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Format and Magnification

_Cross-posted from Tumblr_.

I’m gearing up to work on a large format project that will require some close-up work. I’ve been out of practice for a while on the Shen Hao, and I’ve never used it all that intensively for close work, so I did a quick test run in the kitchen with a couple sheets of Fuji instant film.

Here’s the scene at normal magnification:

Onions

Here’s the scene at 1:1 magnification:

Onions

Here’s the same 1:1 photo next to the subject (yay instant):

Onions and Onions

For those who are used to working with 35mm cameras or crop sensor digital bodies, these results will not _feel_ like 1:1 photographs. They would be looking for something more like this 1:1 photograph of tea leaves made on 35mm film:

Upton Ti Quan Yin

In reality, both examples are at 1:1 magnification; the difference is in the format size. The 4×5 positive is the same size as the negative area (of course), but people do not generally view a 35mm or crop sensor 1:1 image at the size of the negative/sensor area, unless they work with contact sheets or slide film.

Doing close-up work on 4×5 is something of a PITA. As you can see, even working at life size, the results don’t “feel” all that close, and to get to life size, you have to have lens extension that is twice the focal length of your lens. My camera is a field camera with 300mm or so of maximum extension, so I can’t achieve 1:1 with my 210mm Schneider, and doing so with my 150mm Nikkor presents problems if I need to apply any movements. My 135mm Nikkor is fine, but I still have to extend the bed almost all the way out, which makes the whole setup less rigid.

Luckily, the project I’m actually gearing up for is unlikely to actually require 1:1 work, or else I’d probably have to start shopping for either extension boards or a new (monorail) camera. : )

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