Wet printing a digital image

Discussion in 'Alternative Techniques & Photo Gallery' started by SoulfulRecover, Jul 22, 2015.

  1. SoulfulRecover

    SoulfulRecover Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Just a random thought or perhaps a stupid question. We see people scanning film and making prints from a printer. Is it possible to convert an enlarger into something that would project a digital image allowing you to make wet prints from digital files? I've never seen or heard of this being done. Doesn't seem like it would be an easy way to have prints but it could be fun for those who like the process.


     
  2. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's been done. In fact that's how most prints from digital files are made today. If you send digital files off to a place like MPix or Miller's the printer they use is "wet" processing RA4 paper. Those printers are industrial in scale but non-industrial versions have been produced.

    Joe
     
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  3. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think that there are enlargers that are designed to project a digital image onto photographic paper. I expect the price is not cheap for such an enlarger and I know that sending out a digital file to have wet printed becomes expensive.

    Another option is to make a negative-transparency (or Digital negative) and then do a contact print using a normal enlarger. Though not sure how good of transparency can be made using an ink-jet printer this is a process that can be done at reasonable cost.
     
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  4. SoulfulRecover

    SoulfulRecover Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That's interesting. I figured they were all ink jet printed.
     
  5. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Yep. It's called a C-print. C stands for chromogenic.
    The liquid chemistry is called RA-4. RA-4 uses 2 chemicals. RA-4 was introduced by Kodak in January of 1942.
    Kodak Endura paper and Fujifilm Crystal Archive paper are the C-print papers used the most.

    Machines commonly used to make C-prints from digital files are -
    Durst Lambda, Océ LightJet, and ZBE Chromira.

    The same technology is used to make silver gelatin bromide B&W prints.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2015
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  7. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Inkjet is making some in-roads around the edges of the industry but it can't compete in volume -- time and materials cost for inkjet are still much higher. Fuji RA4 paper is sold on rolls eg. 8 inches by 750 feet and the printer just spits them out in a steady stream and cuts them off the roll as it goes. Materials cost to make an 8x10 is probably close to two bits once you make the capital investment (printer).

    Besides the cost competition, the fact is inkjet also doesn't compete in quality except on the very high end where the cost factor goes through the roof. The one thing inkjet has going for it on that high end is durability/fade resistance. Fuji RA4 paper is called "crystal archive." Suffice it to say that the term 'archive' in the paper's name is kinda like the terms 'serum' and 'clinical' when used to describe cosmetics that make your wrinkles disappear.

    Joe
     
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  8. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you make a digital negative I think you might be able to use it in a standard enlarger to do B&W, but it probably depends.

    I knew there was someone who does workshops on the process but couldn't remember who it was, but when I searched I found him - Tom Persinger who does the f295 site.
    Workshop Demystifying Digital Negatives Intensive Tom Persinger

    I also ran across Dan Burkholder who I've read about before too doing digital negs and some alt processes. Dan Burkholder Home

    I'm doing lumen prints and cyanotypes and a couple of times got a kit (for kids! lol) that included a clear plastic sheet with designs printed in black to be used to make a contact sun print.

    I had a friend give me what looked like a test pattern on a strip of film that resembled the old TV test patterns; I found out eventually that it would have been used in cockpits of airplanes. I put in in an enlarger and made a couple of 8x10s of it, so enlarging and printing at least a geometric design on a strip of film worked in B&W.

    I think that's basically the idea of a digital negative - printing a digital image onto a sheet of transparency to make a negative, to then make a wet print. I would imagine the sharper and more defined the image the better it might work (but that's just my guess).
     
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  9. SoulfulRecover

    SoulfulRecover Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Lots of great info! Thank you everyone
     
  10. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Would it be possible take a small screen(tablet or monitor) and mount a bracket on the front to hold a sheet of photo paper. Put it in a darkroom, slide the film in and flash the digital photo on the screen from a pc.
    Develop the paper. It would take some experiments to get the timing and the sharpness may not be there at all.
     
  11. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    You would need to focus the image.
     
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  12. vfotog

    vfotog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    to expose the paper, you have to be in the darkroom. you would have to be able to have your computer in a darkened room. also, the image on the computer is a Positive. Obviously, negatives are negative.
     

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