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Thread: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

  1. #101

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Totally with you on the blind tests with chemicals and darkroom materials. Those would be very sobering for a lot of people (if they accepted the results )

    However I’m not sure I agree with the silver/inkjet comparison. I know in my case, coming from an analog/darkroom background, as I am just starting to look into hybrid techniques the idea isn’t to get an inkjet print that matches the silver print, but rather to possibly go beyond what can be done in the darkroom.

    My two cents.

    Quote Originally Posted by sperdynamite View Post
    I've always been satisfied with the Epson HD ink sets and ABW. Beautiful prints are made every day with that technology, it would take a lot to convince me to make the switch. Frankly I could make a contact print on silver paper, and an ABW print, do a blind test with 10 people, and you'd get 10 different answers.

    Factoring that in mind, you should simply enjoy the process more than anything IMHO. There are differences in every print making technique, only commercial press people (or those who choose to do so) need to really go nuts with costly monitors and spectrometers. Let it be an art and a science, and enjoy it. I'm sure everyone who makes Piezography (can we agree this needs a re-name/re-brand?) prefers their Piezography prints. I'm also sure that I would prefer my own darkroom prints to my ABW prints, because I just like analog.

    But those blind tests man, they really take the wind out of your sails.

    Case in point, observe my favorite developer compared to regular old Dektol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFoCsOpWN7g

  2. #102

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Yes to the process. I think my objective is to bring the print produced closer to what I think I see on the monitor without running the trial and error bit with paper and ink - which gets expensive. Today few print. For those of us who do and don't wet print, why not? Yes, I hear there are plenty who don't bother with Piezography (Luminous Landscape is full of them), and frankly I think WITHOUT the training, it's a lot of work to push it from "Gee, i've got a new, all B&W dedicated to printer" to a point where "Gee, that was actually worth it". But like anything else, IF you put in the effort, I think eventually you get the level of quality you're after. Maybe attribution of the improvement has less to do with the inks than the fact that learning to push yourself to make the level of print your eye calls for.... wasn't something you bothered with before hand. I'm not far enough down that road to say. But the challenge of printing... is just that. Yes, ABW can produce fine prints. No doubt. And yes with Imageprint or similar RIPs... Epson can produce even better prints. For my part, probably part of it is I just like matte prints better than glossy! and not because I don't like glossy, but because MY glossy inkjet prints from the default software in B&W just seemed.... to my eye were BLEAH or BLAH (depending on your pronunciation). Made me think of cake frosting. And not the tasty sort.

    FWIW, my commitment to push further in this direction has more to do initially with putting my money where my mouth is: I'm committing to ConeColor and Piezography. One will save some $'s, and the other will spend it. Both will help keep these printers going far past Epson's planned obsolescence which with the P900 is now. THe P900 won't be jailbroken for a long time. I think the Chipless Solution took them 3 years plus. But my opinion is that I think trouble is worth the effort. And actually it's not all that impossible either. Frankly, not every image is going to go into 3000 shades of gray (new book coming out?).

    And yes, I talked to Cone's shops todays. Didn't get Walker, but a fellow named Wells. Asked about monitors and he said they're using Eizo's mostly, but that they're aware of Ben-Q and NEC, but have been happy enough with Eizo to not really go beyond that. I believe he said that he wasn't that big on the monitor issue, but did repeat the Apple "ain't good enough". Other than that, he's using what the shop supplies, and have never really questioned it. He did say that for the Epson SC P800 the Chipless Solution is basically the only thing out there (as they're at least for now out of PC boards), and that requires a PC as it doesn't work with a MAC. As he said, he's upgrading his personal gear to a PC. I've always heard that the other way round, so that's a first.

    I mentioned maybe it would be nice and helpful to update the monitor recommendations for various different price points. I have a Samsung I'd calibrated some years back, but then ended up using the monitor for all kinds of other stuff, that the edge it once contributed has long since burned out. It wasn't expensive either, and in part I think I realized that its calibration was too limited. There ought to be a range of utility in $500, $1,000, $2000, $3,000 or so ranges.

    Wells showed me around the revised site. I had called because I found it kind of confusing. Choosing between Piezo Pro and the other choices (I've used PRO in my P600), and with color... there's just a list of so many. But what I found out is basically most of these are legacy packages. For the most part, they've created packages by printer. There's one for ConeColor which uses HD or HDX - where the difference is basically the black. And then there's a Piezo PRO which now includes the software. Both starter kits include everything. This is a step forward for simplicity.

    So that's all I had time for today. Thanks for your continued interest in this thread!

  3. #103

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Blind tests are just that. True also for digital shots: 24MP's vs. 42MP's.... most prints ain't gonna show it. Can't. And any picture that stinks with 24MP isn't fixed because I suddenly upgraded to a yucky picture with HDR and all the trimmings. Fact is, I junked a Sony A7r2 to go back to Nikon for other reasons and the realization that I loved many of the 24MP shots I took with a Fuji.

