digital enlarger

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by ray-clemmer, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. anyone ever retro a cheap digital projector into a digital Enlarger for their darkroom?... looking for equipt used and the results obtained....
  2. The resolution would be terrible but it would work.
  3. steve, you mean the lens will be soft or there will be pixel problems?
  4. I suppose you know this, but producing a wet print from a digital image would be more expensive than and produce
    worse results than would making an inkjet print.
  5. Any "cheap digital projector" is going to have extremely low resolution, 1 MP or less. Unless you're making wallet-size prints--and that would harly seem worth any trouble--the resolution is going to be very low. And that's ignoring all of the other problems and challenges that could well exist.
    Durst or somebody made a digital enlarger, I guess mostly for printing digital images onto FB paper in a wet darkroom. I suspect it cost many thousands of dollars. From what I've seen (a couple of test prints), the quality was good, though.
  6. there is no 'ink jet' print that can compare with a silver gelatin b/w print and never will be... i'm not a rich man and can't afford this--> .... looking for alternatives.... digital negative processing is simple with software, much more so than dodging and burning ever was . . . why the photo community hasn't embraced a cross between the old and new technologies, taking the best of both, and made the best of both possible i dont understand other than to say the corporate has had their influence too much so for the artist to see such a happening take place.... side by side in a gallery the 'ink jet' to me looks like a piece of @%^$ when hung beside a quality darkroom made product... the digital camera is a blessing but the counterpart inkjet print is not, and that is my humble opinion.yours will probably be different, i'm sure
  7. The problem they speak of with a digital projector is that there will be a lot of pixelation. It could be a neat effect if done right, but it would be nowhere close to that of a regular enlarger. DeVere and Durst make/made digital enlargers, and the price on the Dursts were well into the tens of thousands of dollars. Expensive enough you could only justify the cost by using it in a commercial lab setting.
  8. everyone, please explain what you mean by the 'resolution'..? pixels showing? what?... when i see a projected LARGE image from a projector it looks fine, why would it not result in a decent 16x20? when it looks good wall size..?
  9. You can get a B & W gelatin-silver print from a digital file using a lightjet printer, if that's what you want. Mpix (and probably many other labs) offer this as a routine service at a reasonable price.
    IIRC, the paper is a special Ilford RC paper optimized for lightjet. Some high-end custom labs will do lightjet to fiber-based paper.
  10. Dave, thanks, never heard the term 'lightjet' so i did a search ... .... and of course this cool idea is out of production, i guess its cost was just too much.. but i do see the labs that still have them in use.. thanks for the alternative.. but heck, i like to diy, of course, satisfying the creative urge.... but have almost completely given up film for a memory card from the great convenience, but the for the few 'good ones' i do prefer silver prints.. dang, just wish there was a good cross technology darkroom product avail for the home, guess not..
  11. I remember reading about a company that would make a "negative" from a digital image then use a traditional optical enlarger and traditional B&W paper to make a print. I don't know what they were using as the base of the negative and how they printed on it.
    Have you read either of these or googled "digital silver gelatin print"
  12. I didn't know that light jets weren't around anymore. If so, most digital places have a "light jet" type of set up, often made by Noritsu. It exposes C41 paper by projecting the digital file as a negative on to the paper. It is usually a much less expensive process than ink jet. I've never used it for b/w so don't know how good the blacks and contrast are. But I'd adventure to say that the majority of consumer printed photographs produced commercially are by the "light jet" type of process. There are now however, fiber papers for digital inkjets and some of them are really good. It's just that inkjet process seems expensive when you start getting to larger prints.
  13. Wish I had an answer to you’re question about finding a digital enlarger.
    All I can do is sympathies with you’re dilemma as the problem also exist on the flip side of hybrid photography. There are many people who use film and are not happy with affordable film scanner choices on the market. (me included) So my humble opinion matches yours on the burdens of hybrid photography but I will dodge and burn for a silver gelatin b/w print.
    Hope to see good affordable digital enlargers and film scanners available but I don’t think it is likely. Its not for the masses and no room for BIG money to be made.
  14. I could believe that a wet print made from a negative is superior to an inkjet print made from a digital file, but I can't believe that a wet print made form a digital file is superior to an inkjet print made from that same digital file.

    To say it another way, any advantage a wet print has over an inkjet print comes from the process being entirely non-digital. Once the negative is scanned, that advantage (if it ever existed) is gone.

    The above has nothing at all to do with another issue, which may even apply to the OP, which is that, for a given individual, it's certainly possible that his or her wet prints are superior to inkjet prints. The processes involved are completely different, and one could be a master of one without being a master of the other.
  15. i contacted Freestyle and asked their opinions on the subject.. here is the response..

    Hi Ray,

    The DeVere digital enlargers are expensive (~$25,000) per unit. I am not
    sure if you are familiar with Dan Burkholder ( but
    he is the person that mixes both digital and traditional media. There
    are a lot of people using digital negatives using Dan's methods and have
    really good success. He has a book "Making Digital Negatives" & a
    companion CD "Inkjet Negative Companion" that will show you how to print
    digital negatives for contact printing

    I use this process but do alternative processes with a digital negative
    since I don't have access to a wet darkroom.

    Let me know if you need more information or have more questions.

    Oliver Tan
    Retail Asst. Manager
    323.660.3460 x152
  16. The DeVere digital enlargers are expensive (~$25,000) per unit.​
    Wow that’s out of reach for most I’m sure! Looks like a nice unit though.
  17. There are absolutely several ways to do what you want. Which to use depends on your budget, taste, quality standards, etc. But using a garden-variety digital projector is not one of them. So:
    * If you want to print a digital file on fiber-based silver-halide paper, there are several commercial services that do this. The best known in the U.S. may be A & I (see, e.g.,, but there are several others. This will not be cheap: typically $50 for an 8x10. All of them use some variety of digital printer that uses LED's or lasers to expose silver-halide paper. The machine may be a Lambda or a LightJet or a Chromira or maybe some similar machine. IIRC, such machines make $25,000 look cheap. Such machines, properly operated, should produce better results than the De Vere 504DS and similar machines.
    * If you want to save a little money and will settle for De Vere 504DS quality, try this place: IIRC, they charged about $20 or $30 for an 8x10.
    * If you will settle for resin-coated silver-halide paper, Mpix ( will print you an 8x10 for less than $3.
    * If you really want to control it all and print in your own darkroom, but $25,000 for your own digital enlarger won't work, then what you have to do is contact print using a negative printed by inkjet on a plastic transparency, as suggested above.
    The digital projector only looks okay because you're looking from a distance. Even a full high definition TV only looks good because (1) you view it from relatively far away and (2) the motion to some extent masks the lack of quality. If you used a full-high-def projector (1920 x 1080 pixels) to make prints, anything over about 4x6 inches would start looking bad.
  18. IMO, you really have to see what digital printing has to offer. There is a larger selection of papers, and there are
    printers that can produce darker blacks than wet printing could ever do. I was blown away at what could be done, with
    my last printer.
  19. Digital enlarger? That would be a scanner and inkjet these days.

Share This Page