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Thread: 8x10 vs 4x5?

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    8x10 vs 4x5?

    I am shooting landscapes with 4x5 and 6x17cm, both on color transparency film. I then drum scan and print with a Chromera/Lightjet on Fuji Crystal Archive. My focus is large gallery prints (as large as 48x65 and 32x96, but more often 30x40 and 24x72). If I am doing a good job throughout the process, will I see a vast print quality difference moving up to 8x10 and
    4x10?
    Thanks for the experienced input.

    Jon

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    At those print sizes I think it depends on the quality of your imaging chain. But I wouldn't underestimate the potential of 4x5" transparency film. Recently I had to scan a couple of Kodak E100G 4x5" trannies to be blown up to 180x260cm (71x102") gallery prints. That's more than 20x enlargement. It's an incredibly fine grained film that held up really well. At least the files look very good at that size. I have yet to see the prints.
    I doubt you would see any grain at your print sizes from 4x5" of that film or Fuji Astia or Velvia. But there's also the quality of the drum scans to be taken into consideration. Some scanners do well even beyond 4000 ppi while others are hardware limited to lower optical output. Which drum scanner are you using?

    With 8x10" on the other hand you don't need such high res requirements in the scanner for your print sizes. In an up close direct comparison you'll probably notice a smoother tonality and slightly better sharpness coming from the 8x10". If you're using a coarser grained film the differences will be more obvious.

    To break this down for your print size of 48x65" on a 300ppi Lightjet you'll need 14,400x19,500 good pixels in your print file to achieve all the quality you can get from that output process. That's 280 MP which is a lot to ask from a 4x5" sheet. Even when every link in your imaging chain works in your favor you'll see that the print file is struggling on a pixel level. So it's much easier to get 280 high quality MP from an 8x10" sheet. And of course if you'll some day decide to print larger you'll have the necessary headroom stored on film or in your master file if you scan to archive.

    -Dominique

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    What Dominique said. Only things I can add are:

    1) processing of 8x10 is far more difficult to get perfect results than it is for 4x5,

    2) film flatness is more of an issue with 8x10,

    3) larger format lenses are not as inherently sharp as 4x5 lenses.

    All I am saying here, is you don't end up with a linear 2x gain in image fidelity moving up to 8x10 from 4x5, but you net maybe a 1.4x linear gain... One thing you do gain that is easily visible, is added smoothness and tonality. And of course, you do also gain size, weight, loss of convenience and added expense with 8x10

    Cheers,
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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    One thing you do gain that is easily visible
    The larger ground glass.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    The larger ground glass.
    Of course . I was referring to image quality differences however...
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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    AND, all you need is a contact frame unless you want to jump for an 8 by 10 enlarger.
    I am one of those that thinks that current digital backs cum modern processing techniques yeils equivalent results at 20 by 40 ,<begin type="flame"></begin>
    -bob

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Of course . I was referring to image quality differences however...
    I know, but I think it's always worth stating as large format--especially when one jumps above 4x5--isn't the preferred working method based on image quality for the majority of those I know who still shoot it.
    Last edited by Jeremy; 13th March 2010 at 16:08.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    AND, all you need is a contact frame unless you want to jump for an 8 by 10 enlarger.
    I am one of those that thinks that current digital backs cum modern processing techniques yeils equivalent results at 20 by 40 ,<begin type="flame"></begin>
    -bob
    I think it would be interesting to compare 8x10 scanned on a consumer flatbed against a current digital back. If I get a P60+ loaner at work to test I'll do this, but I don't think it will be any time soon.

    Personally, I don't understand the flame war thing; I don't really care if someone thinks their camera can meet or beat the quality of my own--I just care about what I can do with my camera. If someone made a one-shot 8x10 sensor that allowed the full ground glass plus no issues with movements I would buy one--of course, I could never afford it :-D

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    I used to shoot 4 by 5, then make dye transfer separations,
    Airbrush (yeah, a real airbrush) on the separations,
    make ruby-liths (the job was called a "stripper") for masks,
    then make dye transfer prints at twice (or more) finished size, then airbrush the details.
    With backs like the P65+ and photoshop, my life is sooo much easier and years ago I sold off my vacuum frame, enlarger, and my big trays and registration punch.
    Give me digital except when once every few years when I want to remind myself why I do this.
    -bob

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    I lust for a 8x10 view camera for one thing alternate process contact prints and plates.

