View Full Version : LVT Digital -> Negative Services: Variability? Or all the same?

4-Sep-2017, 18:44
I am thinking about making a few negatives from digital images and scanned LF negatives that I either edited heavily or had poor exposure/development but was saved through post processing the scan.

I know of a few labs offering this service using the Rhino LVT system. My question is: is there variability between service providers with the LVT system? Since it uses lasers and I assume some sort of standardized film system, it seems like everyone should provide pretty much the same product. Perhaps there is potential issues that I am not aware of though? Maybe poor focus or calibration? Or is it a one-button operation?

The reason I ask is I have seen prices varying from $35 per 4x5 negative burn up to $195 each! This is an incredible range. If it's all the same I'd much rather get every negative I am thinking about doing at one shop, compared to exactly one negative at the other.

And speaking of which - has anyone done this and been happy with the prints they subsequently made? I haven't read much online about people using this type of service. A lot of speculation and some saying to just send it out to a lab that prints via Lightjet - which is fair, but I want to both preserve the "handmade" appeal of my prints, and also a negative can be printed as many times as you like, whereas a print is just a one-off thing. The LVT info I have read specifies a resolution of about 2000 PPI, enough for a ~7x enlargement off of a 4x5 negative - more than I can do in my darkroom. Seems great if true.

bob carnie
5-Sep-2017, 06:34
All of Salgado's silver prints of late are done this way.

Steve Sherman
5-Sep-2017, 08:01
A fellow came to me for a Pyro and Split Printing workshop from Paris. He had an LVT neg with him from the same shop that Salgado uses. Told me it was ordinary FP 4 film chemically processed. The neg printed very nicely with my wet Process setup. No idea what the cost is from Salgado's shop.

5-Sep-2017, 13:54
Cool, well I just got off the phone with the "cheap" lab and they seem very competent and willing to work with the photographer to ensure they get the best negative burn possible.

I am going to send them a couple to test out the process and see how the prints look. Will post my opinions later. The only downside is a long wait time for the service (the old adage of "cheap, fast, quality - pick two" applies here I think) so it'll be another month or two before I can really get them burned and then printed.

5-Sep-2017, 15:14
I don't know how it compares with a digital negative from inkjet/pictorico. You'd have to compare. Most of the people that use inkjet/pictorico negatives print on rough handcoated paper.

One of the upsides of a LVT digital negative is that it's on real film with silver which we know can last and archive very well. It's a sure way to have a physical negative if you didn't start with a physical negative.

5-Sep-2017, 16:24
If I had an inkjet printer (er, one that works anyway) I would totally try pictorico or similar. I've experimented with it some doing alt processes at my old uni but not much, and not with really well-calibrated profiles or anything.

I'd offer to do a "comparison" if someone wanted to make me a pictorico negative but I doubt my darkroom skill/process is refined or exacting enough for those interested or invested in such an endeavor, nor do I have the space to make really large prints where differences might be especially apparent. I do remember from my time printing on Epson machines that they claim 2880 DPI print resolution. I have no idea how that would equate or compare to on-film resolution from the LVT at 2032 DPI. I have my doubts inkjet could print to that resolution adequately.

Steve Sherman
5-Sep-2017, 16:56
My impression, the "dot" no matter what resolution does not provide the "sense" of film.

2 cents.