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  1. #1

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    I am interested in AZO contact printing of 12x20 negatives. What are your experiences and which is easier, using digitally enlarged negatives (i.e. purchasing and using software, printers, pigments, etc. etc.) or simply buying a 12x20 camera and doing it the old fashioned way? Pros and cons of each.

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    You arent going to get near the sharpness and quality from an enlarged negative as you would from a "real" 12x20 negative. They are two different beasts. In my opinion, each has its place.
    hi!

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Francesco
    I am interested in AZO contact printing of 12x20 negatives. What are your experiences and which is easier, using digitally enlarged negatives (i.e. purchasing and using software, printers, pigments, etc. etc.) or simply buying a 12x20 camera and doing it the old fashioned way? Pros and cons of each.
    Digital negatives have some clear advantages over original camera negatives. They can be adjusted in Photoshop to give exactly the tonal range desired and any corrections, burning and dodging that is needed can be done on screen so that in effect you have negative that will print perfectly every time. Another consideration is that since you are adjusting the on-screen image to give exactly what you want to see on the print exposure times and contrast will be virtually identical for every negative. Always scan at a minimum of 360dpi at the final print size. For example, if you plan to make a 15X21" digital negative from a 5X7, which amounts to a 3X enlargement of the original you should scan the original at a minimum of 1080dp. Also, to avoid posterization always scan in 16 bits and keep the file in 16 bits in Photoshop all the way to final output. Since many of the tools are not useful in 16 bit in older version of Photoshop you will need th latest version of Photoshop, known as Photoshop CS or Photoshop 8, to get maximum image quality as it pertains to tonality.

    The question most people have is how digital negatives from inkjet printers compare to those from in-camera originals. The answer is very well indeed. In fact I would go so far as to say that in many ways the prints I make from digital negatives are better than the ones I make from in-camera originals. This is due to the fact that I am able to adjust the tonal values of the digital negative to exactly what I want and can also enhance the apparent sharpness of the negative with the unsharp mask option.

    Opinions will vary on this but bear in mind that my views on the subject are based on extensive printing with several alternative processes using both large format and ULF negatives, including 12X20, as well as enlarged digital negatives. In my own work I find that 13X19” prints made from digital negatives of scanned 5X7” originals are of virtually identical quality to prints made from original in-camera negatives of 12X20” in size. Please note that my reference is carbon, kallitype and palladium prints on art papers where the texture of the paper is the limiting factor in sharpness, not the negative. What you find is that with digital negatives you are limited by both the paper surface and the resolution of Pictorico film to a maximum resolution of somewhere between 300-360lpi (or about 14lpm). Since a diamter of 1/100 of an inch, or about 5lpm, is generally accepted as the largest circle that will appear as a point at normal viewing distance the practical resolution of digital inkjet negatives is two to three times greater than necessary.

    If the final print is to be made on AZO I am of the opinion that an original in-camera negative would give slightly superior results on the final print than an inkjet negative because with a very smooth paper the resolution of the negative is the controlling factor in apparent sharpness, not the paper.

    The disadvantage of working with digial negatives is that you will have to spend a fair piece of change on computer equipment and software, plus a good scanner and printer. And if you don't already know how to work with Phtoshop there will be a learning curve involved. And finally, you will have to spend a great deal of time at the computer.

    Sandy King

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmac
    You arent going to get near the sharpness and quality from an enlarged negative as you would from a "real" 12x20 negative. They are two different beasts. In my opinion, each has its place.
    My comment were based on Silver Geletin prints. I agree with Sandy about the paper being the limiting factor for sharpness with AP prints.
    hi!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking
    The question most people have is how digital negatives from inkjet printers compare to those from in-camera originals. The answer is very well indeed.... Sandy King
    Have you enlarged any negatives from high resolution (i.e. 3800 dpi) drum scans which were subsequently output from an imagesetter?

  6. #6
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    Sandy, I have tried printing digital negatives on Pictorico OHP and I can easily see a "texture" to the negative that is not there on paper or the white film. This carries over to the print when using silver gelatine prints. I have also seen some of Jorge's platinum prints and I beleive that the texture would also be visible in these. Do you see the "texture", for lack of a better word, in your negatives made on OHP with the 2200? I would love to make platinum prints as fine as Jorge's but I doubt it will work with OHP - am I wrong?

    I have made fine digital negatives with the pictorico white film for silver printing.

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    [quote="c6h6o3"]
    Quote Originally Posted by sanking
    Have you enlarged any negatives from high resolution (i.e. 3800 dpi) drum scans which were subsequently output from an imagesetter?

    Yes, I have had some drum scans done of 12X20 negatives, though at a lower resolution (about 1500 dpi I believe). I found them no better than the scans I make of negatives this size on my Epson 836XL.

    I have printed other imagesetter negatives with a resolution of up to 850dpi. No difference in resolution between the 360dpi inkjet negatives with kallitype and palladium printing since the paper itself limits resolution to about 360lpi or less.

    For silver gelatin paper on smooth papers I believe that the higher resolution imagesetter negative would make a difference.

    Sandy King

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    Quote Originally Posted by L Gebhardt
    Do you see the "texture", for lack of a better word, in your negatives made on OHP with the 2200? I would love to make platinum prints as fine as Jorge's but I doubt it will work with OHP - am I wrong?

    What you see is the dithering pattern of the printer. With my Pictorico negatives from the 2000P I can see a dithering pattern if I look at the negative thorugh a loupe of about 5-10X magnification, but this dithering pattern is not visible on the print because it is broken up by the textue of the paper surfaces used in palladum printing. I am certain that the Epson 2200 would give even better results on Pictorico since it has higher resolution than my 2000P, which it replaced.

    With smooth surface silver gelatin paper surfaces it is possible that you would see the dithering pattern in the highlights of the print.

    "I have made fine digital negatives with the pictorico white film for silver printing.
    "

    The white Pictorico film does not work for palladium printing as it blocks UV light like mad.

    Sandy King

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    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    Sandy, I know the white film does not work. I was not clear enough in my question I guess. What I want to know is do you see a "texture" on OHP, or am I doing something wrong when printing on OHP with my Epson 2200. I don't see how the negatives I am getting would be acceptable compared to a film negative.

  10. #10

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    Don't underestimate how time consuming making digital negatives can be. You will spend alot of time calibrating your equipment, and in this case you will also have to maintain a darkroom.
    I would venture to say that you would get a superior result (at least with silver prints) if you use the traditional process.
    You may want to start with 4x5 or 8x10, 12x20 is an expensive format to learn with.

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