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Thread: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

  1. #11
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    I have had LVT negatives made from digital files. The one thing I had to take into account is the curve of the film used for output. In my case, it was several images ganged-up on TriX 320 8x10 and I had to flatten the highlights and shadows a bit and still got a bit more contrast than the original, but I actually liked it better and had no issues making a darkroom print.

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  2. #12
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    Yes, what Oren just described would be the ticket if you want as much faithful detail as possible on a sheet of film. But you'd probably have to pay for a few practice runs just to understand how to optimize for that; so it's not a realistic route for the financially faint of heart. Plenty of books are in print describing how to achieve large inkjet negatives onto transparent sheeting for sake of contact printing; but that kind of approach won't work well for smaller negs intended for optical enlargement on conventional enlargers. Digital enlargers are ridiculously expensive, rare, and I have yet to hear anything flattering from those who have actually tried them.

  3. #13

    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    First, thanks for all the great input. I really appreciate it.

    Second, my other main reason for avoiding the inkjet route is this: I am and have been an IT admin for 20 years. I am a much better digital darkroomer than wet darkroomer, but I also really really do not like dealing with and maintaining printers. I dumped my home printer in 2005 or so and have been using WHCC since. I no longer have to care for printers at work, but the years I did have to scarred me. I don't like printers. Pet peeve. The words "clogged nozzle" give me nightmares.

    Third, I can see the advantages of being able to produce my own digi negs w an inkjet. The advantages are looking good enough that I am considering dealing with my pet peeve and just getting a printer. The ability to make 8x10 contact prints from my 4x5 negs is especially appealing. I do most of my photography while hiking, sometimes for several days at a time. This has kept me from 8x10 land, but I have always envied those 8x10 contact prints.

    Btw, for others who might be reading this thread w the same question I had: Gamma Tech in NM does LVT 4x5 negs for $20.

  4. #14

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    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    Quote Originally Posted by quietglow View Post
    Second, my other main reason for avoiding the inkjet route is this: I am and have been an IT admin for 20 years. I am a much better digital darkroomer than wet darkroomer, but I also really really do not like dealing with and maintaining printers. I dumped my home printer in 2005 or so and have been using WHCC since. I no longer have to care for printers at work, but the years I did have to scarred me. I don't like printers. Pet peeve. The words "clogged nozzle" give me nightmares.
    Now, that I fully understand. What little printer maintenance I've had to do over the years has been mostly laser, but I fully understand the trauma of inkjet-- in fact, I run a color laserjet at home to specifically avoid cheap inkjet printers and their foibles.

    While professional photo-quality ink (dye) printers are a long way from their commoditized cheap brethren who exist solely to get you to buy ink at astronomical prices per ounce, they still have their issues. The Epsons are the "standard"-- but everything I've read says if you use them infrequently, they will clog. They can unclog themselves, but only by forcing a (relatively) large quantity of ink through. The Canons seem to have a better reputation, and I keep looking at the new ImageProGraf-300, but I'm waiting for someone to admit they're making digital negatives with one.

  5. #15
    Andrej Gregov
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    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    Quote Originally Posted by grat View Post
    The Canons seem to have a better reputation, and I keep looking at the new ImageProGraf-300, but I'm waiting for someone to admit they're making digital negatives with one.
    I would think the Canons would be fine for digital negs assuming you're making your curves by hand in Photoshop. The drawback to the Canons is that QuadToneRIP doesn't work with them unfortunately.

  6. #16

    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    Quote Originally Posted by grat View Post
    The Canons seem to have a better reputation, and I keep looking at the new ImageProGraf-300, but I'm waiting for someone to admit they're making digital negatives with one.
    Everything I see leads me to believe this as well. Also, I nabbed an old Epson Artisan 50 from work to see if it was sufficient to make negs for silver prints. I installed the "software" on my PC (I have both platforms in the house, but the PC had more room next to it for a printer. The epson software literally tries to sell you ink in the preference pane, and it was setting off various security things with a script it was trying to run. This is exactly the sort of stuff I don't really want part of my photography workflow.

    Is the bar for neg creation significantly lower if the negative doesn't have to block UV? I print nearly everything on Ilford WT FB, and don't really have a burning desire for alt processes. Like is the situation something similar to: "If you're printing on silver, are only doing contact prints, and don't want to print larger than 8x10, then any decent printer will make a good neg?"

  7. #17

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    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    Send member 'bob carnie" a notification/personal message.

  8. #18
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    Blatent advertising - We have been doing this for about 10 years with great success for private gallery shows. Currently we are setting up locations for pickup and delivery - we hope to be providing service in 6 months on a 6 week turnaround basis, we will have location in Europe, New York, Toronto and Vancouver. The process is expensive but at the end the client ends up with a real silver gelatin film that is the size of the print you are making. These negatives have been used to make cyanotypes, Pt Pd, Gum Bichromate and Silver on various papers to date.

  9. #19
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    Cox Black & White Lab in Rancho Cordova made the LVTs for me. I was pleased with the service and price. http://www.coxblackandwhitelab.com/?page_id=211

  10. #20
    Andrej Gregov
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    Re: Looking for advice/guides on digital to film (not inkjet)

    Quote Originally Posted by quietglow View Post
    Is the bar for neg creation significantly lower if the negative doesn't have to block UV? I print nearly everything on Ilford WT FB, and don't really have a burning desire for alt processes. Like is the situation something similar to: "If you're printing on silver, are only doing contact prints, and don't want to print larger than 8x10, then any decent printer will make a good neg?"
    With respect to making digital negatives using the QuadToneRIP + Boutwell software, the workflow for making alt process targeted negs versus silver (contact exposing under an enlarger) are the same. The steps in a nutshell:

    1. Find your max paper black for your paper/developer/enlarger combination
    2. Make 2-3 test curves using Richard Boutwell's software (QuadToneProfiler) to find your correct digital neg density. You'll need a scanner to read the step wedges
    3. Via Photoshop or Lightroom, export your images as a TIFF (invert the image + flip horizontal to turn into a negative)
    4. Print using Print Tool to send the image to your printer with the curve you made in step

    It takes me an afternoon to generate a new curve for a new paper/process. It's not that time consuming. Given your tech experience, I think you could figure out the software piece. For the non tech minded, the software and curve making process can be challenging.

    If you simply want to supplement your analog shooting with some negatives for contact printing made from digital files occasionally, Bob's service could be ideal. Leave the digital stuff to him and just make images. If you contact him, you might ask if he offers digital negatives on standard OHP inkjet transparency film. His silver neg service will offer premium results but I've got excellent results from substrates like Pictorico and inkjet made negs may be cheaper than the sliver negs. And in theory he could print inkjet negs anytime since he batches his silver negs. In any event, the nice thing about Bob's service is you can avoid all the software/testing ramp up and just try out the contact printing process and see if it agrees with you. If you love the results, you can always learn the steps yourself if you want to add it to your home studio.

    Regarding your preference to keep to your analog workflow, I can definitely relate. I too work in the tech field and plugging into a computer is the last thing I want to do in making art. I've reserved the digital neg workflow for myself when I can't make similar work via traditional analog workflow. For example, I may shoot 4x5/5x7 and make small contact prints on silver chloride paper in the darkroom. If I want a bigger image, then I can scan the neg and make a contact print of whatever size larger I like. So, I use the digital workflow to augment the analog darkroom not replace it.
    Last edited by agregov; 13-May-2021 at 18:07.

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