enlarged negatives via inkjet

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by andy-, Sep 19, 2001.

  1. While trolling through the archives, I found reference to a technique by Dan Burkholder to make enlarged negs via an inkjet printer. As I understand, the process involves scanning the neg and doing any contrast control, etc., in Photoshop. The enhanced and enlarged PS negative is next printed to an 8x10 inkjet 'film' which is then contact printed onto any traditional paper type.

    <p>

    Does anybody have any experience or seen the results of this technique? I'm a bit of a traditionalist but the idea appeals to me and still allows a traditional silver print as the end product. How is the quality, and would it allow retouching a 4x5 neg for enlarging to 8x10 or 16x20?
     
  2. Sorry, not an answer, but I'd like to expand upon the question if I
    may. I too am intrigued, as I prefer to contact print...if one
    starts with an 8x10 negative, how good of a scanner is required
    (except that it is capable of a high dMax)? I'm sure that the output
    to the new Epsons is nice, but how archival is the ink when printing
    on injet "film"?
     
  3. Andy:

    <p>

    Dan Burkholder has his own site which, among other things, provides a
    table of contents for his book on digital negatives (see
    http://www.danburkholder.com/).

    <p>

    I have used digital output for photopolymer gravure and
    screenprinting, but I have not had any experience producing negatives
    for platinum or gum bichromate work. From a quick reading of Dan
    Burkholder's table of contents, however, you get the impression that
    the quality of your output depends a great deal on the quality of the
    original scan and the type of print device used. According to the
    table of contents, his book spends one chapter (CH 12) on the inkjet
    and describes it's limitations and potential for future use. Most of
    the book, however, seems to deal with non-desktop equipment including
    high-end imagesetters and drum scanners.

    <p>

    My sense is that the combintion of a high quality drum scan and output
    to an imagesetter will provide excellent negatives, even by some
    traditionalist standard. On the other hand, a deskstop scan combined
    with output to a typical inkjet printer (even the new Epson) will
    yield different and, for some printers, less desirable results.

    <p>

    IMHO it depends on the type of image you are attempting to create and
    the look you try to achieve in your work. It may also be a function of
    your own feelings about output generated by the inkjet. Some
    photographers like the appearance of inkjet prints and some don't. By
    the same token, some will use injets to produce digital negatives and
    some will require imagesetter output.

    <p>

    .....................................
     
  4. Many people are doing this, or at least trying it. Dan's method
    doesn't involve making the negative on your home ink jet printer as I
    recall (I read the book about six months ago). You do everything at
    home except print the negative, then take the disc to a service
    bureau where the negative is actually made. If my memory is correct,
    he says that home ink jet printers haven't yet reached the stage of
    producing acceptable (to him at least) negatives. There has been a
    lot of discussion about digital negatives on the alt process list.
    Some people seem to be making them but you see a lot of discussion
    about all sorts of problems to which there doesn't appear to be an
    easy solution. One of the main ones seems to be finding a suitable
    substrate, one that will provide sufficient density in the highlights
    and adequate detail in the shadows. People don't seem to be using a
    film type substrate because of problems with the ink puddling,
    inadequate density, and other things that now escape me. FWIW, my
    impression from reading Dan's book and from reading many of the
    discussions in the alt.process list over the last several years is
    that it's something that can be done with a lot of trouble and iffy
    results but whose time from a technology standpoint really isn't
    quite here yet. If you subscribe to the alt process list you can go
    to the archives and you should be able to find a lot of information.
    I don't have subscription information handy but perhaps someone else
    will post it or send me an e mail if you're interested and I'll dig
    it out.
     
