View Full Version : New article: overview of color digital printing

QT Luong
17-Jul-2005, 02:10
A new article:
An overview of large format color digital printing (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/digital-printing.html) has been posted. Please feel free to leave any corrections or other constructive comments in
this thread.

PS: if the corrections are typos and spelling, after amending the article, I will remove your note from the thread, but this doesn't mean I didn't appreciate !

mark blackman
17-Jul-2005, 02:45
Firstly, thanks for pulling this together! a couple of points:

1. Durst Lambda printers supports two native resolutions, 200 dpi and 400 dpi.
2. I've seen the term 'Giclee ' used to refer to *any* ink jet print, not just those made on an Iris printer.

no mention of RIP?

Paul Coppin
17-Jul-2005, 04:54
Good beginning QT -some minor nits - number of typos (look for missing "t"s...:) Ok, how come no mention of Canon's i9900? This printer line is beginning to challenge Epson's lock of the "prosumer" printer. The issue of archivability remains debatable. Rated archival life for Canon ink prints sits at 40 years, vis-a-vis Epson's 70 or so years, both of which exceed colour printing papers in most applications. Paper choice remains a huge component of archivability, still. I would question Chris Jordan's use of newsprint as an adsorbant between prints. Newsprint is highly sulphited - using it as an adsorbant basically throws away your archivability, particularly if the storage air is at all humid. About the only material you can use for this is 100% rag content art papers. There may be some commercial blanketing material expressly for the purpose, however, the print trade is less concerned about archival contamination than fine artists are.

Interleaving does not enhance outgassing, it inhibits it. About the only thing that will accelerate outgassing is dry air flow. The use of interleaves is primarily to prevent print-through and facilitate drying in a small-space environment, and to enhance print flatness. If you're going to do it, the interleaf should be open texture, acid free, with good airflow, otherwise you're more likely to damage the print rather then enhance it. In the commercial printing business, "interleaving" is done with a very fine powder that is sprayed in the press on the printed surface to absorb excess ink and "float" the paper above the next sheet. As I mentioned in another thread, inkjet printing is a printing process, as opposed to a photographic process, and needs to be thought of in that light. Photogs need to forget "photography" once they hit the "print" button.

Brian Ellis
17-Jul-2005, 05:26
Thanks for an interesting and informative article. Continuing with the nits, IIRC the native resolution of the Epson desk top printers that use Ultrachrome inks (e.g. the 2200/4000), and I believe the new 2400/4800 line as well, is 720, not 360. This isn't a nit since it's a matter of opinion but FWIW in the opening paragraph I think you greatly underestimate the extent of b&w work that's being printed digitally. All that darkroom equipment for sale on ebay for next to nothing or that people are trying to give away wasn't being used only for color printing. Nor did Epson introduce the 2400 et al line of printers with its three black inks and advanced b&w mode for a small market. This isn't to say that printing b&w digitally is better so no need to start up that useless argument, just that there's a whole lot of it being done by fine art printers.

Keith Laban
17-Jul-2005, 06:22
QT, thanks for putting this together and sharing.

I'd be the first to admit that Ultrachromes on matte art papers are very different to the "silver based" processes; they have a quality of their own which is quite unlike anything other than Iris prints. Having worked as a painter and illustrator for many years I'm used to seeing my work on the paper surface rather than in or even behind it, but for many photographers this quality is quite alien to their experience and takes some getting used to. I'd take issue with the statement that the matte art papers are not as nice to the touch as photographic papers, in fact I find these papers have a wonderful tactile quality, again quite unlike anything other than the art papers which many are based on. However, I have to agree that they are indeed more easily damaged and one should resist the temptation to take advantage of the tactile qualities!

Thanks again.

