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Thread: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

  1. #141
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    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    A frontier machine uses Fuji archival paper and is exposed to what ever the image you send it.

    If you send it colour you get colour, if you send it grey scale you get grey scale etc.
    You sure can do that with quite acceptable results, but the black achievable with the CMY dyes in colour paper doesn't quite measure up with that of a black pigment. There's also problems with metamerism, and it's difficult to get consistent/neutral grays. Slight colour shifts in a colour image are virtually unnoticeable, but in a monochrome picture they can become obvious.

    I have never seen a platinum print (maybe when I get back to Singapore you will show me some), so I can't compare.
    Unless I'm mistaken, the main difference in appearance is not so much due to platinum vs. silver, but the way it is coated. Gelatin-based papers embed the (silver) pigment in an emulsion, usually backed by another non-fibrous layer (polymer or baryta). With common platinum prints, there is no backing layer, i.e. the paper soaks up the chemicals, and the platinum pigment is dispersed in the paper fibres. This is similar to older types of silver prints.

  2. #142

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    A frontier machine uses Fuji archival paper and is exposed to what ever the image you send it.

    If you send it colour you get colour, if you send it grey scale you get grey scale etc.

    The Frontier uses similar chemical process as does wet work.

    The result from one of these machines (if cared for) by this I mean well maintained in every way, is excellent.


    The Frontier uses RGB lasers to expose the paper before it goes to the development tanks if that is of interest.

    Infact it is actually a red. blue, modulated IR to give green.

    I run one of these mothers and they can give brilliant prints. But it is maintained and calibrated to spec.

    I have never seen a platinum print (maybe when I get back to Singapore you will show me some), so I can't compare.
    But given a good B&W image on a disc or card, if sent to the Frontier correctly, the result is rather good.

    Cheers
    Pardon my ignorance.

    I am quite sure that these sophisticated machines can make very good prints, color or B&W. But does it really produce silver prints?

  3. #143

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Platinum prints are not the "best".

    There are images where the brilliance of the silver prints are clearly preferable. For black blacks and white whites, silver prints are still "better".

    But the delicate high values and midtones of platinum prints are quite delicious. While it is true that platinum salts are embedded in the paper matrix, some silver papers such as Bergger Silver Supreme are also similarly embedded.

    I use Silver Supreme a lot, and it does "imitate" platinum prints a little. But put the two together, and the difference is obvious to even the blind.

  4. #144
    Senior Member Pablo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    You sure can do that with quite acceptable results, but the black achievable with the CMY dyes in colour paper doesn't quite measure up with that of a black pigment. There's also problems with metamerism, and it's difficult to get consistent/neutral grays. Slight colour shifts in a colour image are virtually unnoticeable, but in a monochrome picture they can become obvious.



    Unless I'm mistaken, the main difference in appearance is not so much due to platinum vs. silver, but the way it is coated. Gelatin-based papers embed the (silver) pigment in an emulsion, usually backed by another non-fibrous layer (polymer or baryta). With common platinum prints, there is no backing layer, i.e. the paper soaks up the chemicals, and the platinum pigment is dispersed in the paper fibres. This is similar to older types of silver prints.

    Hi Little Wolf,

    No I can't quarantee that black is exact black, only that the Frontier is not an ink printer.
    It is somewhat different.
    I know (I think) where you might be going in as far as can RGB produce a true black ?

    I put it this way; the camera (digital) takes the photo in RGB and as such the output from the Frontier should be the same.

    I am not dealing with CMYK here.

    This explanation may not be enough, but from what I know and have seen.
    An image taken with a (digital) camera can be printed out by a Frontier exactly.
    If the Frontier has been calibrated correctly and maintained correctly.

