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View Full Version : Do your best BW inkjets matched or surpass your best BW wet prints?



Iluvmyviewcam
12-Jun-2014, 14:02
And if your not much of a printer...have you seen BW inkjets that match or best the best wet prints?

If you are able to make your inkjets interchangeable with wet prints. Please give the components that help you achieve this...special inks, printers, profiles etc.

My own inkjets are about 90% as good as some of the best gallery BW I've seen. But I was not able to ascertain if the gallery had wet or inkjet prints.

The other component of my own printing is that while I am a very good printer, I am not the best printer. My expertise is in the shooting foremost, printing secondary.

The area of my inkjet that was a smidgen of was in the blacks. It seems prints made with a 3880 can only get 'so black.' Maybe other printers, inks and profiles can improve on this. If my blacks were 10% richer they would match the best I've ever seen.

Thanks

Delfi_r
12-Jun-2014, 15:01
Try http://www.piezography.com/

But there is no substitute for fotosensitive silver or other process

AuditorOne
12-Jun-2014, 15:10
They are different, but I like each for different reasons.

I gave up trying to make digital look like film quite a while ago.

Lenny Eiger
12-Jun-2014, 15:26
There has been a lot said about this. Too much, in fact. The truth is that the two mediums are different. The surfaces have very different shine characteristics. Personally I don't like any gloss at all, and, of course, some people love it. The tones arrange themselves a bit differently, altho' very slightly. These are personal preferences.

That said, inkjet prints have a wider tonal range, more akin to alternative process prints. Photoshop is far more controllable when making corrections to specific areas. With masking its capabilities, one can accurately control areas where burning and dodging in the darkroom would be difficult.

It comes down to whether or not you like the surface you are printing on, and whether or not you like the process of working. Neither of them is "more photographic", they are both just techniques.

I have made inkjet prints that are literally indistinguishable from platinum prints. I use Cone inks, that I mix up to my own specifications, and a RIP that allows me to control the densities of each channel. Everything is smooth, I have more black than I need and the prints are exquisite.

Lenny

Jim Noel
12-Jun-2014, 15:42
There has been a lot said about this. Too much, in fact. The truth is that the two mediums are different. The surfaces have very different shine characteristics. Personally I don't like any gloss at all, and, of course, some people love it. The tones arrange themselves a bit differently, altho' very slightly. These are personal preferences.

That said, inkjet prints have a wider tonal range, more akin to alternative process prints. Photoshop is far more controllable when making corrections to specific areas. With masking its capabilities, one can accurately control areas where burning and dodging in the darkroom would be difficult.

It comes down to whether or not you like the surface you are printing on, and whether or not you like the process of working. Neither of them is "more photographic", they are both just techniques.

I have made inkjet prints that are literally indistinguishable from platinum prints. I use Cone inks, that I mix up to my own specifications, and a RIP that allows me to control the densities of each channel. Everything is smooth, I have more black than I need and the prints are exquisite.

Lenny

Inkjet prints do not have a wider tonal range. In fact, most people print them with more narrow range. Masking is another simple darkroom process which was incorporated into the digital imaging process. I have been doing it for 60+ years.

I have seen quite a few prints made by people who claim they can match a platinum print.They shut up when their print is laid beside a good Pt/Pd print.
This question was brought up at a workshop a few years ago where Stephen Johnson and I were both making presentations. He told the group he couldn't match my prints and if they wanted to make a print like mine they would have to learn the processes I use. His expertise is enough for me and I certainly appreciated his remarks. If he can't match my prints on a computer, I doubt seriously that anyone can.

Iluvmyviewcam
12-Jun-2014, 15:59
I am not too concerned with platinum. Just with standard silver prints. Are platinum prints denser with the blacks than silver prints?


Yes, I know the topic can cover a lot of areas. Do you think the standard pigments inks can match the black density in the best silver print? Or does one have to use special / custom inks?

Now, I am not that unhappy with my standard inkjet prints. Here is a comparison with a vintage silver print from 40 years ago...(Toyo view and 65mm or 75mm Super Angulon + 3880 printer.)

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%27Left_Silver_Gelatin_Print_-_Right_Hahnemuehle_Ink_Jet_Print%27_Copyright_2013_Daniel_Teoli_Jr..jpg

It is just that recently I had seen some BW prints that are a shade better with denser blacks. So I am looking to increase the black inkjet quality a little more.

But, as things are the print IQ from the 3880 is satisfactory for my uses. I don't even know if the excellent prints I saw were silver or inkjet. They may have been inkjet with some of the custom inks you describe. The surface looked like satin/ semi gloss on RC paper.

Iluvmyviewcam
12-Jun-2014, 16:03
Inkjet prints do not have a wider tonal range. In fact, most people print them with more narrow range. Masking is another simple darkroom process which was incorporated into the digital imaging process. I have been doing it for 60+ years.

I have seen quite a few prints made by people who claim they can match a platinum print.They shut up when their print is laid beside a good Pt/Pd print.
This question was brought up at a workshop a few years ago where Stephen Johnson and I were both making presentations. He told the group he couldn't match my prints and if they wanted to make a print like mine they would have to learn the processes I use. His expertise is enough for me and I certainly appreciated his remarks. If he can't match my prints on a computer, I doubt seriously that anyone can.

One thing about my inkjet I don't like is that the grays tend to be kinda blah. Don't know how to describe it. But some prints with a lot of gray look bland. The silver prints seemed to have more gray separation. But nothing concrete on this, just a feeling.

koh303
12-Jun-2014, 16:43
no.

Jim Jones
12-Jun-2014, 19:26
My best analog [prints certainly beat any of my digital prints, but digital editing and the convenience of accurate reprinting certainly make up for the difference.

Tyler Boley
12-Jun-2014, 19:37
few people have seen what inkjet can really do, so these discussions tend to be uninformed and based on opinion. Furthermore,what criteria is used for "best"? That will also be subjective and generally just an opinion.

Lenny Eiger
12-Jun-2014, 22:29
Inkjet prints do not have a wider tonal range. In fact, most people print them with more narrow range. Masking is another simple darkroom process which was incorporated into the digital imaging process. I have been doing it for 60+ years.

I have seen quite a few prints made by people who claim they can match a platinum print.They shut up when their print is laid beside a good Pt/Pd print.
This question was brought up at a workshop a few years ago where Stephen Johnson and I were both making presentations. He told the group he couldn't match my prints and if they wanted to make a print like mine they would have to learn the processes I use. His expertise is enough for me and I certainly appreciated his remarks. If he can't match my prints on a computer, I doubt seriously that anyone can.

Oh, please. I do my best to give everyone that likes darkroom prints the respect they deserve. Everyone is welcome to like what they want. However, every time we have one of these conversations it always boils down to a bunch of bullies who insist that darkroom prints are great and inkjet is crap. It's tiresome and it destroys community.

