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Do you print your photographs?

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Hi Bo,

 

With this exhibition every print is accompanied by a text concerning the camera used to take the photo and the work done in photoshop. It is only when I read this text on one of the larger prints that I saw the words Canon EOS 300D (digital rebel).

 

Now the same print made from 21 Mp would probably look better but the thing is that I, a keen photographer for 30+years, did not see a problem with the print. And I dont think any regular member of the public saw a problem either. Of course it has to be said that as one of the sponsors Epson did all the printing.

 

Jeff

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{snipped} I don't see what you're getting on paper that you wouldn't get on a screen of an equivalent size. Printing my photos would add a wholly unnecessary and expensive element to my workflow, and my office walls will only hold so many prints. Forget me trying to persuade my wife to let me put up any more of my photos on the walls at home; and why would I print them only to keep them stored in a box somewhere?{snipped}

 

What you get in a fine print with proper lighting over an electronic display is:

 

  • better / wider / different colour reproduction
  • better apparent resolution (dithering and sharpening)
  • different and appropriate dynamic range for the subject (I hesitate to use the term better here, because some beautiful papers are actually very low in DR; on an electronic display, though, black is always the same black).
  • tangible texture and paper colours and stock
  • better black and white tonality
  • better physical detail (and you can "look closer")
  • better off-axis colour

So you get rather a lot from seeing a fine print you'd never see on a screen--even the best screen--let alone crappy screens

 

And in many ways its true that with a relatively low-res device you don't need something like an M8 or DMR or S2. The detail there is simply wasted.

 

Having said that, electronic displays are getting better all the time. They're just not there yet.

 

I also understand how great it is to share electronic shots. But really beautiful print-making is an art. It's tragic to me that many people have never seen a really good print, large or otherwise.

 

It's a treat to make them from Leica's equipment, IMO.

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Jeff,

 

Sorry, I did not mean it that way. :-) just simply that if one were to make a megasize print, a file from mediumformat or larger would probably be more satisfying. I have been saying the 4x5 have a secret "reality" factor, because even on huge prints, there are soo much detail that even when examined very closely, there is more details than i can see in the image. however pretty much any 35mm camera will create a beautiful print as long as the viewer is in the reasonable viewing distance to see the full print.

 

.

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Man, I find the whole digital workflow tedious; Photoshop has taken the soul and artistry from photography, histograms, curves, colour balance, sharpening, the list is endless. I have thousands of terrible images on file that I could rescue and print with it but is this really what I should do?

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For me, the moral / digital equivalent of my old view camera's, particularly for landscapes (composition is always king, but detail for landscapes is crown prince ) are tiled and stitched images.

 

When carefully shot using a 3d pano rig ( I use Really Right Stuff stuff ), rotating around the nodal point of the lens etc. Stitching can be flawless, and the look of a 150-200 megapixel image in a large print (20 X 60 or so) is amazing, and sharp corner to corner because the 'sweet spot' of the lens is used across the frame.

 

While folks had occasionally done this with film, it is infinitely easier with digital images, and using this technique along with properly matching focal length's, you 'sensor' can be as large as you want.

 

Of course this only works with subjects that are not moving (like mountains).

 

These images have much more impact in print, than electronically displayed.

 

Regards ... Harold

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I think the big print does work particularly well for landscape, it can give the viewer something similar to the emotions that the photgrapher experienced when he/she was there and tried to capture the scene/light etc.

 

Jeff

 

Personal taste, I guess. I prefer a Strand 8x10 landscape to an Adams' mammoth landscape, although both have their place.

 

I like to see the geometry of a print in its entirety, and one loses that experience when the eye has to wander across the print. Neither is right or wrong. I think, however, that some photographers just print big...because they can, or because it sells in today's market...without consideration for which images lend themselves to bigness.

 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S

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I don't see what you're getting on paper that you wouldn't get on a screen of an equivalent size.

 

I suggest you attend some museum shows and see some prints up close and personal. No comparison to a screen.

 

One of my favorite things in my younger days was to book appointments with museum curators on slow weekdays to see, and hold, prints by photographers I admired...Strand, Evans, Weston, and others. They would bring material from their archives into a private room, give me some white gloves, and allow me to hold and view the prints. Museums (and foundations, like Getty) typically exhibit only a fraction of their collection, and I found that curators were generally happy to have someone show interest in the rest. Dealers, of course, will do the same, but then there's the whole sales thing that gets in the way.

 

Another wonderful experience is to look at first edition photography books, especially those printed on fine papers. The experience is different than looking at a single print, but can be amazing. I was fortunate to buy prints and books when I got older, but before prices got crazy.

 

I think anyone who loves photography, and who doesn't experience prints as they were initially conceived, is missing something wonderful.

 

Of course, today brings new possibilities. Nothing wrong with that, and still some great images and viewing experiences. But, not the same as a print.

