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  1. #1
    daleeman's Avatar
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    Are labs now scanning and digitally printing?

    Have you experienced your lab of choice digitally scanning your film and then digitally printing on a high end ink jet kind of printer? I had a conversation with my favorite lab of choice and they no longer offer enlarged prints created from an enlarger and souped.

    Is this the future of all professional labs, especially the color labs?

    Lee

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    It's not the future, it's the present. Very few labs still do optical machine prints. Some labs will still do optical lab prints, but the will generally be costly and must be ordered individually.

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I would guess that 99.9% of all lab prints are made with digital means, i.e. scanning and digital paper exposure.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    I think most laboratories are hybrid. They do scan, but then they often print on photographic paper so they do the "souped" part of your question. I don't think it is common to print with ink-jet technology.

    The printing on photographic papers is made with machines like the Durst Lambda, which projects coloured light with continuous tone on the paper. This is, in fact, optical printing although it is not made with an enlarger.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  5. #5

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    I agree with everyone above. My lab also has this option to print on "fine art" paper of my choice which they print in a high end inkjet.
    My portfolio (film mostly):
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tsts/

  6. #6
    daleeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    I think most laboratories are hybrid. They do scan, but then they often print on photographic paper so they do the "souped" part of your question. I don't think it is common to print with ink-jet technology.

    The printing on photographic papers is made with machines like the Durst Lambda, which projects coloured light with continuous tone on the paper. This is, in fact, optical printing although it is not made with an enlarger.
    Work-flo and cash-flo certainly would dictate this kind of process. I should send a well kept negative into a lab I had printed back in 1991 or 92 and compare the difference.

    Might Apug be a good place to collect a list of true optical and soup labs still in existance? This might help those skilled lab workers to keep their jobs and keep the art alive too. I fear the number of individuals who know how to actually work film in the labs that handle commercial or art printing has dropped a lot.

    Even my favorite B&W custom printer gal I use to make large and or museum quality prints for me has taken a send job to keep her 2nd generation lab open. (plug for her, Chris @ www.theimageinn.com )

  7. #7
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    I think most laboratories are hybrid. They do scan, but then they often print on photographic paper so they do the "souped" part of your question. I don't think it is common to print with ink-jet technology.

    The printing on photographic papers is made with machines like the Durst Lambda, which projects coloured light with continuous tone on the paper. This is, in fact, optical printing although it is not made with an enlarger.
    A lot more common than you think. The new Fuji dry machines are nothing to sneeze at. Custom optical prints aren't exactly bargain-priced now.

    Baffles me how some assume that only analog workflow/optical printing require any degree of skill.
    Last edited by CGW; 07-06-2012 at 08:15 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8

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    its been that way for 5-10 years

    there are still labs like BLUE MOON
    that hand process and hand print everything

  9. #9
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Most labs have switched to either Lambda , Lightjet, or Chromira and offer Inkjet as well.
    My lab is a Lambda lab, and we have inkjet,, we still make optical BW prints, and are soon to offer contact exposure alternative process using hybrid technology. We also image from the Lambda directly to silver gelatin paper and wet process- thanks Harmon for still making this paper.

    The Lambda is exactly like a Durst CLS 2000 or above and uses laser exposure rather than halogen light exposure. One difference is the Lambda can out print 10 optical darkrooms.
    All the old good optical technicians are working on these units so do not worry about our jobs... but thanks for the thought..

    In my experience as a lab owner in Toronto, competing against Colourgenics , Toronto Image Works, and others the bulk of imaging today in Toronto is on inkjet and RA4 being second, and optical prints a very distant third.
    I do enough Optical prints a year for my wife and I to survive quite nicely for as long as Simon makes paper{ We would have to move out of Toronto for cheaper rent but there still is enough film and prints to have a good life}.. But Elevator has overhead and staff to consider and Elevator would be out of business without digital printing to ink or RA4. The core business is what allows me to expand into a very niche pigment carbon and platinum area where it will take time to generate enough business to survive.

    The future is now on us with flatbed imaging directly to substrates like diabond,metal and sintra. The quality is not there yet and I bet the farm that it will only be a matter of time before the quality will match good inkjet on paper.
    These units are around 120k and the price will drop as the quality goes up.
    As CGW points out that the Fuji dry prints are amazing good, I toured the Fuji Plant here in Mississauga and considered one of these units I was blown away with the potential but it does not match our service platform.
    I figure within two years every Mom and Pa shop in NA will have one going. Probably at every corner variety store as well. This unit is 10k which in a lab world is very little investment for the potential gain.

  10. #10
    Mustafa Umut Sarac's Avatar
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    I havent ordered a print for last 10 years or more since kodak traditional machines dissapperad. Half of the labs use terrible gretag machines here , they scan good but print terrible. I wouldnt use a ink jet printing lab either.

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