large format scanning and printing : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Simply stated, I want to print large photos with a computer and not in a darkroom. What is the best way to get there ?

I am interested in scanning large format negatives and then printing them digitally. I would liketo be able to scan from a 4x5 to an 11x14 neg and print up to a B size (11x17) picture (even larger if possible, I like big)

Can anyone give me any advice as to which scanner, printer, paper, software, etc to buy. Are my size requirements too ambitious fora n aerage budget and if so, what size might be more affordable for a non-professional.

Also, what kind of detail (dpi, lpi, 10x mag), re sharpness, contrast, transiton, is it reasonable to expect and can it be as good as a true photo process?

Thanks, Larry

-- larry ludensky (, June 07, 1998


Be prepared to spend BIG bucks on a 4x5 negative scanner. Check macworld's product reports - I think that they reviewed a scanner within the last six months. Even if you don't have a Mac, this article will give you an idea how much the scanner costs and who manufacturers 4x5 scanners.

-- Stuart Goldstein (, June 09, 1998.

View Camera Magazine, the May/June 1998 issue, covers 4x5 scanners in a two page spread (pp.60-61). The price of the scanners that they mention range from $10K to $20K. At those prices....

-- Stuart Goldstein (, June 17, 1998.

Let's see. You'll need to spend about $6,500 for a flatbed scanner with a transparency adapter, and you still may not get quite to 11x14 negatives. Then you'll take these scans into your computer with 1.5 gigabytes of RAM and two 9 gb hard drives (one for a scratch disk), a 20-inch monitor, a tape backup etc. Figure about $13,000 for the computer (128mb DIMMs are expensive). Next you'll need a 1,200 dpi printer capable of 11x17 prints. That'll set you back about $3,500 for black-and-white. Color will run well over $10,000 at the size you want.

For all that your results won't be anywhere near photo quality.

A less expensive, higher-quality alternative is to get your negatives drum scanned and send the Photoshop files to a service bureau with a Light Jet 5000 digital printer. The Light Jet prints are extremely good, but you'll need a Power Mac stuffed with $7,200 worth of RAM to work on 11x14 drum scans. The 4x5 drum scans I've seen are around 300-350 mb. I don't even want to think about how large an 11x14 drum scan could get.

Just do it the old fashioned way in a darkroom.

-- Darron Spohn (, June 17, 1998.

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