Just a month or two ago it was claimed that a darkroom print was the original, "photographic" process. I had to remind people that it wasn't, that other processes we now call "alternate" were the originals. In fact, a few of them are far superior to darkroom printing; platinum, carbon and gravure, easily. You want a really dark black? Get yourself some black ink... and learn how to ink a plate. OTOH, if you have the right RIP, paper and printer, you can also slow the printer down enough to puddle the ink on the paper and get any kind of black you want. Of course, a solid black is not the only thing a print requires. I think its probably the least important factor, but that's just my opinion.

I may not have been doing this for 60 years, its only been 53; many years of my life in the dark. I have printed professionally since the early 1980's. At one point, my work hung right next to Ansel's in the window at Photography West in Carmel. I have done both darkroom and inkjet at the museum quality level. I have done a pile of different alt processes as well, altho' some just for a few quick tests. In fact, when I discovered platinum in the mid 80's, I never wanted to go back to the darkroom again. That's my personal preference. In fact, for the kind of work that I want to do its either alt process or inkjet. You couldn't make the kind of print I want to make, and that I do regularly, in a darkroom. Not even close.

Stephen Johnson is by no means the expert you imagine. I don't need to diss anyone, him included, so we can leave it at that. Inkjets easily have a wider tonal range (at least one and a half times), and much smoother tonal shifts between zones. Given the right materials and expertise, they are richer and more velvety than anything that can be accomplished with silver bromide paper. And there's no distracting gloss. And yes, I have one image where I have made an inkjet look exactly like the platinum print, sitting there side by side, regardless of Mr. Johnson. You wouldn't know the difference except that the inkjet has more separation in the shadows.

Now, if what you want is something that looks just like a darkroom print, by all means engage in that kind of printing. And be happy. And the lot of you should stop trying to bully everyone.

Lenny

neil poulsen
13-Jun-2014, 01:11
I was pretty impressed with the results I obtained on a friend's scan using a 3880 + Museo Silver Rag + QTR. I used the same neutral black for the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. If I no longer had a darkroom, I could be pretty pleased with the black and white photos that I could achieve with this setup.

ruilourosa
13-Jun-2014, 02:08
These things make me laugh! inkjet is good and is nice to print in a endless array of papers, but i tend to like more a darkroom print...

i have the opinion that if you have the time and dedication you will get good results with both processes... at least i do

i just like being more in the darkroom and prefer silver prints, and i think most people do when they see a good one, which is a bit rare... regarding tonal range...i never saw a wider tonal range in a digital print but itīs easier to master a wider tonal range technique in photoshop than in darkroom...

cheers

bob carnie
13-Jun-2014, 05:22
I print both, visually they can both be stunning.

For me the difference is the way the image is within the emulsion on silver and the way it sits on top for inkjet.
This difference is about as close a way for me to determine which is which, and it is so subtle that I am fooled many times.

I have had an change of heart lately on my preferred workflow, today I am making digital silver negatives and multiple printing gum over pt pd. This may be a fad for me but the resulting
prints far outstrip the same silver darkroom prints aesthetically for me... The mixing of two alternative processes by contacting film generated directly from the source file is mind blowing.
I feel the warmth of the palladium for the main negative with the coolness of the K negative is the perfect way to print.
By being able to control the Channels , there are 10 , 20 if you include inverting , is a creative tool that has been only in the hands of very few creative printmakers.
Sam Wang out of Clemson comes to mind, his work with multiple negs generated from the different channels and then creatively matched to the processes he is combining , inspired me
to move in this direction.
We are on a cusp, where the young students in all our schools are starting to make separations from their digital files and applying them to paper. We are in for an incredible ride I believe
with different print options, and as well creative thinking by young minds who's heads are not up their arses, YET, and we will see some tremendous printmaking. this has only just begun.

I have and always will be a silver gelatin darkroom printer but now there is a new team in town and I have switched sides for awhile. I try not to stick my head up my arse and ignore the possibilities.

jp
13-Jun-2014, 06:04
These days, the platinum print being compared to an inkjet print would probably be derived from an inkjet negative....

Inkjet and silver are two different things. If you like one more than the other, that's great. I like that silver prints won't be ruined by water. A person with good inkjet and photoshop skills can make a nice print. Someone with good darkroom skills can make a nice print. I have a preference for historical silver and alt process options, but I've also been pleased with prints from my inkjet printer. I make some non-glossy prints on it once in a while when I want something toned a particular color, or a negative needs some curves that are impractical in the darkroom.

paulr
13-Jun-2014, 07:13
I have a large body of work that I've printed both ways. I worked on the silver prints for about ten years, and then learned the Piezography process in order to make a hand-bound artist's book. The book project became so difficult I abandoned it, but, I continued with the Piezography printing, partly because my favorite silver materials were discontinued.

And also because the piezo prints were among the best black and white prints of any kind I've ever made. Or ever seen, for that matter.

I was using a version of piezography called piezo-tone, now long-discontinued, which uses 4 monochrome carbon inks, and can only print on matte-finish papers. I haven't printed with the current 6 and 7 ink version that can also print on gloss baryta-finished papers. When I wanted a gloss finish I had to varnish with an air-brush. Those results were incredible, but tedious and really easy to mess up.

Using the old versions of the inks, at least half the time I preferred the ink print to my original silver print. In the remaining cases, sometimes I preferred the silver print, other times it was a toss-up ... the prints were just different and I liked them in different ways. A lot of this is about surface, and some of it is about d-max. My prints on Fortezo had much deeper blacks than my ink prints on Hahnemuhle Photo-rag. Unless I varnished the print—a process that I didn't perfect enough to use in a final edition.

I suspect my silver prints would have a very hard time competing with the newer inks on gloss papers. I'm currently working in color, and don't have a piezo setup. My color inkjet prints on papers like Harman/Hahnemuhle gloss baryta and Canson Infinity Baryta look better than any wet darkroom print I've seen (I used to work in a custom lab, so I've seen a few). But that's not as tough a challenge ... I've never loved the look of c-prints or ciba.

Iluvmyviewcam
13-Jun-2014, 07:38
My best analog [prints certainly beat any of my digital prints, but digital editing and the convenience of accurate reprinting certainly make up for the difference.

I am with you about the benefits of digital. I could never hope to keep up with wet prints with the production I do. Another benefit from digital is I can produce hand printed artists' books easily. Back in the day I had to dry, mount 2 prints back to back to make a page for a book. double sided inkjet paper is a real convenience for books.

Iluvmyviewcam
13-Jun-2014, 07:39
few people have seen what inkjet can really do, so these discussions tend to be uninformed and based on opinion. Furthermore,what criteria is used for "best"? That will also be subjective and generally just an opinion.

Sure, it is hard to pin down. Just asking for experience with your own work or with what you have seen.

Iluvmyviewcam
13-Jun-2014, 07:56
I was pretty impressed with the results I obtained on a friend's scan using a 3880 + Museo Silver Rag + QTR. I used the same neutral black for the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights. If I no longer had a darkroom, I could be pretty pleased with the black and white photos that I could achieve with this setup.

The Museo rag has a nice surface look. Trouble with it is it is too delicate. But that is another topic for inkjet vs wet prints. Matte papers esp for inkjet are delicate.

