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Thread: Black and White Printing

  1. #41
    Peter J. De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    This thread reminds me about the Fred Picker demo prints that I bought before the internet was available to me. I bought into the notes and waited patiently for each issue. At the time I thought I was a pretty good printer and I was being told that if I bought these wonderful prints and put them in my darkroom , the beauty of them would inspire me to become a better printer overnight.
    So I bought them, waited with great enjoyment in knowing I was going to see the best prints in the world.
    Well they arrived, I took one look at the chalky whites and dead blacks and with a lesson learned threw them into bin 9 where they belonged.
    I have had the luck to be able to see most processes including piezo , digital fibre, cannon black whites, enlarger black whites, platinum, azo, gum,carbon, tricolourcarbon,................
    which one is better, depends on the viewer and their tastes.
    I agree with Bob, both about Picker's sample prints and subjectivism concerning which printing method is best. I've printed with both Piezography (the current version), and QTR with K3 and K4 (MIS) inks. Each of these processes when fine-tuned can produce beautiful prints. There are differences, sure, but none clearly blows the other out of the water.
    "No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit." - Helen Keller
    www.peterdesmidt.com/blog

  2. #42

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny Eiger View Post
    It certainly does depend what one is looking for, doesn't it. That said, there is an issue with smoothness throughout the entire tonal range. For folks that print contrasty, this is often not what they are looking for. They are looking for the impact of the image. Some folks even shoot with infrared! It's not my interest, but they love it. OTOH, if you want a look that rivals a platinum print, which extends each tone, with smooth transition to smooth transition all the way from top to bottom - then the only way you can accomplish it is with a black and white inkset with sufficient number of channels (oh yeah, and superb negs, great scans, lots of knowledge and some experience). That's a matter of physics, and not opinion.

    Its the criteria of a "great print" that is the assumption, not the technology. Most historical reference to great prints, with some exceptions, refer to the long tonal range prints vs the short...

    Lenny
    Lenny - I certainly agree with the part about superb negatives, scans, etc. But I disagree with the notion that you need Cone inks (or any other dedicated monochrome inks) to make the kind of prints you describe. That used to be the case, which was why I used MIS inks for so many years. But it is no longer the case and hasn't been since K3 inks came along and an inexpensive but excellent RIP (QTR) came to market.

    I don't ask this question sarcastically or facetiously but rather because I'd like to know: how much time have you actually spent using K3 inks and QTR in a good Epson printer with the kinds of negatives, scans, etc. you describe or how many such prints made by an excellent printer (person, not machine) have you seen?
    Last edited by Brian Ellis; 13-Aug-2009 at 11:01.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  3. #43
    Michael E. Gordon
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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    Just curious - in what way does the K7 ink set "simply blow out of the water any prints made using ABW or any other combination of colored inks?"
    Brian: trying to describe how online is asking the impossible. And of course, my statement is just my opinion. Perhaps the most succinct way for me to state how is smoothness and purity of tone and a richness and depth that I haven't seen in any of my previous efforts. Watch the resolution demo on the Piezography homepage - that should tell you a little.

    I'd agree that if one is not making a side-by-side comparison, then most of the current b/w printing methods using color inks (ABW, QTR, etc.) look rather good. Where one really sees the difference is when a Piezography print is viewed next to the same image printed with ABW, for example. Here is where the differences are rather glaring, at least to my eyes.

  4. #44

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    Lenny - I certainly agree with the part about superb negatives, scans, etc. But I disagree with the notion that you need Cone inks (or any other dedicated monochrome inks) to make the kind of prints you describe. That used to be the case, which was why I used MIS inks for so many years. But it is no longer the case and hasn't been since K3 inks came along and an inexpensive but excellent RIP (QTR) came to market.

    I don't ask this question sarcastically or facetiously but rather because I'd like to know: how much time have you actually spent using K3 inks in a good Epson printer with the kinds of negatives, scans, etc. you describe or how many such prints made by an excellent printer (person, not machine) have you seen?
    I have two printers, one is color, the other b&w. They are both profiled to the hilt. The b&w on the color machine is dead neutral. I have made numerous prints using it. It's a 1-color d'Vinci system, superior to what the Epson K3 inks can do.

    Truthfully, there are occasions when a really nice print can be made in this way. However, if you want to create a print with a lot of atmosphere, you can see that the transitions between the tones just aren't there. One wouldn't want to do a photo with mist in it, for example.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  5. #45

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gordon View Post
    Brian: trying to describe how online is asking the impossible. And of course, my statement is just my opinion. Perhaps the most succinct way for me to state how is smoothness and purity of tone and a richness and depth that I haven't seen in any of my previous efforts. Watch the resolution demo on the Piezography homepage - that should tell you a little.

    I'd agree that if one is not making a side-by-side comparison, then most of the current b/w printing methods using color inks (ABW, QTR, etc.) look rather good. Where one really sees the difference is when a Piezography print is viewed next to the same image printed with ABW, for example. Here is where the differences are rather glaring, at least to my eyes.
    Thanks for your response. My quarrel with your ealier post wasn't with your opinion that Cone inks produce better prints than other inks/RIPs. You're entitled to your opinion. It was with the "blows out of the water" (and "discerning printers") stuff. I think that kind of exaggerated (IMHO) statement, especially without any explanation of the basis for the statement, does a disservice to people considering printing b&w digitally because it leads them to think they can't make excellent b&w prints unless they buy the Cone system, which I don't believe is the case.

