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Old 28th July 2020, 09:46 PM
John King John King is offline
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Default My Perception, real or not?

It has been my understanding for a long time that a med format negative exposed under similar circumstances would always give a better quality print than a 35mm one.

I have just made 2 12x16 prints from colour negatives. One from a colour negative using 120 format Fuji Superia 100 (It is about 10 years old) and another print the same size from Fuji C200 taken about 3 years ago. Both were printed using Rodagon APO lenses.

Both were from cameras sitting on a tripod. The 120 was a Bronica SQ with a prime 150mm PS lens. The other taken using a Nikon F6 and a Nikon 20/35AFD zoom.

The image quality is more or less the same on both although they are of completely different subjects, the Nikon one gives the impression of having just that bit more 'bite' or in other words sharpness.

The 120 negative does not have the same degree of grain that the 35mm one displays and I was wondering if it is my perception the extra grain (which is not all that obtrusive) is responsible for the apparent extra bite.
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Old 28th July 2020, 10:55 PM
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MartyNL MartyNL is online now
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I've certainly read somewhere that the smaller the film format the better the lens optics must be.

It seemed to make sense, so perhaps what you see is real and not just a matter of perception.
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Old 29th July 2020, 08:07 AM
Lostlabours Lostlabours is offline
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Originally Posted by MartyNL View Post
I've certainly read somewhere that the smaller the film format the better the lens optics must be.

It seemed to make sense, so perhaps what you see is real and not just a matter of perception.
Ironically I can think of lenses used for two, three or even four formats.

Schneiders 360mm f5.5 Tele Xenar was sold in M42/Exacta mounts for 35mm, Pentacon P60 for 6x6 and then it can be used for 5x4 and 7x5.

However in this case comparing a 150mm lens on a Bronica to a WA zoom on a 35mm, first the 35mm lens has much greater DOF, but grain can also make an image look superficially sharper but contain less detail.

It's a chalk and cheese comparison but not surprising.

Ian
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Old 28th July 2020, 11:46 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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It might well be that with some 35mm lenses a print has to be bigger than 12 x 16 before MF has the edge

Herr Serger on Photrio has made the most spirited defence of the merits of the F6 and believes it to be the most sophisticated 35mm SLR ever made.

He may be right or at least right in it being the most developed and versatile 35mm film SLR ever made

Can it protect its lenses from cracking after a withering look from the mother-in-law? I doubt it but this is the same one who causes the mice to throw themselves on the traps when she comes round for Christmas

He may not have been politically correct but I still miss that man and his jokes


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Old 29th July 2020, 07:18 AM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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As I understand it, you will not see any real difference until the print gets over 12x16, I certainly can't find much if any difference on smaller prints, but when I printed large, (I'm talking 16x20 or larger) you could see a difference, certainly in black and white, but smaller the difference is very slight, mainly in the grain on the print
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Old 29th July 2020, 07:37 AM
alexmuir alexmuir is offline
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I tend to find in B&W that images with a visible, but uniform grain appear sharper than those with no obvious grain. I have always felt that colour photographs, generally of small size, seldom appear as sharp as an equivalent B&W print. Introducing some visible grain may alter that perception, as it does for me in B&W. I canít offer any scientific evidence, but that is the way I see things.
Alex.


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Old 29th July 2020, 07:52 AM
John King John King is offline
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Originally Posted by alexmuir View Post
I tend to find in B&W that images with a visible, but uniform grain appear sharper than those with no obvious grain. I have always felt that colour photographs, generally of small size, seldom appear as sharp as an equivalent B&W print. Introducing some visible grain may alter that perception, as it does for me in B&W. I can’t offer any scientific evidence, but that is the way I see things.
Alex.
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I will go along with that, which is why the sharpening effect of the original Rodinal was so very good. The grain itself was bitingly sharp and not recommended for films faster than 200ISO (ASA in those days) I have some FX39 which is 'supposed' to be Rodinal, but it came as a near clear liquid and after 3 years it is very much the same.
There are so many variations/names used for Rodinal now, the original formula was possibly unique, but today it is difficult to know which is the closest to the Agfa version.

Answers on a post card please.

Last edited by John King; 29th July 2020 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 29th July 2020, 06:06 PM
Svend Svend is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexmuir View Post
I tend to find in B&W that images with a visible, but uniform grain appear sharper than those with no obvious grain. I have always felt that colour photographs, generally of small size, seldom appear as sharp as an equivalent B&W print. Introducing some visible grain may alter that perception, as it does for me in B&W. I can’t offer any scientific evidence, but that is the way I see things.
Alex.
Barry Thornton did a whole chapter on this in his excellent book Edge of Darkness. He describes doing a test with, if I recall, FP4 vs. Techpan -- same scene/camera/lens/tripod, etc.. He asked members of his photo club to view (at normal distance) and choose the sharper print. All chose the FP4 image, despite it having higher grain. I can't recall the developers used for the films. If you have this book, the chapter is well worth a read.

My own prints bear this out too -- I have four 16x20 and 20x20 prints on the wall beside each other; one with 135 FP4 in ID11; two with 120 TMY-2 in D76; and one 135 TMX in D76. At about one metre distance the 135 FP4 (traditional grain) looks just as detailed and a bit crisper than the rest (all Kodak t-grain). Someone who didn't know the cameras and format would be hard pressed to pick the 135 FP4 image as being small format.

Tonality is another matter, however. I find the 120 images have deeper, smoother tones. I think this is something not to be ignored in choice of format. Some time ago I read a quote by a well known photographer, who said that sharpness and grain are apparent with your nose pressed to the glass but tonality hits you from across the room. Hard to argue with that

Based on my own experiences above, I have pretty much stopped using Tmax films. I haven't decided yet if the Delta films are a good compromise between traditional grain and Tmax -- I need to shoot more with them and then do some larger prints.

So John, you are not imagining things! Your perception is right on
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Last edited by Svend; 29th July 2020 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 29th July 2020, 07:39 AM
John King John King is offline
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Default Seen in the cold light of day

The impression is just the same as it was last night Richard. The saturation of both is better when seen in diffused sunlight but the impression is the same. I can see more edge fall off with the 150PS lens than I can with the Nikon AFD but that is all, but that may be down to the lens aperture used at the time which I cannot remember. (12x16) is the largest I can print and both of these were set for just over that so there was some cut off.)

I would love to put one of them in particular in a club competition because with this particular one there is a touch of rim light along a sharp edge that looks very much like 'over sharpening ' as if I had used photoshop. I have found with darkroom prints they would be bound to make a comment - Judges always get it wrong!

Mike I am assuming you are referring to the late Les Dawson. His facial expressions would crack me up never mind the mother in law jokes and by heaven he could belt out a tune or two on the piano as well!

Last edited by John King; 29th July 2020 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 29th July 2020, 10:20 AM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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The only other comment on print size and 35mm lenses I would make is that with D3200 in 135 the grain can begin to show and detract from what I think of as sharpness at about 8x10. In that particular film and having used it in 120 as well on a P645N with what I think of as a near equivalent Pentax lens to what I had in my Pentax 35mm SLR, the difference appears at a much small size than 12 x16.
I never tried to print with a 135 D3200 neg not with a 120 either to be honest but I strongly suspect that in my case a 12x 16 print would be just too much for D3200 in 135 in terms of the look I'd want

Yes the very same Les, John

Mike
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