When I speak of delicate I am talking about having a printer mar the paper just from the feed rollers or running a fingernail over the surface lightly and marring it. I use Hahn Fine Art Baryta cause it is one of the toughest surfaces of any of the Baryta papers I've used. I am kind of klutzy, so I don't go in for delicate papers. I don't know if FAB has the best potential for dense blacks. It is very good in any case. Matte inkjet will never equal wet prints when it comes to being tough. But matte inkjet do produce some nice looks if you frame them quick before you scuff them.

If you age / cure your pigment RC inkjets, say 6 months, they are pretty impervious to water as well. When I tested them against dye transfer prints the RC inkjet were still fine after 24 hours in water. The DT's lost lots of dye in half that time. Probably only of interest if you get a flood. Fine art semi gloss inkjets seem to be very water sensitive when it comes to damage. Sometimes the surface coating mars up from the water. Water resistance is an area where wet prints naturally excel.

Kirk Gittings
13-Jun-2014, 07:56
I printed silver exclusively for decades. I started printing digitally to help make some decent prints out of some problem negs that didn't print well with silver. When I started printing digitally my target was my best silver prints. It took me a few years of dedicated effort to achieve this but I did. Now I print primarily in digital and make a silver print if some collector requests it or I just feel like getting my fingers wet. It is hard to make a traditional enlarged silver print to match the digital. I can make a great silver print but it will not match a great ink print. They are very different beasts. I just don't have the same level of control printing optically. So I think the future of my silver printing will be headed largely to creating digital negatives or contact printing on silver-best of both worlds.

FWIW.....Why does anyone care if their finished prints are waterproof? What are you doing with your prints that they need that? I have never had a need for a waterproof finished print of any kind, ink or silver.

Larry Gebhardt
13-Jun-2014, 07:58
I'd say my glossy FB inkjet prints satisfy me about 90% as much as my glossy FB silver prints when all goes well for both prints. Digital is certainly easier to make tonal adjustments with and in many cases that makes a significant difference. But even the best (that I've seen) FB inkjet prints have some gloss differential. That has the ability to ruin some images to my eye.

You didn't ask about color, but I like my color inkjet work much better than RA-4 prints.

Peter De Smidt
13-Jun-2014, 08:19
With matte papers, I greatly prefer my current inkjet system to my darkroom. I use a modified Eboni-6 inkset, Quad-toned Rip with a custom profile, and Epson Hot Press Natural. With glossy prints I still prefer silver gelatin prints. I haven't seen any of Paul Roark's Claria dye prints on silver metallic paper, though. http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/4000-Noritsu-2K.pdf

Iluvmyviewcam
13-Jun-2014, 08:22
I have a large body of work that I've printed both ways. I worked on the silver prints for about ten years, and then learned the Piezography process in order to make a hand-bound artist's book. The book project became so difficult I abandoned it, but, I continued with the Piezography printing, partly because my favorite silver materials were discontinued.

And also because the piezo prints were among the best black and white prints of any kind I've ever made. Or ever seen, for that matter.

I was using a version of piezography called piezo-tone, now long-discontinued, which uses 4 monochrome carbon inks, and can only print on matte-finish papers. I haven't printed with the current 6 and 7 ink version that can also print on gloss baryta-finished papers. When I wanted a gloss finish I had to varnish with an air-brush. Those results were incredible, but tedious and really easy to mess up.

Using the old versions of the inks, at least half the time I preferred the ink print to my original silver print. In the remaining cases, sometimes I preferred the silver print, other times it was a toss-up ... the prints were just different and I liked them in different ways. A lot of this is about surface, and some of it is about d-max. My prints on Fortezo had much deeper blacks than my ink prints on Hahnemuhle Photo-rag. Unless I varnished the print—a process that I didn't perfect enough to use in a final edition.

I suspect my silver prints would have a very hard time competing with the newer inks on gloss papers. I'm currently working in color, and don't have a piezo setup. My color inkjet prints on papers like Harman/Hahnemuhle gloss baryta and Canson Infinity Baryta look better than any wet darkroom print I've seen (I used to work in a custom lab, so I've seen a few). But that's not as tough a challenge ... I've never loved the look of c-prints or ciba.

Piezography...everybody raves about it. I will have to study it up. I worry about changing the inks in my 3880 and ruining it. Someone should come out with a dedicated BW printer. Have you put the Piezography out in the sun for 6 months? How do they fade test?

Books? I make lots and lots of hand bound artists' books. But they are not Smythsewn, they are spiral bound. Here are just 2 of them. I made 3 in 2013 and am doing 4 in 2014 / 15. (Also samples of my inkjet printing with R2000 for color and 3880 for BW)

(nsfw)

http://portfolioartistsbook.tumblr.com/

http://twentysixroadkills.tumblr.com/

Spiral binding has a benefit to it. you can always unbind it to make a gallery show out of the original prints. Then re bind it in 5 - 10 minutes. Just don't go beyond 1 inch in thickness. After 30mm the spiral coils are thinner and they flop around.

If you are just making one book, then it may be worth it to pay $150 to get it Smythsewn. I produce many books, so spiral binding is the best I can keep up with. I am photog 1st, printer 2nd, book producer 3rd. If you decide to try spiral binding let me know I'd be glad to offer free help.



Edit...sadly the suppliers keep changing the book materials. I am having a hard time getting plastic cover and plastic inter leaf. They went from USA material to Chinese. Now the plastic is all curled up and texture is poor. Luckily I have enough USA material for the next 2 years of production.

Iluvmyviewcam
13-Jun-2014, 08:32
With matte papers, I greatly prefer my current inkjet system to my darkroom. I use a modified Eboni-6 inkset, Quad-toned Rip with a custom profile, and Epson Hot Press Natural. With glossy prints I still prefer silver gelatin prints. I haven't seen any of Paul Roark's Claria dye prints on silver metallic paper, though. http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/4000-Noritsu-2K.pdf

What is the RIP for? From what I understand a RIP produces a screened image with halftone dots? if I am correct, what is the purpose of adding the halftone screening.

Iluvmyviewcam
13-Jun-2014, 08:34
I'd say my glossy FB inkjet prints satisfy me about 90% as much as my glossy FB silver prints when all goes well for both prints. Digital is certainly easier to make tonal adjustments with and in many cases that makes a significant difference. But even the best (that I've seen) FB inkjet prints have some gloss differential. That has the ability to ruin some images to my eye.

You didn't ask about color, but I like my color inkjet work much better than RA-4 prints.

Yes, color inkjet can be very good. I am very happy with it.

Iluvmyviewcam
13-Jun-2014, 08:37
I printed silver exclusively for decades. I started printing digitally to help make some decent prints out of some problem negs that didn't print well with silver. When I started printing digitally my target was my best silver prints. It took me a few years of dedicated effort to achieve this but I did. Now I print primarily in digital and make a silver print if some collector requests it or I just feel like getting my fingers wet. It is hard to make a traditional enlarged silver print to match the digital. I can make a great silver print but it will not match a great ink print. They are very different beasts. I just don't have the same level of control printing optically. So I think the future of my silver printing will be headed largely to creating digital negatives or contact printing on silver-best of both worlds.