 

Jeff

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I suggest you attend some museum shows and see some prints up close and personal. No comparison to a screen.

Jeff, I don't know where you got the impression that I've never visited a photography exhibition!

 

Art prints are great, of course there's a place for them. My ire was directed at the suggestion that there's no point in having a camera like the M8 unless you print every 'keeper'. It's totally unrealistic for someone like me to get high quality prints done of every decent photo I'd like to share, or at least, it is until I get discovered and someone offers to curate me.

 

I have no gripe with people who enjoy the process of printing their images, and displaying the results; I can empathise with that. But I don't see a digital-only or digital-mainly workflow as inferior either technically or creatively.

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Jeff, I don't know where you got the impression that I've never visited a photography exhibition!

 

Art prints are great, of course there's a place for them. My ire was directed at the suggestion that there's no point in having a camera like the M8 unless you print every 'keeper'. It's totally unrealistic for someone like me to get high quality prints done of every decent photo I'd like to share, or at least, it is until I get discovered and someone offers to curate me.

 

I have no gripe with people who enjoy the process of printing their images, and displaying the results; I can empathise with that. But I don't see a digital-only or digital-mainly workflow as inferior either technically or creatively.

 

No offense intended.

 

I was merely responding to your comment as I quoted, perhaps taken out of context, that "you don't see what you get on paper that you wouldn't get on a screen." Perhaps we're just different, but it's obvious to me what the differences are when I see fine prints up close and personal. Especially silver prints. But, even with well executed ink prints, the differences to me are clear.

 

And, while I didn't say it earlier, I get much more satisfaction (as do my recipients) when I gift them with a personally photographed, matted and framed print, than I ever would if I sent them to photo site to see the same image. Like the difference between a personal, hand written letter and an e-mail. Same content...different experience.

 

Jeff

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I LOVE the idea of printing some photos.

Another xmas is coming and yet again my family and friends won't be getting the framed photos that i promise myself each year that i will do!

My trouble is that i am so inept at anything technical. This thread has encouraged me to read up a little on the Epson 3800 but i wonder how technically proficient i would need to be to print well?

I popped into PC world today to ask about the printer, the chap had to look it up on his computer and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the price. Most of the photo printers in there were around the 150 mark, the 3800 must be quite a machine!

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I LOVE the idea of printing some photos.

Another xmas is coming and yet again my family and friends won't be getting the framed photos that i promise myself each year that i will do!

My trouble is that i am so inept at anything technical. This thread has encouraged me to read up a little on the Epson 3800 but i wonder how technically proficient i would need to be to print well?

I popped into PC world today to ask about the printer, the chap had to look it up on his computer and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the price. Most of the photo printers in there were around the 150 mark, the 3800 must be quite a machine!

 

It is quite a machine with wonderful output. Dont forget that it can print up to A2 size and that it comes with a full set of ink cartridges (80ml for each ink) which are worth about £350 of the total price.

 

Actually the 3800 is just being replaced by the new 3880 version so if you can still find the 3800 you might be able to get a bit of bargain.

 

Jeff

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I LOVE the idea of printing some photos.

Another xmas is coming and yet again my family and friends won't be getting the framed photos that i promise myself each year that i will do!

My trouble is that i am so inept at anything technical. This thread has encouraged me to read up a little on the Epson 3800 but i wonder how technically proficient i would need to be to print well?

I popped into PC world today to ask about the printer, the chap had to look it up on his computer and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the price. Most of the photo printers in there were around the 150 mark, the 3800 must be quite a machine!

For incidental printing I have had good experience with on-line printing services (I use the HEMA in NL). I find that printing at the local HEMA shop tends to be lower quality, presumably as they are less experienced with keeping their printers up to scratch than the central facilty. Personally I find the logistics of getting a printer properly set up somewhat daunting (& expensive) and feel happy to outsource that part of the workflow. If I was a pro (or had such ambitions) then it would be different, but I am happy to be a basement dweller.

 

Most of the printing I do is in the form of books for family & friends. The recipients seem more than happy with the quility.

 

Note that printing services also provide the option of printing (x-mas) cards, which can be convenient.

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I LOVE the idea of printing some photos.

Another xmas is coming and yet again my family and friends won't be getting the framed photos that i promise myself each year that i will do!

My trouble is that i am so inept at anything technical. This thread has encouraged me to read up a little on the Epson 3800 but i wonder how technically proficient i would need to be to print well?

I popped into PC world today to ask about the printer, the chap had to look it up on his computer and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the price. Most of the photo printers in there were around the 150 mark, the 3800 must be quite a machine!

 

The 3800 series is a pro series Epson printer. It's not even sold at consumer shops here in Toronto. Compared to consumer printers it's pricey, but it's not at all hard to use to get decent results. Compared to the rest of their pro line-up, it's a steal!

