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Thread: machines for printing B&W

  1. #1
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    machines for printing B&W

    There are digital printers - machines - that can be used to make prints using conventional B&W photopaper. The LightJet 5000 printer line can do this. There must be competitors to the Lightjet line - who else builds machines for the exposure and processing of conventional photopaper? Of course they are all optimized for color, but do any of these machines do better at B&W than the other machines?

    Do any of the machines have the capabilities required to process fiber based B&W photopaper in Dektol? Fiber paper takes lots more washing and is more difficult to dry, which is why I'm asking.

    Bruce Watson

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    machines for printing B&W

    the Lightjet is just an imager more or less. it burns the file (scan or digital image or graphic) onto whatever photo material is fed into it. the image is restricted to a minimum size--I'm no expert on this, we use a few labs where I work who have these machines-- it burns the image onto the paper in an x-y type axis I believe. It's about a 4x4 ft. area, which accounts for the pricing of these prints along the sq. foot range-simply because smaller prints are ganged up to a sheet size & cut out.

    But then that's just getting the paper exposed more or less. From there, the lab would have a roller transport processor of some type to actually process the material--which could be pretty much anything on a plastic substrate sold in rolls...the labs we use have pretty much used Fuji Crystal Archive or Kodak Endura paper, although I have seen Ilford MG IV Deluxe prints made on a Lightjet that looked excellent--if you ever have a chance to see the traveling version of the National Archives "Pictures of the Century" exhibit--the prints were done like this.

    Durst makes a printer called a Lambda--that images along a slit with the paper moving through the area. Same deal with it though as well--from what the techs have told me (again, no direct experience on my part other than being a customer)--is that the Lightjet will hold higher resolution than a Lambda printer as far as things like type in graphics go--understand that a common use for this stuff is in tradeshow and exhibit graphics & signage (we use it for both murals & signage).

    Theoretically I guess you could feed fiber mural paper through one of these beasts--although I don't really know how the machines feed the paper--could be fiber would get jammed up. Roller transport processors are all pretty much made for RC based papers or polyester based materials--I can't recall ever seeing a processor outside maybe an Ektamatic that would handle fiber papers. They may exist, but almost everything on the market & in use now is geared around plastic materials. At any rate, a Lightjet costs almost a half-million dollars, so you're probably stuck with whatever your lab will offer....

    You could probably dig around photofinishing sites--I know Noritsu is making a machine similar to a Frontier printer now (which has a max size of like 8x10 or something small like that. the frontier uses a CRT for the image, I think the Noritsu is supposed to be closer to a mini-Lightjet), and Kreonite, Eseco and some other manufacturers are coming out with similar machines.

    hope this helps.

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