    But when you HAVE something, it's worth pushing. Michael's lucky to have a darkroom option. I'm a inkjet only guy... so I think this pushes for more options with inkjets than just ABW. ABW if fine most of the time. Photoshop, too. I'm amazed in re-reading the story of one of Audrey Bodine's prints that hangs large above the Deli counter at my grocery store here in Annapolis. I have one of his books, and in it they have the original, and the darkroom photoshop effort he put into the final print. Yeah. Worth it. And few know his winter shots in the Bahamas were reused for Chesapeake and elsewhere... but not in this print. Fog was perfect. He pushed himself. I think the product is the process, and its very difficult to separate one from the other in terms of what you ended up with. Chicken and egg... still puzzle.
    Last edited by roscoetuff-Skip Mersereau; 24-Dec-2020 at 08:28.

  4. #104

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Monitors: After Wednesday's conversation, I've been reading reviews of monitors and focusing on EIZO and BenQ. Yes, I also read the comments on B&H's site as a bead on real life.... and trying to sort through the factors where writers (often unrealistically) compare their expectations against their experience. Yes, there's a caveat that at lower price points, you get a wider net and folks expect 1st rate experience for a bargain price... which as the years tend to tell us, ain't gonna happen. With that in mind, there's a value that lies in EIZO's 5-year warranty. Call it front-end quality control. What I "think" I'm seeing is that BenQ has monitors that can run very close to EIZO in terms of specs, but the reliability of YOUR purchase hitting those specs is much less consistent with BenQ. More to the point, EIZO seems to offer more controls over the calibration, and seems to offer specs that ... well... I understand. I've now read a bunch of these reviews, looked up actual prices and read through the specs and user experiences on a bunch of these, and "I think" maybe a couple of things are coming clear:

    1) At $500 there are plenty of great monitors. Period. Caveat that for my regular everyday monitors at work - spreadsheets, WORD, trading stations, etc. - I use twin monitors in the 24-inch class each. Dell and Samsung and I don't care... colors are great, but spreadsheets, Word etc... demands are light. Screen real estate is a good thing. I think 24-inches is kind of a basic these days. And I've been happy with screens in the $200 to $300 range as more than good enough. Push that envelope to $500 and its even better. Calibration options for photo editing ain't high, but do exist. You can work well in this range, but the specs aren't typically laid out for photographers, and many are really aimed at the Video Gamer market. Notice the complaint many voice relates to "lack of speakers". Yeah... I can't hear my photos.

    2) At $1000 and up, the options and level of attenuation to photographer needs is very high. Lots of good choices but really this range opens up at $1,500 and $2,500 and only runs up from there to the $5,000's. To me, the picks here are easy, and I don't need much guidance. ALL of them are great. You'll be happy. Think of these as wines above $50 a bottle - they're all good... even great, but once you get to $125 a bottle, you can't taste the difference unless you're a gourmet. Maybe your eyeballs have the equivalent? Then go for it. Surely you won't regret it. And if you do, I'm sure the regret won't last as long as the pleasure and dependability. Fix the checkbook later.

    3) Sweet spot: $500 to $1,000: My guess is the volumes here ought to run higher as enthusiasts (like me) and possibly entry level pro's would find their interests begin to get addressed here, and for some of us filled 95% or more of the time. At least that's my ambition! Number of choices here ain't high in the photographer dedicated monitors, but then again, it's about making choices, and you might have to give up something... like video editing. Not actually involved in doing that... I'm okay there. My read here is that there are quite a number of BenQ machines, and very capable - if you get a good copy. And if you do, the price points are pretty decent. FWIW, the great thing about electronic hardware is that most "fails" do so right out of the box, so extended warranties ain't worth the cost - if you can return a faulty purchase. B&H is very good here. On the other hand, while EIZO has fewer offerings, and more expensive, their reliability reports as higher and no doubt a 5YR warranty is built in to the price tends to incent manufacture to drive toward controlling those costs. So it looks like I can either go BenQ and roll the dice for either a 24-inch or 27-incher, or opt for an EIZO and 24-inches. Given the additional EIZO premium isn't that high, I tending to lean in that direction and specifically toward the EIZO ColorEdge CS2420, as the first monitor under $1,000 I've seen that actually specs out the Gama 2.2 space as an option (others all focus on sRGB, Adobe RGB and other specs I'm unfamiliar with). BenQ clearly has a number of machines here, and their multiplication of fishes only makes choosing harder. Additionally, BenQ's rep seems to be that they've only recently upped their game relative to EIZO, so the road less travelled means there is more favorable buzz for EIZO... and we're in the old "nobody ever got fired for picking IBM or AT&T" thing. Comfort cures the headache of choice. And yes, there are traps: Some color spaces on the BenQ's caveat that if you don't have a USB-3 port on your machine, you won't actually get the full gamut the specs map out as "possible". Read the fine print 'cause it matters. Note that EIZO puts the CS monitors into the "Hobbyist" class as distinct from the CG monitors for "Pros". So the CS is aimed at me? Nice!