    Cheers
    Time, is an effortless construction :)

  5. #145

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by tsdh
    Color?
    Isn't digital susceptible to color shift and color fringing?
    The photo below shows color fringing (not chromatic aberration, the same lens never give such issue with film). On D70 with Nikon Capture, the fringing color tend to be purple if the surrounding area has blue component, and tend to be cyan if the surrounding area has more yellow or green. How do you think?

    http://gallery.clubsnap.com/data/500/DSC_0049a.jpg
    Well.. That tend to happen if you blow the highlights, again, possibly because of the sensor overload. Another reason if if you used a wide angle lenses and the rays are not orthogonal on the surface of the sensor, the oblique rays can be dispersed by the low pass filter of the sensor. It really varies from model to model. So far my images are quite free from such aberrations.

  6. #146
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    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    Hi Little Wolf,

    No I can't quarantee that black is exact black, only that the Frontier is not an ink printer.
    It is somewhat different.
    I know (I think) where you might be going in as far as can RGB produce a true black ?
    The Frontier exposes the paper in RGB (the laser light mixes additively), but the picture is formed by CMY dyes (which produce the colours by subtractive mixing).

    To answer student's question, it is not a silver print, but a dye print. However, as pointed out by others, one could expose "real" b/w paper in a frontier to obtain a true silver print. Or, with suitable light sources and/or sensitizers, even a platinum print. That this is not (or at least not widely) offered is not a technical, but an economic problem. B/w is a niche market and doesn't bring/isn't perceived to bring enough volume to make such a service financially viable.
    Last edited by LittleWolf; 28th March 2006 at 10:01 PM.

  7. #147

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by student
    Pardon my ignorance.

    I am quite sure that these sophisticated machines can make very good prints, color or B&W. But does it really produce silver prints?
    What the machine is is actually 3 scanning lasers which writes directly onto photochemical paper, I presume it's silver-halide based because it needs to go through development and bleach-fixing process. So instead of using light and optics to project the negative of the image onto the paper, it uses scanning lasers to expose the paper by rastering instead.

    So theoretically, if you feed it B&W silver paper and replace the dev and fix by B&W chemicals, it should work. Shouldn't it? It's just the method of exposing the paper that's different.

  8. #148

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    Maybe it's because some people appear to look down on non-film photography? And similarly, people praise the deficiencies of film as "features"?

    There's one advantage of film grain/excessive noise: it hides a lot of image flaws. (The same method is used e.g. in handphones: noise is added to mask some artefacts of speech compression.) You can try an experiment: Take a slightly blurry picture and add noise to it. Chances are, it will appear much sharper afterwards.
    Yes. It works that way. The appearance of sharp grains give people the impression that the picture is sharp. And like you mentioned, even for audio, some noise is added to fool the ears to think that there is an extended frequency response. This is also the reason why the early CD players sound so clinical. Simply because of the lack of noise. The modern CD players employ noise shaping filters to smoothen out the digital audio by using dithering methods to give the in between samples. Now, doesn't this sound familiar?

  9. #149
    Senior Member Pablo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    The Frontier exposes the paper in RGB (the laser light mixes additively), but the picture is formed by CMY dyes (which produce the colours by subtractive mixing).

    To answer student's question, it is not a silver print, but a dye print. However, as pointed out by others, one could expose "real" b/w paper in a frontier to obtain a true silver print. Or, with suitable light sources and/or sensitizers, even a platinum print. That this is not (or at least not widely) offered is not a technical, but an economic problem. B/w is a niche market and doesn't bring/isn't perceived to bring enough volume to make such a service financially viable.

    Hi Little Wolf,

    Where did you get the idea that the the Frontier uses dyes
    I am sorry to say but the Frontier does not use either ink or dye.

    It uses chemicals such as a wet lab (developer,fixer, bleach etc....)

    Cheers
    Time, is an effortless construction :)

  10. #150

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by lsisaxon
    What the machine is is actually 3 scanning lasers which writes directly onto photochemical paper, I presume it's silver-halide based because it needs to go through development and bleach-fixing process. So instead of using light and optics to project the negative of the image onto the paper, it uses scanning lasers to expose the paper by rastering instead.

    So theoretically, if you feed it B&W silver paper and replace the dev and fix by B&W chemicals, it should work. Shouldn't it? It's just the method of exposing the paper that's different.
    Sounds like theoretically possible. But is it really done?

