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Author Topic: Anyone have experience with Duggal "HD" C prints from digital files?  (Read 1391 times)
NashvilleMike
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« on: August 17, 2013, 07:42:32 PM »
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I know, I know, a non-inkjet question!! 
Normally I print my own stuff on a 3880 and am quite happy with the inkjet output, but I'm investigating doing a moderate-large print (probably 30" on the short side) on Kodak Endura Metallic or the Fuji high gloss stuff (for subject matter reasons), and while I was originally going to go either with West Coast Imaging or Chromatics (here in the mid south), I've seen ads for Duggals "high resolution" HD C prints and I'm curious if anyone here has any experience or knowledge about these.

Thanks in advance...

-m
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 03:46:32 PM »
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No experience with that specific printer they use, although interestingly enough it is engineered very similarly to the original  Kodak LED printer from the 90's,  using lasers instead of LED's. This video shows it printing, much like Kodak's printer it positions the paper inside a drum then moves the print head horizontally.

Since the Polielettronica printer they are using is a 610 DPI device, theoretically if you have a high enough resolution file the results may be better.  But good labs run the  Lambda's as 400 DPI devices, the Chromira's are 300 DPI devices as are the Noritsus (I think some Noritsus may even have a higher DPI mode), all at a resolution which is beyond all but perhaps a few to resolve at the pixel level.  If the file doesn't have enough resolution then interpolating it may not yield any visual advantage despite their claim, and in fact I'm not sure there will be a difference visually even if you have a high enough rez file.  The color management skills and production disciplines at the facility are probably the most important factor with any of these labs.

I'm surprised photo paper can actually resolve pixels at that level.  I think you will get an acceptable print at any of the facilities you mentioned, and the only way to find out if this new printer really delivers anything better would be to do some comparison prints. 

If you do that I would love to hear what you think.

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Benny Profane
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 11:45:50 AM »
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Is it still a C print in the end? With the same short life of a C print? Don't tell your client .......

I just read about an image on C paper made by Cindy Sherman that was eventually bought for 3.9 million. Yes, 3.9 million. It is now severely faded. There is justice in that story somewhere.

http://www.inkjetmall.com/wordpress/opinion/dye-inks-and-safe-display-conditions/
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 01:21:55 PM »
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Yes, they are still C prints.  Since 1981 there have been improvements in longevity of these papers, and citing one example where the display and care conditions may have been unfavorable may be a little misleading.  I'm curious how the arrived at the before image ... there really isn't a way to know what it really looked like.  And it's not like they fade overnight.

It is true pigment ink prints do have better resistance to color fading, but they still can't match some of the qualities of Fujiflex or Kodak Metallic.
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Benny Profane
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 12:33:10 PM »
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Well, I go to the Duggal site and read this: "Duggal’s HD C-Prints are created on true archival photographic papers" OK, maybe somebody can tell me what a  true archival photographic paper is, because I only know of C print technology for color, besides dye transfer, which doesn't really exist anymore outside of very obscure hobbyist basements. (I hope those basements are ventilated well) C prints are an almost ancient technology, always prone to quick fading, and I cringe when I see it being used in museum shows, because somebody should know better. Did Kodak or Fuji or somebody else invent a C print that doesn't fade when I wasn't looking, because I moved on to modern technology that is cheaper, much more archival, easier to produce, and just plain better?

I'm thinking that somebody invented a way to make very sharp C prints that will still fade. Maybe not. But, I swore off chemicals in 1983 when I started using computers for imagery, and, I'll never go back. Clean a Kreonite machine once, and you'll know what I'm talking about.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2013, 01:38:11 PM »
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Well, I go to the Duggal site and read this: "Duggal’s HD C-Prints are created on true archival photographic papers" OK, maybe somebody can tell me what a  true archival photographic paper is, because I only know of C print technology for color, besides dye transfer, which doesn't really exist anymore outside of very obscure hobbyist basements. (I hope those basements are ventilated well) C prints are an almost ancient technology, always prone to quick fading, and I cringe when I see it being used in museum shows, because somebody should know better. Did Kodak or Fuji or somebody else invent a C print that doesn't fade when I wasn't looking, because I moved on to modern technology that is cheaper, much more archival, easier to produce, and just plain better?

I'm thinking that somebody invented a way to make very sharp C prints that will still fade. Maybe not. But, I swore off chemicals in 1983 when I started using computers for imagery, and, I'll never go back. Clean a Kreonite machine once, and you'll know what I'm talking about.
yeah, those Kreonite machines were  something ... especially using EP-2 chemistry.  The tar in those developer socks ... yuck.  However, RA-4 is a much cleaner process, today's processors much simpler and cleaner running, and photographic color prints is still the least expensive technology for producing high quality photographs in a production environment.  And the finish and look of Fujiflex or Kodak metallic cannot be matched by inkjet. 

As far as "archival photographic papers", nothing new. Fuji has labeled all their photo papers as "fuji crystal archive" for quite some time now, dating back to when they introduced their "century" longevity campaign.  Same stuff.  Depending on how it's processed, handled, mounted and displayed the time to fade varies just like with any process, and under most circumstances will last several decades.  Fading really isn't the the main issue when it comes to "archival longevity", since the true enemy of most images is whether it physically lasts that long and whether there will be anyone who even cares about it in the future.  Not many images will last long enough to find out how they really hold up to fading.
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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2013, 10:56:00 PM »
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In general I like to work with inkjet output (most of my personal work is B&W anyway) and I enjoy it's longevity. Or I hope to anyway.

But there are some print materials - the Kodak Metallic and the Fuji high gloss Crystal Archive, that have a look that can't be duplicated by any inkjet technology that I know of or have tried (and I've tried). So I can't outright claim that inkjets are 100% be-all and end-all "better". In most cases they are what I prefer, but every once in a while an image comes along that will look better on the two aforementioned C print materials. Will they last 100 years? I doubt it. In this case, the client is myself - and if I get 30 years out of them I'd be happy. The odds are that if I don't get some horrid illness that in 30 and change years I'll be sipping fine Oregon pinot noir while angels fly by me next to white clouds (or, alternately, drinking lousy wine from upstate NY and be surrounded by Canon and Red fanboys, the combination of which might be my definition of hell). In all honestly, while I like the image I intend to print, in 10-15 years the odds are I'll be moving on to a newer image anyway, and the old one will have served it's purpose well. So if I can get between 15-30 years out of it at 145 lux light levels where it would hang, I'm cool with it.

And yea, those old Kreonite machines were a joy. Mostly my darkroom days were with RA4 processes and dip n dunk film processors though. I don't miss the film/chemical days, but I do at times miss some of the traditional print finishes.

-m
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