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View Full Version : Shootout...$1.50 Ink Jet Print vs $250 Eastman Kodak Dye Transfer Print



slackercruster
9-Jul-2012, 09:08
Sorry guys. Forum would not accept the report. (Too many pix) Here is the link...

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/digital-processing-software-printing/191919-shootout-1-50-ink-jet-print-vs-250-eastman-kodak-dye-transfer-print.html

Take care,

SC

Jay DeFehr
9-Jul-2012, 09:46
I started to read your article, and then I came to this passage:



First of all, there are no graphs and charts in this report. If your the scientific, over thinker type that likes lots of useless graphs and charts to convince you...stop reading now.



So I did.

E. von Hoegh
9-Jul-2012, 09:58
"scientific, over thinker type that likes lots of useless graphs and charts to convince you"

From PentaxForums.com: http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/digital-processing-software-printing/191919-shootout-1-50-ink-jet-print-vs-250-eastman-kodak-dye-transfer-print.html#ixzz2094JxOMK

I'm the type who likes a scientific test, well thought out and scientifically conducted, so the conclusions make sense to my poor little over-thinking mind. Your test isn't.

yeknom02
9-Jul-2012, 10:04
So, I think this would be the perfect time to hijack this thread and ask what a Dye Transfer print is. Is it the same as the RA-4 process? Because I highly doubt that would be as expensive as $250.

E. von Hoegh
9-Jul-2012, 10:07
Dye transfer http://ctein.com/dyetrans.htm

lecarp
9-Jul-2012, 10:10
Maybe if you roll up both an inkjet and a Dye transfer print and beat a dead Horse to see which lasts the longest.
Maybe that would be too scientific.

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2012, 10:39
Dan - dye transfer is a very complex process which was considered the quality standard
for at least half a century. And emphatically, nobody is going to make you one for $250.
They've always been expensive. I know only two or three people in the world who will still do it commercially. Given the right image and technician, dye transfer prints can really sing.
The transparency of the dyes can make an inkjet look pretty blaaah. But it takes many
years of experience to perfect the necessarily skills, and nowadays it takes quite a bit of
effort even to come up with the necessary materials, some of which are being run in custom lots for just a handful of users.

E. von Hoegh
9-Jul-2012, 11:01
Maybe if you roll up both an inkjet and a Dye transfer print and beat a dead Horse to see which lasts the longest.
Maybe that would be too scientific.

Academic, too. I use black and white only in formats larger than 6x7, largely due to cost.

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2012, 11:33
Then it's good news for you! Other than the original chrome, dye transfer is a black and
white process. You just need twelve to fifteen sheets of black and white film per image,
preferably 8x10 ... and after that, three or more sheets of full-scale matrice film, then a
stack of receiver paper, nowadays meaning blank fixed-out graded printing paper. That's
why Eastman originally advertised it as an easy affordable home darkroom technique! An
ideal cure for all those want-it-yesterday types.

E. von Hoegh
9-Jul-2012, 11:44
Then it's good news for you! Other than the original chrome, dye transfer is a black and
white process. You just need twelve to fifteen sheets of black and white film per image,
preferably 8x10 ... and after that, three or more sheets of full-scale matrice film, then a
stack of receiver paper, nowadays meaning blank fixed-out graded printing paper. That's
why Eastman originally advertised it as an easy affordable home darkroom technique! An
ideal cure for all those want-it-yesterday types.

Hey, I've seen some stunningly well-done inkjets. There's a young lady nearby whose father is a very good MF photographer, she's done a couple really excellent inkjets for me.

Jim collum
9-Jul-2012, 12:05
ok.. what does this:


quote from the article:
"Ego

There is one area where the DT may win over the IJ print. That area is ego massaging ability. The DT is hand made, in the fact that it takes lots of human skill and time to make each DT print. The IJ print had lots of human skill and time put into the machine that cranks out a IJ, but that time and skill is not valued now and lost. So a DT print, because of the human investment, carries a more desirable label with it, even though it may be lacking some of the higher utility benefits that IJ prints offer.

We can see this same 'ego effect' in play when we ask the question of why anyone would spend $12,000 for a Leica camera and lens and not get any better pictures than they would get with a $2,000 camera? Or why anyone would pay $6000 for a stainless steel Rolex watch that does not keep as good time as my $200 Citizen Eco drive watch? The reason...ego massaging. (And I've owned almost a dozen Rolex's myself, until I didn't need to wear my self-worth on my wrist any longer and sold them all off.) So, the one area where the DT print may win over the IJ is that of ego massaging ability.
"

have anything to do *anything*? The whole article (it's not really a test) felt mean-spirited, condescending, and felt that the author had a chip on his (her?... not sure exactly from the name) shoulder.


