Perhaps this post is not appropriate for the mandate of this forum but I think many will find it interesting and encouraging...
I had the chance recently in the UK to spend a weekend printing with the new Devere Digital Enlarger...and I must say its a marvel. For those of you who arent aware of it...Its essentially a regular 504 chassis which replaces the neg carrier stage with a CCD or LED unit that allows for light transmission from a 275wt quartz lamp to create a "virtual neg". The results are very impressive...For me its the ultimate to be abe to shoot on film > process the way I always do > scan the negs and work in Photoshop > then be able to continue printing with the papers and developer combinations I like and to work in a tradtional darkroom. I think its a fantastic combination of the traditional and the new...I love working in photoshop... I am convinced I am capable of much more with it than I ever was on the enlarging easle...I have just never liked the output end of the process ie inkjet or giclee...I didnt want to give up working with the traditional silverprint. The technology (at least for now) comes at a stiff price, as the 504DS (including pentium 4 processor,photoshopCS and monitor) goes for about 23,000 Euro...but the guys there are saying that soon the CCD and LED projection units will be available (for less than half this price) as seperate components for retrofitting a variety of current enlarger models...and will probably be further reduce in price if you dont want to purchased the dedicated pentium with photoshop and set it up with whatyou have at home or studio. The company in Germany which makes the digital projection units says that within 5 years all major enlarging manufacturers will offer a variety of digital enlarger models, the price will drop and will eventually lead in sales of all other models. I'm considering buying one, as I am convinced I can recoupe the costs within 6 months from making custom fiber prints from scanned negs and even more so from digital capture images...there is a definate market for this here in Prague...especially since now those who shoot only in digital can have the opportunity of having Silver gelatin fiber prints made from their digital images.
I wonder how this growing technology will effect the (inkjet) business of people like Jon cone and other third party ink quadtone gurus.
Last edited by ldh; 11-28-2004 at 12:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.
s ledem prosim
The best of both worlds.
I believe, indeed, that will be the future.
Also, it will depend of the 'resolution output' of the digital neg.
And for sure: it will be the survival of the fiber papers.
Starting already the 'saving'(?) action...:-)
I'd be interested in an LCD unit that took the place of a neg carrier in my enlarger, but concerns I would have would be--
--What is the Dmax of the LCD unit?
--The advantages of controlling tonality, fixing flaws and such (though you still have to dust the LCD unit) are real attractions to this kind of system, but pixels in this kind of screen are going to be a lot coarser than grain in film. Pixels are okay if you're just looking at the image on a screen without magnifying it, but big of an enlargement can one make from a 4x5" LCD screen before the pixels become a visible artifact?
I have been using a Lambda exposing unit for the exact same purpose for two years now. I would be curious on the ease of operation and the quality level at various sizes of this device.
We chose the Lambda Unit as we make large murals and the quality is impecable .
I was quoted $50.00 Can 1/2 year ago on the unit you describe. So it looks like the price is indeed dropping.
As stated before on this forum , these units will drive the market for black and white fibre paper over the next few years.
I use traditional and digital exposing exactly the same way as far as contrast, density , dodge and burn, therefore a working printer can make the transition quite easily.
We use this lazer / digital system on all photographic materials, RA4, Ciba and Fibre.
A project that I will be working on in the next 6 months is to produce enlarged digital negatives, up to 30"x40' for various alternative workers that I have approached through this forum and my circle of friends here in Toronto. I believe this method will work brilliantly for making platinum , cyanotype, negatives. When working in these areas years ago I found the negative stage , difficult but not impossible to master.
I have been reading a bit about this technique with ink jet, but I think putting
Black and White film in the lambda will produce a better result. As stated I am not sure this will indeed be true but all my trials and error using materials with the devices we use point me in that direction.
These Mullerston/Deveere workstations and others will invigorate a sagging market and put in the right hands the benifits could be staggering for our craft.
Last note. I still shoot film and print traditionally.
I do not believe any of these devices will produce superior quality than a large format negative printed on ones desired media.
But for transforming medium format to larger scale these new methods blow the doors off trying to magnifying in the enlarger. ie trying to make a 30x30 cibachrome or fibre print from a 21/4 square trans/neg
I agree with David about the degree of enlargement you can get, but I would personally be fine with 16x20". I have the latest version Omega 4x5, hopefully in the next 10 years the head only version will be in my price range.
Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!
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To tell you the truth guys , you are all likely more knowledgable than me about the technical aspects of these advancments...its all smoke and mirrors to me, but then again so was photoshop for me two years ago and now use it everyday...all I can say is that the results I was capable of from a scan of a 6x6 neg to 16 x 20 was equally as good or better than with a physical negative projection. I Use an omega D2V which I love...but the main thing for me with this technology is being able to use photoshop for doing what I have done for years at the easle. Of course since an enlarging lens is still involved optics quality also will be a factor like in any enlarging setup. I didnt do any work (dodging,burning etc) at all at the easle when I made my prints with the 504DS...I did all the work in PS and then tried a few different grade papers to see where I was at in calibration between what was on the screen and what ended up on the paper (including drydown) If I found I was somewhere in between grades I made some minor adjustments in photoshop, before making my final print. And of course one can affect change in contrast in the developing tray as well. I'm sure that the technology will only get better than the 8megapixlel that now exsists....I just find it very encouraging to be able to work in both worlds. Bob sorry for my ignorance but what is a Lamba..and I would be curious to know about your digital neg adventures as I may be embarking on the path as well...
Lambda is made by Durst Italy,
It uses red green blue lazers to expose , controlled by mac/pc unit
feed various files that have been worked on in photo shop
must be calibrated first for each different emulsion and thickness of substrate.
Once calibrated and exposure is done, process media then make corrections.
The beauty of this unit is that final corrections can be made at the lambda stage much like any enlarger. contrast increase / decrease is possible.
I have made up to 2/3stop increase deacrease as well as up to 30 points colour correction for colour work
The only time we go back to the file for corrections is if the above is not enough. very rarley.
We use the epson printer to output tests in advance of going to the lambda stage, to judge dodge/burn colour layering, contrast control and unsharp masking. We only use the inkjet to get us in the ballpark and then we go to the more expensive medias
I am not literate in photo shop, I did manual photo comp years ago, which is helpful. My buisness partner is a younger photographer who is very skilled with the Mac. Together we work on files and then I make the final corrections at the Lambda.
Regarding digital negs for Alternative Processes, this idea has been festering in my mind for years. Now I feel the technology can produce the enlarged negative that can be layed down on the coated paper. I really think it will take me 6 months to get my shit together on this application , but I know it is in the plans for our shop. I do not know if I will do this for commercial applications or whether to do it for my own personal satisfaction.