Optical printing vs digital printing

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Mainecoonmaniac, May 14, 2011.

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  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I've done both BW and color RA4 printing for over 20 years. I've had some digital prints made through Shutterfly from scans. I've found that they look different than printing directly from original negs. I scanned them with an Epson V700 scanner. I've always found digital C prints prints lacking the same quality as optical prints. I can't put my finger on it. Is it just me? Am I just too old-school? :confused:
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Your observations are correct. The color gamut of optical printing covers the complete color gamut of the human eye. Digital prints of digital cameras and scanned negatives have a limited color gamut when compared with film printed optically or the human eye.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamut

    Yet another reason to use film, develop film and optically print. :whistling:

    Steve
     
  3. andrel23

    andrel23 Member

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    Well, to me, I have been into the same dilemma.

    I have printed for a couple years from digital files but was never quite satisfied of the results.

    You can surely achieve great results with digital files but printing from a negative is another story. It is difficult to compare the two... I went back to wet darkroom with a lot of satisfaction!
     
  4. bwrules

    bwrules Member

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    You lose a lot of data in terms of color and resolution when scanning (especially with a flatbed scanner). Also calibration on your end and on whoever's printing your scans is very important.
     
  5. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    I print color both digitally and photochemically. First, no print process can reproduce the gamut of human vision nor the visible spectrum. Just like any process, the more control you have over it the better. Optical printing I find gives better separation in the shadows and highlights. Digital printing gives better control over color. You need to use each process for the strengths and you have to develop the skills. In both cases, good viewing conditions and good color management are really important.
     
  6. OzJohn

    OzJohn Member

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    The Wiki article quoted by Sirius Glass is a reasonable explanation of gamut but it does not say, as far I can see, that the colour gamut of an optically exposed print covers the complete gamut of the human vision and if it did it is wrong because no printing process or capture mechanism, whether photographic or mechanical, analog or digital, yet devised can achieve this. There are certainly differences between prints on RA4 papers optically exposed and those printed digitally from scans but a scan made on any flatbed scanner is not the best starting point for comparison. As Hikari points out, it's horses for courses since both alternatives have their strengths and weaknesses but with the increasing tendency of the remaining manufacturers to balance RA4 papers specifically for laser/LED exposure because that's where the main market is, digitally exposed RA4 may well be the only viable alternative long before these papers ever disappear from the market. OzJohn
     
  7. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Off topic for APUG, but will be fine for our sister site, DPUG.
     
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