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Do you still print?

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by taxor, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    There's nary a peep about traditional printing these days on this forum and some comments in another thread got me thinking about how traditional printing has a tendency to be referred to in the past tense. I wholeheartedly agree with Roger Hicks assertion that an inkjet print cannot rival the depth of tone of a well crafted wet print but he's not the only exponent of the dark art. So, who else is still at it? For my part, I've had a working darkroom for the past 40-odd years; my paper of choice is the wonderful Ilford MG FB warmtone, although I enjoy 'slumming it' with MG IV resin-coated also. Anyone else care to comment, reminisce or rant (as long as it's about wet-printing).
  2. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Not me I am afraid - the darkroom went some time ago to make way for a new shower room, anyway I think that my digital printing is better than my wet printing, and certainly takes a lot less time
  3. PeteE

    PeteE Well-Known Member

    YES -- I still do --I have a darkroom which used to be a small kitchen. I have a long sink bought from 'NOVA' and several 'NOVA 'slot processors 16x12" size for colour RA4 printing ( Two given), three enlargers LPL C700 Pro (bought), Durst M601 and Durst M305 ( given) many dishes -- a lot 'saved from the Council Tip' and lots of chemicals as i make up my own developers, using scales 'saved from the Tip' in 1970 when i was a Photographer at University College London. The Yellow Advertiser Newspaper gave me an expensive safe-light ( saved from the Skip when they had their darkroom ripped out to go Digital). I used to spend HOURS printing when I had some work for Local newspapers and it was all 'prints' they wanted -- now they want only 'Digital Images' so do not print so much, only 16x12" Exhibition Prints -- I USED to do 20x16" B&W prints but have you seen the PRICE of 20x16" paper lately ? !!
  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I haven't done darkroom printing in years. I was close to setting up a darkroom again a few years back, but life and space constraints got in the way. Been effectively digital now for 20 years, having dabbled with scanning for another 5 before that. I haven't ruled out trying again some day, but I was never a great printer. Still, I would hazard a guess that I'm the only one here that's made colour prints from 828 film. ;)
  5. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    You need to tell us more about the 828!

    I still wet print on occasion - currently my 127 mask I made has gone AWOL in the house move, really annoying as I had the bright idea of a print from the camera they gave me as a present for someone! I'm not very good at it, though, and I'm a martyr to dying developer as the lighting in the darkroom is very stark, makes all the blacks look great until I get them in a more natural light...

    The new house has a downstairs bog that we are unlikely to use... Hmm, easily blacked out room with electricity and water... bit parky in winter, mind, and no hot supply!

  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Kodacolor II in a Bantam Colorsnap, early 80s. Got quite a few outdated films for 50p - total - in our local chemist (also some 620 Verichrime Pan, from memory). However, nobody would dev or print it, so I did it myself. Fitted in a 35mm reel of my Paterson tank, and also in the 35mm neg carrier. Didn't have any proper filters for my enlarger, so printed additively using a collection of camera filters with 3 separate exposures. Results were not great, but not really any worse than most D&P of the time.
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

  8. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    I never thought about that. I've always been lucky in that I've pretty much always got the results I wanted
  9. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    I try to, but when you are completely carp...

  10. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  11. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    ....and I wholeheartedly disagree.

    Not for a minute am I going to pass judgement on the assertion as it may have emanated from Mr Hicks' pen. He may, indeed, be able to obtain results from a wet printing process that he cannot rival from an inkjet printer.

    For me it is the opposite way around.

    But I would suggest that, for any particular individual, the comparative evaluation between the two processes will depend upon how much care they applied, respectively, in the darkroom and with the inkjet. I suspect that many (not Mr Hicks or your goodself, of course) simply decide when they are happy with their picture on a computer monitor and click on a "Print" button - only to be inevitably disappointed with the results.

    But spend as much time and make as many test prints/strips with the inkjet as you did in the darkroom and I think you will find that you get better results with the inkjet printer. In my own case I put it down to the fact that, with inkjet, I have a far, far greater range of papers available to me than I ever used in the darkroom (perhaps because I have more disposable income available today than I had when I was wet printing and balancing the costs of my hobby with mortgage payments and school fees).

  12. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    OK, well answered Eric. Perhaps I should just ask who still prints the old fashioned way.
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Eric,

    Better? No.

    Different? Yes.

    As good? Quite possibly. But see also "different", above.

    Most artists want to create a particular kind of image. If they can get it with ink-jet, fine. If it takes wet printing, well, that's what it takes. To call ink-jet "better" than wet printings is about on a par with saying that apples are better than oranges.


  14. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    I'll accept that, Roger.

    So, to be more specific, the (second-hand) quotation of yours to which I was responding was that you asserted "that an inkjet print cannot rival the depth of tone of a well crafted wet print".

    You may not be able to achieve the depth of tone in an inkjet print that you can achieve in a well crafted wet print. (Assuming that you have been correctly quoted.)

    I can achieve greater depth of tone in an inkjet print than I ever could achieve in a well crafted wet print. Principally because, as I mentioned earlier, I have a much wider range of papers available to me for inkjet printing than I had in the darkroom. I can choose D-MAX characteristics to suit the desired depth of tone.

    So you know what you can do and I know what I can do and neither of us can really contradict the other.

    What really matters to me is this: It may have taken me a lot of paper and a lot of ink to achieve the prints that meet my required standards - but, at the end of the day, I have never been left feeling that I could have achieved more had I been printing by traditional means in the darkroom. Quite the opposite - I have often looked at an inkjet print and thought, "Wow! I could never had achieved that in the old days."

    So, I guess that what I am saying is that neither of us should generalise from our own experiences. (And I admit that it was Taxor, rather than you, who was doing so.)


    PS - For some purposes, apples are better than oranges! Making cider, for example.
  15. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Yes, taxor, but I have some inertia & some distractions to overcome! :eek: Cheers, Oly
  16. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    I shall overcome one distraction right now! I still remember when I first saw an inkjet print (B&W) in an amateur setting that rivalled a silver print. Was judging a comp at Harlow PS about 11 years ago. Still remember the subject - a bit hackneyed (in pro circles at least) - a close-up of rough, hard worked, cupped hands held together and containing fruit, some olives I think.

    It took a while before I regularly saw similar quality for B&W appear in club competitions although pro printers had been consistently producing quality stuff from high-end reprographic (& computing) kit for pros for the gallery walls of the Association of Photographers for some time.

    Reckon now that I'd have to get a loupe on most images to have any chance (with colour only) of guessing correctly whether a print was digital or not. With monochrome silver prints, if you can handle them and angle them to the eye there are some giveaways but not always.

    However, with modern sensors, the detailing now can be a giveaway. Some work seems so finely detailed that it cannot possibly be a silver print from film - colour or B&W. It seems unreal to my film indoctrinated eyes.
  17. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

  18. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    His prints are a world ahead of mine, Oly!

  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Eric,

    Fair dinkum.

    But I stick with my assertion "different".

    Also, it's a bugger making triple sec out of apples.


  20. filmlover

    filmlover Well-Known Member

    Having moved house, am attempting to set up a darkroom. Have same LPL enlarger as you, and have my eye on the Nova slot processors (not quite enough room for my old trays). do you find the Nova's satisfactory?
    Having worked for years on newspapers, the superb quality achieved by those (now redundant) darkroom printers was astonishing. Personally I find the kind of quality from digital printers a bit too "smooth and plastic" (for want of a better description).
    Creating a successful darkroom print yourself may be slower, but you get a fuller range of tones, more individuality and ultimately more satisfaction.

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