hrst: Absolutely correct: whether 'writing' digitally to RA4 paper or doing it the standard optical way there is STILL the process itself which imparts the 'tiny fog' I speak about.
BUT...if the color print is made in a printer, the color that is not wanted ('tiny fog layer') simply does not get put onto the paper because the white part does not get compromised by any chemical process: it STAYS pure white. THAT is where digital, at least theoretically, provides potentially purer colors. - David Lyga
Just watched an ad for nappi san, whitens fibres and removes stains. Should try it on paper. :P
Yes, but color pureness if a completely different matter than Dmin.
Originally Posted by David Lyga
Our eyes have an automatic exposure control, thus any constant amount of density is automatically corrected for IF there is no comparison point in the view at the same time. This trick is constantly used by varying the background color where the prints are mounted; the same prints look totally different when mounted on black instead of white. Mounting a print with limited Dmin on a very slightly gray background makes the print look same than mounting a print with a better Dmin to a white background.
Of course, there is a limit. If the Dmin is really bad, you will need special lighting and mounting place for the print which is not practical anymore. But as the Dmin in RA-4 process as well as Ilfochrome process (which "suffers" from exactly the same "problem") is quite near, or "near enough", to good white, the problem is obvious only when specially seeking for it by comparing to, for example, a copy paper filled with optical brighteners. Cutting the white borders "hides" the problem and so it becomes purely psychological, mattering only those who know it.
But in the end, as the photographs are a medium of visual art, the end result should be what matters. On the other hand, any technology has bunch of invisible problems you just don't know about.
Color pureness you are talking about, on the other hand, or how vivid and rich colors can be reproduced, is more dependent on the dye reflectance spectra.
I think that if the OP does not like the way type C prints look, he should print inkjets. But I have personally never had a problem with the way type C prints look, however, and neither does any photo gallery I know of that displays color work. They do, however, often have problems with inkjets. Even the OP said he didn't notice the fog until he compared it to a napkin or something. (I am paraphrasing from memory here; sorry if I got it wrong.) In that case, the old cliche should be applied: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Also, "digital print" and "inkjet print" are not synonymous, though they are often being used as such in this thread. (I would actually argue that there is no such thing as a "digital print," only a "print from digital," but I see no purpose in getting deep into that here.) Digital files may be printed a number of ways (inkjet, type C, type R, offset litho, screen print via printed-out transparency, alt process via inkjet negative, etc.), just as frames of film may be printed in various different ways (silver-gelatin, type C, type R, screen, offset litho, alt process, etc). The source of the image (film frame or digital file) is separate from printing processes, for the most part. I.e. You cannot tell whether the image was shot on film or digital simply by looking at what type of print it is on a gallery tag. I could label a print shot with my Nikon digital camera as a type R print if I had printed it via Lambda/Lightjet to Ilfochrome material. And I could label a print shot with my Nikon F an inkjet print if I scanned the film and made the print with an Epson.
The use of the phrase "digital print" to mean "inkjet print" can lead to a lot of ignorance and/or misunderstanding if it is read by people who are beginners in the craft.
To me, term "digital print" defaults to RA-4 laser exposed print, which is clearly the most common type of digital print made commercially.
But my point is that the term really shouldn't default to anything so specific – and that all prints are analog, regardless of the source or the image used to make the print. There is no such thing as a "digital print." There are such and such types of prints from such and such sources. Identifying the actual print process, regardless of whether the origin is digital or analog, is the important thing.
"Digital print" really ought to mean nothing except perhaps a sloppy way to say "print from digital." It ought not be synonymous with inkjets, Lightjets, or any other type of print.
You make a good point. Just because a print comes from a digital file does not make it a "digital print". Whatever it is, it is just another form of an analog print.
Digital print is of course a printout of pixel values, presented in numbers!