FWIW.....Why does anyone care if their finished prints are waterproof? What are you doing with your prints that they need that? I have never had a need for a waterproof finished print of any kind, ink or silver.

I don't know. I did a lot of testing with dye transfers a few years ago. I had lost 2 decades of work in a flood. (water resistance would not have helped me.) At the time I thought about water testing a dye transfer and an inkjet.

Doug Howk
13-Jun-2014, 08:57
I think it just depends on what you want or are satisfied with. From an appropriate viewing distance based on size of print, then B&W prints are nearly equal. If, however, you are into sharpness and detail, it is currently physically impossible for an inkjet print to equal a silver gelatin print. We're comparing technologies of photons & silver molecules vs the best in squirt technology. It would take a major investment in nano-technology by inkjet manufacturers to approach equality; and there probably isn't enough demand for that investment. So, if you are satisfied with Cone or Epson pigment inks on whatever paper you like, consider yourself fortunate. And have pity on us traditional printers as we worry about continuing availability of our favorite papers, etc..

Peter De Smidt
13-Jun-2014, 09:04
Quad-toned Rip is used to control each of the inks. It doesn't involve half-tone screening. My system currently uses 6 shades of gray in an Epson 7600.

ROL
13-Jun-2014, 09:28
I'm not coming down on either side, but the question presumes some ability to make or recognize good wet prints in which to compare machine prints. I haven't seen a lot of evidence that is true. For many, one of the great assets of machine printing is that they were always lousy at making wet prints. Then again, maybe I'm all wet.

tgtaylor
13-Jun-2014, 11:09
Hi Daniel,


In your linked-to examples (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%27Left_Silver_Gelatin_Print_-_Right_Hahnemuehle_Ink_Jet_Print%27_Copyright_2013_Daniel_Teoli_Jr..jpg ) you can easily get the image to look like the image on the right by simply increasing (in this case) the contrast grade to match the higher contrast. There's a lot of white in the image so it would respond well to the split grade printing technique where you first print a work print with a #00 or #0 filter to determine the exposure with that filter for the highlights, and then with a #5 filter for the darker areas, and combine the two exposures for the final print. Alternatively you can determine the correct exposure density on grade 2 and then go up (or down) until you see what you like.

Last night I contact printed an image of Three Brothers from the Merced that I took in Yosemite over Memorial Day Weekend. Since there weren't a lot of white (actually just a large cloud with mostly grays and only a little white here and there) so I chose the Fred Picker method. A 12 second exposure at grade 2 with a 3 second dodge on the far left hand side of the river and immediate shore to balance gave the best exposure but increasing the contrast to grade 2.5 made the water look more “wet” and gave a better sparkle from the reflections in it without effecting most of the image. However, going to grade 2.5 overall lightened just a tad the trees lining the opposite bank of the river. So the “best “ result would seem to come with a 12-second grade 2 exposure dodging the river during the last few seconds (easy to do because it was almost a straight line) and finishing the river at grade 2.5. But it was too late to continue – after midnight and I had to clean-up and wash the prints – so I made two prints at grade 2.5 which look good. Anyway, if took that negative back to the wet darkroom I'm sure that you can print it with the higher contrast of the digital print.

Great image by the way!

Thomas

Darin Boville
13-Jun-2014, 11:18
If, however, you are into sharpness and detail, it is currently physically impossible for an inkjet print to equal a silver gelatin print. We're comparing technologies of photons & silver molecules vs the best in squirt technology.

I'm not so sure. Aside from contact prints I'd bet the loss in sharpness during the enlarging process equals out any loss in sharpness due to any missing ultra-micro-detial due to ink squirting technology. (I'm assuming here we are starting from a single 4x5 negative). Of course, if we are talking about digital capture at resolutions equal to 4x5 then that just isn't fair to the traditional technologies of film/chemical capture and optical enlargement.

--Darin

paulr
13-Jun-2014, 11:56
Piezography...everybody raves about it. I will have to study it up. I worry about changing the inks in my 3880 and ruining it. Someone should come out with a dedicated BW printer. Have you put the Piezography out in the sun for 6 months? How do they fade test?

They test exceptionally well. It always depends on the exact ink / paper combination. Some of the inks have larger quantities of fugitive pigments in them, and some papers have different stuff from others in their coatings. If you check out the latest results from Aardburg, these are now (I believe) the industry standard. Wilhelm research has been around longer, but some are suspicious of them, since they get funding from the materials companies.

I did an informal test with a bunch of different kinds of prints taped to my window. Everything changed slightly (including the platinum print) but the only thing that got wrecked after several years was a C-print from the minilab.

Keep in mind that we test ink prints for lightfastness because this is their greatest vulnerability. Silver prints are most vulnerable to airborne oxidizers, like sulfur compounds. This is why longevity tests for the two mediums are different, and really can't be compared. Oxidation is a actually a more complex nut to crack; this is why we probably know more about inkjet lightfastness than we know about gelatin silver print chemical stability, even though silver prints have been around a hundred years longer. Some silver prints discolor after 10 years, while others last unchanged under the same conditions for 100. Conservators don't have all the answers to why this is (and it's often impossible to know the details of a printmaker's process or the paper manufacturer's process after the fact).


Books? I make lots and lots of hand bound artists' books. But they are not Smythsewn, they are spiral bound. Here are just 2 of them. I made 3 in 2013 and am doing 4 in 2014 / 15. (Also samples of my inkjet printing with R2000 for color and 3880 for BW)

(nsfw)

http://portfolioartistsbook.tumblr.com/

http://twentysixroadkills.tumblr.com/

Spiral binding has a benefit to it. you can always unbind it to make a gallery show out of the original prints. Then re bind it in 5 - 10 minutes. Just don't go beyond 1 inch in thickness. After 30mm the spiral coils are thinner and they flop around.

If you are just making one book, then it may be worth it to pay $150 to get it Smythsewn. I produce many books, so spiral binding is the best I can keep up with. I am photog 1st, printer 2nd, book producer 3rd. If you decide to try spiral binding let me know I'd be glad to offer free help.

Thanks for this. If I ever revisit that project or one like it, this could be helpful. I was stunned by the quotes I was getting for binding. The inkjet paper itself scared away the one bookbinder I found who was interested in the project.

paulr
13-Jun-2014, 12:03
If, however, you are into sharpness and detail, it is currently physically impossible for an inkjet print to equal a silver gelatin print.

I can very confidently say the opposite. I've got 4x5 contact prints sitting next to inkjet prints made the same size from the same image. The inkjet wins in the sharpness / detail department every time. Unless you're looking through a loupe.

Don't confuse extinction resolution (where the darkroom print will have more detail) with subjective sharpness, which depends entirely on MTF within a narrow range of spatial frequencies. The perceptual research is clear on this, and I can demonstrate it 10 times out of 10 with real prints. Detail finer that 7 lp/mm is mostly irrelevant to how things look to us, and detail finer than 14 lp/mm is invisible.

