mm and smaller cameras, are not optimized for wide-open shooting. The typical high-end plasmat is optimized for f/16, and the typical biogon type (Super Angulon, Grandagon, etc.) is optimized for f/22. Partly this is because at larger apertures, the barrel occludes the aperture if movements have pushed to the edge of the image circle, and you get vignetting. Partly itís because these are not the newest designs. So, youíll likely have suboptimal results at f/8 even in the focus plane, because diffraction isnít the thing limiting sharpness at f/8.

    And the thing Iím not sure you are hearing is that f/8 has very little application in large-format photography in any case, for those who include ďresolutionĒ in their stated objectives as you have done. No aberration or any amount of diffraction causes fuzziness like being even a little out of focus.
    I totally understand. Shooting at f/8 on 8x10 is not what I had in mind, but I referenced that aperture as the mathematical outcome of the resolution rule of thumb I quoted in the first post. That's the part that I didn't understand, but some things here have started to clear it up (even if the rule itself is questionable).

    My operating knowledge at this point is essentially this: 8x10 has much more resolving power than 4x5, but due to the practical reality of counterbalancing of DOF and diffraction, it seems likely that it loses any advantage after about f/45. This is probably why there seems to be such a popular opinion that 8x10 is really only for contact prints.

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