(off topic)
i did enjoy your images from the 70's.. have you been able to continue the social-documentary work started in the thread? i'm also curious about the copyright notice you had on them. If 'slackercruster' isn't your legal name (a presumption on my part, i apologize if it is), is the copyright notice actually meaningful?

SpeedGraphicMan
9-Jul-2012, 12:23
Sorry, but I have been laughing my ass off at the ridiculousness of this test!

Here he is making a copy of a dt print and comparing that with the original print!

I think the results speak for themselves, a properly stored dt print will last a hell of a lot longer than inkjet.
The Mae West portrait is a perfect example of this! I have yet to see an inkjet print that didn't fade within 5 years!

I will find it hard to forget all of my archival knowledge and fully except that an inkjet is better?
How about having him compare it to an AzoChrome?

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2012, 12:40
Pretty strange remark there, Jim. ... Is it merely "ego" when one chooses an expensive
fiber silver paper for toning versus cheap quick RC paper, or when choosing to make Pt/Pd for example?? Sure, when DT was a standard commercial process plenty of mediocre prints
were made which were nonetheless quite expensive due to the labor involved. But given a
choice what to print to what, based upon personal rather than commercial standards, dye
transfer prints still can have a unique look. For one thing, inks are inherently rather opaque. With dye transfer one can customize the dyes to a certain extent to match the
intended character of the image. This is particularly noticable back when Technicolor chose
totally different dye sets matched to the specific studio color arrangements. Were THEY
doing it just for ego? Nothing in film to this day has equal vividness.

Jay DeFehr
9-Jul-2012, 13:32
Drew, I think Jim was quoting from the article.

Jim collum
9-Jul-2012, 13:47
Drew, I think Jim was quoting from the article.

yea.. sorry... i guess it wasn't clear unless you read the article

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2012, 13:47
My apologies in that case ... I didn't read the OP's full article since I had previously understood what he was up to, and though apparently sincere in his efforts, doesn't seem
to realize the scope of any valid general comparison. He's not set up to do DT anyway.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to go thru some of Ctein's personal collection and
compare exactly the same images printed on both DT and Inkjet - his version of DT is actually on pan matrix film - somewhat different from typical DT from chromes. About 60%
of the time the two media were equal. DT favors rich shadow values, but highlights are
much easier to control via PS & ink. Then there was that other 40% of the time when the
DT version would simply stand out. I've personally got a shot or two made on both chrome
and color neg, which I hope to print on Fuji Supergloss, Ciba, and DT - and I expect all three versions will come out wonderfully, but each with a slightly different personality.

mdm
9-Jul-2012, 13:54
Only someone who has always lived with the hyperconnected internet world would bother with a test like this. Who cares what a print looks like on the screen except maybe your forum buddies. As soon as you digitise a print you come up against a whole host of colour mamagement/gamut issues. To compare colour with any sort of meaning would require lots of test patches to be printed and read with some sort of spectrophotometer, to compare resolution would require printing some resolution targets. Then there are plenty of qualitative factors that cant be objectivly compared. Try using your brain next time, Mr breathless internet sensation maker. Inkjets are not better, neither are dye transfers, they just are.

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2012, 15:23
I'm afraid it's just getting to be that era ... the current standard seems to be how thi
look on the internet. Down the road a ways a gallery venue is currently showing
"historically relevant" images which they have actually downloaded from the web and turned into inkjets! ... I can't wait to get into the backcountry where things are still sane!

Lynn Jones
9-Jul-2012, 16:19
Since I have made dye transfers starting back in 1954 (and it is identical with Technicolor, just different formats and 15 or more defferent times in years). Ive been making ink jet prints since 1991 I can compare them. The very best ink jet print will be close to and fine dye transfer. DT is not terribly complicated, just very time consuming, and you had better be a darned good photo lab technician.

The big problem is that the materials for DT are not available. The dyes were toxic (dont drink them), the matrix films are not available, frankly, the b/w emulsions for separation negatives are not straight line and very difficult to use. Separation negative film has been gone for years as has been the very best film for this purpose, Super XX. However, DT prints are still the very best, I still have a couple of them that are from 45 to 60 or so years old.

Lynn

Drew Wiley
9-Jul-2012, 16:31
Lynn - superb separation negatives can be made using TMax films, probably better than
Super-XX. Masking can be done on modern sheet films, superior to old Pan Masking film.
Matrix film can be made on demand and has been several times in Europe. The dyes are
no more toxic than most other organic dyes (and that's why gloves are worn in the darkroom anyway). Mild acetic acid vapors are probably less noxious than RA4 fumes (it's
about the strength of ordinary stop bath). There are ways of avoiding tanning developers
and other nasties. But time consuming, yes, it's still that!

