I've Nailed the Shot, Now What Do I Do?

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I have been out three time now and I finally got a shot that I want to print. It was taken on transparency film and I want to make an 11X14. I know that is not much of a challenge but I want it to be the best possible. Should I go cibachrome or digital and are there any specific labs I should consider? Two advantages to digital are cost and the ability to share the picture with the forum.

Thanks in advance,


-- Edward Kimball (edward.kimball@ns.sympatico.ca), May 10, 2002



$99 for an 11x14 using the better of their two packages, including drum scan. Sometimes it's worth upgrading to a larger file size (what they call an archive scan) if you think you'll want larger print sizes some day from the same image.


-- Terry (tcdvorak@aol.com), May 10, 2002.

It depends on your image and your expectations. A print on Ilfochrome material and a digital print are both going to have a different look. Some images look better on the super glossy Ilfo material, while others don't. IMHO, digital still can't approach that super saturated, super gloss look if Ilfochrome.


-- Pete Caluori (pcaluori@hotmail.com), May 10, 2002.

I agree with Pete about the Ilfo/Ciba having a different "look" than the digital prints. But I'll have to say that I've seen some superb LightJet 5000 prints that have matched the quality of an Ilfo/Ciba print.

I do quite a bit of work with Photo Craft Labs in Boulder (just happen to be local to me). They specialize in digital printing and I can highly recommend them. They are knowledgeable, friendly and do excellent work. They are running some specials through June 1 on Tango drum scans and LightJet 5000 prints. Worth a look anyway... http://www.pcraft.com

-- Scott Bacon (sbacon@naturalorderphoto.com), May 10, 2002.

digital - westcoastimaging.com!

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), May 10, 2002.

If you don't have a darkroom for Ilfochrome then you will turning over about 50 to 80% of the creative process to a stranger to have one made by a lab. If you don't have a computer and Photoshop, then ditto for the digital (scan + Lightjet) alternative. I would go with which ever process you believe you will eventually want to do yourself.

-- John Hennessy (northbayassociates@earthlink.net), May 10, 2002.

Ed, last week I had my first hand printed 20X16 cibachromes back from a pro lab and I was bowled over by the quality, colour etc. It was like you could walk into the picture. A handprint 20X16 ciba was 20ukp versus a drum scan (50 ukp) and light jet print (another 50 ukp). No contest - digital cant be that much better. It was a more or less straight print though so points are valid about the amount of manipulation that may be required.


-- David Tolcher (davidjt@btinternet.com), May 10, 2002.

I have been developing a relationship with a local Ilfochrome printer and I have more control over the final print than I ever would by doing it myself (analog or digital). We discuss what I want from a print and he has yet to disappoint me in achieving it on paper. I can not say the same for other so-called pro-labs where the lines of communication between customer and printer are tenuous at best.

-- Richard Ross (ross@hrl.com), May 10, 2002.

Ilfochromes are not cheap, and it's not easy to find a good printer. Looking at your e-mail, I'm assuming you're on the east coast of Canada - I'm in Nfld., and I've sent work to the Silver Shack in Ontario, and the work is very good, I'd recommend them for sure.

But really if you only need a high quality 11X14, digital would do a very good job for you .. just have a high quality scan done, and there should be a fair number of outlets in NS for high quality digital printing.

-- Michael Mahoney (mike.mahoney@nf.sympatico.ca), May 11, 2002.


I think only you can answer your own question. I know it will be expensive, but I think you are best off have BOTH a Ciba and Lightjet print made. Only you know what you are looking for in the print, with both in your hands, you can make a well informed choice.

-- jason (sanford@temple.edu), May 11, 2002.

From 4x5" to 11x14" drum scan and LightJet/Lambda might not be that much of an advantage, compared to a well made Ciba or Fuji R print. I think you would see a bigger quality advantage from 4x5" with a digital process if you want to go to 20x30" or larger. There is also a cost advantage in digital if you want reprints in the future, where the lab can just run them off quickly from the finished file with the major portion of the labor having already been done and without concern about damage to the original film.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), May 11, 2002.

This has been THE question with me lately, including the question of black and white. Hate to say it, but research is in order. The internet contains a long list of labs that are converting over the technology you asked about. Some, such as Color Folio, have "white papers" avaiable online to help explain the various processes. Some will also answer questions over the phone. (Keep in mind they're in business to MAKE money). You might try http://www.colorfolio.com/ as a start. Ask questions. Ask for samples.

I have to agree with the previous advise that's it up to you to decide which "look" you like. John

-- John Flavell (jflavell@zoomnet.net), May 11, 2002.

Thank you for all of the advice. Since a digital image can be done in town and a cibachrome will be at least as far away as Moncton, New Brunswick, I will have the digital done first and then if I am not completely blown away, I will send the transparency to Moncton.

-- Edward Kimball (edward.kimball@ns.sympatico.ca), May 21, 2002.

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