    I'm seeking a process which will place the least technology between the object, the light and my vision. Digital is fine but there are times when I seek more of a dance with my art rather than an algorithm.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    For me, the least technology ends up being digital.
    Soo much simpler than it used to me and it keeps my fingers out of the chemicals.
    -bob

    Alt processes are fine, but I print my negatives on an inkjet printer

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    It's horses for courses -- there is an enigmatic something to using film and a big view camera that isn't available from digital. However, I'd agree that files from my P65+ are probably as good as the best captured and drum-scanned 8x10's I ever shot.
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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Yeah, it it is a Zen sort of thing.
    I still have a CO2 cylinder and airbrush upstairs, but I use it only on paper now.
    -bob

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Why shoot 8x10 and then introduce digital scanning into the process? A sure loser in too many ways. Shoot 8x10 and print from the negative or transparency. That is the way to take full advantage of the quality you get with the added real estate in the negative or transparency.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Having done some testing recently, if you want the same depth of field from your 8x10 and would have used f/32 on 4x5 then your 8x10 results will actually be worse than 4x5 (because you would have to use f/64). The only advantage comes from 8x10 if you use smaller apertures - i.e. f/32 or at a real push f/45.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    I scan my 8x10's on an Epson v750, I only print to 16x20 size so I don't know at twice and three times the size. But at 16x20 there is a noticeable difference between and 8x10 negative and a 4x5 negative. However there is not a lot of difference between a
    2 1/4x3 1/4 and 4 x 5. I think that the film you use is going to matter a lot and also the lenses that you use will be a real issue. The whole thing between digital and film is silly to me. Even when digitized film has its own look and Large Format means low magnification, and that is a factor in apparent sharpness. Digital has accutance all to heck but even on DMF you still are taking an image at about 2 inches and enlarging to 40+ inches, it matters. As for the least amount of technology, personally I think whatever technical thing that you master, that becomes the low tech way of doing things. Like Bob says , in the old days making high quality prints was labor intensive and very technical. Now it is much, much easier. It is very heroic lugging a view camera around. I figure my 8x10 outfit, with film and lenses weighed in just shy of 100lbs. My 4x5 outfit weighed in about half of that. My MF outfit and my digital rig weigh in at 26 lbs each, for me it isn't a real big decision. But it is romantic lugging a big camera around. And you can buy LF rigs pretty cheap these days.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by timparkin View Post
    Having done some testing recently, if you want the same depth of field from your 8x10 and would have used f/32 on 4x5 then your 8x10 results will actually be worse than 4x5 (because you would have to use f/64). The only advantage comes from 8x10 if you use smaller apertures - i.e. f/32 or at a real push f/45.
    DOF should be seen as a property of the format. For everything sharp, nothing beats a phone (or a pinhole). 8x10 can be used to extract much more detail, smoother gradations, and less grain than 4x5, but it does take quite a lot of work.
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by zzyzx View Post
    Why shoot 8x10 and then introduce digital scanning into the process? A sure loser in too many ways. Shoot 8x10 and print from the negative or transparency. That is the way to take full advantage of the quality you get with the added real estate in the negative or transparency.
    ??? How? If you want more beyond an 8x10 contact print, you are going to have to reproduce it one way or another. Scanning is not necessarily going to give a worse result than an 8x10 enlarger.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    ??? How? If you want more beyond an 8x10 contact print, you are going to have to reproduce it one way or another. Scanning is not necessarily going to give a worse result than an 8x10 enlarger.
    Through sampling. Optical enlargement gives you all the data, scanning samples it spatially and tonally, within the limitations of the D-max and ability of the scanner. I do not know whether you can really see the difference, but judging from the answers of some respected photographers here, you can. On top of that, the inks add their own limitations to the gamut, although I guess optical printing does too, in a different way.

    But I guess you knew all this already.
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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Through sampling. Optical enlargement gives you all the data, scanning samples it spatially and tonally, within the limitations of the D-max and ability of the scanner. I do not know whether you can really see the difference, but judging from the answers of some respected photographers here, you can. On top of that, the inks add their own limitations to the gamut, although I guess optical printing does too, in a different way.

    But I guess you knew all this already.
    Optical printing is not "lossless." You still are dealing with a reproduction system where each component is going to impact the results. A photochemical workflow does not necessarily end up with a better result. I may not be a respected photographer, but I have done a lot of large format printing in the darkroom and digitally. Since the OP is Olin for large prints, I am not convinced optical printing is going to give better results.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Ther are some factors for both sides of this ongoing discussion:
    The 8x10 lenses are equal now-if speaking of the last 10 or 15 years to the quality of the latest 4x5 lenses so that isd less of an issue than before. A great benefit of 8x10, not mentioned yet, is that composing on an 8x10 is much easier than any of the smaller formats. You are looking at a 'finished size', so you have a better perception of what it might look like on the wall.
    The down size is traveling with an 8x10 and the film. Airlines not making it easier.

    The new films thought:Ektar 100 and Pro 160 do scan better than most transparencies so can yield some outstanding results given a good scanner and operator.
    The larger formats do lend them selves to the alternative processes without again going onto computers.