Jay DeFehr
9-Jul-2012, 16:46
Drew, you shouldn't worry too much. Soon, electronic displays and digital prints will surpass chemical prints in every measurable way, perhaps even in looking like chemical prints. The current rush to digital might seem premature, but the technology will soon catch up to the rush. There are working printers that can print graphene at the nano scale, in 3 axes, and electronic displays that can be rolled up like a scroll. Before long the only distinguishing feature of a chemical print will be the fact that it is a chemical print, at which point the film/digital debate will be purely theoretical.

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2012, 08:27
I'm hardly worried, Jay. At this point in history, I can make very high quality RA4 prints at
a mere fraction of the price of doing it digitally, without either the constant nerve-wracking maint and obsolescene issues of scanners and software etc, and without the
boredom of sitting at a desk to do it. There are already dye transfer practitioners exposing
directly with laser, and suffering from all the complications I just described, including the
necessity of duplicate equipment just for parts availability. To each his own. The father of
"modernist" photography (Atget) was working with an already "obsolete" process and out
of date gear at the heyday of his creativity. So I'm perfectly happy to age away with my
chemical darkroom and laugh at all those folks who need to reinvest every few years.

Jay DeFehr
10-Jul-2012, 09:20
Pioneers and early adopters pay a premium, but there are rewards, as well, and we're all indebted to them, in one way or another. I'm surprised someone with the patience for drudgery, and willingness to bear the costs of DT printing would scoff at the demands of digital printing, but maybe making separation negatives is fun for you. Atget, by all accounts, wasn't much of a technician, and I've not known anyone to suggest he chose his process for it's technical qualities so much as for its accessibility, and stuck with it because it was what he knew, and didn't care much about the technology. I'm not criticizing Atget, or claiming his choices were poor ones-- I just find it a little ironic that someone like yourself, who has clearly spent a lot of time thinking about process, and dedicated a lot of time and energy to becoming a skilled technician, would cite him.

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2012, 09:28
Folks go out deer hunting every autumn just to sniff the air and see all the colors, brag about their barely-used rifles, and tell tall tales around the campfire while downing strong alcohol. The kill (if any) is really a postscript to the hunt. By the time you add up all the
gear and gas for travel etc, it would have been cheaper and more reliable to get your meat
at safeway. But then you wouldn't have the memorable experience. That's how I feel about
both large format in the field and about the darkroom. I'm sick of computer work. ... and
someday when you starting asking, why isn't that jerk Drew Wiley posting anymore, you'll
know I'm retired and doing what I like instead.

Jay DeFehr
10-Jul-2012, 10:31
Drew,

I've never thought of you as a "jerk", and I would miss your posts here. I agree that working can be its own reward, when we enjoy our work. We should all be so lucky.

Robert Ley
10-Jul-2012, 14:11
I find it interesting that the OP has yet to post a rebuttal... I guess he just wanted to through his troll post up to see what kind of comments he would get. I have found the thread to be an interesting read with many thoughtful comments which is pretty typical for our forum.

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2012, 15:30
If one combines all the basic dye transfer media, including cinema, the amt of serious research already available is really impressive, with entire careers devoted to it, and hardly going to be deflected by a casual stunt like the one in question. The chief difference
is that Technicolor dyes needed to be engineered for extremely short exposure to very
high intensity projection light, whereas ordinary prints dyes (including Technicolor release
prints) needed to be superior for long-term low-intensity display. In a proper portfolio box,
dark stability is obviously the issue. But in each case, many different dyes and mordanting
methods could potential take the role, so nothing is cut and dried, nor is it in the inkjet realm, where multiple pigments and paper options are involved. My take on this - anyone
who goes around guaranteeing X-number of years of permanence with any such media is
relying significantly on the BS coefficient.

jnanian
10-Jul-2012, 19:59
Since I have made dye transfers starting back in 1954 (and it is identical with Technicolor, just different formats and 15 or more defferent times in years). Ive been making ink jet prints since 1991 I can compare them. The very best ink jet print will be close to and fine dye transfer. DT is not terribly complicated, just very time consuming, and you had better be a darned good photo lab technician.

The big problem is that the materials for DT are not available. The dyes were toxic (dont drink them), the matrix films are not available, frankly, the b/w emulsions for separation negatives are not straight line and very difficult to use. Separation negative film has been gone for years as has been the very best film for this purpose, Super XX. However, DT prints are still the very best, I still have a couple of them that are from 45 to 60 or so years old.

Lynn

hi lynn

my uncle seems to be from your era :)
like you, he is a superb lab technician and
made quite a few DT prints in his day ...
he has some on his wall at his home that he made
"in the day" ( that are now 50-60 years old ) they
look as if they were made yesterday. they are beautiful
and hand crafted and something to behold ...

i don't think a 1.50 inkjet print can come close ...