View Full Version : Lambda / Lightjet to Fiber B&W Paper

Ed K.
15-Mar-2006, 20:21
I'm looking for a lab, hopefully in the greater Los Angeles area, that can output to FIBER based black and white from digital files using a Lambda or Lightjet. I have some work that needs this sort of output, and I would prefer to avoid shipping to/from outside the US if possible. I like 8x10 contact prints, however sometimes a little retouch might be nice, as would at least a much larger print adjusted to generally my taste. I don't have an 8x10 enlarger or a lab that has one capable of enlarging past 16x20 or so. I'm in the Pasadena, California area. When I look at a color Lightjet even under a loupe, the quality is acceptable to me for big enlargements.

There are many places online that offer output to RC based B&W media, and one that does CRT B&W enlargements. I'm not interested in those options at the moment. It just doesn't seem like Ilford hit the mark from a customer standpoint to offer an RC based product, however I sure can understand why labs would want RC. I'm also not interested in inkjets, either. Also, I'm not knocking inkjets and RC papers, those discussions have plenty of contributions.

In some cases, some labs might be able to do the exposures, however their workflow makes it unreasonable to also develop the exposed paper. As a last ditch measure, I wouldn't mind if somebody had a calibrated exposure method and then just have them expose it and return it ready for me to process, perhaps in a sealed black tube. I don't mind the processing, however I don't mind having it done for me either.

If anyone knows of some labs that actually do fibre based digital output using any of the laser or led printers, I'd like to know. If you've tried it already, I'd like to know how you liked the results.

Any ideas?

Mike Boden
15-Mar-2006, 21:33
Hey Ed!

My first suggestion would be The Icon (http://www.iconla.com). Their website states that they'll print on any surface by special request. I bet this could get expensive quick. They're located in the middle of Hollywood on Wilshire Blvd. near La Brea.

Other than The Icon, I'm not aware of any other labs in LA that will print on fiber using a Lambda or Lightjet. This is probably because most labs using these printers use roller transport development that would most likely chew up the fiber paper.

You could also try a lab in Canada that'll print on fiber using a Lightjet: www.elevatordigital.ca (http://www.elevatordigital.ca/pages/digitalfibre.htm).

Good luck.

Mike Boden
15-Mar-2006, 21:43

I had another idea. If I understand you correctly, you've got an image shot in black-and-white that you've scanned and retouched in Photoshop that you now want to print. Well, you could always create a new negative from that digital file and then print traditionally in a darkroom. If you don't have an 8x10 enlarger but a 4x5 instead, then you could simply create a 4x5 negative.

Anyway, I know A&I (http://www.aandi.com) in Hollywood can do this. There service is called "Lightjet 2080 Digital Film Output". You could also try calling The Icon and see if they do it as well. I bet they do, because they're a great lab and growing considerably.


Ed K.
16-Mar-2006, 13:19
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the suggestions - I will contact The Icon to see if they can help. To clarify, I have some contact print sets that look nice as contacts. Rather than spot prints, or mix B&W printed on color paper with contacts, I wished to have some long lasting B&W enlargements, and have them be very uniform and dust-free as enlargements. In some cases, certain photos with people need a tad of retouch, and some need dodge and burn or local contrast. I figured that enlargements on B&W paper ( 16x20 and 40x50 ) might look pretty darned good if exposed on the Lightjet, and at least they might have the same life expectancy as the contacts, which is important to me - to have a known quantity there. The longevity issue is one reason why I wouldn't mind developing the exposed paper myself so that I could ensure that it was properly washed and handled.

I also wished to avoid another generation, as in film->scan->film->paper, or film->film->film->paper vs film-scan->paper. Another project that I may try soon will be to use dr5 positive to enlarged negative for alt process - that is where I don't mind one additional piece of film.

Again, many thanks for the suggestions. If it works out, I'll update you on it.

Ed K.
16-Mar-2006, 13:44

I just called The Icon. Their digital department says that they won't and cannot do it. I asked why, and he said "it would damage a $ 300,000 machine (Lightjet), and perhaps even short it out due to 'silver halo' or other reasons".

Sounds like elevator is the closest that will do it.

16-Mar-2006, 14:34
i suspect if you had digital negs made at full size, and contact printed them, you wouldn't see any degradation of quality. if the negatives are skillfully sharpened, they might even look subjectively better than contact prints. this sounds counterintuitive ... blasphemous in some people's eyes ... but i have some contact-sized inkjet prints that look better to my eyes than the original silver contact print. they look MORE like a contact print than the contact print, if that makes any sense.

at any rate, a lot of people have experience making digital negs for contact printing ... you could probably find good recommendations on this list.

Clayton Tume
16-Mar-2006, 14:49
It's my understanding that the Lambda digital printer is the only machine with enough light output to expose B&W fibre paper. Colour paper is 2 - 4 stops faster than fibre hence the need for more light. Elevator is one of the few labs worldwide that can do your job.