Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/06/23

[Author Prev] [Author Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Author Index] [Topic Index] [Home] [Search]

Subject: [Leica] Archival digiital printing
From: "Jim McIntyre" <>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 20:06:11 -0400
References: <>

I have really enjoyed the banter concerning the archival nature of digital
photography vs film. I'd like to start a related discussion on digital print

I have film based cameras (Leica and Nikon) and will most likely stay with
these systems. Too much $$ to switch. Plus, I like the idea of the
simplicity and accessibility of storage of film and slides. I also believe
(rightly or wrongly) that the variety of excellent film currently available
gives me more flexibility to create the images I want. At least for now.

However, having recently bought a film scanner, I have discovered the joys
of avoiding the darkroom. I can scan a B&W negative, and in a matter of
minutes have the cropping, contrast and brightness I want. I can retouch
those annoying dust specs, save, undo etc to my heart's content without
hours in the darkroom burning paper, chemistry, and back muscles to get what
I want. I can create feathered masks for dodging and burning, and I can
remove the annoying little "artifacts" that detract from the image as a

I am no stranger to the digital world, having started my work life as a
cut-and-paste graphic designer. When PageMaker follow by Quark and
Illustrator freed me from the Xacto and waxer, I lamented not! But in terms
of my other passion, making (or attempting to make) that one majestic B&W,
paper-based Gallery #3 print, processed between Selectol and Selectol Soft
to get that perfect contrast, washed for an hour to remove fixer, and then
lovingly toned with selenium to enrich the backs, I am not sure what the
digital solutions are. I currently work in the commercial print world, where
the limitations of CMYK and 200 line duotones are the dictators of results,
not the digital front end.

So, if possible, I would like to hear some discussions/advice on:

a) what solutions there are for archival digital prints, both B&W and colour
b) opinions on the current technology and the results that are possible
c) does a skilled eye and excellent darkroom skills still beat the pants of
digital printing, and
d) speculation on what's around the corner for this.

I have the camera that can put the best image on 35mm film (IMHO). I can get
the best scan (if needed). I can have the best monitor, software and skill
to retouch and prepare the image. Then what?

I realize that the guy/gal behind the camera still has the greatest impact,
but hey, I'm sure Mozart would be amazed at the tonal range of a brand new
Steinway Concert Grand if he were ever brought back into the 21st C! And I
also realize that for some, the print as an object is not the real product,
and is secondary to the subject matter. Each to his own.

- --
To unsubscribe, see

Replies: Reply from Mark Rabiner <> (Re: [Leica] Archival digiital printing)
In reply to: Message from "Frank Filippone" <> (RE: [Leica] Film is Archival)