Need help with 8x10 B&W negatives

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by timbartholow, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Hi all, I had posted this in a general forum, and got the suggestion to try here. I inherited a stack of 8x10 B&W negatives from my father's days in the South Pacific in WW2. One puzzler is that there are four images per sheet. They all appear to be original exposures, not a copy job. While I do not understand how that may have been done, my real question is finding someone with an 8x10 enlarger who can make me glossy prints. My attempts at scanning and inverting the images look really bad, so I'm thinking prints are a better option, unless I'm just a failure at scanning.

    Dad operated his own studio from the 1940s through the 1980s and was lucky enough to work as a photographer in WW2 as well. Many of these prints are in his scrapbooks, but those prints are 75 years old, so I would like some new ones. My ideal would be someone in the Atlanta area or the southeast US in driving distance that I could make connections. Any ideas you have will be much appreciated. Thanks!
  2. As said in the other forum, probably the easiest way (other than digitizing the images) is to make contact prints. 4x5 is not too shabby a size.

    Why do you find this answer unsuitable?
  3. Well, in the other thread he said he wanted to get 8x10 glossy prints from each image. Now, I can't speak for the OP, but if it were me wanting an 8x10, and someone asked me, "hey, why do you find 4x5 unsuitable?" I'd just say, cuz I want 8x10s.

    If one of my friends had those negs (four 4x5" images on an 8x10" sheet of film), I'd say to bring a few over. I'd probably use some mount board to make a negative carrier (sandwich the 8x10" film between a pair of 8x10" mounting boards, with a 4x5" aperture cut into the corner). Then I'd stick that corner into a 4x5 enlarger and make whatever size prints they want.

    Am I missing something here? (Of course, 4x5 enlargers probably aren't that common, but there ought to still be plenty of em around.)
  4. Surely the easiest way to get quality images from these negatives is to put them on a light box and photograph them with a macro lens on a digital camera. I've copied loads of similar larger negatives and glass plates in this way. I also scan them with an Epson 4870 flatbed scanner with only slightly better results.
  5. I don't think you can do justice to 8x10 negatives through a dslr 'internegative'.

    Contact prints or projected prints should be much better.
  6. Hi John, probably depends more on what you've got and how you like to do things.

    Fwiw the OP clearly wasn't having much success with digital per his first paragraph, "My attempts at scanning and inverting the images look really bad..."

    My first response, though, was more a reaction to the situation of, "I want 8x10s" and the response that I take as essentially asking - my interpretation - "why aren't you satisfied with 4x5?"
  7. Since this seems to have generated a little follow-up conversation, I'll respond. First, I have no experience with contact prints. I understand the theory, but I grew up with exposures. Not being a professional, or even a practicing, photographer myself, contact prints remain the great unknown to me, and my natural inclination for something so valuable to me is to stick with what I know to work. More importantly, and correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't it be true that the detail of the subject might just be more readily visible in a larger print, rather than a 4x5 or billfold size? I view this as creating a first-generation image that will be subject to subsequent reproduction, which will doubtless reduce both the size and quality, so why shouldn't I want to start with the best-available chance to get the best image I can? That's why I want an 8x10 to start.
  8. Perhaps you could give some more information about how you did the scanning, and what you find unsatisfactory about the results. Posting an example might help. It should be possible to produce excellent 8x10 prints either from scans or from photographing using a digital camera.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020

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