Digital -> Large negative for Contact Printing : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello, I have been reading about the hybrid of digital and traditional printing. The idea, as I understand it, is that the negative is drum scanned, all cropping, dodging, burning, etc is carried out in the digital domain. The digital file is then sent ***somewhere*** and they make you a large negative the size of the desired print. In turn, you contact print the large negative in you darkroom and handle the rest as has been done for years. My question: where would you send the digital file for this sort of thing? What is a service bureau? Thanks in advance for the help.

-- Keith Baker (, November 19, 2001


Dan Burkholder "wrote the book" on this process. The term service bureau is sort of dated, and that type of business is pretty hard to find right now. Sit down with your Yellow Pages and start looking for Imagesetters, typesetting, graphic design and printers. All of these types of businesses have the capability of converting your digital files into a printable large size negative.

Good luck with this wonderful way to work.

-- Joe Lipka (, November 19, 2001.

Ask Brooks Jensen at LensWork Quarterly; also see their web site re: Special Editions. You have a great idea-which LensWork is doing, unfortunately no one that I know is offering this service-it takes a powerful imagesetter-much more than the 2450s still hanging around but going fast. Basiclaly, you can output to the 2450s but you must not try for too high a dpi or # of tones-it can work based on that it really doesn't take 256 distinct shades of grey to create a pleasing, moving, quality image. Dan's book explains this, although creating negatives on the desktop inkjet printer is really something different. Also, there would be the potential to laser scan and expose fiber base paper, the process conventionally-instead, this is only being done with the much less appealing color print papers-a la Fuji Fro

-- David Stein (, November 19, 2001.


Dan Burkholder can be reashed at: where he offers the latest updates on info published in his book. You can also order the book. Type "balded iris" into Google and get a whole load of hits on the subject. Bladed Iris is the name of his publishing outfit.

The book is The Bible on the subject and includes names and addresses of "service Bureaus" who can output the negs. With the advent of the latest generation of inkjet printers, very good negs can be produced at home using tweaks to Photshop and Epson printers-all detailed in the book and on the website.

Full-sized negs are great if only that they eliminate the fabled Callier effect, that some ( Ansel Adams & Fred Picker among others) claim result is sub-optimal prints from an enlarged neg.

Contact prints and prints from cold light enlarger heads are said to eliminate that. I have found it to be true and can not get over the magic of contact prints from in-camera 4x5 and 8x10 negs. I also have a few palladium prints from digitally done negs and thay are very good too, if I do say so myself.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (richard.ilomaki@f,, November 19, 2001.


Sorry. The E Mail address is

-- RICHRRD ILOMAKI (, November 19, 2001.

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