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Author Topic: Why Such Limited Choice of Paper Size?  (Read 5877 times)
John R Smith
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« on: June 20, 2011, 01:21:23 PM »
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Chatting to Mark earlier on about printing has made me realise just how pathetic one aspect of inkjet printing really is – the limited choice of paper sizes. I have been messing about this afternoon with my 10x7.5 ins “Digital Contact Print”, and it looks really mean and cramped on A4 paper. But my only other choice is to print it on A3, which as well as being wrongly proportioned (as all the Metric sizes are) is much too big, really. I mean, wide borders are nice, but perhaps these are too wide. And of course (at least here in the UK), that’s it. A4 or A3, no other choice.

But looking at Ilford’s offerings in darkroom silver paper, we have 8x10, 9.5x12, 11x14, and then 12x16. So there are at least two extra sizes between A4 and A3 – and the proportions would fit my 4:3 files much better. Why do we have this sensible choice in darkroom papers, but not for inkjet?

John
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 03:41:29 PM »
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Real good question and of course the US still insists on the old paper sizes (e.g., 8 1/2 x 11 for standard letter size).  Really the sizes also don't deal well with the 35mm format multiple either.  I would love to have 17x25 cut sheets so that I could print 16x24 but most manufacturers only have 17x22 as an offering (I don't have a printer that accepts roll paper).  Weren't the standard darkroom sizes based on 4x5 cameras that took sheet film.
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bill t.
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2011, 04:34:34 PM »
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About the only improvement over 4x5-centric sizes from days of yore is the 13 x 19 size.  It's the new 16x20, or maybe the new 11x14.  It's even starting to be well-supported in ready made frames that are symmetrically larger all around.  But that's about it.

The basic problem is that people outside of photography still think in those sizes, and that's what they demand of the pro's they hire.  Those are knee-jerk, boiler-plate requirements, not carefully considered ones.  But hey they write the checks.

Was surprised to see that Ilford offers such finely graded sizes.  For most of my photo life it has been 8x10, 11x14, 16x20.  Don't even recall seeing 11x17 before quite recently.

Maybe 9:16 TV will change all that sometime soon.
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Farmer
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« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2011, 05:06:54 PM »
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It simply comes down to demand.  If enough people will pay for it, someone will produce it - but not before.
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2011, 05:14:13 PM »
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About the only improvement over 4x5-centric sizes from days of yore is the 13 x 19 size. 
The real benefit is that 13x19 fits nicely inside the drawers of my Ikea table that my Epson 3880 sits atop!!!!
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gromit
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« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2011, 09:44:37 PM »
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I have been messing about this afternoon with my 10x7.5 ins “Digital Contact Print”, and it looks really mean and cramped on A4 paper. But my only other choice is to print it on A3...

Think laterally. Get A3+ sheets and cut them in half.
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PeterAit
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2011, 07:42:13 AM »
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A workable alternative would be to buy roll paper and a good paper cutter.
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Peter
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feppe
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« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2011, 08:29:59 AM »
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Making and stocking multiple sizes with varying demand is costly, and these days when there's less and less printing that's an increasingly unattractive business proposition.
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framah
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« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2011, 09:00:42 AM »
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What's wrong with just trimming the paper down to the border size you want after you print.

The borders are only too large if you leave it like that.  Roll Eyes

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John R Smith
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Still crazy, after all these years


« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2011, 09:08:47 AM »
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Think laterally. Get A3+ sheets and cut them in half.

That is a very good idea, and I shall try it tonight. It would give me 9.5x13 ins, which is almost my old darkroom favourite of 9.5x12 ins.

A workable alternative would be to buy roll paper and a good paper cutter.

It would be, but Harman do not do 13 inch rolls of the Gloss Baryta which I use.

What's wrong with just trimming the paper down to the border size you want after you print.
The borders are only too large if you leave it like that.

Well, it's very tedious to have to trim every print that you make, and you are paying for paper which you are throwing away. The half A3+ idea sounds the most promising so far.

