Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/06/25

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Archival digiital printing
From: "Michael Chmilar" <>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 19:38:54 -0000
References: <>

In the color arena, there are two current systems worth
looking at:

1)  Lightjet.

    This is a device that uses a laser to print each pixel
    onto photographic paper (usually Fuji Crystal Archive).
    The paper is then run through the normal chemistry.

    Fuji Crystal Archive is currently the most archival
    photo-chemical color process available.

    The result is the same as having a "type r" print made
    in the traditional fashion. The only difference is that
    the paper is exposed with a laser, instead of light
    shining through film and optics.

    The Lightjet prints at 12 pixel/mm (304.8 dpi).

2)  Epson Ultrachrome inks.

    The latest in the inkjet (or giclee, or whatever)
    technology. Some serious photographers are looking at
    this as a contender to the Lightjet in overall quality.
    The claimed archival life is much longer than the Fuji
    Crystal Archive paper.

    Look at for some recent info
    and testing of Ultrachrome.

    You can buy a printer for home use (Epson 2200) that
    uses the Ultrachrome inks. For larger sizes, you can go
    to a service bureau with an Epson 7600 or 9600 machine.

If you use a service bureau for printing, they general have
a few pricing tiers, based on level of service:

A)  You provide image on film. They scan it, do Photoshop
    work, profile, and print. The most expensive, and
    the least control.

B)  You provide digital image. They do the rest (no scan).

C)  You provide a digital image, but they only profile it
    and print. You make photoshop adjustments.

D)  You provide a digital image, with embedded profile,
    and they merely print. This is quite cheap, but the
    service bureau takes no responsibility for errors in
    the profiling, etc.

If you want to do option D, you have to learn how to set
everything up so they just take your digital file, push
a button, and print it. You have to get the printer profile
from the service bureau, and set up your file to use it.

You can learn how to do everything for option D by reading
books and talking to your service bureau. However, if you
are relatively new to Photoshop and digital printing, I
recommend you take a course.

I took a course from these guys:

Offered on the premises of this service bureau:

And it was well worth the time and money.

They will teach you how to calibrate your monitor, how
to do all of the "major" darkroom-style adjustments in
Photoshop, and how to set up your file for the service
bureau to print it.

As to which process can produce the better result - digital
or traditional - here is a thought to chew on:

Photoshop permits you to perform all of the same adjustments
you can perform in the darkroom, and more. On top of that,
the adjustments are undoable, repeatable, and you can change
a parameter and get immediate feedback. You can localize an
adjustment to one location, and even vary the intensity of
the adjustment across locations.

You can do it all in a traditional darkroom, but it may
take weeks to achieve the result you make in Photoshop in
a few hours. If you don't have a pin registration system and
boxes of Kodalith, it is impossible.


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In reply to: Message from "Frank Filippone" <> (RE: [Leica] Film is Archival)