The short of it is that my darkroom prints look soft compared with my inkjet prints. All darkroom prints look a bit soft to me now. I personally like the more crisp, "etched" look, but I know some people who do not. They tend to prefer darkroom prints (or ink prints that are sharpened less).

djdister
13-Jun-2014, 12:42
I can very confidently say the opposite. I've got 4x5 contact prints sitting next to inkjet prints made the same size from the same image. The inkjet wins in the sharpness / detail department every time. Unless you're looking through a loupe.

Don't confuse extinction resolution (where the darkroom print will have more detail) with subjective sharpness, which depends entirely on MTF within a narrow range of spatial frequencies. The perceptual research is clear on this, and I can demonstrate it 10 times out of 10 with real prints. Detail finer that 7 lp/mm is mostly irrelevant to how things look to us, and detail finer than 14 lp/mm is invisible.

The short of it is that my darkroom prints look soft compared with my inkjet prints. All darkroom prints look a bit soft to me now. I personally like the more crisp, "etched" look, but I know some people who do not. They tend to prefer darkroom prints (or ink prints that are sharpened less).

Obviously the answers to the original question are going to be subjective, but I'll add my $.01 to the discussion. I've experienced the same as paulr when it comes to comparing an inkjet print to a silver halide print of the same negative. I recently scanned in a 4x5 negative and ran it through basic adjustments in Photoshop, and the resulting inkjet print, made to the same level of magnification as the silver print, looked considerably sharper and showed finer detail than the silver print. As paulr said, my silver print looked downright soft in comparison. Maybe I was a crummy darkroom printer, maybe not. I think I would have to say I'm a better digital printer than I was a wet-process printer. But some of us don't have the capability to setup and operate a wet darkroom anymore, so I appreciate the high quality that can be obtained with a well made inkjet print. Choice of paper (and surface) can certainly have a huge influence on the final print.

Since the discussion centers on one's subjective comparison about print appearance, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

paulr
13-Jun-2014, 13:20
...my silver print looked downright soft in comparison. Maybe I was a crummy darkroom printer, maybe not. I think I would have to say I'm a better digital printer than I was a wet-process printer.

I think it's a couple of things. The obvious one is the fine control over sharpening you get with digital tools. The other is the sharpness lost with the enlarging process itself. I generally assumed this was a non-issue, since I used a glass carrier, a critical grain focuser, a Schneider Apo Componon lens, and was anal about enlarger alignment. But if you look at the MTF curves of even the best lenses, they're not magical. Every time you pass an image through an optical system, there's only one direction the quality can go. And the finer the detail, the greater the loss of contrast.

Here's (https://www.schneideroptics.com/pdfs/photo/datasheets/apo-componon/apo-componon_40_150_2.pdf) the MTF chart for my lens. The bottom row represents a 3X enlargement, which is roughly equivalent to prints on 11x14 paper that I frequently made. The chart on the far right is at f8, which is overall the sharpest aperture for this lens. The top two sets of lines represent detail at 10 and 20 lp/mm, which is all we need to worry about about at this magnification. This corresponds to 3.3 and 6.7 lp/mm at the final print. Research shows that detail between 1 and 5lp/mm is most important to our perception of sharpness and image quality, so these curves are quite relevant.

In the center, at the point of highest quality, we see a loss of contrast of 10% and 20% respectively. In the corners, we see losses of 20-30% and 40-50%, depending on orientation. The disparity between radial and tangential sharpness is astigmatism. This is actually a moderate amount and wouldn't be noticeable in real life; if it's much greater, you see detail that looks "smeared" in one direction or another.

At any rate, this all represents sharpness that's lost. It's inevitable with any lens. The better ones just lose less.

Peter De Smidt
13-Jun-2014, 14:46
For those who don't know, Aardenburg-Imaging, http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/, is a terrific source for print longevity info.

Kodachrome25
14-Jun-2014, 09:03
If I did not despise the digital process so much, I would give an unbiased answer.

Iluvmyviewcam
14-Jun-2014, 10:07
They test exceptionally well. It always depends on the exact ink / paper combination. Some of the inks have larger quantities of fugitive pigments in them, and some papers have different stuff from others in their coatings. If you check out the latest results from Aardburg, these are now (I believe) the industry standard. Wilhelm research has been around longer, but some are suspicious of them, since they get funding from the materials companies.

I did an informal test with a bunch of different kinds of prints taped to my window. Everything changed slightly (including the platinum print) but the only thing that got wrecked after several years was a C-print from the minilab.

Keep in mind that we test ink prints for lightfastness because this is their greatest vulnerability. Silver prints are most vulnerable to airborne oxidizers, like sulfur compounds. This is why longevity tests for the two mediums are different, and really can't be compared. Oxidation is a actually a more complex nut to crack; this is why we probably know more about inkjet lightfastness than we know about gelatin silver print chemical stability, even though silver prints have been around a hundred years longer. Some silver prints discolor after 10 years, while others last unchanged under the same conditions for 100. Conservators don't have all the answers to why this is (and it's often impossible to know the details of a printmaker's process or the paper manufacturer's process after the fact).



Thanks for this. If I ever revisit that project or one like it, this could be helpful. I was stunned by the quotes I was getting for binding. The inkjet paper itself scared away the one bookbinder I found who was interested in the project.

Yes artisan binding is very costly. Makes us look at our cheap photo books we pick up for a couple bucks with new found wonder. To buy a used book is only $5...but if I just want to bind the same book it is $150+.

Here is one I bought recently for $1. Decent photography from back in the day.

http://www.amazon.com/World-Allah-David-Douglas-Duncan/dp/0395325048/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402765261&sr=8-1&keywords=world+of+allah

Besides artists' books, another method I used was limited edition portfolios or just plain non edition portfolios. You can get custom made boxes or use a clamshell box. whatever...just get your work out there.

Iluvmyviewcam
14-Jun-2014, 10:10
I think it's a couple of things. The obvious one is the fine control over sharpening you get with digital tools. The other is the sharpness lost with the enlarging process itself. I generally assumed this was a non-issue, since I used a glass carrier, a critical grain focuser, a Schneider Apo Componon lens, and was anal about enlarger alignment. But if you look at the MTF curves of even the best lenses, they're not magical. Every time you pass an image through an optical system, there's only one direction the quality can go. And the finer the detail, the greater the loss of contrast.

Here's (https://www.schneideroptics.com/pdfs/photo/datasheets/apo-componon/apo-componon_40_150_2.pdf) the MTF chart for my lens. The bottom row represents a 3X enlargement, which is roughly equivalent to prints on 11x14 paper that I frequently made. The chart on the far right is at f8, which is overall the sharpest aperture for this lens. The top two sets of lines represent detail at 10 and 20 lp/mm, which is all we need to worry about about at this magnification. This corresponds to 3.3 and 6.7 lp/mm at the final print. Research shows that detail between 1 and 5lp/mm is most important to our perception of sharpness and image quality, so these curves are quite relevant.

