darkroom printing with projector as enlarger

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by corey_narsted, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. I was just wondering if anybody has any experience using an LCD projector to expose photographic black-and-white paper? My goal is to find the best method of transferring a digital image onto photographic paper so that I can tone it with Halo-Chrome silver toner. Would a high-definition enlarger be required, for example, or could I make sharp 11x14 prints with a lower resolution?
     
  2. I applaud your creativity, but I can't see you getting good results from that. The resolution and dynamic range would be too small.
    The current 'fad' is to print a digital neg on transparency sheets the size that you want. You then make contact prints from it. Try a search on digital negatives.
     
  3. I think there is an enlarger that connects to a computer.
     
  4. It would be using the same technology as a 'TV' projector (LCD) and I would not expect as high of a resolution or dynamic range as a digital negative. I remember seeing one of those enlargers on freestyle. It probably costs more than a box of transparencies too...
     
  5. Your best solution is to work with a lab that has a Lightjet , a high quality printer which uses lasers to print from digital files onto regular photographic paper. Another possibility would be to have a lab make a negative from your digital images. Then you can print and process as if the original capture had been on film.
     
  6. As others have indicated, what you are proposing is highly unlikely to result in acceptable quality. Even a full high-definition TV-type projector would only give you 1920 x 1080 pixels, which would mean 98 ppi for an 11x14-inch print--assuming the paper captures all of the detail that the projector projects.
    There are several commercial labs that will print digital images on silver halide photographic paper with digital enlargers such as Lightjets, Lambdas, and Frontiers. At the cheap end, if you can settle for RC paper (probably not ideal for your toning), Mpix will make you an 11x14-inch print on real Ilford silver-halide RC paper for about $9 (see http://www.mpix.com/PrintPricing.aspx and http://www.mpix.com/Papers.aspx#metallic). At the high end, A & I (and several similar labs) will make you one on fiber-based paper for $60 and up (see http://www.aandi.com/fiber.html). Presumably in either case, you can take the print they send you and tone it.
    There are places that use digital enlargers that project light through an LCD onto the paper, and are most similar to tranditional enlargers. This can be somewhat cheaper, but I'm not sure the results are as good as what, say, a Lambda can do. There is or was a place in Alabama that called itself, IIRC, just The Lab, that offered this service, probably about $20 - $25 for an 11x14 (see http://fiberbaseprints.com/). Again, you should be able to tone the result after they send you the print.
    As others have pointed out, the use of an inkjet to print on a transparency for contact printing is your best complete do-at-home option, although I suspect that your creation of transparencies that give you the denisty curve you want on the print is a non-trivial undertaking that, at a minimum, will involve a considerable degree of trial and error for each new paper you use.
     
  7. If you are going the traditional photographic paper route you will need to invest time in mastering the process. The cost of used darkroom equipment including many enlargers is a steal these days. The negatives can be made professionally from your digital files.
    Be forwarned though that traditional printmaking is not a one day apprenticeship. Unless you are adamant about wet processing and will do a lot you are probably better printing onto high quality inkjet papers of good surface quality and texture and doing any toning electronically beforehand on your digital file. Not sure if Silver Efex Pro has toning options you want, but there are no doubt some good replicas of wet darkroom toning available in that or other software.
     
  8. I've actually been printing in darkrooms since 1997. I need to do the print in the darkroom myself because this particular toner only gives the effect I want if I throw the print into the toner directly after the developer, before the stop and fix. I found a digital enlarger that plugs into a laptop in the darkroom but since I can't find a price anywhere I'm sure it's way too expensive. I think my best bet at this point is either a digi-neg from inkjet or a commercial lab that creates negatives from files.
     
  9. One of my friend is trying to print digital images through digital projector.
    He purchased following:
    1. Optoma PK-102 DLP Pocket Projector 2000:1
    2. Laptop with Photoshop on it.
    Loaded digital image in laptop and using Photoshop displayed image as negative.
    Projected image as Enlarger head in Darkroom, try to print.
    The issue is he is not getting image properly.
    Can anyone please share your knowledge why is not printing.
     
  10. One of my friend is trying to print digital images through digital projector.
    He purchased following:
    1. Optoma PK-102 DLP Pocket Projector 2000:1
    2. Laptop with Photoshop on it.
    Loaded digital image in laptop and using Photoshop displayed image as negative.
    Projected image as Enlarger head in Darkroom, try to print.
    The issue is he is not getting image properly.
    Can anyone please share your knowledge why is not printing.
     
  11. Hi, I just did this thing today with acceptable results in black and white, I was using:
    • - Optoma EP719R @1344x1008 (75 Hz)
    • - MacBook Pro with photoshop
    • - Ilford fiber-based paper
    • - Basic b/w developer/bath/fix
    The two difficult things are:
    1. the light coming from lens of the projector is way too bright, so I:
      • reduced projector brightness (but not too much because it burns details in shadows when too low)
      • reduced exposure on photoshop (after inverting image, which is obviously necessary)
      • built a "shutter". Two opaque things (do not use paper, it needs to be a thick thing but flat), I used a note book and the lid of the paper box. I left a little split between the two (about an inch) and then taped it all together so that one hanged from the other. I would pass the split in front of the lens so that the whole paper gets a shorter exposure. You control the exposure by passing the split slower/faster in front of the lens or by making the split larger/smaller.
    2. the lightsneaking out of the projector from the sides and from the top and bottom was bouncing all over the room and it was fogging the paper before and after the exposure, so I:
      • flagged it better with red gels (although they were kind of melting as the projector was really hot)
      • used a black bag taped over the paper (just on the upper part), which I just lifted for the specific time of the exposure
    I think that you can get pretty good results on a 9x12 print. with a proper nd filter it would be easier (could even dodge&burn with a very strong filter).
    I am going to try colour as well, I will let you know how it turns out.
     
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