*Analog* printing

selmerdave

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Just got an 8 x 10 back from a local (NYC) pro lab, and while it looks okay it's clear that it is a digital reproduction, which is a PIA because it is a nice photo with nice 25asa B&W film and I'm sure it would be nicer without the digital blotches.

So is Duggal the only place in NYC that would still do an analog enlargement (or would they)? Or is it offered by most pro places but only on request? I don't get it though, if I can tell the difference with a relatively quick glance, *why* is this becoming the industry standard?

Dave
 

JamesD

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Because it's cheap, and the mass market just doesn't care. And even if they do, then they can just say that the rest of the mass market doesn't care. It's all about money. And, if they've invested in that expensive digital printer, they need to get their money's worth out of it--that's just good business sense.

What kind of film was it? Black and white, or Slide? (I don't know of any color negative films at 25, so...)

Try calling around and finding out whether the various places will do an optical enlargement, rather than a digital one. Be aware that it's going to cost you more. You might also try taking the print back and telling them that it's not satisfactory.
 
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selmerdave

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Well, I can buy the cheap argument for the 4x6's, but when you're getting an enlargement done at a pro lab you're generally not talking about what works for the masses.

What would you say I should expect to pay for optical enlargement? This one was around $10 for the 8x10.

I'm probably not going to take it back to complain, it looks basically fine and I did not clarify the digital/optical thing when I brought it to them. Mostly I'm just surprised that it's acceptable for pro's.

The film was ADOX 25 B&W.

Dave
 

Jeff Canes

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What looks wrong with it? I shoot Adox/Efke a lot, person like it’s look. Who develop and scanned it you or lab? Have you been shooting with it very long? Myself I’ve been using it for maybe 2-1/2 years. IMO, it’s not an easy film to work with because of it's soft or thin emulsion it scratches easy. Does the print look extremely grainy? But with very fine grain? That been one of my experience with Adox/Efke.

Also, Did you get the film from J and C Photo?
 
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selmerdave

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Yes I got it from J&C. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, the same pro lab that did the print did the processing. The print basically looks fine, it's not grainy or anything, but upon close inspection there are tell-tale signs of digital. For example transitions from one shade of gray to a slightly darker shade are not smooth in places, leaving a blotch of one shade. It looks exactly how it looks if I were to make a print with my computer printer, but to a much smaller extent of course. I don't have a lot of doubt that the one and only issue here is that, the film, camera, (dare I say) photo and processing are fine. I just would like to know if anyone knows of somewhere in NYC that specializes in or exclusively does optical printing, as apparently the run-of-the-mill pro places do not. Thanks for the help.

Dave
 

Jeff Canes

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selmerdave said:
---For example transitions from one shade of gray to a slightly darker shade are not smooth in places, ---

Not sure what to say, the only lab that I use in NY is Adorama online, I don’t see this issue with the B&W they have done for me, but I developed and scanned the film myself and then upload it Adorama. How do images look on your monitor, one thing that seems possible is poor scans, those CD that you get when the film is initially developed are not the best.
 

DocFrankenstein

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I gave up trying to find a lab like that in toronto. I just print optically myself if I have the time and care enough about it.
 

Paul Ron

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That truely ****es me off, I'd take it back! This deceptive practice should be made public. The salesperson where I had enlargements made told me I should convert to digital, it's better, that's why my print looks so bad. BULL! My prints would look better than ddigital crap if they'd print it analog instead of scanning and doing it via computer.

This is why i do strictly B&W and do all my own work. If I need to do color, it's for birthdays and snapshots i don't care about, I'll use my point n shoot idiot camera, the D70.
 
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selmerdave

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Jeff Canes said:


Not sure what to say, the only lab that I use in NY is Adorama online, I don’t see this issue with the B&W they have done for me, but I developed and scanned the film myself and then upload it Adorama. How do images look on your monitor, one thing that seems possible is poor scans, those CD that you get when the film is initially developed are not the best.

Jeff the issue is that seems to be what they have done. They scanned that roll for me as well, I needed some that way, and the 18MB scans looked okay. Not nearly the subtlety of gradation as the prints but the resolution was acceptable. But for the enlargement they had the negative and made the print digitally, and again I didn't clarify whether it would be digital or optical when I took it in, but then I didn't really expect to be able to see the difference in a digital print from a pro lab. I thought digital was further along than that.

Dave
 

Jeff Canes

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If you have 18MPs scans my subject would be to upload them to a few online prints and order a 8x10 test print, should cost less that $10 with 5 day shipping each. Mpix.com is very good. But I a little surprised you cannot find a traditional lab in NY/NJ area.


?? Also did they use a laser jet or ink jet printer, a thought came to me, that an ink jet printer would allow the inks to blend naturally?
 
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selmerdave

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Just an update, I inquired at the lab and the print I got was in fact digital. They do optical enlargement by hand, but only by request and at a higher cost. When people don't request it they assume the cheapest and do it digitally. I got some optical 8" x 12" enlargements back yesterday and they look excellent.

Dave
 

Paul Ron

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selmerdave
Set up a darkroom in your bathtub, kitchen, basement, attic or anywhere in your house, even a closet. It's so much fun to print your own B&W as well as getting a much nicer picture worthy of a nice frame in your living room.

Darkroom equipment is so cheap these days since everyone is dumping their stuff for better printers and that chceap digital look they think is really cool... that is untill you put it next to a real print.
 

ksmattfish

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Try a different lab. I don't have any problem getting good BW and color prints from 35mm or medium format film with the newer digital printing systems. They don't look as nice as real gelatin silver prints, but they look as good as machine printed lab prints ever did.

It's usually not the medium itself, but the skill of the people involved. A guy who knows how to print great from negs may not know anything about printing from files. A friend of mine who spent the last 15 years printing his own cibachromes from large format transparencies has now switched over to digital printing processes with great success. I see lots of crappy digital prints out there, but when I look at my friend's prints they are stunning. He has invested the time and energy to figure how to do it right.
 

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