In the center, at the point of highest quality, we see a loss of contrast of 10% and 20% respectively. In the corners, we see losses of 20-30% and 40-50%, depending on orientation. The disparity between radial and tangential sharpness is astigmatism. This is actually a moderate amount and wouldn't be noticeable in real life; if it's much greater, you see detail that looks "smeared" in one direction or another.

At any rate, this all represents sharpness that's lost. It's inevitable with any lens. The better ones just lose less.

I don't know which type is sharper. When I flatbed scan my negs they don't seem as sharp as the same neg printed as a wet print. But I don't have the special neg carriers or wet carriers for the scanner.

35mm flatbed scanned negs seem to be about 4mp equivalent. But this is just rough testing on my part. Maybe drum scanning increases the sharpness.

http://photographycompared.tumblr.com/

.

djdister
14-Jun-2014, 10:32
I don't know which type is sharper. When I flatbed scan my negs they don't seem as sharp as the same neg printed as a wet print. But I don't have the special neg carriers or wet carriers for the scanner.

35mm flatbed scanned negs seem to be about 4mp equivalent. But this is just rough testing on my part. Maybe drum scanning increases the sharpness.



If you are only getting 4mp images out of your 35mm negs, you might want to scan them at a higher resolution. And if you don't have a negative carrier, then just stop using your flatbed scanner. I usually get ~30MP files when I scan a 35mm neg, and much larger files with 120, 4x5 and 5x7.

There are many discussions on proper negative scanning technique, so perhaps you should consult those discussions before pronouncing problems with scanned negatives.

mdarnton
14-Jun-2014, 10:58
I went to an exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute last year where halfway through I realized that half the prints were half digital, half silver. The ONLY difference was a slight color difference. Both types were wonderful. The artist was http://www.abelardomorell.net/about-abelardo-morell/

In my own work, I was a pretty good silver printer 35 years ago, but much prefer my current digital prints. The whole workflow is a zillion times better, and after I found a paper that I liked, that part worked, too.

Both types of printing have their own quirks, and I wasn't happy with my prints in either for quite a while. Its a poor workman who blames his tools.

Lenny Eiger
14-Jun-2014, 11:05
I don't know which type is sharper. When I flatbed scan my negs they don't seem as sharp as the same neg printed as a wet print. But I don't have the special neg carriers or wet carriers for the scanner.

Or even a good scanner. If you want to compare sharpness, you need to use a drum scanner. We all know that consumer flatbeds have plastic lenses. It's not fair to compare the best of one medium with the least of another. There are scenarios, where people with some expertise can get a flatbed scanner to work for them. This usually includes a large format negative, adjusting the height of the glass, wet mounting and creative sharpening. They do not include 35mm film.

Lenny

Kirk Gittings
14-Jun-2014, 11:35
The big exhibit of William Clift's last year in Phoenix and Santa Fe had a few ink jets. Having heard this many photographers who visited the exhibit speculated on how many and which ones. Some swore up and down that they all were but everyone had an opinion. One photographer I knew wrote the whole exhibit off as all inkjet. He definitely said this with a degree of distain. The fact was that only three were out of some 80, or so. And the printing in all cases was extraordinary. Clift is known as a great silver printer and this show did not disappoint. Like this photographer there are a lot of traditional printers who are so biased that they can't look at inkjet objectively and in fact do often base their arguments on the worst inkjet vs. the best silver. In some cases their outlook is so prejudiced that (like the guy I knew above) can't even appreciate a high quality exhibit that is overwhelmingly traditional because it was tainted by a couple of inkjet prints. Online one gallery owner in CA was bragging that her collection of his prints were all silver unlike the inkjets that were now in the show. In fact the ones she owns were silver in the exhibit and have never been printed in ink. This kind of bias is humorous at this point.

Yes there are a lot of crappy inkjets out there. There are also a lot of crappy silver and alt prints out there. Look at how much buzz there is about wetplate when so much of it is inept being made by people who don't even know how to properly pour a plate?



I went to an exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute last year where halfway through I realized that half the prints were half digital, half silver. The ONLY difference was a slight color difference. Both types were wonderful. The artist was http://www.abelardomorell.net/about-abelardo-morell/

In my own work, I was a pretty good silver printer 35 years ago, but much prefer my current digital prints. The whole workflow is a zillion times better, and after I found a paper that I liked, that part worked, too.

Both types of printing have their own quirks, and I wasn't happy with my prints in either for quite a while. Its a poor workman who blames his tools.

paulr
14-Jun-2014, 11:43
There are scenarios, where people with some expertise can get a flatbed scanner to work for them. This usually includes a large format negative, adjusting the height of the glass, wet mounting and creative sharpening. They do not include 35mm film.

I'll second this. I have a consumer desktop scanner and am able to get good scans from b+w 4x5. I wet mount to glass, use shims to find the focal plane, etc. etc... Each scan takes about 45 minutes. Results are better than what I can get with an enlarger. You'd probably start to see the advantages of a high end scanner at print sizes over 24".

With 120 film I can get decent prints, but not great. A really good darkroom print would probably be better. With 35mm results are mostly limited to the web or to prints smaller than 8x10.

tgtaylor
14-Jun-2014, 11:50
Well one thing about optical printing is that, believe it or not, it is a more healthy activity than sitting behind the computer. Of course this is assuming that you have proper ventilation on the wet side and you are using “friendly” chemicals like citric acid for a stop, an odor free fix like TF-5, and disposable gloves to keep your fingers out of the chemicals.

I do most of my printing after supper when it is easy to completely block all outside light in the bedroom where I have the enlarger set-up in what would be an otherwise unoccupied corner. The wet-side is the bathroom across the hall where I have the trays and a Thomas safe light set-up. The procedure is to expose the sheet place it in a paper safe and walk it to the bathroom where I process it, onto the living room for a close examination of the results, and then back to the enlarger where the process repeats itself. So instead of sitting behind the computer, I'm up on my feet walking around all the time. I've noticed this activity aids the digestion and I drink a great deal of water during the first hour or two which I wouldn't ordinarily do if I was just sitting. I imagine that is because the activity speed-ed-up the metabolism and the system needed water - which is good because water is good for you. And each trip to the living room requires that you give a careful and close consideration of the result, where you want to go from there, and the best way to proceed. In other words optical printing forces you to use your mind at each step in the process and not just push buttons and move sliders to see what happens. In short, you are forced to think.

But there's also the drudgery of optical printing: measuring out the chemistry, blocking out the window and cleaning up after a session. The other night I got the prints in the washer at 12:20am, sat down to watch the TV and fell asleep waking up at 1:50am to remove the prints from the washer. They were on fiber paper and I ran them through HC before placing them in the washer so they ended-up being over-washed.

Thomas

Gary Tarbert
18-Jun-2014, 16:58
With me yes they are just as good if not better, But that says more about my wet darkroom skills than anything else i guess . Cheers Gary

paulr
19-Jun-2014, 05:47
Well one thing about optical printing is that, believe it or not, it is a more healthy activity than sitting behind the computer.

I think this is really hard to say, because the activities are so different. Darkroom printing is much more physical for me, in both good and bad ways. I'm on my feet, jumping around to music, etc, which is all good. But the sessions tend to be marathon, into the night, and cut deep into my sleep schedule, which is maybe not the best.

