Can you print from slides?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by reub2000, Sep 2, 2006.

  1. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    Can you make prints from slides? How would they compare to a print made from a negative? Should I be using a negative if I intend to print a picture?
     
  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Yes, you can make prints from slides. AFAIK, the only current standard "wet darkroom" process for printing from color slides is Ilfochrome, which requires both Ilfochrome paper and Ilfochrome chemistry. This is pretty expensive compared to RA-4 materials for printing from color negatives. There used to be other processes for printing directly from slides, but they've been discontinued.

    It's possible to print from slides using RA-4 and an extra development and reversal step -- you develop in standard B&W print developer (Dektol, etc.), use a stop bath, rinse, expose the print to light to fog it, and then put it through the normal RA-4 process. The result tends to be a bit odd, though, with very high contrast and colors that are off. The result can be interesting for some shots, but it's probably not something you'd want to use for most shots. If you skip the extra initial steps and just process in bog-standard RA-4, you'll get a negative image, which again can be interesting for some shots but isn't remotely "normal."

    Another way to get prints from slides is to create an internegative and then print that using RA-4. Use a slide duplicating setup to photograph the slide and then go from there as if it were a normal negative.

    Then of course there's the digital route -- scan the slide and either print it on your own printer or take the scan to a photofinisher.

    On the whole, I'd say if your goal is to get prints you should be using negative film. OTOH, some people think Ilfochrome's the best thing since sliced bread, and of course you can get different effects with each of these methods.
     
  3. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

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    Ilfochrome is a really beautiful thing but is expensive and if you need a lab to do it, they're getting scarce. Fuji was making a nice paper and chemicals for this but it may be discontinued. Kodak used to have a process but no more.
     
  4. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    As I thought. A camera with a beam splitter to expose a reversal and negative film at the same time would be nice.
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Wrong,

    I have slides printed on RA-4 color paper all the time, the exposure is done on a Noritsu 2900 system that exposes the slide, just as if it was a negative, on traditional RA-4 paper and it is processed through the normal RA-4 paper, they can run them before they mount them or they can run them after they mount them, illfordchrome is not the only option now a days, this is an optical LED system making the exposure on traditional paper. And they look quite good!

    Dave
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    If your thinking this way then your thinking wrong, as I said in another post, I have slides printed on an RA-4 process paper all the time, the options are out there, it depends on the lab your working with.

    Dave
     
  7. JosBurke

    JosBurke Member

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    I'll say it !! I scan my MF slides on my Nikon LS 8000---send to my local lab and printed on a LightJet --IMPRESSIVE!! I print my negs in a traditional darkroom but I've never tried the IlfoChrome method for my slides ! I'm in awe with some of my Provia (my fave) 120 slides!!
     
  8. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Dave, isn't this a digital process? First the device scans the slide, then prints it with LEDs onto RA4 paper. I think Ilfochrome is the only analog method to produce prints direct from positives, besides the reversal of RA4 paper.
     
  9. Frank-G

    Frank-G Inactive

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    Yes, you can prints made from slides. I used to have this done all the time.
     
  10. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Member

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    Jos. I was just looking at the tech sheet for ilfochrome and it is the same paper labs use in lightjets. So you are kind of doing ilfochromes.

    D.
     
  11. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Yes, it is called a digital printing system, but I did not see the person posing this question as an either or question, he just asked if it was possible to make prints from slides, many of the labs, even when printing negative film now a days uses a system of this nature..I think fuji is the only company currently producing a reversal paper for color printing and it is very difficult to even find it on their website, it is under their pro lab stuff.

    Dave
     
  12. roteague

    roteague Member

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    No, Lightjets normally use RA-4 paper, Ilfochrome is a different paper and different process.
     
  13. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    so, do lightjets project a neg?
     
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  15. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    A lot of this question dpends on whether you want to print every shot you make( or at least a large number) or just want to print the occasional photograph at high quality.

    If you want to print all or most then you're probably going to use a minilab, either traditional or- more likely- a digital lab like a Frontier. These are most often set up to print from neg film somewhat better and I think a large majority of the time you'll get a better result, more consistently, from negs.

    For the occasional special print, I tend to prefer the result from slides but its a subjective thing. On the one hand its easier to select a photograph to print by looking at a slide rather than a neg. On the other hand Ilfochromes in particular are pretty contrasty and when used with a contrasty original can look pretty bad. In times of old labs used to offer contrast masking to counter this, but that's rare to impossible to find and frankly the best Ilfochromes I see are made slowly and painstakingly by photographers themselves, not by labs.

    I've never liked the interneg technique for my work. I've invariably found the result dull and lacking in sparkle.

    Finally as indicated above there are a range of digital and hybrid options. The best of these in my view scans the slide and uses a LightJet or Chromira to make a print on real photographic paper ( often the same Fuji Crystal Archive often used for prints from negs). Labs such as West Coast Imaging (www.westcoastimaging ) can give you an idea of whats possible. There's a myriad of choices to be made about who scans it, on what, who creates the file, what paper you print on, and so on but on balance this route has produced the best prints I've seen from my work. The best labs aren't cheap for this sort of work however, and especially if you want t single print from the image. There are cheaper sources using broadly similar techniques but sadly access to a LightJet and a film scanner doesn't necessarily make the best prints.
     