I think that was my 1,000th post  Wink

John
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2011, 11:16:39 AM »
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Equally annoying is the reluctance of frame makers to provide frames for common inkjet paper sizes.  Try finding 22X17 frames, for example.  Let alone 25X17.
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Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2011, 05:38:51 PM »
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I think that was my 1,000th post  Wink
John

Congratulations John!
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Robcat
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« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2011, 08:56:54 PM »
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...Really the sizes also don't deal well with the 35mm format multiple either.  I would love to have 17x25 cut sheets so that I could print 16x24 but most manufacturers only have 17x22 as an offering (I don't have a printer that accepts roll paper).  Weren't the standard darkroom sizes based on 4x5 cameras that took sheet film.

The Harman by Hahnemuhle papers come in 17 x 25. Atlex has them for $119/box 25 (see  http://www.atlex.com/harman/harman-by-hahnemuhle-professional-inkjet-photo-paper.html). This is the only one I know at this size but fortunately it's my favorite  Smiley

Rob P
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irvweiner
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« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2011, 11:26:19 PM »
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For more choice of 17x25 paper (glossy, matte,satin,luster) try Red River Paper:  http://www.redrivercatalog.com/browse/index.htm

I'm quite satisfied with satin and luster for my landscape images in B&W or Color

irv weiner
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2011, 06:30:48 AM »
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[...] A3, which as well as being wrongly proportioned (as all the Metric sizes are) is much too big, really. I mean, wide borders are nice, but perhaps these are too wide.
I really agree there aren't many papers naturally fitted to 4:3 size, and 5:4 or square even more so.
But for 3:2 images the metric sizes work very well in my taste, with 17mm margins on a A4 or (17/1.41=)12mm (1/2") margins on a A5 there's no need to crop anything if you don't want to...
And I feel margins are adequate, large enough to give room for handling (I feel the 12mm margins needed on a A3+ are a bit narrow for that) without getting the "lost in a see of white paper" feeling, but of course this is a matter of taste.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2011, 08:17:04 AM »
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Think laterally. Get A3+ sheets and cut them in half.

I've been doing this for years and was going to post it, but just a little late getting in to this topic. I find the 9.5x13 size is just right for printing 8x12s. I print for a variety of "photographers", both Pro and Am, and everything is done on large format Epson printers. Therefore, the standard darkroom/traditional paper sizes we all grew up with would be of little use to me, since these printers will not do borderless on sheet material. Every print I do has to be trimmed and I have three Rotatrim cutters that handle the job very well. Those of us who actually remember what the word "hypo" means in darkroom jargon sometimes long for the days when there were far fewer paper sizes, frames that fit those sizes and explaining to your customer why that 8x10 would have to be cropped to fit a 5x7:-(  Of course that last part still holds true and I'm constantly amazed at the plethora of young people who just got a camera for their birthday and have miraculously become a "professional photographer", shiny new website and all. Aspect ratio...what's that??? I've been at this for much longer than I would care to admit and as I ponder the depths into which this industry has descended it often brings a tear to my heart. The saving grace for me is that most of the work I do is custom by nature and a lot of my customers are genuinely good people with interesting images to print or to reproduce.

There, that's my rant for the day. Please excuse my off-topicness, but sometimes the fingers want to engage the keys before the brain kicks in. Well...OK...perhaps most of the time.

Now back to the initial post. I think perhaps a well constructed trimmer might be the only rational response your to quest John. I have no experience with the "medium format" printers, Epson or otherwise, so perhaps it is possible to do borderless printing on sheet stock with them, in which case I can definitely commiserate. However, looking at the sizes we do have to choose from and with a bit of creative thinking it is possible to manufacture your own custom sizes as well. Happy trimming John.

Gary
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 08:26:58 PM by Garnick » Logged
Dano Steinhardt
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2011, 06:17:01 PM »
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I'm the Marketing Manager at Epson America but more importantly, a "Newbie" to Luminous Landscape and hoping someday to be a Jr. Member : )

Thought I would provide some background on paper sizes and then I have a request.