Working at the computer, while basically a couch-potato activity, is more time efficient, so I don't need to do such long sessions. But the biggest difference is that you can get up and go do something else anytime you like. You can hit save and make a sandwich, walk around the block, etc.. Stop at any time and pick up again later.

sanking
19-Jun-2014, 06:55
"Well one thing about optical printing is that, believe it or not, it is a more healthy activity than sitting behind the computer. Of course this is assuming that you have proper ventilation on the wet side and you are using “friendly” chemicals like citric acid for a stop, an odor free fix like TF-5, and disposable gloves to keep your fingers out of the chemicals."

You don't have to sit at the computer. Put your monitor on a high table and stand as you do your editing. While files are being processed you can do 8-10 low squats to strengthen your leg and butt muscles, and a wide variety of stretching exercises, yoga poses, and butt tightening routines.

Also, when you print don't just walk away and let the printer do its job. Stand about two feet in front of the printer follow the head of the printer with your own head as it moves back and forth across the platen. To get even more neck stretching, stand at a right angle to the printer and rotate your head with the head of the printer. Enhance the degree of stretching by investing in a wide format printer of 48" or more and you can really get a good stretch from your neck.

Employees all over the world are using innovative strategies to stay on their feet and exercise while doing work at the computer. No reason digital printers have to just sit there and grow their butts.



Sandy

djdister
19-Jun-2014, 07:59
As Sandy said, either process can be unhealthy, and there are plenty of ways traditional darkroom processing can hurt you if you aren't careful. So the "more healthy" angle is a dubious discriminator.

tgtaylor
19-Jun-2014, 08:06
"Employees all over the world are using innovative strategies to stay on their feet and exercise while doing work at the computer. No reason digital printers have to just sit there and grow their butts." But isn't the latter what the typical office worker and digital printer ends up doing? Optical printing doesn't require innovative strategies to thwart the couch potato syndrome since you are up and moving the whole time. Well, most of the time because I, for example, do take a break, sometimes for several minutes, while examining the print to determine the next course of action with it. Anyway, doing squats, sit-up, push-ups, etc while your files are being processing would appear to break your train of thought. When you print you want to stay focused.

Another health benefit of optical printing that I didn't think of is that it is better on your eyes than staring at a computer screen a foot away most of the time and if a desk job is your day job that is exactly what you do all day long. It is a well documented fact that staring for long periods at a computer screen is bad for the eyes. With optical printing to are not staring at a near fixed object as you are with digital printing but constantly switching from near to far which is recommended.

BTW, I recently read in a medical recommendation that adding Lutein and Zeaxanthin to ones diet would result in a significant reduction in age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Apparently the eye stops producing those two nutrients in middle-age. After I read the article I stopped at the drugstore and bought a bottle of the Bausch + Lomb product and after a month of daily usage I believe that I can tell a difference. Driving down that dark 20+ mile stretch of 120 between Oakdale and the Yosemite turnoff I truly though that I could see much better than before I started taking the vitamin.

Thomas

ROL
19-Jun-2014, 08:08
... butt tightening routines.

There already seems to be plenty of tight butts on this forum. Now, sphincter tightening photography, is another matter entirely.

IanG
19-Jun-2014, 08:10
I can print either and apart from paper differences can match well. I prefer darkroom prints which I find very much faster! I can have a final print in the wash in the time I takes to scan and do a basic edit. Mmaybe it.s because I printed commercially for a number of years but I can read a negative and get very close to the final exhibition print from my own negs easily.

It may be quite different for others.

Ian

AuditorOne
19-Jun-2014, 19:39
I can print either and apart from paper differences can match well. I prefer darkroom prints which I find very much faster! I can have a final print in the wash in the time I takes to scan and do a basic edit. Mmaybe it.s because I printed commercially for a number of years but I can read a negative and get very close to the final exhibition print from my own negs easily.

It may be quite different for others.

Ian

Drat, it would be nice to be that good. It still takes me 5 tries to get a contact print from my 8x10 negs that I'm happy with.

IanG
20-Jun-2014, 03:12
Drat, it would be nice to be that good. It still takes me 5 tries to get a contact print from my 8x10 negs that I'm happy with.

The more contrast you require in a final print usually the harder it is to reach the result you are after with darkroom prints. It also takes more practice to dodge and burn contact prints.

A negative that needs a lot of dodging and burning in a darkroom will also need much greater time post scanning in Photoshop or an equivalent.

3-5 prints to get the desired final result is fairly typical in a darkroom, most of mine are closer 3 occasionally just 2 but the very few difficult negatives 5 isn't untypical.

Ian

Mark Barendt
20-Jun-2014, 03:47
One thing about my inkjet I don't like is that the grays tend to be kinda blah. Don't know how to describe it. But some prints with a lot of gray look bland. The silver prints seemed to have more gray separation. But nothing concrete on this, just a feeling.

IMO what you are probably seeing here is not intrinsic. More likely, it was just a choice made by the person who printed that particular photo and probably not representative of the medium itself.

I tried the inkjet route and created some very fine looking prints, I gave up on printing inkjet myself because it was a pain to use (plugged jets etc...) and cost. I found that I could upload the file to a lab for printing and have the prints shipped for less and never have to deal with plugged nozzles or any of the other maintenance.

paulr
20-Jun-2014, 05:48
Employees all over the world are using innovative strategies to stay on their feet and exercise while doing work at the computer. No reason digital printers have to just sit there and grow their butts.

And of course you can power the whole computer setup with a bike-driven generator. If your output drops below 200 watts or so, the machine shuts down and you lose all your work, which is really wonderful motivation to keep pedaling.

Christopher Barrett
9-Aug-2014, 20:53
A negative that needs a lot of dodging and burning in a darkroom will also need much greater time post scanning in Photoshop or an equivalent.


I have to disagree with this. In particular, one body of work I did years ago gave me fits in the darkroom. At the time I had about 10 years of darkroom experience and was employed as the black and white printer at Hedrich Blessing here in Chicago. I was working on a series of street work I shot very quickly on Tri-X with a Leica CL and my exposures were not always perfect. I was doing tons of burning and dodging in the darkroom and was still never happy with the images. Years later, after I acquired a drum scanner, I revisited the images and the Howtek was able to capture the full range of the negatives, allowing me to make inkjet prints of the entire series with none of the local manipulations that were needed for the Silver Gelatin prints. If you really want every bit of shadow information from your negatives, I feel that high quality scans (done by an experienced operator) are going to yield better results with less effort. Next up, I want to try some Light Jet prints to Fiber Base paper!

The work I referenced is here by the way: http://christopherbarrett.net/personal/street_work_01/

bob carnie
10-Aug-2014, 06:23
Sandy could capture all his hot air and use it to power his Exposing Unit. And that is on a slow day.