    I am aware of several vendors who use a hybrid computer/enlarger system to project a digital file to the silverpaper which was then processed in the usual manner.

    Has anyone actually use the frontier to print silver papers? I am just curious.

  11. #151

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Here's an article on how the Frontier machines work.
    http://tech2.nytimes.com/mem/technol...53C1A9649C8B63

    HOW IT WORKS; Color Prints, Laser-Tweaked and Sharper Than Ever


    By ROY FURCHGOTT
    Published: October 24, 2002

    IN the days before digital cameras and inkjet printers, photographic prints were made by exposing chemically treated paper to light, then bathing it in vats of yet more chemicals. Photo imaging has come a long way, but the route to stunning images still ends with the exposure of special paper to light and chemicals. The difference is this time the light is not from an ordinary bulb, but from color lasers in the most advanced digital commercial film printers. Anyone who has seen the outstanding images that commercial inkjet printers can produce might wonder why they need improvement. As sharp as pictures are with some inkjet equipment, the sharpness is limited. Inkjets spray little puffs of ink, so the edges of the dots tend to be blurry, like dots from a can of spray paint. That makes fine details in photos less crisp. The more intense the color, the more intense the ink spray required, and the greater the blur.

    Laser-based digital labs -- which are manufactured by companies like Fuji, Noritsu and Agfa and used by quick-photo shops and drugstores -- avoid that problem because the pinpoint of light stays the same size no matter how intensely it is fired. That results in sharper details when the laser exposes the silver halide crystals on the photographic film.
    These lasers are not the same as those found in an office laser printer, even color models. Those office machines work like a copier -- a laser light puts an electrostatic charge on a drum that picks up toner (either black or colors) and fuses it to paper. In the photo lab, there are actually three colors of laser that fire little dots of light on roughly the same kind of photo paper that has been used for 100 years.
    Getting color lasers to the lab wasn't easy. Engineers had to overcome costly technical hurdles that had made laser printing a seeming impossibility. Although it was easy to make an inexpensive and reliable red laser -- those $10 pen pointers have one -- scientists needed lasers that produced green and blue light as well. Without those three colors, they could not mix the rainbow palette needed to reproduce color photographic images. But blue and green lasers were expensive and had a short life span.
    The Fuji Corporation, which says it makes 60 percent of the laser processors used at photo labs, solves the problem by using lasers that emit infrared light, outside the visible range. The invisible light then passes through a harmonic generator, which doubles the frequency of the beam, making it visible as blue or green. Other companies have employed different methods, like using gas lasers, to generate the colors.
    The real magic of these digital systems takes place before the photons hit the paper. The machines have high-speed scanners that can accept negatives, positive transparencies -- like slides -- or photo prints, and they can also handle digital image files, from CD's or memory cards. The image is then analyzed by software that adjusts color, contrast and exposure as needed.
    Older bulb-based printers do that too -- but they have to choose the best averages before exposing a negative to the even light of the enlarger bulb. The laser printers can choose a custom exposure for each part of the photo -- essentially instructing the lasers to darken underexposed areas and lighten overexposed ones -- giving it far greater ability to rescue poor images.
    The extra features of laser-based models mean they cost more too -- a digital minilab, like a Fuji Frontier, can cost $100,000 or more, depending on features and speed. But there are limits to what even the laser software can do. While it does well correcting color, it cannot do much to reduce bad shadows. For that kind of correction, it still takes an image-editing program like Photoshop and a skilled operator.
    Once a photo is scanned, the software makes adjustments and sends the information to fire the lasers. Because the lasers themselves do not move, the light is bounced off a rotating six-sided mirror that reflects the light dots onto the paper. As the mirror turns, it draws a line across the paper in light. Each full rotation makes six lines of color image, then the paper advances to take the next six lines.
    The rotating mirror reflects the light through a lens and off two stationary mirrors that make sure the light hits the paper at a perpendicular angle. Otherwise, the scan lines would have fuzzy edges, like those produced by an inkjet. Using a digital camera and a laser developer, it is possible to produce photos that are clearer and more detailed than what film cameras produce. Digital images also lack the grain that is on film negatives.
    But as Fuji discovered with an early version of its laser processor, detail can be too much of a good thing. ''The machine was too sharp -- you'd see every blemish,'' said Brad Bunk, a senior technical specialist at Fujifilm. Later machines added a facial recognition feature. When it detects a rounded surface in skin color, the software smooths the surface so that every pore isn't apparent, which is especially important since these prints can last 200 years.