  5. I know I will probably get a lot of bad press here for being old and
    bull-headed... but am I wrong in thinking that an enlargement is an
    enlargement at any stage of the game. Am I wrong in thinking that a
    negative that is enlarged by digital methods will lose some of the
    subtle detail that is possible to obtain with origional contact
    printed negatives??? -Dave
     
  6. I might be wrong about this but it seems that the contact print is
    simply a means to an end, rather than the objective of the whole
    exercise. The appeal to me is that the process would seem ideal for
    correcting any defects - such as dust, scratches, or out of control
    highlights, for example - on the neg and still allow a traditional
    print to be made, either by contact or for that matter outputting back
    to a 4x5 neg and using an enlarger. Again, I could be wrong about this
    but it makes sense that it would be much simpler to eliminate the
    enlarging step, and necessary equipment, entirely by output to an 8x10
    negative and contact printing.
     
  7. Take a look at the LensWork Quarterly site, Special Editions, they are
    doing this to a high level, outputting a master negative through
    digital means, then contact printing on fiber base paper-an
    outstanding marriage of digital and traditional. It requires an
    extremely high dpi imagesetter to get those results-but every B&W
    photographic image needn't have 256 tones, either.
     
  8. large InkJet positives for Patino contact printing.......
    Epson 3000 .....Using WestJet transparency film and
    epson inks.

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    Go to www.westjet.com - ask for kevin newell !!!!!
    Film is available in many sizes and priced right.

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    we are using Quad Tone inks and getting good results ---
    both on paper (watercolor or acid-free museum quality)
    and film
    Tonal quality is excellent - Life exspectancy for these
    prints is 200 years.

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    I'm using Epson/Westjet positives for very fine detail
    when making silkscreens. (at a considerable savings over
    traditional silver film or laser image-setting output)

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    Best results to you........Bru
     
  9. Thanks for the tip! However, the URL you gave led me to an airline's
    web site! A web search hasn't turned up anything on West Jet
    inkjet film yet. Can anyone help?
     
  10. Just an FYI-

    <p>

    the current issue of Photo Techniques magazine has a multi-page
    article written by Dan Burkholder regarding his enlarged digital
    negatives. He speaks of which Epson printers he recommends (Epsons,
    duh!), what transparency films he prefers, etc.

    <p>

    This process excites me, because of my past experiences with
    Photoshop, and my love for silver and platinum prints.

    <p>

    If anybody has any additional info, I would love to keep this thread
    continuing.

    <p>

    Andy Biggs
     
  11. I bought Burkholder's book, and found it completely confusing, and
    the proceedure much too complicated.
     
  12. I have the book, and I thought it was fairly good. He has some
    tutorial-like chapters on this that I more or less skipped, so I
    can't comment on how it is for a real beginner to digital imaging.
    He does have a sense of humor in the book, which is nice. I was able
    to make a few inkjet negs (Epson 870) and then silver prints, and
    they look fine except I have to tune my curves for my paper to lower
    contrast.
     
  13. I've just bought Dan's book and it seems very usable to me. Yes, it does go into detail about the high end scanning and imagesetting, but he's also making negatives with inkjets- his preferences seem to be the 1270 and 1160 epsons. He suggests fantastic results using the 1160 with piezography BW inks, software (http://www.piezography.com/piezographyBW.html) and pictorico film (pictorico.com). He's posted curves for many of the epsons at his site. Read the FAQ's, they're quite helpful.

    Now, having said all that, I can't tell you how they turn out since I'm just starting, but I feel prepared enough by the site and book to dive in.

    http://www.danburkholder.com/Pages/misc_pages/inkjetneg.htm
     
  14. Earlier this year, I decided it was time to 'invest in a scanne fo making slightly enlarged negatives onto 'Pitorico' for the 'alt photo' processes via an inexpensive Cannon I believe its the 'colour of the ink' on printing the negative (rather than the DPI) to provide the best results.

    Ken
     
  15. Take a look at work done by Dick Arentz, Tillman Crane, Bob Herbst and Sandy King.
    All use digitally made enlarged negatives for excellent images for many print processes. Some use film and scan, some use digital and enlarge from there. Have seen Platinum/Palladium 16x20's from a Fuji X-Pro1 digital body that are excellent. Have seen hand poured Carbon prints that size from 6x7 film negatives that are excellent.

    Bob Herbst wrote the section on digital negatives when Dick Arentz re-did his book on Platinum printing. Doesn't get any better than that.
     

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