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.
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.
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.
Well, I'm not that new around here and I do believe you are correct....
Originally Posted by JBrunner
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.
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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"...
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...