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Thread: 40x60 from d800

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    40x60 from d800

    I've had some customers for big prints from my sugar refinery project, and just saw the first two today. Holy wow, do they exceed my expectations.

    My own printer only goes to 11x17, so I've been working with a friend who runs a fine art printing business (we've worked together before on a show of medium-sized prints). Before today I only saw reduced size proofs on cheap paper. Seeing them today full size on Canson baryta paper was a revelation.

    These were way better than anything I did with my 4x5, which was my only format for about ten years. My printmaker and thought they looked like they were from 8x10.

    I can't make a totally fair comparison, because I've never printed big from scanned large format files. After printing some images both ways, I've come to the opinion that optical enlarging is a sharpness-murdering process, so it's hard to know if I'm mostly comparing digital to enlarger.

    My only reservation is that there are sporadic digital artifacts that show up around some light/dark borders and on some diagonal lines. I haven't used enough different digital cameras to know how universal these issues are. They sneak in from time to time, and the only solution I've found is to try to kill them in photoshop with the blur tool. For the most part they're not the kind of thing that a non-obsessive photographer would notice, but that's maybe true for a lot of stuff.

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    Re: 40x60 from d800

    Those digital artifacts might have been caused during the up-sizing of the file. I don't know what software you used, but Photoshop doesn't do a great job at all.
    A much better way is to use ImageMagic (if you can be bothered with the lack of interface). Alternatively, Perfect Resize and Photo Zoom do a great job. Photo Zoom is a little bit better, in my opinion, if you make large enlargements, but the difference is very small, and I might be imagining things.
    There was a long discussion about this topic on another message board. I don't know the policy here about posting links, but send me a PM and I'll send it to you.

    Hope this helps,
    Martin
    Martin Ranger - Seattle, WA
    www.martinrangerimages.com

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    Re: 40x60 from d800

    A 40x60 optical print needs skill and a well aligned enlarger and vacuum easel. The ink jet made making large prints sooooo easy. BTW, 40x60 is even really, really good from a D600. I had a student that made some 40x60s for an exhibition.

    Sharpening artifacts are usually halo like on high contrast edges. You do need extra sharpening for a print, but it should not be obvious. Not seeing it, it is hard to say much more.

    The other thing I noticed with digital prints over optical is if you have a soft color transition, edges can be created because of the way ink is put down. I have not seen it often, but it happens. I also feel you can get better shadow detail in optical prints, at least deeper shadows. But all in all, I would not go back to trying large prints optically. And small prints like 20x24 are just not satisfying--and it is funny calling 20x24 small where in a chemical darkroom, 20x24 was about is big as you could go, practically speaking.

    Welcome to the big paper club.
    Will

    http://www.hakusancreation.com
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    Re: 40x60 from d800

    The artifacts are all visible in the file at original resolution. Not unique to any one file ... I should start a separate thread for this with some samples. They're actually much more visible at 1:1 on screen than in a print. Although by the time I make a print I've done my best to get rid of them.

    My only experience making big optical prints was at the lab where I worked. We had an HK horizontal 8x20 enlarger with a vacuum easel, laser focusing, and an awesome neg carier that grabbed the film by the corners and pulled it tight as a drum ... perfectly flat, without glass.

    The lens we had was a modern Rodenstock lens. It was 300mm, for 8x10, so not exactly optimal for my 4x5 negs. But still a high end optic.

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