Enlarger Cropping and the darkroom

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by hammy, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

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    I'm just learning the basics about the darkroom. I've never been in or used a darkroom, but plan on building one soon with a buddy of mine... Anyways, i've been reading and have read that when first composing a photo, you should not fill the viewfinder with your subject, as when it comes time to enlarge it, it will not fit perfectly on the paper because the format of the film is different.
    Well my basic question is, can't you just raise the enlarger's head and leave sort of a "frame" around the whole image so you can fit the whole image without doing any "cropping"? :confused: Eh?
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Well, yeah. :confused: I'm not sure what you meant in the original statement about the format of the film being different. As I understand it the viewfinder on SLRs does not show the exact same composition that will be produced on the film, in other words it's slightly off, but I don't see what that has to do with enlargement. On the other hand the easel may cover the sides and top of the paper, depending on what type you're using, but again I don't see why this would affect the initial composition of the photo. Is there any chance you could copy the original quote from wherever you read it?
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    hmmm, what I am thinking is that your literature is probably referring to 35mm film, which is definitely a format does not properly enlarge to fill 8x10 photo paper. BUT that does not mean that cropping is always going to be necessary. You can project the entire image (full bleed) on an 8x10 sheet, but you WILL end up with a smaller scale image.....it won't give you a perfect 1/4" border all the way around.

    I believe that the only film formats that can perfectly fill an 8x10 sheet are 6x4.5 and 6x7. Those will blow up from edge to edge, top to bottom into a perfect 8x10. That's medium format. So for other film formats, 6x6 or 35mm, the suggestion is that you can leave yourself some room to crop for composition's sake.

    If you're shooting with 6x4.5 or 6x7 and you love what you see in the frame, you know you can get a perfect 8x10. But the same isn't true with the square format 6x6 or the 35mm. Which still doesn't always matter, depending on your image - it's just a suggestion you've read about, not some hard & fast rule. :) Once you've gotten in there and played around a little, it will make more sense.

    I'm hoping I explained that in a way that makes sense! :lol:
     
  4. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

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    "When composing the image in your viewfinder, that you wish to later transfer to a piece of photographic paper in the darkroom, allow a little extra space around your main subject which you can later crop out in the darkroom. This technique is called "previsualization", in other words while composing the image with the camera, you must mentally visualize the final 8x10 or 11x14 image, realizing that what you are seeing through the view finder will not completely fit when transferred to photographic paper. In the darkroom when you crop the image to fit the paper, you will lose part of the image. If you happen to fill the viewfinder with your main subject, then when cropped in the darkroom, you may be distraught to see that you do not have a printable image with a pleasing aesthetic composition."
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    poppycock. ;)

    Like I said....you can print full bleed, getting your entire image on the paper, ok? I promise you that! But you will NOT be able to do it and have that perfect 1/4" border all the way around, when shooting 35mm format. The format size does not translate to fit an 8x10 piece of paper. So your final image size will be smaller, with roughly a 3/4" or 1" border all the way around. You can adjust your enlarger head to get your image on there however you want.

    I appreciate what they're trying to say, but take it with a grain of salt. If you continuously shoot your images with more background stuff in the frame than you normally would desire, you'll be constantly cropping and making adjustments, and never realizing the joy of seeing, shooting, and printing exactly what you saw.

    I print full bleed the majority of the time, actually. If I want a large 8x10 image, why then, I print full bleed on 11x14" paper! Duh!

    My darkroom instructor tried to teach us the beauty of printing full bleed, actually - saying he believed it was more indicative that you, as the photographer, knew exactly what you were after when you composed your shot, and have nothing to hide, so to speak. :)

    Hope this helps!
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It's basic geometry.

    A 35mm neg (and most digital sensors) is a 1:1.5 rectangle, and therefore, without cropping, enlarges to 4"x6", 5"x7.5", 8"x12", 11"x16.5", 16"x24", etc...

    6x4.5cm, 6x7cm, and 4"x5" formats are closer to (although not all exactly) 1:1.25 rectangle, and without cropping enlarge to 4"x5", 5"x7.25", 8"x10", 11"x13.75", 16"x20", etc...

    The text you are referring to is saying you can't print a 8"x12" print on 8"x10" paper, which should be fairly obvious. But you could print it 6"x9" on 8"x10" paper, or 8"x10" on 11"x14" paper, or you could possibly order paper other than the commonly available sizes.

    "Previsualization" refers to mentally picturing the completed photograph/print/file, and thinking about all the steps that will be neccessary to achieve it before taking the photo. Thinking about what the final print size will be is just one part of previsualization.
     
  7. hammy

    hammy TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies. So it was as I had figured:wink: And I too, believe in cropping your photo when it is composed, not in the later steps.
     

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