How large can 35mm 100 ASA negative filrm be enlarged?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by jim_ford, Oct 18, 2000.

  1. I have a landscape print of the James River taken off the Blue Ridge Pkwy that I would like to hang on my wall. How much larger than 8x10 can I go without "fragmenting" detail? Would it better to use slide film for this purpose? When at the printer, is there a particulr format that works better than others? Thanks very much.. in advance.
     
  2. A lot of it will depend on how sharp the detail in the image is. IMO
    image sharpness matters more than grain in determining enlargeability.
    That said, I routinely make 16x20s from 35mm, and if the neg is good
    24x30 is certainly feasible. Sebastiao Salgado makes 4x6 foot prints
    of his grainy (but sharp) b&w images and they look wonderful.

    <p>

    In terms of print formats, see if your printer offers one that doesn't
    cut off too much of the ends of the frame. On that score 11x14 is a
    better format than 16x20 (which would need to be 16x24 for full-neg
    printing). You can always have 16x24 or 24x36 done as a custom order
    if you don't want to crop the frame - they just print the neg on the
    next larger paper size.

    <p>

    Slide film would not be better for this, unless you scan it and go
    with a LightJet or large-format inkjet print. Processes like interneg
    or (heaven forbid) Type-R reversal prints result in too much loss of
    information, along with colour and contrast shift problems.
    Ilfochromes are nice, but very pricey and for my taste too contrasty.
    For prints, by and large, you should shoot negs.

    <p>

    Paul
     
  3. I have some 20 X 30's done from 100 speed print film that I am happy
    with. These were done with my best lenses at their optimum apertures
    (5.6 to 8.0)on a tripod. Exposure is critical when doing a 20X
    enlargement, and so is the fact that the negative needs to be free of
    scratches and dust. Medium format out performs 35mm by a
    considerable margin in the bigger sizes, but it isn't really that
    noticeable when viewing the images from several feet away, which is
    where they are normally looked at from anyway. Blow them up big and
    enjoy!
     
  4. I have about a dozen enlargements from Fuji /Agfa ASA 100 color print film on my walls, ranging from 20x24, 20x30 to 24x36"
    taken with Leitz/Zeiss lenses.
     
  5. I would like to remind a very good example of the enlargement from
    Popular Photography, September 1978, p.75: "For the first time ever,
    a 35mm transparency was used for Kodak's 60-foot long Colorama in New
    York's Grand Central Station. All previous Kodak Coloramas (27 years
    worth) were made from Large-format negatives. What was truly
    astonishing was the fact that the tiny 35mm transparency, though
    magnified an incredible 516 times, retained sharpness. A very
    impressive testimonial to the quality of Leica lenses and
    photographer Ernst Haas. The camera: Leicaflex SL with Summicron 50mm
    lens".
    Good luck,
     
  6. Viewing distance... can't can't can't even think about enlargement diameters without considering viewing distance. Enlargement entirely depends upon it. In a narrow hallway where your face could not get comfortably more than a couple of feet away from the hanging photograph, even a 16x20 would likely appear too grainy. Most likely not in a large living room with a piano between the viewer and the wall.
     
  7. I routinely sell 20x30 prints from my book "Rock City Barns: A Passing
    Era," The original slides were made with Canon and Olympus lenses.
    20x30 would be a breeze with Leitz lenses! Wildlife photographer
    Thomas Mangelson (very successfully!) sells prints up to 40x60 from
    35mm originals made with (I think) Nikon equipment.

    <p>

    Fujichrome 100 in all its permutations, from the original RDP through
    Provia, Sensia I & II, and Provia F, has always delivered sharpness,
    dependability, and great color. Prints from slide film are sharper,
    and color can be controlled at the time of exposure, rather than being
    subjected to the taste of a color printing technician. Fuji reversal
    paper has given excellent results with the above films.
     
  8. Will this question ever really be answered? I just love large formats
    but shear costs apart from other considerations tend to draw me to a
    hault. In the studio I find that 35mm seems to work to 1620 An F4
    (always manual) with (I suspect) soft 35-105 Nikon outfit performs to
    a point with people. No sharp edges. But the limitations are
    noticeable on things like eye lashes etc on glamour where the face
    fills the format. out doors where there may be a group of say 5 or
    more loosly filled allowing for some background to suround the
    subject, one would find that 1114/16 would pull you up. Of course
    good glass etc certainly helps. Using PJ100 film (colour). Thats my
    experience anyway. We/I use 120 if there is an anticipated sale of
    wall portraits etc. Oh yes by the way its a bit harder to mask a 35
    neg to correct for slopy framing than it is for 120

    <p>

    Old timer.
     

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