Michael Gordon
17-Jul-2005, 12:09
Clarifications: you regard bronzing and gloss differential as being one in the same; they are not. You describe each condition well, but "a problem known as "bronzing", or "gloss differential" should read "problems known as bronzing and gloss differential". I would also not describe outgassing as a "potential" problem. If mitigation procedures exist, that's far from a "potential problem", and something that Epson did not initially acknowledge and still has not dealt with. It's a serious shortcoming of the Ultrachrome process, IMO, and requires coating to deal with it most effectively.

17-Jul-2005, 13:59
Thanks. As a former Dye Transfer printer (with a fridge full of Ektaflex and Ciba/Ilfochrome materials) I hereby declare that I'll never again make another color print in the darkroom.

Andreas Hagenbach
18-Jul-2005, 09:18
Thanks for the overview. As far as I know Durst Lamda printers work on 300dpi and Lightjets are on 400dpi. Latter is equipped with a bigger gamut - but again the ones who operate the machines make the difference.

tim atherton
18-Jul-2005, 09:38
"Thanks for the overview. As far as I know Durst Lamda printers work on 300dpi and Lightjets are on 400dpi"

I believe the Lambda offer 200dpi or 400pdi? (of course, most labs charge more for the latter....)

The Lightjets (depending on model I think) offer 200dpi, 305dpi or 405dpi (again, same as above - the more dpi the slower the printign usually and higher the cost) - standard in most shops seems to be 305dpi

In comparisons I can see a real difference between the Lightjet "standard" 305dpi and the "standard" Lambda 200dpi

bob carnie
18-Jul-2005, 10:14
I own a Lambda 76 and we work at 200dpi and 400dpi, basically 24inches perminute vs 12inches per minute.

We print on Agfa Classic fibre base, Ilford Cibachrome, Fuji Crystal Archive, Kodak Endura and Metal.

We will test 1so 100 film to produce enlarged alternative negatives up to 30x40 inches

We are now testing various papers (fibre) to see how they perform . Currently our largest print to date was a 30x80inch cibachrome.

Our preferred working method is for Photographers come to Toronto and work on shows with us rather than long distance.

18-Jul-2005, 11:25
Interesting article. Needs some editing though. I can't comment on the technical side.

Hey bob! SInce you are not going to be using the stuff in your fridge how about shipping it to me. I am a teacher, would call it a donation to my classroom (it would be since this is where the darkroom is) and you could take some money off your taxes. What do ya say?

David Luttmann
18-Jul-2005, 12:39

You're almost correct about the Lightjet outputs. Standard use though is 305dpi. The other res settings are 200 and 406. A lot of people blather on about using 400 or higher in the case of inkjet. I've found that with the unaided eye, anything more than about 360 dpi is wasted. For inkjet, tonality may seem to improve with using the native (in Epson's case) 720dpi.....the problem is that the paper, regardless of type, is not smooth enough to actually record that amount of detail. Interpolating a 360dpi image to 720dpi will give you the same effect on the output side. It's not added detail, it just the effect of the driver and the laydown of the ink.

The output gamut of the Canon 9900 is superior to the Epson series....at least with the old ultrachrome. I haven't used the new 7800 series yet. Proofs that I've done with my 9900 have not exhibited any fading using Canon ink. Mounted, behind glass, with Ilford RC Pearl has been rated at about 34 years. Depending on your needs, this may proove to be sufficient. I tend to lean towards the pigent inks. The slight difference in gamut is still better than cibachromes I used to do and the inkjets last longer.

As to the article, I can't add anything that's already been said.

tim atherton
18-Jul-2005, 12:53
"You're almost correct about the Lightjet outputs. Standard use though is 305dpi. The other res settings are 200 and 406. "

apart from being 1dpi out... that was the point I was making. "Standard" onthe lighjets is 305dpi (and I think 300 on the Chromira?) but "standard" tends to be 200dpi on the Lambda - which to my eye gives a noticable difference even on small prints

David Luttmann
18-Jul-2005, 12:57
I'm sure some would claim to see the 1 dpi difference ;-)

200 dpi is rather light for a small print. For a 32x40 though, it's more than sufficient....unless you like to leave nose prints on the glass!