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  1. #1
    olleorama's Avatar
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    Use of MF and LF slide film before the scanner?

    I was browsing throught flickr the other day to see examples of different slide film and how they rendered colours. Not a particularly good way, I know, but I still find flickr a good and interesting way of getting to know cameras, lenses and films uses and capabilities. Anyway, I saw a guy (certainly a pro) doing absolutely stunning stuff with ektachrome, and the poster claimed some of the shots were taken way back in '79. Of course I believe that, but another question arose, what was the use with larger format slides back then, before any professional scanners were available? Call me thick (quite used to that) but wasn't the first photoscanner launched in '84? I'm thinking of the hasselblad digital imaging thing used for the LA olympics amongst other things. How would you use the slides for e.g. magazines or books back then? When I think about it, how would you use any photomaterial for publishing before the digital era? Black and white for large news paper publishing I can understand, but colour work? Hmm, guess I'm just curious. My first experience with publishing was well into the digital era, when crude quality scanning was available.

  2. #2
    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    For personal use they were projeced or put onto a color reversal paper such as Ektachrome. They could have also been printed in books.
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  3. #3
    olleorama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    For personal use they were projeced or put onto a color reversal paper such as Ektachrome. They could have also been printed in books.
    Ok, they first part I understand, but hasn't reversal paper always been inferior to negative paper? Or is that just a myth?

    How would you go from a slide to print in case of the book?

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Printing magazines and books requires that multiple primary colours of ink (either Red, Green, Blue plus black or Magenta, Cyan, Yellow plus black) be applied to paper by printing presses. The distribution of ink is controlled, usually, by using plates on the printing presses. Each such plate corresponds to at least one of the primary colours of ink.

    Prior to digital, the preparation of the plates was done by preparing colour separation negatives (one negative for each colour). Each such negative was on a special black and white material. Those colour separation negatives were then "burned" on to lithographic plates, which were sensitive to UV light. The plates would then be adjusted on the press to ensure the colours were in register, the paper would be run through the presses (sometimes in multiple runs) and the result would be full colour images.

    As I understand it, in the digital world, the separation negatives are no longer made photographically, and the "burning" of the plates is done digitally as well.

    Large transparencies were also displayed back-lighted, but usually after being printed on to a material suitable for that purpose.

    An 8x10 or larger colour transparency is a wonderful thing to look at on a light-table too.

    Matt

  5. #5
    olleorama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Printing magazines and books requires that multiple primary colours of ink (either Red, Green, Blue plus black or Magenta, Cyan, Yellow plus black) be applied to paper by printing presses. The distribution of ink is controlled, usually, by using plates on the printing presses. Each such plate corresponds to at least one of the primary colours of ink.

    Prior to digital, the preparation of the plates was done by preparing colour separation negatives (one negative for each colour). Each such negative was on a special black and white material. Those colour separation negatives were then "burned" on to lithographic plates, which were sensitive to UV light. The plates would then be adjusted on the press to ensure the colours were in register, the paper would be run through the presses (sometimes in multiple runs) and the result would be full colour images.

    As I understand it, in the digital world, the separation negatives are no longer made photographically, and the "burning" of the plates is done digitally as well.

    Large transparencies were also displayed back-lighted, but usually after being printed on to a material suitable for that purpose.

    An 8x10 or larger colour transparency is a wonderful thing to look at on a light-table too.

    Matt
    Ah, now my brain can rest for a while. I knew vaguely about the printing plates, but had no idea about the stages between.

  6. #6
    John Jarosz's Avatar
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    An 8x10 or larger colour transparency is a wonderful thing to look at on a light-table too.
    Even 4x5 are jaw dropping on a light table

  7. #7
    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    Well, I personally think that a reversal paper like Ilfochrome can yield prints that look just as good as the original transparency.
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  8. #8
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    Well, I personally think that a reversal paper like Ilfochrome can yield prints that look just as good as the original transparency.
    Unfortunately this has not (yet) been my experience. I have never seen ilfos that didn't have certain artifacts from contrast masking. I realize that "in the day" there were masters of ilfochrome, but... as yet I have not seen anything close to the impact of a projected slide. And I say that somewhat ruefully, because I love my slide films!

    Anyway, back to the original question... you can do a lot of analogue things with slides. You can project them, you can ciba/ilfochrome them, you can make a neg, you can make an instant print and do an image or emulsion transfer. You can probably make color sep negs and do all manner of gum and dye transfer prints. I also sometimes make b&w images via an interneg. All of that and I haven't mentioned drum scanning or anything digital yet....
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  9. #9
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Alright, since Jason mentioned drums I will mention lightjet and chromira output from a drum... no contrast masking but yeah, we don't chat about that much here.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  10. #10
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Transparencies were preferred by most photographers and editors because the positive image was the finished product. Easy to make layouts and colors were not arbitrary. Compared to making prints which then had separations made, they were cheaper and faster, and separations were higher quality, as they were first generation copies.

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