Like most over the age of 40, my roots were in the analogue world and I remember Hypo and that sizzling cuticle pain.  So when I joined Epson in 2000 I was befuddled by odd paper sizes named Super B, A3 etc.  I was told it meant 13 x 19 etc. but I wondered what happened to the revered 16 x 20 and what about metric sizes.

My very basic understanding (its far more complex) is that the sizes adopted by ink jet manufacturers were not Imperial or Metric, but an ISO standard based on the aspect ratio of the square root of 2. (See attachment)  And while not related, it is an interesting connection since the square root of 2 is the core of photography as it defines the F stop range and has a relationship to the inverse square law.  The naming of Super B etc. happened in 1798 but was forgotten until 1922 when it became a DIN standard.  It seems the printing industry adopted the DIN/ISO methodology but Photographic markets developed paper sizes based on the aspect ratio of view cameras, and how those core sizes enlarged or could be ganged up e.g. 4, 4x5s = 1, 8 x 10.  4, 8x10's = 1, 16 x 20.  While some of us are masters of the Scheimpflug principle, the days of shooting film in a view camera are in the rear view mirror.

Everyone on this thread knows the aspect ratio of most capture devices is not congruent to the aspect ratio of ink jet paper sizes, but the requests I hear (In North America) are for "Traditional" sizes like 8X10, 11 x 14 and 16 x 20.  I cringe because of the cropping and/or trimming and wonder, if there was awareness of new sizes that aligned with the aspect ratio of modern sensors, might there be a potential market for all manufacturers.

THE REQUEST
I'd be curious to hear thoughts on the following:
-What would be the optimum sizes for ink jet papers?
-Should it be exclusively metric?
-Should it be exact to say a 35mm DSLR of 24mm x 36mm, or should the paper size still force some kind of crop?


Dan (Dano) Steinhardt
Marketing Manager, Professional Imaging
Epson America, Inc.
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gromit
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« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2011, 07:35:12 PM »
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THE REQUEST
I'd be curious to hear thoughts on the following:
-What would be the optimum sizes for ink jet papers?
-Should it be exclusively metric?
-Should it be exact to say a 35mm DSLR of 24mm x 36mm, or should the paper size still force some kind of crop?

I hate metric. A3+ is the main sheet size I stock then I go to rolls. For portfolios where it needs to be dead flat it would be great to have 11x14 and 14x17. The proportions of the sheet don't have to match the image, only that the layout is pleasing. For example, a square image on 14x17 looks great. For most other applications, rolls are the most economical for me.

It's probably only fair to add that Epson doesn't currently make (or sell) any papers I'd want to use, and I stock/offer over thirty different papers. I've seen samples of the Hot/Cold Press but Epson doesn't seem inclined to sell this where I am.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 11:22:04 PM by gromit » Logged
Sharon Van Lieu
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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2011, 07:53:58 PM »
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Dano, we need a paper sized at 17x25. That is essential as far as I'm concerned.

Sharon
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AFairley
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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2011, 08:03:58 PM »
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Quote
THE REQUEST
I'd be curious to hear thoughts on the following:
-What would be the optimum sizes for ink jet papers?
-Should it be exclusively metric?
-Should it be exact to say a 35mm DSLR of 24mm x 36mm, or should the paper size still force some kind of crop?

Hi Dan, good to see an ear/voice from Epson here!

My own position on this as a current 4/3 format photographer who sometimes prints scans from 35mm negs and may or may not shoot with an APS-C or FF sensor DSLR in the future and prints on an Epson 3800, is that paper in a 2:3 format would be most desirable for me.  If I am printing an uncropped 4/3 sensor file on a 17x,25 sheet at full width, I can aways trim off the end of the paper, and I get to use the whole paper area with 35mm scans, or 2:3 sensor files.  But with Epson's current 17x22 offering, I have to print narrower to fit a 2:3 format image, and I would rather be able to use the full width of the paper.  I doubt that I will ever own a roll feed printer, so I'm stuck with cut sheets. (I suppose if I got desperate enough I could buy a roll and cut it myself  Embarrassed )

Thanks for listening.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 08:05:45 PM by AFairley » Logged

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