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Friday, 24 April 2020


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Made me laugh. I don't know, do you think I was scarred by my early experience with the HP B[nine]180*?

*For some very odd reason, the comment box will not allow me to type a nine. I'm being serious, no joke. I'll open a Help Ticket with TypePad. It's always a new day, you know?

This can also apply to printing...

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own

Re Quote of the day:
Printers CAN feel like instruments of torture, but that is also true of any other semi complicated endeavor that has a learning curve attached.
Like Film developing and print making there is lots of stuff to learn, like the practical sensitometry of Characteristic curves or 0.1 above Film Base + fog. https://www.kodak.com/uploadedfiles/motion/US_plugins_acrobat_en_motion_newsletters_filmEss_06_Characteristics_of_Film.pdf

Those who learned them (at least on a practical basis) usually found it much easier to get the results they wanted. Those who didn't got frustrated.
It really is the same with Digital Printing.. You still have to expose and 'develop' files suited to the kind of print you want to make, and observe a color managed workflow, have some standardized print viewing, and do the work of dialing in a 'closed loop' where one variable can be changed at a time. People who do those things can get superb results.
None of it is hard, but it can be tedious.
But Once Done, consistent results are not difficult to achieve.
If doing that stuff doesn't appeal to you because of the learning curve or expense, or lack of volume, then a good printing service is a better way to go.
In all the marketing for Printers, the learning curve gets left out. But if you do it- the same way you learned to make good photographs, you will be richly rewarded.
I love prints, for me, it is not 'Really' a picture until it's a Print (I know that is not technically true) but what I love most about prints is that they take away all the excuses, "you should see this on my display" and to be sure every display is different. The print forces you to commit to the best version I can make, and stand by it.
The fact that I can now make a 16x24" print for under 10 bucks, and have it be exactly how I envisioned it is still a miracle to me. -And a genuine bargain. I know I haven't included 'sunk costs' but I don't amortize the cost of camera, lenses, tripods & gasoline on a per exposure basis either.
Each of us has to decide if this kind of thing is 'Worth it' to us, In my case, it certainly is.
But folks shouldn't be put off by the learning curve-- it is just the price of admission (along with ink and paper)

As I've written before, some months ago a post by Michael caused me to make some prints. Or try to make some prints.

After struggling for four hours and cursing Mike and Canon and Microsoft for three and a half of them I gave up and turned the TV on. Damn printer couldn't hear or wouldn't hear the siren call of my computer's wifi or bluetooth or citizen's band or two meters or what ever magic was required to establish communications.

Not defeated, I tried again the next morning. Worked like a charm. Dunno.

Then I bought a new computer. Glutton for punishment but not enough of a glutton to dive into printer installation right away. Better to wait for a month or two.

So a couple of days ago when Michael started up on this printing thing again I figured it was time ...

Turned it on, selected a file, smiled and spoke kindly to Adobe, genuflected to Canon, prayed to Microsoft and ... made a print! Ain't technology great?

Thanks Mike. Again.

That's a good quote, and it explains nicely the difference between digital and film photography for me: most of my prints are, I think, mediocre at best, but I have spent hundreds (in fact, thousands) of very happy hours in the darkroom making them, and I hope I will spend thousands more. The same is true for cameras: the thought of having to learn how to drive a new digital camera fills me with physical nausea (this is not hyperbole: I've just bought a replacement lens/sensor for my GXR after the shutter in the old one died rather than have to deal with a new camera), while the results are enormously technically better than the film cameras which are such a delight to use.

...only when printed by master printers"

I disagree with your premise.

If you printed color images in the past, then using a color printer is a piece of cake. The process is somewhat similar. For each variable, paper, ink, colorspace and print drivers you manage those elements to produce a print you want. The print is pretty much repeatable so making multiple copies usually results in identical prints.

In film we had to:
Change/test the settings every time we changed a bulb. This happened more than you would expect.
Change/test the settings every time we changed a paper. Suggested filter levels printed on the box.
Change/test the settings every time we changed a emulsion - even if it was from the same manufacturer. Having several rolls of film with the same emulsion number helped.
We had to actively manage the temperature of the "soup" and wait up to 15-20 minutes to evaluate a single color image. Changes to filters were made as required.

Digital printing is pretty easy given that paper manufacturers provide icc profiles. Monitor calibration is pretty much a no brainer. The inks are very consistent between batches. (I have a ColorMunki Photo so I can create my own custom paper icc profiles)

My printer will produce a 8.5x11 inch image in less than two minutes. Much faster than in the old days.

I'll second the first part -
Some years ago I bought one of the fancy wide carriage printers with the idea of printing my own color. Then I had to buy a calibrator and try to get that to work. Tried all types of paper. I printed lots of prints - and threw away (recycled) lots of prints as poor quality.
I became so frustrated I gave the printer, supplies of ink, paper and the calibrator to a photographer friend.
Maybe a year later he sheepishly offered it back - he had the same results.
I took it back and gave it all to the local high school.
Sent photos off to a number of services, got totally satisfactory results for probably 10% the cost of doing them myself and without out the frustration.
I decided that if you enjoy staring at a screen for hours, engaging in iterative processes, ignore disappointment, don't mind using up trees worth of paper and love spending money, you'll LOVE printing your own pictures.
Not my thing!

The road to print perfection is littered with broken and abandoned printers..

I bought the Epson 4800 when it came out 15 years ago, and loved it. Closed down my darkroom a year or two later, because the prints were better. I had had a darkroom for about 30 years, and I was a pretty good printer.

Moved on to a 7800, and now the SC-P 7000.

Loved all three of them. I might go a month between printing sessions; very few clogs if you kept the humidity high.

Best bits of photographic equipment I ever bought. You can take decent pictures with any digital camera made in the last five years - cameras are no longer important. Put the money into a decent printer and learn to use it.

Lots of comments about clogging, but what I have found is that as the printers I have used aged, they developed a banding pattern. I’m guessing it is slack in the drive mechanism leading to a slight overlap of lines. Is this just a consequence of cheaper, consumer grade printers Or is it a problem any one else has noticed!

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