  16. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    As you can tell from the replies already given, the answer depends on this question: do you want to print yourself or use a lab?

    If you use a lab, the answer is the transparency is scanned and printed on a lightjet type (or LED) projection machine. Most labs print on RA4 - there are few left in North America that print on Ilfochrome. Either way, the secret to getting good prints (aside from starting with a good transparency) is tweaking the digital image for the the specific paper it will be printed on.

    If you are going to print it yourself, then Ilfochrome is the only process available (other than scanning and output to inkjet).

    Without knowing your darkroom background, I will add this: if you are intending to learn color printing, I would suggest starting with color negs and printing RA4 - the stuff you throw away in the process will cost a lot less. Then if you want, move on the Ilfochrome from transparencies, just remember that everything is backward from printing from negs.

    As previously stated, Ilfochrome is a highly saturated, contrasty medium - great for some types of subjects, like landscapes, but not for people pictures.

    Bob
     
  17. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    If your goal is to get both prints and slides, another option to consider is to shoot negative film and then get slides made from your negatives. Several commercial photofinishers, such as PhotoWorks and Dale Labs, offer this as an option with C-41 film processing and/or can do it on a frame-by-frame basis (similar to ordering reprints from negatives). I'm sure it's possible to do this yourself, too. It'd be similar to slide copying, but you'd need a special film to do the job, and I'm not sure offhand precisely what film you'd use. You could also do it digitally with a slide-making device after you scan a negative. There may be labs that'll do it for you from scans, but I don't have any references offhand, unless perhaps PhotoWorks or Dale Labs offers this service.

    Whether this is a good approach depends on your precise needs and priorities. The slide produced in this way will be a copy, which means it will be slightly degraded compared to the negative. A conventional E-6 or K-14 slide, shot of the original scene, would probably be sharper and would most likely be different in terms of color balance, contrast, etc. OTOH, this approach means you can make as many identical slides as you like from the original, you can adjust the color balance or other factors to suit your taste, and you can make inexpensive RA-4 prints from the original negative. (You could get the first two advantages from making traditional copy slides from slides, of course, but then you'd get the disadvantages of this approach, too.)
     
  18. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Unlike the resources available to the B&W worker, with color you are much more limited. Yes, you can shoot negative film, which is simpler to print, but many more companies are getting out of processing C41, so you will also have to add developing your negatives to your TODO list. Printing slides at home is more difficult, and there are very few labs left that optically print Ilfochrome. Digital hybrid prints onto RA-4 paper is still readily available, and seems to be where the industry will go.
     
  19. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    The nice thing about Ilfochrome prints is that the dyes are much more stable and resistant to fading than those used by other color processes.
     
  20. roteague

    roteague Member

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    No Markok, LightJet (and Lamba) printers use a laser from a TIFF file to expose the paper. The Chromira printer uses LEDs.
     
  21. Derek Lofgreen

    Derek Lofgreen Member

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    Robert I just checked here http://www.ilford.com/html/us_english/v2/ilfochrome2.asp and it says for lightjets. I don't know, maybe know one useses ifochrome for lightjets but it seems they are marketing it for that purpose. You would know more about this than I for sure so maybe I am reading it wrong.

    D.
     
  22. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Interesting .... most labs use Fuji Crystal Archive paper with their LightJet printers, I wasn't aware they could also be used with Ilfochrome, although I am not surprised. I guess it is just a matter of switching the chemistry. I know Bob Carnie prints Ilfochrome on his Lambda, so the paper is pretty flexible. Thanks for the link, and the heads up.
     
  23. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    We have been printing ilfochrome through our Lambda for a few years now.
    A couple of years ago a lab out of California with a Lightjet phoned us up re digital printing ciba. Basically they could not do the process due to insufficient laser power with the lightjet. I am not sure if this is the case today as in North America there are very few of us doing this process.
    Lamont Imaging in New York is doing this with a Lambda to my knowlege as well as a lab in Pheonix using the Lambda system.
    All our work is at 400ppi which is slower transport which may make this possible . I tried to hook up with a local competitor years ago who invested in Lightjet about the same time I bought my ciba processor. They were not to interested in a collaboration to see if it worked.
    When done properly a digital ciba kicks ass.
     
  24. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Having seen them firsthand, I say a big "Amen" to that. You can't get any better.
     
  25. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Hi Reub,
    Lot's of knowledgable folks have responded to this! The bottom line for you is how many years, and how much money do you have to learn Ilfochrome for yourself? The learning curve is long, but I believe it is worth it. Without using computers, optical darkroom exposure onto Ilfochrome material is the last remaining process to go directly from a slide, in a traditional color darkroom. The primary advantages of this are first generation sharpness, color, and contrast. I suggest you try some of the above mentioned alternatives and see if you like them, before building an Ilfochrome darkroom.
    Good luck. :smile:
    Long Live Ciba!!!
     
  26. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    As I remember, when the LightJet was being introduced, they were supposed to have or be developing a special hood/light shield to be used with the Ciba/Ilfochrome material. Whether this ever came to fruition, I do not know.

    Rich