    On the digital side, Color control is much easier with Digital than Film. Especially with the WB control available now and the RAW adjustment capabilities as well.
    The time on a computer verses the time in the darkroom is about a wash for the more skilled photographic worker who has a high 'GE' factor(Good enough).
    So there are things to be said for both. I did 20+ years of 8x10 and 4x5. I still shoot 4x5 some but find I love the control, acciracy and precision of my technical camera so much that I want to photograph even more often than before.
    So both are good, both have advantages. I guess we all just choose...
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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    +1 to Rod,
    I spent far too many years making color correction masks for dye transfer and of course there was that non-reproducable technique of dipping the yellow mat "just a little" and rinsing it more than usual to offset a slight color shift.
    I am really glad to be using the digital process :-)
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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonpaul View Post
    I am shooting landscapes with 4x5 and 6x17cm, both on color transparency film. I then drum scan and print with a Chromera/Lightjet on Fuji Crystal Archive. My focus is large gallery prints (as large as 48x65 and 32x96, but more often 30x40 and 24x72). If I am doing a good job throughout the process, will I see a vast print quality difference moving up to 8x10 and
    4x10?
    Thanks for the experienced input.

    Jon
    I have shot a large amount of 6x8cm, 4x5 and 8x10.
    Personally I find that 8x10 has a significant advantage over 4x5.
    You have double the linear resolution with the film and the image is not reduced down to the smaller size and then enlarged.

    While some point out that 4x5 lenses are inherently sharper than 8x10 lenses... ... well that may be true, but the difference is very small and it is made irrelevant by the fact that 4x5 has to be blown up twice as much.

    I have not had issues of film flatness being a problem, even shooting vertically down.

    8x10 scans far better than 4x5. Twice the resolution.

    Dust specks will be half the size.

    Add to this the fact that larger format lenses just have a nicer look and more depth. This is a difference that you will see even with moderate enlarging.

    Regarding comments about digital being as good a 8x10...... IMHO it's no. Simply because of the lenses. Whenever a lens has to cram the image down into a small negative of capture area it loses out.

    If that were not the issue we would all be shooting the 200MP crop sensor Canon developed.

    Medium format digital is great.... but for me it is not a substitute for 6x8cm film or large format. Just the fact that the 6x8 that I use has tilt and shift on all the lenses is a game changer.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    8x10 scans far better than 4x5. Twice the resolution.
    AFAIK 8x10 is four times the resolution of 4x5, not twice.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamie123 View Post
    AFAIK 8x10 is four times the resolution of 4x5, not twice.
    four times in terms of total information but twice in terms of linear information but given the same lenses and the same film, the same in line pairs per mm.
    -bob

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    One thing you do gain that is easily visible, is added smoothness and tonality.
    the main difference

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    I shoot a lot of both formats and scan the negatives on a flat-bed because I can't afford the time, money and gunk involved in a drum scan. 8x10 is beautiful and fulfilling but pretty useless for a digital exhibition print whereas 4x5 is clean and practical.
    8x10 has 4 glass surfaces plus two film surfaces to hold dust in the plane of focus. Whatever glass you use to hold the negative flat (and upside down) it will pick up newton rings somewhere.
    The two 4x5 surfaces in the film holder can be kept dust-free with an anti-static brush.
    It takes me a couple of hours to clean up a flat-bed scanned 8x10 and sometime I give up when the rings cross into subject matter. A 4x5 is done in about five minutes.
    (4x5-8x10-Digital comparisons here)
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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Quote Originally Posted by downstairs View Post
    I shoot a lot of both formats and scan the negatives on a flat-bed because I can't afford the time, money and gunk involved in a drum scan. 8x10 is beautiful and fulfilling but pretty useless for a digital exhibition print whereas 4x5 is clean and practical.
    8x10 has 4 glass surfaces plus two film surfaces to hold dust in the plane of focus. Whatever glass you use to hold the negative flat (and upside down) it will pick up newton rings somewhere.
    The two 4x5 surfaces in the film holder can be kept dust-free with an anti-static brush.
    It takes me a couple of hours to clean up a flat-bed scanned 8x10 and sometime I give up when the rings cross into subject matter. A 4x5 is done in about five minutes.
    (4x5-8x10-Digital comparisons here)
    Why not wet scan your 8x10? No more newton rings.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Wet scan with the Epson needs some extras which are not available over here. Drum scan services are expensive and not always satisfactory when you are chasing tone and mood in black and white. It's like having someone else make the important decisions.
    I have found some happiness with Rollei Retro Tonal 8x10. The emulsion side does not pick up newton rings and it stays pretty flat without an extra glass. You need to dry it hanging from two corners.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Keep your eyes open for an old Eversmart or drum scanner, the Epson is destroying too much, IMHO.

    All you need for wet mounting is the fluid, cleaning fluid, cleaning clothes and mylar. Where are you located? Without special wet-mounting holder it's a little bit messy, but that's it. It shouldn't be an issue to get them in Europe?

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Thanks, geroal. Its the Epson wet mount holder that I can't find in Milan. If the fluid is the same as for drums, then there's plenty of that. I'm going to shop around for an Eversmart though.
    The anti-newton feature of Retro Tonal is mentioned on the printed sheet.

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    Re: 8x10 vs 4x5?

    Get Kami SXL 2001, it evaporates without residue and doesn't harm glass or plastic. But it's quite inviscid.
    Be patient with the Eversmart, you can also get Oxygen 2.3.5 and 2.6 from me for free, I also have the calibration slide I can loan. Just be careful with the Jazz, it's not really an Eversmart (the manufacturer was Umax?)

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