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Author Topic: Large format printer  (Read 4046 times)
yoni
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« on: November 11, 2006, 05:20:14 PM »
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I am curious, for what purpose folks are using large fromat printers? I still use a 2200 for fine art printing. My largest prints, 12x18 sell best and I am certain that high quality 16x24 would be of interest to my customers. The upcoming 3800 would be particularly suitable for my low volume printing operation. However, very few of my 5D images could accomodate upres to this size despite competent capture (tripd, high quality L-lenses, mirror up etc) and competence in image processing. I understant that one gains saving on ink as well as the convenience of large volume ink cartridges, but I would think that for most the attraction is the large size, no? If so how do you folks manage to get high-quality 16x24 format prints with anything shy of a medium format digital back or scanned medium/large format film?
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ericbullock
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2006, 05:56:49 PM »
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I am curious, for what purpose folks are using large format printers? I still use a 2200 for fine art printing. My largest prints, 12x18 sell best and I am certain that high quality 16x24 would be of interest to my customers. The upcoming 3800 would be particularly suitable for my low volume printing operation. However, very few of my 5D images could accommodate upres to this size despite competent capture (tripod, high quality L-lenses, mirror up etc) and competence in image processing. I understand that one gains saving on ink as well as the convenience of large volume ink cartridges, but I would think that for most the attraction is the large size, no? If so how do you folks manage to get high-quality 16x24 format prints with anything shy of a medium format digital back or scanned medium/large format film?
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I just did a 20 x 30 from a 5d file on both an Epson 7800 and HP Z3100 (comparison for a client). The file holds up fine at this size so I don't think it would be an issue to print 16 x 24's on the 3800. Digital files are quite malleable! To a point of course...
 
With the Professional machine (all the X800 machines are part of the Pro Graphics line), you get better build quality, tighter tolerances from machine to machine, and lower operational cost due to the bigger ink tanks. You would also be getting the K3 inks, which are a big step up from the first generation Ultrachromes in your 2200.

Cheers,

-eric-
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D White
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2006, 09:30:57 AM »
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I am very pleased with most 1DsII files printed up to 24x36 on a Epson 7800. This holds with even close viewing in most cases. A 5D would not be far behind from what I have seen.
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Dr D White DDS BSc
Geoff Wittig
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2006, 08:57:19 PM »
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I use a 1Ds II, and find that with perfect technique single frames can be printed at 24x36" on my Epson 7600 with excellent results, though any image shortcomings are quickly apparent at this size. Meticulous focus and a very solid tripod are critical. Optimal sharpening is also very important. If resolution is the limiting factor, for example landscape images with lots of distant forest detail, I stitch images together in Photoshop to provide sufficient information.
I routinely use the 7600 to print very large stitched panoramics. Biggest so far was a 24x112" pano from the Badlands of South Dakota, stitched from 10 separate vertical frames to make a 1.3 gigabyte file. The detail holds up to the closest scrutiny. I ended up printing it in two halves, each flush mounted on a board to make it (somewhat) transportable. The two halves were then mounted on a wall with the joint in a corner.
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K.C.
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2006, 12:08:25 AM »
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You would also be getting the K3 inks, which are a big step up from the first generation Ultrachromes in your 2200.

Unless you're using Image Print with the 2200.
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neil snape
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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2006, 03:03:05 AM »
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What did surprise me at PPE is the number of images that were going up to sizes that show the exact weaknesses that you are posting about.
Canon pretty much require that everything they show comes in on a Canon camera. They just don't cut it for 60" , nor 44". There lies the dilema. All others including  HP will up a 5D file to 24" in driver or in Photoshop you won't see the difference, but certainly will see the digital era we're in right now.
Epson had a beautiful booth/gallery at PPE yet the striking imagery suffers from the digital images.
I've been working in digital for a long time now. But I can't and won't lie about image quality> dSLR images are lacking in detail to go up to 24" wide. Acceptable yes, and if the image content is good yes as well. Just that the image with all it's inconvenances would have been better on either film on a 120 back or medium format back.
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yoni
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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2006, 06:10:21 PM »
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Thanks folks,

Perhaps the difficulty I am having in envisioning it is perhaps because I am printing a small portion of one of my images after upresing to mimic a 16x24. Because its on an 8.5x11, it invites closer inspection than would typically be sought on a 16x24. At 30" viewing its gorgeous. Hmmm, I think I am going to have it printed on a full 16x24 to evaluated it better.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2006, 06:29:54 PM »
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I just printed a series of 5D files out at 16x24 on my Epson 7800 and they look very good -- no, not perfect but still very good -- even if you stuff your nose in them...  I have interpolated them up to 24x36 and they still look good if viewed from a few feet away, though you see the shortcomings when viewed critically.  

You mentioned you are using competent capture protocol, however you also must use proper post-processing protocols to achieve the best results for large prints. Unfortunately the procedures for that are fairly complex and not easily explained in an online forum where you cannot view actual print results.

So in summary, I think the 3800 is going to be an outstanding printer choice for anybody wanting to make 17" prints.

Cheers,
« Last Edit: November 13, 2006, 06:33:36 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

yoni
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« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2006, 07:36:04 PM »
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For postprocessing, my workflow consists of raw conversion in CS2 with no sharpening. I sharpen in 3 or 4 steps only after spotting, curve manipulation, dodging & burning, and upressing (bicubic smoothing). For upressing to a mock 16x24, I am pushing it to the right size with 240 PPI. Sharpending steps are: input sharpen using photokit, UMS , creative sharpening if necessary, and output sharpen using photokit. I know some folks run their input sharpening as the first step out of raw conversion, but I prefer to do all sharpening at the end. Of course everything done in layers and opacity control used to season to taste. I believe thats the right sequence of steps, no?

While I print largely to mat paper (the 2200 does not take kindly to switching blacks on Mac OS), I am experimenting with micro ceramic's luster. Its my impression that I get better results on upressed images printed on luster. Is that the general consensus or am I fooling myself by the novelty of seeing gorgeous density range?  Certainly one benefit I would gain from the 3800 is K3 without the awful bronzing on luster and glossy (of course reduced metamarism would be welcomed).
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2006, 07:44:47 PM »
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Luster, I prefer Epson's Premium to IJA's Micro Ceramic, but both are quite good and do indeed take the Epson inks quite nicely

As for your workflow, no problem with the steps you've outlined.  FWIW, I push it to my final print size at 300 PPI using Bicubic smoother, then downsize to 240 PPI using Bicubic sharper
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yoni
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2006, 08:06:59 PM »
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As for your workflow, no problem with the steps you've outlined.  FWIW, I push it to my final print size at 300 PPI using Bicubic smoother, then downsize to 240 PPI using Bicubic sharper
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will try that, thanks.
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