    If I'm off base in this... shout it out, folks. Your opinions and experience matter - especially your photoshop, peizo, and monitor experience. I've still got a LOT of LEARNING to do. Duh! Cone's shop is closed between the holidays, but if I can after the New Year, I'm going to follow up to see if I can learn more about their monitor selections / usage.

  5. #105

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R View Post
    Hi JMO, It’s approx 3hrs. Actually a nice drive. I haven’t been to Topsham but I’ve spent a lot of time in Stowe and my sister in law’s family used to have a country house in Warren, which is about an hour west of Topsham. I would definitely consider doing a workshop there. I’m just not sure they teach what I need to learn first. I’m really at the beginning of digital so I need to learn the basics of editing, and other parts of the workflow. I haven’t looked in detail at the Piezography workshops but from what I can see on the website it seems like although all levels of skill are welcome, you spend a lot of time printing. I’m just not anywhere near ready yet. I guess it depends on what I can learn before things open up. Like you, I would definitely benefit from just being there and taking copious notes. I’m fine with that. I don’t always need to be “doing”.
    Michael, In regard to editing digital images of B&W film scans for printing later by inkjet or from (inkjet printed) digital negatives, others in this thread have recommended that you consider learning to use Photoshop (PS) for this purpose. I have no quarrel with those recos; except that in today's world this will mean you'll need to subscribe with Adobe to PS and other similar products bundled with it (including Lightroom). I have this subscription, and for years have mostly used Lightroom Classic on my desktop computer for my digitally-captured color images. However, there is an alternative you might consider, which is Silver Efex Pro 2 from the Nik Collection of photo-editing software. This specific editing app was recommended to me by a LFer friend in my area for my scanned files from B&W negatives, and I have found it excellent for that purpose. It can easily be used if you purchase the Nik Collection (modestly priced and no need to sign-up for an ongoing subscription), or after you purchase it as a Plug-in from PS or Adobe's Lightroom. I have scanners for my LF and MF films, and for my B&W negatives I am almost always using Silver Efex Pro 2 to do the editing of those scanned files. 'Something you might consider as you decide your workflow process.
    ... JMOwens (Mt. Pleasant, Wisc. USA)

    "If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." ...Michelangelo

  6. #106

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    I was planning on going with Photoshop as it seems to be the de facto standard. I need to figure out/finalize a computer. Right now all I have is a new iPad. There is an app version of Photoshop, which might be useful to learn on, but I really need a proper hardware setup. I have seen mention of Silver Efex before, but don’t know anything about it.

  7. #107

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Speaking of monitors, I took some time and viewed the same images side-by-side on both my 2017 4K iMac monitor and my EIZO CG2420.

    There is more than just a difference at the lowest end of the tonal scale. There is a difference all along the scale, which I can only presume is because the steps are closer to their proper values and relative ratios, all along the scale. The end result is that while the iMac images look fine, the EIZO images look more like large format analog darkroom contact prints and cold-light-head enlargements, with a naturally continuous tonality.

    This may seem like hair-splitting, but just because we can discern 50 distinct steps in a 50-step ramp, it doesn't mean that they are accurate or equally spaced.

    Returning to the analogy of piano tuning: Any piano with 88 keys, in decent condition, will produce 88 different notes, but over time as the piano falls out of tune, those 88 notes drift. They drift relative to an absolute measure like a tuning fork and they drift relative to one another. If we compare the sound to that of a freshly tuned piano, a difference is apparent.
    Last edited by Ken Lee; 30-Dec-2020 at 09:40.

  8. #108

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Resurrecting this thread with a question, as I'm still intermittently trying to learn about the hybrid world (incl. Piezography but also other things).

    I was recently watching Bill Schwab's series on the basics of making digital negatives. It interested me in part because he introduces QTR, curves and such. Anyhow, at one point he makes a comment in reference to things like Piezography, that apparently (he was not 100% sure) the latest/new generation of Epson printers will not allow/support the use of third part inks.

    Anyone else hear anything like that?

    Michael

  9. #109

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R View Post
    Resurrecting this thread with a question, as I'm still intermittently trying to learn about the hybrid world (incl. Piezography but also other things).

    I was recently watching Bill Schwab's series on the basics of making digital negatives. It interested me in part because he introduces QTR, curves and such. Anyhow, at one point he makes a comment in reference to things like Piezography, that apparently (he was not 100% sure) the latest/new generation of Epson printers will not allow/support the use of third part inks.

    Anyone else hear anything like that?

    Michael
    Hi Michael,

    Epson has made it very difficult to use third party inks. Depending on your printer there may be a reasonable work around. I would suggest you contact Piezography support to get full information about your printer, Walker Blackwell would be the best contact.

    Sandy
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at groups.io
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  10. #110

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    Re: Piezography: Talk me into/out of it

    Thanks for the response, Sandy. I’ll contact Piezography for sure. Luckily (I suppose) I haven’t bought any hybrid/digital equipment or software at all yet, so I can go in any number of directions with all of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    Hi Michael,

    Epson has made it very difficult to use third party inks. Depending on your printer there may be a reasonable work around. I would suggest you contact Piezography support to get full information about your printer, Walker Blackwell would be the best contact.

    Sandy

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