Options for printing from transparencies?
I wish to have some medium format transparencies printed but I am a little unsure of the options available to me. Ilfochrome has been described to me as the only conventional material left for printing transparencies. Are there other options ?
What is Fuji Chrystal Archive printing ?
Last edited by thefizz; 08-06-2006 at 08:46 AM. Click to view previous post history.
"Are there other options ?"
Yes, a few. Mostly they involve scanning the transparency and printing on any of a number of digital printers. These vary from inkjets ( either home or lab -based) to laser- type printers such as the LightJet; Chromira; or Lambda that use conventional photographic papers to produce a print that looks much like a wet print. Lots of labs offer these "hybrid" services now - some are very good at it and can make prints that many people consider exceed the quality of wet prints from transparencies in terms of detail, sharpness and repeatability, especially if large prints are required. A look at West Coast Imaging's web-site ( www.westcoastimaging.com ) will show you what a high-end lab has on offer.
Much more cheaply the Fuji Frontier and comparable mini-labs offer a mechanised scan and print onto photographic paper print process for small and medium-sized that is very cheap.
As ever though the quality of the output is going to depend at least as much on who does it as on the method selected. Not all Frontier labs are equal, and not everyone with a LightJet and a drum scanner makes great prints. In general terms a lab offering LightJet type services is able ( for a price) to carry out adjustments to your file which affect the way your prints will look; whereas a minilab based service like a Frontier want to take your transparency or digital file and make a print from it with no custom alteration. Its getting close to the old "hand print" and "machine print" nomenclature.
It is still possible I believe to produce prints from slides by having an interneg made and then a C-print. Personally I haven't had great results from this process and it is not a route I follow, but a minority of labs still offer it.
Crystal Archive is a family of papers made by Fuji for type C colour printing. It is not a style of printing and indeed various forms of Crystal Archive are used both in wet prints from colour negs, and in the above-mentioned LightJets, Chromiras etc. It is available in gloss, matte, and supergloss.
Originally Posted by thefizz
Fuji Crystal Archive Photo Paper is a type C paper. In order to print on this paper from transparencies, the transparencies are prepared as a digital negative and printed to this paper through the computer that operates the digital printer. Machines that are standardly used to print transparencies to Fuji Crystal Archive Photo include the Chromira, Durst Lambda, and the LightJet. These machines print using lasers or leds for their light sources which are red, blue, and green.
Ilfochrome is the only direct optical printing material left for printing positive transparencies. The other options involve a scanning step. A high-quality digital (there's that word again) image can be printed on light-jet technology by a lab on RA4 color print material (Fuji Crystal Archive is RA4). There are few labs left that print on Ilfochrome. Our own Bob Carnie is one. Check out his website:
"I always take a camera, That way I never have to say 'Gee, look at that - I wish I had a camera'" -Joe Clark, H.B.S.S.
Good round up but just one quibble... The prints made by a lightjet, etc ARE wet prints. They use the same paper and chemicals so the resulting print is exactly the same (from a materials standpoint) as any made in a "traditional" way, if you can call processes made in the 70's traditional...
Originally Posted by David Henderson
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I do believe that there are some labs that use Ilfochrome materials with their light jet printers.
Originally Posted by Lopaka
As mentioned above, we print traditionally and digitally onto all materials as well as Ilfochrome Classic *ciba* and Harmon Technology digital fibre base stock.
In fact I am printing fibres today using the lambda digital device which is red green and blue laser method and my traditional sinks for processing. Tommorow I will be using the enlargers and traditional sinks.
very exciting times.
I'm only aware of one lab, near Flagstaff, that does optically printed Ilfochrome. I'm sure there are more, but I'm not aware of them. Most of my work these days is Fuji Crystal Archive, although Bob Carnie has printed a couple of my images on Ilfochrome (I want to do more of these, but I am holding off until I move).
There are also those out there that are still doing dye transfer printing using the traditional processing methods that print from transparencies, color negs or in camera B&W seperation negs. Some I believe still do some printing on a commercial basis.
Originally Posted by Lopaka
A question which I hope isn't hijacking the originator's thread. Is another option to use a slide copier. Either a simple one attached to the camera or an illumitrans slide copier except that instead of loading it with another slide film for copying, you load it with colour neg?
Of course this begs the question of why copy onto colour negs for RA4 prints when you could cut out the "middle-man" and simply use colour neg film.
However if you only wanted the occasional print and otherwise projected slides then if this would work, would it be an option with reasonable quality?