Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

  1. #1

    Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    Hello everyone. First let me apologize if any of my questions have already been answered. I have been reading up on digital negative production for several days now and I've read so much that it's all getting cluttered in my mind. I've decided that PDN is probably going to be the system that works best for me but I still have some questions that aren't entirely clear to me. I'm hoping that some PDN users can answer these questions.

    First as a primer on the equipment I have, I will be using scanned 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 in camera negatives as well as 6x9 paper negatives and RAW files from a DSLR for my image files. Using Photoshop CS4 on a MAC running OSX. Printer is an Epson 4800 with Ultrachrome K3 inks (currently set up with PK but I have MK on standby if I need to swap it out). Right now I just have an economy Canon all in one scanner but if this system works I'll be picking up an Epson V700 or V750 (the only reason I'm waiting on this is because I want to know that it'll get good use and to know that I need confirmation that PDN will work for me). I will be printing on InkPress Transparency Film and I would also like to print on Vellum for paper negatives.

    I know my way around CS4 fairly well but I am a darkroom whore so I really am looking for the process that lets me produce the highest quality negative possible (I am obsessed with film and I am eager to see if this system can rival a print made from one of my 8x10 in camera negatives) with the least amount of fuss in front of the computer screen. QTR turned me off with all of the script and parameter writing and all of that. I understand that I will need to test to accurately nail my prints but I am not interested in taking up a career in computer processing if you catch my drift.

    I am primarily interested in printing on Silver Gel paper (I use Ilford Warmtone Glossy and Semi-Matte FB) and Platinum and Palladium. Less frequently Albuman and Cyanotype. Silver is my primary concern because my darkroom is set up for it and I print the other processes much less frequently. So that is the root of my first and most critical question. I understand that PDN works well with Platinum and Palladium and other processes but can someone confirm that it will work for producing Silver-gel contact prints (this is something that I've had a hard time confirming)? How difficult is it to extrapolate additional curves for other process (I understand the calculator does something like this I think)? Can PDN be used to produce paper negatives or does it only work for transparency film? Realistically, how much time should it take to test and get the information I need to start printing negatives? Likewise how much time is spent in Photoshop between scanning the negative or opening the RAW image file and printing the final negative (assuming the minimal amount of creative editing - I'm talking baseline here)?

    To break things down as clearly as possible here is a numerical review of the questions:

    1. Does PDN work for producing Silver prints using commercial multigrade paper such as Ilford Warmtone Glossy and Semi-Matte fiber papers?
    2. What amount of time should I expect to spend with the testing involved and can you please offer a brief explanation of the testing steps?
    3. How difficult is it to extrapolate or develop additional curves? Does the Calculator II software do this for you?
    4. Can PDN be used to produce paper negatives? Specifically on Vellum? (I use a 68lb semi-transparent artist vellum)
    5. Assuming no creative editing takes place, what is the average time it takes to go from a freshly scanned negative to a printed digital negative? (Imagine that you were just trying to enlarge a 4x5 neg to 8x10 without adjusting anything. I'm just trying to get a general idea of the workflow.)


    Thank you all for your help! I very much appreciate it!
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Seattle, Washington
    Posts
    2,920

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    I'll be watching this thread, with interest. As best I understand, a digital negative still can't match an in-camera negative for printing on silver papers. I'd love to learn that's no longer the case.

  3. #3

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    Yea, I've read a lot on this forum about it but nothing that seems very current. I'm hoping to get some up to date information and some promising information regarding Silver which as I understand it was the one thing that PDN and the other digital neg processes weren't exceptional at. Fingers crossed.
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  4. #4
    Richard M. Coda
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    955

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    In MY experience you will not be happy with the inkjet negative/silver combo. The paper picks up every little detail, especially those nasty inkjet dither patterns.

    If you want to print on silver paper, the best way is to have a new silver negative made for you. There are several places... Albumen Works and Reflective Image Studios

    It is also MY experience that you will need a drum scan if you wish to enlarge a great deal. I have also made 4x5 negs from a DSLR image that print great at 8x10 and "better than 35mm" at 11x14.

    Others will have their own opinions, but this is mine.
    Photographs by Richard M. Coda
    my blog
    Primordial: 2010 - Photographs of the Arizona Monsoon
    "Speak softly and carry an 8x10"
    "I shoot a HYBRID - Arca/Canham 11x14"

  5. #5

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    Thanks for the information Richard. I saw that you posted such in another thread from a while back and I was hoping that such opinions had changed by now. Thats unfortunate. I am very interested in digital negatives but I just don't print Platinum or the other processes often enough. My focus is on silver simply because thats what Im set up for and those are the resources I have. I'll be experimenting further with digital paper negatives in hopes of better results. The fibers of the paper appear to eliminate most signs of anything digital. I have another thread on the topic so I wont go off on a tangent here. Anyway, thanks Richard.

    P.S. I'm in downtown Phoenix, hope you got a chance to photograph that storm that just passed through if it reached you in Scottsdale. Take care.
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Flint, MI
    Posts
    442

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    why not ask the developer of PDN, Mark Nelson? He prints in platinum and can certainly steer you towards users. Sandy King, here on LF, is quoted on his website.

    He's on Facebook regularly and his email: ender100@aol.com

  7. #7

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Baird View Post
    why not ask the developer of PDN, Mark Nelson? He prints in platinum and can certainly steer you towards users. Sandy King, here on LF, is quoted on his website.