And of course you can power the whole computer setup with a bike-driven generator. If your output drops below 200 watts or so, the machine shuts down and you lose all your work, which is really wonderful motivation to keep pedaling.

bob carnie
10-Aug-2014, 06:27
Street work with Leica is a much harder printing experience than typical work. I find this style of printing the hardest to master and do. If you want fibre base prints from Digital files contact me as my shop was the first making fibre murals using a Lambda Exposing unit. I like these prints very much as they have a tremendous DMax- paper is Galerie G4. Since you are controlling the contrast density and dodge and burn via PS this is a perfect media choice for documentary photographers.



I have to disagree with this. In particular, one body of work I did years ago gave me fits in the darkroom. At the time I had about 10 years of darkroom experience and was employed as the black and white printer at Hedrich Blessing here in Chicago. I was working on a series of street work I shot very quickly on Tri-X with a Leica CL and my exposures were not always perfect. I was doing tons of burning and dodging in the darkroom and was still never happy with the images. Years later, after I acquired a drum scanner, I revisited the images and the Howtek was able to capture the full range of the negatives, allowing me to make inkjet prints of the entire series with none of the local manipulations that were needed for the Silver Gelatin prints. If you really want every bit of shadow information from your negatives, I feel that high quality scans (done by an experienced operator) are going to yield better results with less effort. Next up, I want to try some Light Jet prints to Fiber Base paper!

The work I referenced is here by the way: http://christopherbarrett.net/personal/street_work_01/

Tyler Boley
10-Aug-2014, 10:33
One thing about my inkjet I don't like is that the grays tend to be kinda blah. Don't know how to describe it. But some prints with a lot of gray look bland. The silver prints seemed to have more gray separation. But nothing concrete on this, just a feeling.

I agree with Mark's point, this is not intrinsic to the process. Which brings me to one of my pet peeves.. many have not come to terms with the fact that good ink printing requires a commitment, just like any other "craft". Many have spent decades in the darkroom, probably most produced in the first decade long since worthy only of the trash, then spend no time really learning inkjet and make a judgement about the entire category based on entry level output.
T

Kirk Gittings
10-Aug-2014, 12:21
I agree with Mark's point, this is not intrinsic to the process. Which brings me to one of my pet peeves.. many have not come to terms with the fact that good ink printing requires a commitment, just like any other "craft". Many have spent decades in the darkroom, probably most produced in the first decade long since worthy only of the trash, then spend no time really learning inkjet and make a judgement about the entire category based on entry level output.
T
Totally agree. I encountered the "blah grays" too-I suspect every one does. But I encounter them often in silver printing too. In either case I find pushing them up/down the scale, or toning can solve the problem and or switching papers (or inks or developers) can solve the problem. I frankly have never found a quick inkjet or silver print to be satisfying. Sometimes a day but oftentimes longer and even much longer.

Christopher Barrett
10-Aug-2014, 13:21
Word. I'm a big fan of Tony Kuyper's Luminosity Masks (http://goodlight.us/writing/luminositymasks/luminositymasks-1.html) and utilize the "Extended Midtones" action on nearly every image to get strong mid tone separation. Highly recommended.

Ari
10-Aug-2014, 13:23
Street work with Leica is a much harder printing experience than typical work. I find this style of printing the hardest to master and do.

I agree with this; if I may make a sweeping generalization, 35mm was always the hardest, by far, to print satisfactorily in the wet darkroom.

Kirk Gittings
10-Aug-2014, 13:32
Word. I'm a big fan of Tony Kuyper's Luminosity Masks (http://goodlight.us/writing/luminositymasks/luminositymasks-1.html) and utilize the "Extended Midtones" action on nearly every image to get strong mid tone separation. Highly recommended.

Me too. If I remember right I suggested them to you? It was a while ago.

Tyler Boley
10-Aug-2014, 14:33
I hate forum posts that primarily attempt to bring clicks to someone's blog.. but to the uninitiated about some of the issues of fine B&W ink prints.. some of you may slog through this-

http://tylerboley.com/hahnemuhle-museum-etching-bw-setup-and-evaluation/

It touches on many of the issues involved with B&W ink work, paper selection and why, etc., even if the particulars might not be relevant to most.
So you still think we just hit the "print" button?

Jim Andrada
19-Aug-2014, 02:02
I'll have to find out more about Tony Kuyper's Photoshop masking. Should be easy to ask him as he's my next next door neighbor.

Peter De Smidt
19-Aug-2014, 07:58
I also use Tony's luminosity masks on a regular basis.

Cesar Barreto
19-Aug-2014, 20:29
I've been playing a bit on both grounds and I'm sure not being able to answer such kind of question regarding the results of each workflow, as both can achieve beautiful results. But I can say there's much more fun and fulfillment doing the wet print than starting the start botton, although this vision can rapidly change when one considers big prints.

Tyler Boley
20-Aug-2014, 11:01
are you referring to the "start learning" button? Sorry I couldn't resist

Kirk Gittings
20-Aug-2014, 15:18
are you referring to the "start learning" button? Sorry I couldn't resist

:)

John Bowen
21-Aug-2014, 05:32
I hate forum posts that primarily attempt to bring clicks to someone's blog.. but to the uninitiated about some of the issues of fine B&W ink prints.. some of you may slog through this-

http://tylerboley.com/hahnemuhle-museum-etching-bw-setup-and-evaluation/

It touches on many of the issues involved with B&W ink work, paper selection and why, etc., even if the particulars might not be relevant to most.
So you still think we just hit the "print" button?

Tyler,

After many years of denial, I'm currently dipping my toes into the world of digital B&W. I found your blog post most informative. Thanks. Can you recommend a good book that would assist a newbie in "getting where he needs to go" in regards to the B&W digital workflow? I'm thinking about something like Fred Picker's Zone VI Workshop for B&W Digital.

If there's one thing I've learned from nearly 40 years in analog photography it's get the mechanical part of photography down so you can concentrate on "where to point the camera."

Many thanks,
John

Tyler Boley
21-Aug-2014, 09:48
I must say right off the bat that the hoops I jump through and tools I use are not for everyone, so that post implies a lot of tasks many won't have to deal with. I'm afraid I know of know great books dedicated to this kind of work. Amadou Diallo's "Mastering Digital Black and White" was generally good, but software, hardware, papers and inks have evolved since then, and it's more informational than actual teaching.
If you treat scanning as a separate issue, which it really is, you can find good info on that alone, including this forum. Following that are Photoshop skills, and then the more difficult part of printers, inksets, papers... Many don't purchase Photoshop any more, and just use Lightroom even for scans..
A Cone system is pretty much plug and play with the info provided, but scanning and file prep all comes before that. Other B&W output systems may take a little more info gathering, even the OEM options are less than immediately graspable, with ongoing color management issues. Unfortunately B&W has become marginalized amongst the providers of our tools, so it all will require some effort. But the darkroom did to.
Each one of these things is a learning phase, maybe something like one of Jeff Schewe's books to start, then focus on B&W specifically when comfortable with the basics. Wish I could say more, in my opinion the state of education available for state of the art B&W is pretty dismal.
I guess I like workshops and classes if affordable, hands on learning in a concentrated period of time with others works well.
Tyler

John Bowen
22-Aug-2014, 08:19
Thanks, Tyler