 

To get *great* results, though, you would need to know a lot about prepping the file more than anything else.

 

So here's a tip from me....

 

For your best shots, find a *PRO* photo lab in your area if you can.

 

Ask them to do full colour correction on your files before they print. Yes, it will cost more; a good lab though has people who know what to do.

 

If you can't find a pro lab nearby that will work with you, and you need a couple of truly great ones, try these (I know you're in the UK, but they ship anywhere. I'm also sure there are great labs in the UK too; I just don't know any of them).

 

West Coast Imaging (they use Chromira and Epson pro printers)

The Edge (they use Kodak but also Durst Lambdas for excellent big prints--you need to cut them yourself (though I'm sure they'd mount them for you... might be tricky to ship from Australia though.. the prints come in a big tube--never had a problem with just prints from them)

 

Both of these folks will give you eye-poppingly great results (from great shots, that is).

Now, you may need to call them, since they're used to dealing with pro photographers. But for special shots my advice to any amateur with the $$ to afford a Leica (and who isn't a printer themselves) is pay the pros to get great prints.

 

You won't do your 50 1.4 Lux justice at the drugstore

Edited by Jamie Roberts

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I rarely print anymore. My first two shooting sessions with my newly acquired M8.2 were family events that were shared on line in a Flash slideshow. Most of my travel shots go into video slideshows that are sold to the travelers in our tour group who were on the same trip. I do get some orders for printed wedding albums, but the video slideshow of the wedding shots is always the best received.

 

I don't want to engage in the discussion on the relative merits of prints versus electronic display of images. IIRC printers can have the advantage of wider color gamuts while electronic displays can have greater dynamic range. I suspect some images display better on one over the other. I can't quarrel with either choice.

 

My Blu-Ray slideshows have pretty impressive image quality on my 1920x1080 67" TV. Resolution is similar to that of the NEC 2090 UXi that I use to author them. The TV can't quite match the color accuracy of my calibrated monitor, but it is reasonably close.

 

Personally I am happy to have all these choices to pick from.

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Man, I find the whole digital workflow tedious; Photoshop has taken the soul and artistry from photography, histograms, curves, colour balance, sharpening, the list is endless. I have thousands of terrible images on file that I could rescue and print with it but is this really what I should do?

 

Just print straight out of the camera then... there is no rule saying you have to do anything in photoshop. I treat software like I was in a wet darkroom... get the right exposure / contrast right, dodge / burn, done... (well with a little sharpening maybe).

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Man, I find the whole digital workflow tedious; Photoshop has taken the soul and artistry from photography, histograms, curves, colour balance, sharpening, the list is endless. I have thousands of terrible images on file that I could rescue and print with it but is this really what I should do?

 

I've kept out of this discussion because it is obviously aimed at those who shoot with their Leicas and print on desktop Epsons and Canons, but I wanted to address this response. While it is true that there is a alchemical romance in mastering the silver print few of us who have spent any appreciable time in a darkroom want to return to those hypo steeped sanctuaries. There's even more romance hand coating Reeves BFK with platinum or palladium and exposing 8x10 negatives to the daylight or making matrixes and soaking them in dye in order to transfer them to a softened paper. Or how about etching copper plates and hand-wiping them with ink or coating glass plates with gelatin and then sensitizing them with silver nitrate for hand pulled collotypes? Or gum arabic? Or cyanotypes? Now there is soul and artistry! The rest of us have moved on to the twenty-first century.

 

Photoshop is a tool. Its running in the background on this computer as I type this, pumping out an edition of 34x47 inch watercolors for a gallery. Its also running on the computer next to me feeding a few of my own images to my photo black 9800. But as far as tools go, Photoshop is the most wonderful tool ever developed for printmaking. For example: I can get exactly what I want by adjusting curves where earlier in my career I'd be forced to change development times or agitation or use a bump exposure or dot etch with potassium ferro cyanide. Color enhancements no longer require bump plates or hand cut rubylith masks but rather a few clicks of a magic wand and a tweak of a slider. Try to imagine hand cutting out a mask and registering it to a negative then making a dupe negative with a ... say 10% additional exposure, processing the negative then making a new proof. Four hours gone compared to a minute or two on the computer. Then there is the waisted or simply used film. I once filled a 55 gal drum with waste film every month, not to mention the chemicals and plates. And the six guys who once worked for me were, alas, replaced with three macs. Fortunately, they are all painting, photographing and drumming now.

 

No, I'd never go back - not to the darkroom or the pressroom. But if you insist, there is a 4x5 enlarger, dye transfer punches and contact frames, trays, safelights and boxes of odds and ends in my basement gathering dust you're welcome to haul (though I may want some money for all those apo enlarging lenses). You'll find all the artistry you want there.

 

As for terrible images, we all make a few from time to time. No need to print them.

 

Tom

 

Kauai's Printmaker

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