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[filmscanners] Prints from scans ... are there really differences any more?

  • To: lexa@www.lexa.ru
  • Subject: [filmscanners] Prints from scans ... are there really differences any more?
  • From: "Anthony Atkielski" <anthony@atkielski.com>
  • Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 12:13:11 +0200
  • Unsubscribe: mailto:listserver@halftone.co.uk

I've been looking at prints from a scan I made of an nighttime scene.  Two
are from my trusty Epson 2000P: one 8x12 and one 13x19.  Another is a an
8x12 from a Fuji Frontier.  Still another is an 8x12 from a Durst Lambda (I
have a larger print from this machine on order for this afternoon).

The main thing I notice is that ... I can hardly distinguish between these

The Epson print is distinctive more because of the paper it is printed on
(Premium Semigloss) than because of any differences in the image; it seems a
_little_ bit more washed out in highlights than the chemical prints, but the
difference is really small--so small that it is more a matter of subjective
preference than one print being better than another.  I'm using one of those
Cone profiles from InkjetMall for the 2000P, and the print is amazingly
similar to what I see on my screen.  There is a tiny bit of metamerism in
the print (it turns less warm in daylight, and warmer in incandescent
light), but nothing like the stories you hear.

The Fuji print is also very good.  I had it done quickly at a one-hour photo
place, from the same file I used for the Epson (nothing adjusted).  Looks
great.  I told the operators to feed it right into the Frontier, with no
retouching or changes or anything.  It looks just like what I have on my
monitor.  It's just a little bit darker than the Epson print, but there
again, it's a question of preference, not better or worse.  The glossy photo
paper (Fuji Crystal Archive) is nice.

The Lambda print, from a pro lab, is great also--but almost
indistinguishable from the Frontier print, even though it cost me eight
times more money.  In fact, I'm not sure that there is any difference
between them, and it is certainly not clear whether the Lambda or Frontier
print is the "better" of the two.

I'm waiting on the 50x60-cm print from the Lambda, which I expect will be
stunning.  Still, I'm not seeing any of the big differences one might
expect, especially given the price differentials.

The costs look like this:

Epson 8x12 . . . . . . . . . . $   2.00 (est.)
Frontier 8x12  . . . . . . . .     4.00
Lambda 8x12  . . . . . . . . .    40.00

Epson 13x19  . . . . . . . . . $   6.00 (est.)
Frontier 13x19 . . . . . . . . (N/A, Frontier can't do this size)

Lambda 50x60 cm  . . . . . . . $ 115.00

So ... am I too dense to see some really big differences that I should be
seeing, or is my nighttime shot just a poor test, or what?  I thought a
nighttime shot would be a _good_ test, because it is very contrasty and has
lots of colors that need to be reproduced fairly well.  All of the prints
show colors that essentially match my (semi-calibrated Sony) monitor.
Contrasts and lights and shadows are pretty much the same, too.  The gamut
of the prints is visibly more restricted, but that's about it.

I'm having a hard time figuring out just exactly why pro prints are so
expensive if they look just like the prints from the one-hour lab.  Just
what am I getting for all that extra money?

Are Gicle or other special prints better in some way, or just more of the
same?  I was under the impression that Lambda prints are the best thing
going right now for prints from digital files, no?

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