    I'm not a fan of Advanced B&W as you can tell from my previous message. On the basis of the few times I've used it I think it produces good results but not the best possible results. So I haven't made the comparisons you mention between it and Cone inks. I have, however, seen a lot of prints made with Cone inks as I mentioned in my earlier message. They were very fine prints but not IMHO better than what I can do with QTR and K3 inks, certainly not on an order of "blows everything out of the water" magnitude.

    I won't pursue this further, I appreciate your response and I don't want to turn this into the ink version of a film/digital tirade. I'll just paraphrase what Tyler Boley said in a previous message, that regardless of the particular system one chooses to use, this is a great time to be a serious b&w printer with the many wonderful tools available to us.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #46
    Resident Heretic
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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    ...that this is a great time to be a serious b&w printer with the many wonderful tools available to us.
    Ain't that the truth!

    Bruce Watson

  7. #47

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    This thread reminds me about the Fred Picker demo prints that I bought before the internet was available to me. I bought into the notes and waited patiently for each issue. At the time I thought I was a pretty good printer and I was being told that if I bought these wonderful prints and put them in my darkroom , the beauty of them would inspire me to become a better printer overnight.
    So I bought them, waited with great enjoyment in knowing I was going to see the best prints in the world.
    Well they arrived, I took one look at the chalky whites and dead blacks and with a lesson learned threw them into bin 9 where they belonged.
    I have had the luck to be able to see most processes including piezo , digital fibre, cannon black whites, enlarger black whites, platinum, azo, gum,carbon, tricolourcarbon,................
    which one is better, depends on the viewer and their tastes.
    Funny but I did the exact same thing, bought all four of Picker's prints, opened up the package, and thought there was some mistake, that he had sent me prints made by his sister maybe. I learned a lot from Fred Picker's book and videos and I don't mean to claim he was a charlatan or anything like that. But those prints that he sold for $25 each I think it was couldn't have been examples of his best work.

    I don't think I knew what a really great b&w print could look like until I attended my first John Sexton workshop. Obviously there's much more to John's prints than just the technical aspects but when he put his prints up on the wall for discussion in that first workshop (I later attended three more) I thought I'd die happy if I could make just one print that good.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #48

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    I don't think I knew what a really great b&w print could look like until I attended my first John Sexton workshop. Obviously there's much more to John's prints than just the technical aspects but when he put his prints up on the wall for discussion in that first workshop (I later attended three more) I thought I'd die happy if I could make just one print that good.
    Brian,

    This is quite telling. If one is after the look of a Sexton print, then color inks and glossier paper is in order.

    It wouldn't be my favorite. But that's not a value judgement, he's a nice guy, it's just up to everyone's taste......

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  9. #49

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    Re: Black and White Printing

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Lockrey View Post
    A while back I purchased a few prints from that I would say is among the most "discernable B&W photographer/printers" here on this forum thinking I was finally going to get the chance to see a print made with the heralded Cone inkset. We don't get to see what you guys in the big cities see in the "Tundra" that often. He was however quick to tell me that they weren't made with the Cone inks after all and that he would be glad to refund my money if I thought that they were. He went on to explain that he had to take back several prints due to fading issues. Apparently Cone has since improved his formula and my "discernable" photographer friend is going to try them again. If this is the formula that you all have been using for "years", I'd be wondering.
    Cone had a number of issues in years past with various claims for his inks that didn't pan out. That's one reason why I chose MIS over Cone back when I decided to go with a dedicated monochrome ink set. In fairness though, I think those issues are in the past and if they exist with the present inks I haven't heard about it.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  10. #50

    Re: Black and White Printing

    I have a lot to say about this thread, but so far am content to let you all hash it out...
    Regarding Cone ink issues, those original Sundance inks are long long in the past, and Jon spent much of his life in court with the manufacturer over issues related to them.
    I even testified.

    Piezotones, which were the next generation and still wonderful viable inks, and then the next generation, the K6&7 sets, have nothing to do with the Sundance inks and at Aardenburg Imaging & Archives initial results indicate both sets will have better B&W longevity than any other B&W ink process to date.
    It's unfortunate that this list alone was the one where attempts to raise awareness and support for Aardenburg Imaging & Archives generated no interest whatsoever.

    Despite attempting to take care of his customers at his own expense at the risk of legal exposure back then, then the heavy impact of a long expensive lawsuit, then the development of two generations of top quality inks that move the craft of B&W photography forward more than any others, the Sundance inks debacle continues to be brought up.
    Other clarifications- things have evolved so much in recent years that these constant referrals to clunky old printers, difficult RIPS, fussy processes, etc. are simply misleading. These are plug and play systems, easy to set up and use, with no performance issues. In fact the inks are less problematic the the OEM Epson inks.

    Can we put these kinds of outdated and unfair references to rest?

    By the way, I've found people think I'm somehow connected to Cone. Absolutely not the case. I do find his products excel and fulfill my needs where others fall short. I also am a strong supporter of his efforts, no one else developing products for us are at his level of innovation, an artist, photographer and great printer himself, with a proven record of knowing the difference between a great print and an amazing print.
    Nobody, no one. Yeah, I'll stand up for that. You bet. Some other development comes along that puts everything else to shame, I'll stand up for that too.
    Our tools are being developed by board rooms now, instead of dedicated developers with a history and passion for the art, the likes of Edwin Land etc.
    Thanks,
    Tyler

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