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Thread: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

  1. #41

    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    As someone irrationally enamored with the photographic image, I find the contact print anything but boring, in fact the most beautiful prints I have seen tend to be contact prints.
    We do, because of the digital medium, have much more control over what goes on in those pesky shoulders and toes than traditional materials. It was pretty much impossible to use the full density range of the materials without losing detail there, now we can. These kinds of judgments are technical though, even with those limitations master printers were still able to create objects of profound beauty, rising above those kinds of evaluations.
    The part continually left out of these discussions, is that most of us are now using glorified half tone printing processes, and given up continuous tone printing. There is still a difference. Most don't notice it because the source imagery doesn't reveal it. We're printing with dots, changing size and spacing, ingenious as it is.
    We've given up a great deal of resolution and tonality on the actual surface of our prints without a second thought. These qualities literally define the uniqueness of the medium of photography and even though people may not see the difference in a definable way, they very well probably contribute to those indefinable qualities the best print display- glow, 3D, etc..
    The only prints I've seen that actually approach the best B&W contact prints, silver otherwise, are the K6 or K7 mono inksets and special drivers to deal with them, particularly used at 2880. At this point the underlying mechanical structure of the device nearly disappears. Still, they have a bit of a unique look of their own, it's not a replacement.
    Again, few images will reveal this, to few people. To get a bit over dramatic about it, I literally see the survival, or not, of the medium depending on those who care and love it keeping the pressure on, because we are now a niche.
    Contact vs digital (inkjet) could be considered a less than productive conversation, as in my opinion they do not share similar concerns or goals. The hybrid people seem to be trying to make the best of both worlds. But you don't see Epson, Canon, or HP using them as beta testers.
    I have fully embraced inkjet printing, and my old 10x12 camera hasn't been used to make an analogue contact print, silver or platinum, in a long long time. But I hope the highest traditional standards, that took centuries to perfect, are carried forward. My suspicion is that we will have to keep the pressure on.
    Please excuse my rant, been on my mind...
    Tyler
    Last edited by Tyler Boley; 26-Feb-2008 at 11:48. Reason: grammer

  2. #42

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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Boley View Post

    Contact vs digital (inkjet) could be considered a less than productive conversation, as in my opinion they do not share similar concerns or goals. The hybrid people seem to be trying to make the best of both worlds. But you don't see Epson, Canon, or HP using them as beta testers.


    Tyler
    Not only do the printing companies not use hybrid printers as beta testers, they won't even recognize (so they don't have to offer support) that their printers are being used to make digital negatives on variouis types of OHP material.

    BTW, if you make a pt./pd. print with a digital negative made with any of the current generation of Epson, Canon and HP photo there should not be any type of printer artifact on the print, even when viewed with a loupe. The texture of the paper breaks any patterns that may exist so that there is no difference in terms of continuous tone between pt/pd prints made from digital negatives and those made from in-camera negatives.

    The look itself is not always the same because most hybrid printers put curves on their negatives so as to linearize tonal values, and this can look quite different from the typical long toe and long shoulder that is characteristic of the pt/pd process. Mark Nelson, of PDN, actually has several curves that can be used to capture the typical curve type of pt/pd.

    Sandy King

  3. #43
    jetcode
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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Quote Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
    most adjustments you can do in Photoshop you can also do in the darkroom, but people just don't do it.
    consistency and control were my biggest nemesis in the darkroom

    and with a magnifying glass you'll see that the contact print would have more resolution
    not true - paper grain in light sensitive materials limits resolution, nozzle diameters and raster algorithms control resolution for ink jets. I have a print made at 600dpi from 4x10 film that could pass as a contact print in terms of resolution, the detail is exceptional and it's 200 ISO Bergger, a grainy film.

  4. #44
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    Not only do the printing companies not use hybrid printers as beta testers, they won't even recognize (so they don't have to offer support) that their printers are being used to make digital negatives on variouis types of OHP material.
    Sandy King
    Sandy,

    Not sure that is a completely fair statement. I don't know about beta testing, but I can tell you that at least Canon and HP are very interested in the digital negative capability of their printers.

  5. #45

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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Quote Originally Posted by jetcode View Post
    not true - paper grain in light sensitive materials limits resolution, nozzle diameters and raster algorithms control resolution for ink jets. I have a print made at 600dpi from 4x10 film that could pass as a contact print in terms of resolution, the detail is exceptional and it's 200 ISO Bergger, a grainy film.
    if it's 600 dpi, wouldn't wet prints still have higher resolution? papers have 16-20 lp/mm and the grain can be controlled via developer. actually grain has little to do with resolution as the resolution can be finer than the largest grains.

  6. #46

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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Harris View Post
    David,

    I hope you read closely before making that decision. 1) If your negatives and transparencies have either a wide tonal range and/or a lot of shadow detail then the consumers scanners won't compare to the high-end scanners an the differences become more and more obvious as you print larger. Granted they are barely noticeable at 8x10 or 11x14, especially when the print is mounted under glass, but they are there. They do start to become more visible at 16x20. 2) If your intent is printing for exhibition why would you want to settle for less than the best possible solution?

