Digital C Print confusion

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by andrew_b|7, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Hi, I have been googling for a while now and I know this might be a really common post, I haven't found anything that clears something up for me. I was at an exhibition the other day and saw the term Digital C Print on some work. And have been wondering about it, so if I get this right, a digital C print is on regular photo paper, like Fuji Crystal Archive... and it's exposed by lasers then developed with regular dark room photo processing chemicals? I think I have that right, so is any laser printer using that process?
    Trying to work out if prints from Costco's Noristu QSS 3411 is giving me digital prints OR digital C prints? Or are those two terms the same thing?
    How about the Fuji minilabs they have in Walgreens?
    Any help for the confused very much appreciated thanks!
  2. You've got it! A "Digital C Print" is paper that gets exposed with lasers or LEDs and is then processed using RA-4 photo chemistry (or some variation of), including those Noritsu processors we see in smaller labs. A Noritsu processor typically has chemistry containers inside of it where the paper gets processed. Those chemistry containers then get replaced when they run out. Many larger scale printers (e.g. a Durst Lambda) may require a separate full-size RA-4 paper processor like we used to have in the days of color darkrooms. The "digital" part of the title simply suggests that these printers are capable of creating chromogenic prints from digital files. As for small "mini-labs" that depends. Some of them may well be printing inkjet prints, but from what I've seen most are still printing chromogenic prints. Hope this helps!
  3. Problem nowdays is Fuji have both wet and dry labs, wet ones print on RA4 wet process paper with a laser, and dry ones are inkjets. Pretty sure Noritsu have both as well. With wet process printing with RA4 paper, the image is usually put on the paper with a laser. But there are still some older optical minilab printers around, very uncommon to find these days.
    Durst Lambda printers use a laser on wet process papers, and can be used for b&w or RA4 colour paper.
    Ilford use a modified minilab printer for scanning and printing b&w film onto regular b&w roll paper, only in the UK, I believe.
    A quick google will find the specs for the printer you mentioned.
  4. Matt! That's great thanks, my head is a tad clearer now. One other thing, so if they are using RA-4 and photo paper, then can it still be classed as a straight up traditional c print? Does the digital part just imply that it came from a digital file i.e. jpeg? Or is the laser part the digital part?
    Just wondering because I shoot film, and it seems weird to then call the print a digital print, although it has eventually come from a jpeg, rather than an enlarger in a dark room. The digital part could be misunderstood as meaning it came from a digital camera... when the source was actually film... hmmmm. What do you think? Can you legitimately call a print from a laser / led and a jpeg a C-print, omitting the digital ?
  5. for the specs on the 3411, it is a wet process laser printer type minilab, and can print up to 2000 4x6 prints per hour!
    They all work by scanning film to jpegs, apply some/a lot of autocorrection and make prints.
  6. Great thanks Bob, I looked at the PDF, I didn't see anything wet other than water... but will take your word for it. (I probably didn't understand wat I read).
    Now I am wondering about silver halide. It says on the Noritsu PDF output is 'silver halide prints'. I always thought that was black and white but I guess it is just a photo sensitive chemical on the paper... found this good description.
    "Digital silver-halide printing uses real darkroom paper and an Océ printer with 3 colored lasers to expose photo-sensitive emulsion. This process creates unmatched, high quality, and professional photographic prints."
    So the silver halide is on the paper right?
    OK so now a new question. For a photo, from negative film, scanned to jpeg, from a wet laser machine... could you call the print
    Silver-halide print
    AND OR
    Digital C-print ?
    Are any of these incorrect or better than another?
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Unless you're talking to a museum or high end gallery, I don't think it matters much what it's called. And in the art world, it's always about what's in the end product, so it doesn't matter that it started as a negative.
  8. Agree Jeff. But humor me, say we are talking to a museum, are any of those terms incorrect or more appropriate than the other?
    I think I see "Chromogenic print" most often in galleries...
    has some definitions and history of them.
  10. Thanks Bob, should have known to check Wikipedia.
    First para: "Chromogenic color prints are full-color photographic prints made using chromogenic materials and processes. These prints may be produced from an original which is a color negative, slide, or digital image.

    Thought I was all clear, then I read this...
    "Prints can also be exposed using digital exposure systems such as the Durst Lambda, Océ LightJet and ZBE Chromira, yielding a digital C print (sometimes called a Lambda print or LightJet print). These are exposed using LEDs on light sensitive photographic paper and processed using traditional silver based chemistry."
    So this article implies that if it is exposed with LED then it is called a digital C print. Hmmm.
  11. Durst Lambdas are lasers. Durst Epsilons are led. Wikipedia articles are just like anything else on the web, subject to editorial errors. :)
  12. Good point Bob, I guess anything on Wikipedia has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
    I think the clearest term for me is on the Noritsu PDF you posted. It says "Output: Silver halide prints" ... so I'll go with that, no digital confusion. Thanks for all the input!
  13. Now I am wondering about silver halide. It says on the Noritsu PDF output is 'silver halide prints'. I always thought that was black and white but I guess it is just a photo sensitive chemical on the paper​
    Silver is used in both colour and black and white.

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