Print Quality Via 4X5 transparency /Scanned/Photoshop/Digital Printed : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've read that scanning a 4X5 transparency with a 2400X2400 scanner, manipulating the image with Photoshop, and printing on a high quality printer yields excellent results. As a beginner, I wonder never have seen examples of this kind of work, does the final print somehow lack the "analog" realism that is achieved through the normal contact print or traditionally enlarged print? Is something different about it? Or as I hope, it is indistinguishable, from the traditional enlargement technique?

Thanks to all who may answer-this is a terrific forum

-- Al Cherman (, February 01, 2002


If you have a gallery nearby, you may be able to judge the results for yourself. Any photos identified as "Lightjet" prints have been digitally printed.

-- Michael Chmilar (, February 01, 2002.

as i've mentioned on this forum a few times, in my experience, the digital prints i have had made from my CTs are FAR superior to conventional prints made directly from the CTs. i admit that the lab i use for my professional work has absolutely top-of-the-line equipment, and they are extremely good at it, but i would say there isnt even a close comparison in either sharpness or in color balance - the digital prints are just extraordinary, even when viewed with a 10X loupe.

-- jnorman (, February 01, 2002.

"Or as I hope, it is indistinguishable, from the traditional enlargement technique?"

I don't necessarily think that should be our goal, so I won't address that. However, as a way of subverting the inkjet vs. silver halide and piezography® arguments, do take a scanned black and white negative (even on a quality flatbed), work it in Photoshop and upload a digital file of sufficient resolution to a service like Ofoto (excellent work and responsiveness in my experience). You will get back a "digitally exposed" print on photographic paper that is superb-demonstrating how much quality (vis a vis traditional enlarging) is in that scanned file. THEY LOOK GREAT. I do endorse Ofoto-amazed how well they have done graytone images; the black and prints are neutral-not sepia or blue. Like many on this list, I enjoy inkjet printing, silver halide contact printing and silver halid enlarging, but also would like to see a practical, affordable means to create a digital output that can be contact printed on fiber base paper, a la LensWork Quarterly Special Editions. Have the best of

-- David Stein (, February 01, 2002.

"We make photographs with our mind and with our heart, cameras are just tools." -Arnold Newman

The same can be said for the darkroom so while much depends on the quality of the scan and the print, digital darkroom work offers a degree of precise control & repeatability that no analog darkroom work can touch, that is something everyone agrees on. Whether or not you can get "heart' into the mix is another matter. Just like skilled "wet" darkroom work, this may you no time at all or years to master, if ever.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, February 01, 2002.

Charles Cramer prints in this fashion. You can find examples of his work at I've had a chance to see quite a lot of his work close up, and it's beautiful.

After seeing that quality of work, one has to wonder whether combining a densely scanned transparency with Photoshop doesn't extend color photography beyond that which is possible with traditional enlargement.

-- neil poulsen (, February 02, 2002.

Color printing in the wet room may become obsolete much sooner than printing black and white as many has espoused. The quality of color work done digitally is amazing. I look at prints all the time in galleries and the color prints I see are astounding in their color fidelity and detail. It was especially apparent at PhotoLA this year. Any time you get to Socal, have a look at The Ansel Adams Gallery in Carmel or Yosemite and see what is being done with digital color printing. And most of the good prints are ink jet printed on color papers to begin with. What Burkett does with dye transfer Charles Cramer does with digital prints. The quality is excellent and the route to the final image is much easier digitally. James

-- james (, February 02, 2002.

Hi Al,

What I have learned recently is this... Some of the lab have the equipments to print your scanned negs. (digital files with photoshop corrections) on photographic paper (type R)... I have the opportunity to look at them and it's impossible to tell the difference from the traditonal type R print from a neg. and from a digital files. Of course I think that if the digital file is not up to the task... I will see that's something to think about digital world...

-- dan n. (, February 02, 2002.

I agree with jnorman as well....the 2 pro labs we use for our color work have both gone over almost 100% to lightjet type output or to Fuji Pictro prints....the pictros are amazing in quality, even for the b&w prints I've seen from them as well....we'll be getting one here in the next year or so hopefully, and will gradually phase out our rc processor....but will keep the wet lab. Don't confuse these prints with inkjets though....we just had about a dozen murals done on c-paper, b&w rc, and cibas as well...all were drum scanned off of 4x5 negs or CTs and output on a lightjet printer as well....alot of labs are going this route....the best digital output prints I've seen have been either the Pictros, the hybrids like the lightjets or Durst Lambdas....

-- DK Thompson (, February 04, 2002.

oh for sharpness on these lightjets....put a loupe down on a 4x8 foot cibatrans from one of these......if you're working from a good original, a good drum scan's phenomenal....

-- DK Thompson (, February 04, 2002.

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