    So you are saying to buy a cheap DSLR, put a decent piece of glass on it, and do equally clean 8X10's and 11X14's?

    Doesn't seem to make a lot of sense for someone to have a consumer scanner if "any" format can do 8X10's, and medium format will take care of 11X14 on up.

    Seems that if one is not willing to have an image scanned for say, $100 average, one should not even shoot LF film. 25-40 photos pro-scanned is what you can buy a pro flatbed for on the used market.

  7. #47

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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Harris View Post
    Sandy,

    Not sure that is a completely fair statement. I don't know about beta testing, but I can tell you that at least Canon and HP are very interested in the digital negative capability of their printers.
    That may be true of Canon and HP, but the great majority of people making digital negatives are using Epson printers, and to my knowledge Epson does not provide any help, support or information at all on this topic. Unless things have changed in the last several months!

    Sandy King

  8. #48

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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Boley View Post
    As someone irrationally enamored with the photographic image, I find the contact print anything but boring, in fact the most beautiful prints I have seen tend to be contact prints.
    We do, because of the digital medium, have much more control over what goes on in those pesky shoulders and toes than traditional materials. It was pretty much impossible to use the full density range of the materials without losing detail there, now we can. These kinds of judgments are technical though, even with those limitations master printers were still able to create objects of profound beauty, rising above those kinds of evaluations.
    The part continually left out of these discussions, is that most of us are now using glorified half tone printing processes, and given up continuous tone printing. There is still a difference. Most don't notice it because the source imagery doesn't reveal it. We're printing with dots, changing size and spacing, ingenious as it is.
    We've given up a great deal of resolution and tonality on the actual surface of our prints without a second thought. These qualities literally define the uniqueness of the medium of photography and even though people may not see the difference in a definable way, they very well probably contribute to those indefinable qualities the best print display- glow, 3D, etc..
    The only prints I've seen that actually approach the best B&W contact prints, silver otherwise, are the K6 or K7 mono inksets and special drivers to deal with them, particularly used at 2880. At this point the underlying mechanical structure of the device nearly disappears. Still, they have a bit of a unique look of their own, it's not a replacement.
    Again, few images will reveal this, to few people. To get a bit over dramatic about it, I literally see the survival, or not, of the medium depending on those who care and love it keeping the pressure on, because we are now a niche.
    Contact vs digital (inkjet) could be considered a less than productive conversation, as in my opinion they do not share similar concerns or goals. The hybrid people seem to be trying to make the best of both worlds. But you don't see Epson, Canon, or HP using them as beta testers.
    I have fully embraced inkjet printing, and my old 10x12 camera hasn't been used to make an analogue contact print, silver or platinum, in a long long time. But I hope the highest traditional standards, that took centuries to perfect, are carried forward. My suspicion is that we will have to keep the pressure on.
    Please excuse my rant, been on my mind...
    Tyler
    Here is one of my favorite photographers, if not, most favorite one's images that I have seen from any LF person's gallery. They are all contact prints. Not one uses a scanner except to scan in the contact print (I think she needs a better scanner or to take photos of the prints instead as the one she doesn't seem to know how to scan very well at all...I guess she is too busy with the manual flow and zero interest in the digital flow):

    http://flickr.com/photos/laurensimonutti/

    I wish I knew what she does with her work on these to make them into the prints they eventually become. I know she uses different, and very potent chemicals to gain that coloration into the majority of her work, but she has had to have been at this for a long long time to be able to do things like this as I have seen nothing like it.

    Personally, I love this person's work no different than I love some few photographers that use a lot of movements to achieve spooky looking portions of the image in focus with other parts of the image blurred or partially in focus. Some of these shots amaze me because they aren't doing a simple blurring of one part, two parts, etc. of the shot, but blurring it in many parts, while keeping the sharpness only some other parts. Yeah..anyhoo...it's extremely creative to my eyes.

    Obviously the delicious landscape and other more traditional compositions are so effortless and beautiful as well. I just personally love this women's work above the most (don't even look at the context, only how she is able to make the contact print), then creative people that show us why and what a view camera can do that no photoshopping could do for any other type of camera, and then of course the regular shots we are used to seeing of landscape, architecture, objects, etc.

    Cheers!

  9. #49
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Sandy, you are probably correct about Epson. I can further affirm my earlier comment about Canon and HP. I just spent an hour on the phone with HP's senior managers and a good part of our conversation related to their planned support for third party media.

  10. #50

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    Re: Contact vs. Digital print AND scanners for large format...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Harris View Post
    Sandy, you are probably correct about Epson. I can further affirm my earlier comment about Canon and HP. I just spent an hour on the phone with HP's senior managers and a good part of our conversation related to their planned support for third party media.
    I am curious to know how HP and Canon plan to support users who use their printers for making digital negatives.

    Don Bryant

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