    He's on Facebook regularly and his email: ender100@aol.com
    I've just sent him an email. Thanks for his contact information. I'll report back when he responds. In the meantime, anyone else have any experiences to share regarding using PDN for silver-gel printing?
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,959

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    but I still have some questions that aren't entirely clear to me. I'm hoping that some PDN users can answer these questions.
    You may wish to post your message on Hybridphoto.com or e-mail Mark directly with general questions.

    Using Photoshop CS4 on a MAC running OSX.
    Some Mac users have reported problems printing with CS4 and OSX or Snow Leapord.
    I f possible you may wish to print with CS3. I'm not a Mac user so I can't speak to the issues directly but there are some which can be circumvented. Again Mark can address this question since he is Mac centric.

    Printer is an Epson 4800 with Ultrachrome K3 inks (currently set up with PK but I have MK on standby if I need to swap it out).
    Black ink isn't normally used with the PDN system but the type of black ink loaded will affect the ammount of ink that can be deposited on the transparency substrate.

    Right now I just have an economy Canon all in one scanner but if this system works I'll be picking up an Epson V700 or V750 (the only reason I'm waiting on this is because I want to know that it'll get good use and to know that I need confirmation that PDN will work for me). I will be printing on InkPress Transparency Film and I would also like to print on Vellum for paper negatives.
    For the most part these are secondary issues not directly germane to producing ink jet negatives.

    I know my way around CS4 fairly well but I am a darkroom whore so I really am looking for the process that lets me produce the highest quality negative possible (I am obsessed with film and I am eager to see if this system can rival a print made from one of my 8x10 in camera negatives) with the least amount of fuss in front of the computer screen. QTR turned me off with all of the script and parameter writing and all of that. I understand that I will need to test to accurately nail my prints but I am not interested in taking up a career in computer processing if you catch my drift.

    I am primarily interested in printing on Silver Gel paper (I use Ilford Warmtone Glossy and Semi-Matte FB) and Platinum and Palladium. Less frequently Albuman and Cyanotype. Silver is my primary concern because my darkroom is set up for it and I print the other processes much less frequently. So that is the root of my first and most critical question. I understand that PDN works well with Platinum and Palladium and other processes but can someone confirm that it will work for producing Silver-gel contact prints (this is something that I've had a hard time confirming)? How difficult is it to extrapolate additional curves for other process (I understand the calculator does something like this I think)? Can PDN be used to produce paper negatives or does it only work for transparency film? Realistically, how much time should it take to test and get the information I need to start printing negatives? Likewise how much time is spent in Photoshop between scanning the negative or opening the RAW image file and printing the final negative (assuming the minimal amount of creative editing - I'm talking baseline here)?
    Plan on using all of your darkroom skills to produce top notch work regardless of the process. Digital negatives require precision and attention to detail. They are either right or wrong. Alt processes require a different knowledge base and skill set apart from silver gelatin.

    To break things down as clearly as possible here is a numerical review of the questions

    [*]Does PDN work for producing Silver prints using commercial multigrade paper such as Ilford Warmtone Glossy and Semi-Matte fiber papers?
    Yes.

    [*]What amount of time should I expect to spend with the testing involved and can you please offer a brief explanation of the testing steps?
    That's a difficult question to answer. It's very dependent upon your skills and knowledge in the digital and traditional darkroom and the tools and materials you are using. Assuming you are very well versed and you are training yourself without a workshop I'll estimated 2 to 3 weeks of concentrated effort.

    [*]How difficult is it to extrapolate or develop additional curves? Does the Calculator II software do this for you?
    One doesn't extrapolate curves. Again the time required to build a new curve depends. If you have your lucky horse shoe hanging above your darkroom door, maybe not to long.

    [*]Can PDN be used to produce paper negatives?
    Yes. I often teach digital negative production using plain glossy ink jet paper and silver gelatin paper.

    Specifically on Vellum? (I use a 68lb semi-transparent artist vellum)
    Probably though vellum is usually used as the final print paper. Vellum used for UV processes maybe impossible since the UV log density value of vellum is quite high.

    [*]Assuming no creative editing takes place, what is the average time it takes to go from a freshly scanned negative to a printed digital negative? (Imagine that you were just trying to enlarge a 4x5 neg to 8x10 without adjusting anything. I'm just trying to get a general idea of the workflow.)
    It only takes minutes to do the task you suggest but in reality the time to take a negative from scanned image to printable digital negative will be several hours at least.

    I would suggest that you contact Josephine Secabo regarding your question relating to the quality and character of silver gelatin prints made from PDN negatives. She uses the system and has worked with Mark Nelson closely to gain proficiency with the PDN digital negative work flow.

    http://www.josephinesacabo.com/

    Good luck,

    Don Bryant

  9. #9

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    Don,

    Thanks so much for the thorough reply! Very much appreciated!
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

  10. #10

    Re: Producing Digital Negatives with PDN - Questions Before I Buy

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragomeni View Post
    Don,

    Thanks so much for the thorough reply! Very much appreciated!
    Also, I've just emailed Josephine so hopefully she'll be able to help me answer some questions as well.

    Thanks again.
    Francesco Fragomeni
    www.FrancescoFragomeni.com

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 13-Jan-2009, 11:11
  2. Media for digital negatives on HP z3100ps
    By htolino in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 18-Apr-2008, 05:47
  3. Ultimate digital chip for LF
    By Bob McCarthy in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 38
    Last Post: 3-Aug-2006, 16:01
  4. Digital enlargement of 4x5 negatives
    By James Phillips in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 20-Sep-2003, 17:49
  5. Questions regarding George DeWolfe in View Camera mag
    By Jim Chinn in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 56
    Last Post: 10-Jan-2002, 07:41

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •