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Thread: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

  1. #1

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    Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    I am interested in moving to digital negatives for platinum and palladium printing.

    Can anyone recommend a good printer currently available for printing up to A3 digital negatives?

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation


  3. #3

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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    I've used both Epson and Canon printers for contact negatives for alt processes, and I've found Canon to be more reliable, especially if it ever sits for a few weeks unused. Much less issues with clogs than the Epsons, which would clog all the time and waste lots of ink generally. Regarding finished image quality, they're on par with each other, even comparing a high end Epson to a low end Canon, I was getting siderotype prints of consistent quality in any case. It's all about finding the best settings for your given printer, and then you'll get a good negative. I've even made nice gum prints from junky laser printer negatives on vellum! Technique and experience is key. But when it comes to long term reliability, my money is on Canon.

  4. #4
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    How are you calibrating negs for use on the Canon.??

  5. #5
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by martiansea View Post
    I've used both Epson and Canon printers for contact negatives for alt processes, and I've found Canon to be more reliable, especially if it ever sits for a few weeks unused. Much less issues with clogs than the Epsons, which would clog all the time and waste lots of ink generally. Regarding finished image quality, they're on par with each other, even comparing a high end Epson to a low end Canon, I was getting siderotype prints of consistent quality in any case. It's all about finding the best settings for your given printer, and then you'll get a good negative. I've even made nice gum prints from junky laser printer negatives on vellum! Technique and experience is key. But when it comes to long term reliability, my money is on Canon.
    Interestingly enough, I've had completely opposite experiences with Canon and Epson printers. My Epson R3000 (albeit a larger format printer than the Canons I have used) hardly clogs and remains unused for weeks at a time, since I mostly use it to make black and white contact sheets and the occasional color print. The Epson also has 4 black inks, so it might make better negatives--I have yet to try it.

  6. #6

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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    A long while back, Epson 3800 and 3880 were excellent printers for digital negatives. Other printers of that era were not so good, because printing artifacts could be seen in continuous tone areas of an image. (For example, like nudes.) I'm thinking of Epson 4000, 9600, etc.

    And, neither the 3800 nor the 3880 were cloggers. I have a 3880, and it's quite the opposite.

    So, maybe the artifacts I describe are ancient history. But if I were looking for a printer for digital negatives, I would want to make sure. I used to have a 4000, and it was really obvious.

  7. #7

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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    How are you calibrating negs for use on the Canon.??
    The last batch I made I used Chart Throb, because I wanted to try it out. Previous to trying that, I used the method promoted by Christina Z. Anderson, which I think Chart Throb is derived from.
    Here is an example of an 8x10 Argyrotype I made using a Chart Throb calibration with an inexpensive Canon printer (MP620). The negative was printed on Inkpress OHP film. I'm very satisfied with the results:

  8. #8

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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    Some Canon printers use dye based inks and some pigment. Which is better for alt processes?

  9. #9

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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Michael View Post
    Some Canon printers use dye based inks and some pigment. Which is better for alt processes?
    It doesn't much matter, in my experience. The negative for the above image was printed on a printer that uses dye based inks. It obviously came out fine. When I was in grad school using large Epsons, those were all pigment based. Apples and oranges to me. If you know how to use the printer and take the time to figure out calibration given its characteristics, you can make a good negative with nearly any reasonable quality printer. The main advantage of pigment based inks is the archival resilience of colors, which doesn't feel like much of an issue to me in the case of digital negatives.

  10. #10

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    Re: Digital Negative Printer Recommendation

    In my experience if you want full control for the best possible results, best Dmax, etc, you have to go with Epson and QTR to get a calibrated, repeatable and optimized process. QTR is just not available for Canon.

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