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Thread: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

  1. #1

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    Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    I fear this maybe a rather open question.

    I photograph on 5x4 B&W stock using the zone system to push or pull development or N as required to produce the best neg I can.
    I have access to a Flexitight X5 scanner that will scan as RAW files.

    Question 1. Will I get as good neutral prints with as wide tonal range on a Epson R3000 printer (using fine art paper) as I do with my fibre wet prints? Would I be best to use the Quadtone RIP with carbon ink set?

    Question2. Anyone have any links to workflow for processing film for scanning & digital printing or is it the same as if you use with an enlarger?

    Reason, It's becoming differcult to keep the darkroom due to kids comming on the scene.
    http://www.architecturalphotos.net

  2. #2

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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    In response to your title question:

    IMHO wet prints are still by far the nicest most of the time. I have produced inkjet prints I am very pleased with, especially for very large prints or where a lot of manipulation has been required to get good separation of tones, but in the majority of cases I still prefer wet prints by a fair margin.

    Neutrality is rarely a problem these days.

  3. #3

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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    Way better and archival til the end of time as long as you use the term "archival" in the description.

  4. #4
    multi format
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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    even a poorly processed wet print seems to last a long while.
    i have some that were on bad rc paper from the 1980s
    probably not fixed or washed "long enough" and they look like
    i just did them ... in prints seem to shift colors more ( like color prints do )

  5. #5
    photobymike's Avatar
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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    even a poorly processed wet print seems to last a long while.
    i have some that were on bad rc paper from the 1980s
    probably not fixed or washed "long enough" and they look like
    i just did them ... in prints seem to shift colors more ( like color prints do )
    I would respectfully disagree. I have some stained wet prints. Processed them too fast.... i like wet prints better than inkjet.... but inkjet is easier to make, cheaper also. The right printer, ink and paper combination and you will not see that shift. Mounted and framed you cannot tell the difference without a magnifying glass. I am waiting for epson to increase the resolution of there photo printers before i upgrade my 4800.

  6. #6
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    Judging by the print exchange I just participated in, either system is capable of high end results given proper skill and materials. I'm not going to call one better as there are so many ways to output things on so many materials, etc...

    Sorta like judging platinum prints against silver prints; different results with different material. F Holland Day quit photography when platinum became scarce rather than adapt. I think silver is more useful for me and I'd adapt if forced or compelled. But I like wet prints for B&W.

    There is a big skill step to change systems. For low volume, digital isn't cheaper, mostly due to the software and the feeding of the inkjet printer. If you try to exactly emulate one particular process with digital, there are going to be differences.

    If your parenting is taking time away from your schedule, for the first year anyways, your schedule is gonna be messed up with their shorter unique sleep patterns and you'll have to find sleep when you can. After that time period, you can put the kid/kids to bed in the evening and ignore TV/Internet and hit the darkroom.

  7. #7

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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    You can do things digitally that are nearly impossible with traditional methods, so many of my digital prints could not exist as analog prints - so in that sense they are better.

    I use a baryta paper in an Epson R3000 with the Harrington RIP and stock ink - they look really nice, and under glass or in a portfolio book it would be hard to tell. But side by side, the wet prints have more depth and grain looks better, blacks are nicer, the paper is glossy but the tones seem to be embedded deeper versus ink that sits on top of the paper.

    The best I've found is the silver prints made from a Durst Lambda like Bob Carnie will make you at Elevator Digital in Toronto. Not cheap but the best of both worlds.

    Otherwise it is best to just say that they are different and each can be very fine and respectable. I much rather have a clean, good inkjet than a silver print full of Spotone and excuses - I hate defects worse than the last bit of tonal density.

  8. #8

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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    You are going to get responses all over the map. It will come down to personal preference. Executed well, you can get very nice (and long lasting) results with either process. Personal taste for qualities of the final print, and preferences for which process is more enjoyable, will determine which way for you to go.

  9. #9

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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
    You are going to get responses all over the map. It will come down to personal preference.
    I suspected I would get a lot in oppersite directions Greg. I guess I was looking at it more from a scientific comparison if they is one, ie from the amount of tonal range / contrast each can produce.
    I fully appreciate viewing of prints is totally subjective.
    http://www.architecturalphotos.net

  10. #10

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    Re: Inkjet better than wet prints yet?

    I agree that inkjet prints and wet prints are two different mediums as far as comparison methods are concerned. I use an epson 1400 with the Harrison QTR and piezography inkset, wet scanned on an epson v700. This end result is more comparable to a platinum/pladium print on matte paper. I find the result beautiful in tonality. I believe if your goal is to produce archival quality inkjet prints with little metarism and no color cast you would be best served with a dedicated black & white printing system in combination with a third party carbon ink set and quad tone rip software. Scanner/printer/inkset included you are looking at an investment of around $800 and this will give you a couple hundred 8x10's

    You will find alot of information on this type of system through the following links:

    http://www.piezography.com/PiezoPress/

    http://www.quadtonerip.com/html/QTRoverview.html

    Good luck.

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