  12. #152
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    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    Where did you get the idea that the the Frontier uses dyes
    I am sorry to say but the Frontier does not use either ink or dye.
    According to Fuji's web page, the Frontier uses a modified RA4 process (a standard colour printing process). RA4 prints (and also C41 negatives and E6 slides and ...) form the image using dyes, believe it or not. The dyes are created by a reaction between "colour couplers" in the emulsion (which determine the colour of the dye molecule formed) and waste products of the developer. The silver image formed by the developer is subsequently removed by bleaching and fixing.
    Last edited by LittleWolf; 28th March 2006 at 10:20 PM.

  13. #153
    Senior Member Pablo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by student
    Sounds like theoretically possible. But is it really done?

    I am aware of several vendors who use a hybrid computer/enlarger system to project a digital file to the silverpaper which was then processed in the usual manner.

    Has anyone actually use the frontier to print silver papers? I am just curious.

    Hi student,

    Ahhhhh replies come in when I am thinking. I write an answerand it is out of date

    Anyway, with the Frontier, the only different choices of paper are Gloss and Lustre.

    There is NO B&W paper.

    As I had mentioned above somewhere. The output result depends on the input.

    You feed it colour it gives colour.

    You feed it B&W it outputs B&W.

    The B&W is limited to a RGB projection on the paper.

    There is NO ink there is no pigment, there is basically (unless you are using a computer ) ni CMYK.

    Cheers
    Time, is an effortless construction :)

  14. #154

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by student
    Sounds like theoretically possible. But is it really done?

    I am aware of several vendors who use a hybrid computer/enlarger system to project a digital file to the silverpaper which was then processed in the usual manner.

    Has anyone actually use the frontier to print silver papers? I am just curious.
    Yes, it's really done that way. Whether people have used it to do B&W silver paper, that for us to find out. But I think they'll just tell you to print on colour paper and it looks the same.. bah!! The grey tones just look different. Most will usually end up with a slight colour cast, very much the same like printing B&W negs using colour paper. I had a hard time trying to get the grey correct, wasted so much test prints..... just for some passport photos!! At the end of the day just went to get a pack of B&W paper and some chemicals instead..

  15. #155

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    According to Fuji's web page, the Frontier uses a modified RA4 process (a standard colour printing process). RA4 prints (and also C41 negatives and E6 slides and ...) form the image using dyes, believe it or not. The dyes are created by a reaction between "colour couplers" in the emulsion (which determine the colour of the dye molecule formed) and waste products of the developer. The silver image formed by the developer is subsequently removed by bleaching and fixing.
    Surprise surprise.. Kodak Ektacolor paper using the old EP-2 (Ektaprint) or the newer RA process which I had been using to print from colour negs for ages uses silver halide activated colour couplers which the end result are dyes too! What's new? The Frontier machines just used the same paper but with the sensitivity curved tweaked for the laser. Because the lasers are so bright, the sensitivity has to be decreased from traditional paper. What does this give us? Even smaller sized grains.
    Last edited by lsisaxon; 28th March 2006 at 10:29 PM.

  16. #156
    Senior Member Pablo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    According to Fuji's web page, the Frontier uses a modified RA4 process (a standard colour printing process). RA4 prints (and also C41 negatives and E6 slides and ...) form the image using dyes, believe it or not. The dyes are created by a reaction between "colour couplers" in the emulsion (which determine the colour of the dye molecule formed) and waste products of the developer. The silver image formed by the developer is subsequently removed by bleaching and fixing.

