Would you use it... digal enlarger to real B&W fibre paper?

Discussion in 'APUG.ORG's "Gray" Area Subforum -NOW HYBRIDPHOTO.C' started by WarEaglemtn, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    Was sent some info from a friend about an electronic enlarger head for printing digital/digitized files onto real B&W paper.
    If this were available and your custom lab had one, would you have real B&W fibre prints done from pixelography?

    Apparently it is a head that can be bought as an add-on for some enlarger columns or bought full blown as a digital/darkroom system.

    Might be very interesting.

    If a custom printer was to put this service in would you use it?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I know someone who shoots only digital and had a print made with a DeVere digital enlarger at San Miguel Photo Lab in New Mexico, and he was satisfied with it.
     
  3. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Sure why not.

    Don Bryant
     
  4. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    The DeVere enlarger mentioned is priced in the tens of thousands of US dollars. Not something for the casual user. Maybe not even for a lab.
     
  5. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Bob Carnie does this already in his lab. I don't know if uses this exact technology, but I do know he can print on traditional photographic paper from a digital file.

    Maybe Bob can comment on it some more, as I'm not very well versed in this area.

    Regards, Art.
     
  6. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Nope. I enjoy the entire process of film use. I like to have different films that have different characteristics, I like to have different developers that have their own characteristics, and I don't care for automation. I'm happy for anyone who does want to use this, but I don't have any interest in it, even if it were free.

    - Randy
     
  7. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Video projectors are getting better, and that kind of tells me that digital projection/enlargement is not really a problem any more.

    I'd like to it do it on a wall just like how you do with your regular darkroom enlarger.
     
  8. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    The technology has been discussed here before, if I remember correctly. While it sounds like a potentially interesting way to get "real" prints from a digital image, I'd want to see samples. But, if Bob Carnie is using one, that speaks well for the quality of what it produces.

    For film users, of course, the question is essentially moot.
     
  9. Timothy

    Timothy Member

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    Actually Art the process that Bob uses is quite different from the De Vere system. Well.. Bob has a P A R T N E R who uses a digital to analog system, hence the name of the lab : "Elevator Digital".
    Bob is an analog printer himself though.
    The system they use is called a Lamda machine and it is very sophisticated, takes up a lot more room, is a lot more expensive ( a lotalot) and provides a lot better results than the digital enlarger. The Lamda unit actually uses three Lasers for light source. All that De Vere unit does, is convert a digital file in the enlarger head to an image that can be projected through a standard enlarger lens. It is a slick way to make a decent quality print from a digital file (as decent as is possible - several comments above are relevant here) but as was noted, very expensive. There are cheaper ways of simply making a computer printed transparency to use as a neg, which, it seems to me, would yield about the same level of quality. I am guessing, because I have never used either one and have no desire to.
    Since the archival qualities of a silver emulsion print are so much better than any other kind, I suppose that it is good that there is some way to document/preserve the work of any digital photographer who has work worth preserving. In the long run though, it does seem that the whole process becomes convoluted and unneccessarily expensive, not to mention un-accessable, compared to plain old fashioned wet darkroom craftsmanship and hard work.

    Tim R
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    When I worked at our local lab, we purchased a new Noritsu 2920 RA-4 printing machine, it is an optical/digital exposure system for printing on traditional RA-4 papers, the machine accepts APS, 35mm and Medium format films, both negative and positive, in addition to input from many different digital sources, it was very expensive about $180K at that time, we could have purchased an optional LED fiber optic system that would have ran to our darkroom enlarger with a computerized head, that would take an exposure from the machine and route it to the head on the enlarger via fiber optic cable, allowing us to make bigger prints than the machine itself could do(12x18) which would have provided exposure on papers up to 20x24, which would have been processed in the Hope RA-4 processer we had. The cost for the optional enlarger head system was almost $75K, bringin the cost of the whole system in the 1/4 million dollar area!!! We did not purchase the option enlarger head upgrade. So to see the option be condensed into a enlarger head size with the capabilities to take digital media does not surprise me.

    Dave
     
  11. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    As Tim and Art have noted we do this at our Lab.

    The technology we use is a Durst 76 Lambda , red ,green, and blue laser exposing device.
    We run at 400dpi and we presently use Agfa Classic fibre paper and process the images the same way we process analogue fibre murals.
    We are testing Ilford's new panchromatic black and white paper made for the Lambda , they have thrown out the bait for a fibre paper with this emulsion on it.

    As Tim explained it is indeed quite different than a Deveere Exposing head, that unit creates a virtual negative from a digital file and projects from a traditional enlarger. We did look at this unit before buying the Lambda but the resolution did not meet our demands for mural prints.

    This side of our operation is basically our way of staying alive in our Photographic community. Commercially the Lambda is what drives most pro lab buisnesses today.

    I am a traditional printer and must say that I am still printing 5-6 days a week in our wet darkroom with enlargers. We purchased this device to be a commercial printer to pay the overhead and staff.
    As well there are fine art hybrid capabilties that intrique me and we are persuing. ie lambda large format digital negatives for alternative printing.

    Unfortunately , most of the new young photographers , out there are using digital cameras. I am mid career with this printing thing and I feel that connecting with them is critical. By using traditional wet materials with digital input a hybrid solution can work.

    There are a lot of learning curves associated with this technology and I am trying to learn them. One thing that I have noticed is that because I am comfortable with what a good print should look like, it is easy to direct a mac monkey to make this mixture work.

    We believe that a few fine art labs world wide will embrace this type of work and order the materials. ie rolls of fibre, rolls of ciba, rolls of endura, rolls of fuji flex, rolls of 100iso film.
    Would it not be ironic , that this hybrid technology creates a need for traditional products.
    ( a major US lab based in New York , apparently purchased 20 50inch by 100ft rolls of this new pancromatic black and white paper)
    not a small order.
    All the materials that go through the digial devices will work under enlarger, I know this because I use the material both ways.
     
  12. roteague

    roteague Member

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    While I use a similar process for my color work, a Chromira (uses LEDs) instead of a Lamdba, I doubt I would use the process for B&W work. It is a different mindset, different market; plus, unlike printing color (at least for me), B&W printing is enjoyable.
     
  13. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm still fairly new to APUG, and I'm learning many things. Shouldn't this be a "Grey Area" thread? Curious. I love this forum.

    Best,
    Jas
     
  14. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Well, I'm not that new around here and I do believe you are correct....

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  15. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    The resolution of the Durst enlarger sounds a bit low. The number 7MP sticks in my head, which really isn't enough for large prints. I will stick to my digitally created negatives and a conventional enlarger.
     
  16. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

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    I've seen images prepared with the De Vere system and, considering it's still in development, the technology is interesting.
    Depending on the nature of the original image it can be very difficult to spot that the prints have been digitally derived.

    I've shown both good and less good examples to several groups of undergraduate photography students and, so far, none have spotted the truth - despite being given some very hefty clues. I'd suggest that, given 5 or so years of development, it may become almost impossible to spot "forged" images without resorting to microscopic analysis.
    What's more theres no reason why these images can't be called "Hand Prints"...
     
  17. Inkjetoutput.com

    Inkjetoutput.com Member

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    Saw samples from a Devere system (I looked into buying one) It was terrible!
    the head is a LCD rigged into the negative stage which is projected through the lens. I suppose it works great for 8x10 and smaller where the pixel count would closely match its magnification, but why would you want to enlarge pixels coming from a monitor onto a sheet of Fiber Paper?! It reminds me of the Old Digital negative method of exposing kodalith with an Apple IIC monitor...