View Full Version : Lightjet Printing
Dear Fellow Photographers, Kindly give me more information on Lightjet Printing. The process, Advantages, Disadvantages etc. Best Regards, Snowy.
Some of the service bureaus that produce LightJets have on their websites pretty good descriptions (do a www.google.com search and you'll get plenty of hits).
Here's an example:
Lightjet and other similar processes (Durst Lambda, Fujix 3000/4000) are catching on, it seems, in a big way.
One of the proponents is Galen Rowell (I know, he onlu shoots 35 mm), and he just had a seminar start yesterday, May 19th. The URL is: http:/ /www.mountainlight.com/workshop.pages/workshop.digital.html.
If you're in or near Seattle, Washington, Photobition Seattle (formerly Ivey Seright) outputs to a Durst Lambda ad widths up to 50". A friend of mine up there has had some of his stuff printed that way, and feels that it compares favorably to Cibachromes.
One of the advantages is that even a small negative can be used to print a very large image. Galen Rowell shoots 35 mm, yet outputs to very large sizes (I believe 20 x 30). With a 4x5 or 8x110 (what my friend shoots), you can achieve 40x50 prints without any stretch.
You'll probably have to pay a premium for an ultra high quality drum scan for this output, but it'll be well worth it.
I looked a bit further - Photobition has offices in many other US cities - as well as in Europe and Asia.
For their list of US cities, go to - http://www.photobition.com/usa/ english/locations/usa.asp
Calypso seems to cater to amateurs. From you address, I surmise you may be more interested in a shop somewhere other than the US though.
As for the as the Lightjet itself: It is a digital printer and a pleasure to write about.
It is an American machine, made in Oregon if memory serves, as big as a house and more expensive than many houses too. A web search will turn up the company that makes it. They make a few other machines too.
Essentially it is a digital "enlarger." But it does not project a sheet of film onto paper in the dark. It tracks RGB lasers across paper in the dark (Fuji Crystal for instance) up to 48"x96" For me the beauty of it is that the photographer can, if he wishes, remain in complete control of the outcome. Suppose you want a Fujichrome of a 4x5 Velvia. Either you print it yourself and maintain control that way (including masking etc) or give to a shop with general instructions and hope for the best. The person who prints will decide things along the way without your knowledge. Conversely, you yourself can scan the Velvia, manipulate it in Photoshop (including the equivalent of masking etc), apply a profile according the Lightjet shop's instruction, burn the file onto a 79 cent CD and mail it to your shop. The operator just pushes the print button so to speak but has no control over your image. This reduces cost too; I suspect most of skill in this scenario is in packaging up your print to sent it to you. Of course you could also just turn over the film to the shop and they would do scanning and everything for a price.
The print itself can be on only a limited number of papers that I know about. One is highly glossy resembling Fujichrome or Ilfochrome and another is semi matt. You would have to check with Wilhelm Research for archival expectations, but I believe this Fuji paper is expected to last about twice as long as a Fujichrome.
Hope this helps.
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