    Hi LittleWolf,

    I am not aware of the above mentioned process.

    I run a Frontier 570....The top model.
    Not far from me they run the Frontier 340.

    The major difference being:

    They can do film to print (I dont have that attachment)

    Their machine can only hold 1 size of paper at a time.

    Mine can hold 2 different canisters,

    Theirs prints aprox 600 6x4 per hour,
    Mine does 1400 6x4 per hour.

    I maintain my Frontier on a weekly basis.

    I also have to change rolls of paper, replace chemicals (replinseher) every 7000prints
    top up replenisher often (water and de-clorine tablets).

    At no point is there ink involved.

    I had to do some seriour learning before I was allowed to look after this machine.

    I think I have a fair idea how it works.
    Time, is an effortless construction :)

  17. #157

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    Hi student,

    Ahhhhh replies come in when I am thinking. I write an answerand it is out of date

    Anyway, with the Frontier, the only different choices of paper are Gloss and Lustre.

    There is NO B&W paper.

    As I had mentioned above somewhere. The output result depends on the input.

    You feed it colour it gives colour.

    You feed it B&W it outputs B&W.

    The B&W is limited to a RGB projection on the paper.

    There is NO ink there is no pigment, there is basically (unless you are using a computer ) ni CMYK.

    Cheers
    Yeah.. At this point in time, there is no B&W paper, but it doesn't mean that you cannot feed B&W paper in if you're able to find B&W in 8" rolls!

    There are people feeding Kodak Metallic paper in the Fuji frontier machines and the result is still beautiful!

  18. #158

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    Hi LittleWolf,

    I am not aware of the above mentioned process.

    I run a Frontier 570....The top model.
    Not far from me they run the Frontier 340.

    The major difference being:

    They can do film to print (I dont have that attachment)

    Their machine can only hold 1 size of paper at a time.

    Mine can hold 2 different canisters,

    Theirs prints aprox 600 6x4 per hour,
    Mine does 1400 6x4 per hour.

    I maintain my Frontier on a weekly basis.

    I also have to change rolls of paper, replace chemicals (replinseher) every 7000prints
    top up replenisher often (water and de-clorine tablets).

    At no point is there ink involved.

    I had to do some seriour learning before I was allowed to look after this machine.

    I think I have a fair idea how it works.
    Seems a little different from Isisaxon's description. From your description it appears to me that silver prints as we understand it is not an output from the Frontier?

  19. #159

    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    Hi LittleWolf,

    I am not aware of the above mentioned process.

    I run a Frontier 570....The top model.
    Not far from me they run the Frontier 340.

    The major difference being:

    They can do film to print (I dont have that attachment)

    Their machine can only hold 1 size of paper at a time.

    Mine can hold 2 different canisters,

    Theirs prints aprox 600 6x4 per hour,
    Mine does 1400 6x4 per hour.

    I maintain my Frontier on a weekly basis.

    I also have to change rolls of paper, replace chemicals (replinseher) every 7000prints
    top up replenisher often (water and de-clorine tablets).

    At no point is there ink involved.

    I had to do some seriour learning before I was allowed to look after this machine.

    I think I have a fair idea how it works.
    There is no ink involved but the dyes are formed when you develop and bleach-fix the paper, that is how photochemical colour paper works since, I don't know how log ago, at least more than 20.. At no point did LittleWolf mention that ink is involved.

  20. #160
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    Default Re: Good news for photographers who yearn for film like images

    Quote Originally Posted by student
    Seems a little different from Isisaxon's description. From your description it appears to me that silver prints as we understand it is not an output from the Frontier?
    It is a silver halide paper, but the developed picture is free from silver. Which is one cost saving factor: the silver can be recycled, whereas silver-based b/w prints can contain substantial amounts of metallic silver (I think several grammes per square metre). This is exactly the same as "traditional" colour printing in the darkroom.

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