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Printing a digital file in B&W
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:24 am    Post subject: Printing a digital file in B&W Reply with quote

I need to make a print of this image:
http://forum.mflenses.com/girl-at-the-palio-t17489.html
for the photo contest.

Printing here with inkjet is out of question: too poor quality.
I want real photographic paper but the problem is: so far, whenever I ordered a B&W print from a B&W digital file, I always got a bad result with some colour tint (mostly greenish).

What do you suggest to print a digital file in real B&W?

I have been thinking of making a colour print and photographing it with a &W film. But this would raise the contrast too much.

Do you know if there is a service where they can take a digital file and create a B&W negative from it?

Any other ideas?


Last edited by Orio on Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:23 am; edited 2 times in total


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are some great Archival B+W digital print papers and inks.
If you use a lab. Insist that they use a acid free paper (likely cotton and not paper at all).
Also that they have and use Black only to make your print. The odd tints (green) you see are from color inks combined to produce black and gray tones and, PH too low in the paper reacting with the inks.
There are now 100% carbon archival inkjets inks from Epson and others.
The results are impressive to say the least. Cool


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Andy said Wink

Alternatively, you need to find a competent pro-lab that will print it for you. I use Lab 35 in the UK. I too have found colour casts on cheap prints from most bulk print companies.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys! I will see what I can find here.
Contest time is too close so I don't think I can send the file abroad and wait for the print.

Ideally, for the future, I should find a way to make a film B&W negative from a digital file, so that I can print at home with my enlarger.
I need to investigate about it also. It sounds exciting, the flexibility of RAW plus a real B&W print on barite paper....


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What you could do is to print out (or order) a high-quality colour-print and then shoot this print with a film cam loaded with a decent b&w film.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:
What you could do is to print out (or order) a high-quality colour-print and then shoot this print with a film cam loaded with a decent b&w film.


Yes I mentioned that already but it would raise the contrast and I am already at the limit of the contrast in the original image.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't mean for you to use Lab 35, but you must have a company like that somewhere in your country.

The reason I like Lab 35: They will do superb digital prints, either with dye-sub printers, or better still they have machines that produce real photographic prints from digital. It must be worth doing a thorough google investigation, as you will probably need to use them quite a lot over the years.

I would avoid the inter-neg option, you will just lose a bit of quality, even though it is quite easy to control the contrast with appropriate film and developer combinations.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no idea if such advanced service exists in Italy... Alessandro?


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
LucisPictor wrote:
What you could do is to print out (or order) a high-quality colour-print and then shoot this print with a film cam loaded with a decent b&w film.


Yes I mentioned that already but it would raise the contrast and I am already at the limit of the contrast in the original image.


Ah, OK. I have overlooked that.
No way around it? Perhaps an old low-contrast lens?


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:
Orio wrote:
LucisPictor wrote:
What you could do is to print out (or order) a high-quality colour-print and then shoot this print with a film cam loaded with a decent b&w film.


Yes I mentioned that already but it would raise the contrast and I am already at the limit of the contrast in the original image.


Ah, OK. I have overlooked that.
No way around it? Perhaps an old low-contrast lens?


Reproduction needs a perfectly balanced lens, old lenses usually don't have this characteristic and are too weak in the corners.
I should use an enlarger lens like my Rodagon.
I think Graham pointed the best way, by using a combination of film/developer/develop time that lowers contrast... but my darkroom experience for now is zero so I can not go that way.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Orio wrote:
Reproduction needs a perfectly balanced lens, old lenses usually don't have this characteristic and are too weak in the corners.

Just use the central part of it, leave out the corners.
On a low-ISO film you should be able to crop without big loss.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:
Orio wrote:
Reproduction needs a perfectly balanced lens, old lenses usually don't have this characteristic and are too weak in the corners.

Just use the central part of it, leave out the corners.
On a low-ISO film you should be able to crop without big loss.


There is also the matter of planarity...


PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For years, newspapers have converted digital files into negatives using various specialised press machines (ours was called a Linotron). If you have a friendly newspaper that still uses that technology they should be able to convert your file to a negative (there is a move towards going straight from computer files to printing plates, cutting out the negative stage, but it is expensive so smaller papers probably won't have that yet).

Failing that, try a good commercial printer who produces glossy magazines and posters, the chances are that they will have the technology, as do leading advertising graphic design companies, who prepare negatives as artwork for newspapers.

Hope that helps.

Paul

PS: Make sure you specify the right number of dots per inch, or you might end up with newspaper quality negs, which can be as low as 80 dpi.


PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

B&W printing is mostly done with ink jet printers running RIP drivers and programs. Quadtone RIP is good and free for your home printing. Expensive ink jet printes have their own RIP, tested with inks and papers.

About paper... it depends which kind of inks your printer uses, dye inks or water inks. Hahnemuhle paper are marvellous but not all their papers are comaptible with all the inks. Then you can have carbon based dyes, etc... the limit is just the cost.

I used this company for large good quality B&W printing: http://www.fotolandia.com/gadget/index.php

Don't stop at the front page, which is suited for popular printing. Send them a mail explaining your needs and asking for prices.


PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tested on my Epson R2400 printer several inks and papers over the last couple of years. With this printer you only can use pigment inks. For b&w prints the best results i got with Piezography inks - 100% carbon suspension, seven dilutions that give an wonderful gamut and great dynamic range, superior to the original Epson K3 inks. Carbon does not fade over the years and has no bronzing.

If you aim archival quality look for a paper that has no acids and no optical brightening agents. I also recommend to stay away from buffered papers or so called watercolor papers. Also if you will mat or frame the print ask for archival quality too. The one that impressed me alot was Hahnemuhle Bamboo paper but there are plenty to chose from.

If you cannot find someone to meet all this demands, I'd recommend that you use one trusted commercial printer that's out there, Nash Editions is the one that poped immediately into my mind. If the time is not of the essence, by the end of next month i'll be able to help you out with a print.

Links:
Piezography
Hahnemuhle
Nash Editions


PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks eveybody !! Great information.

I think this thread deserves to become a sticky.


PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nowadays there are labs that use the Fuji Frontier "Silver edition" B&W minilabs. These deliver B&W prints on Ilford Express paper, and the quality is very good!