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Friday, 02 December 2022


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Here is a picture of a computer:

From a time when a "computer" was a person, usually female


The ‘photo’ looked OK to me but then I was bugged by the lack of support for the figures rather than the things you mention.
I guess the anachronisms like the window will be the hardest thing for machines to beat. Maybe we’ll have train birds, with their greater visual acuity, to detect the fakes like humans did with dogs in The Terminator.

[Nah, 'cuz birds, sadly, are not good at seeing windows either. :-( --Mike]

I’m amused that you lump images from digital cameras and images from AI software under “digital imagery” but don’t lump images from film (and I assume glass plates, paper negatives, etc.) and from digital sensors under “photography”. Are the images from scanned negatives no longer photography because they’re now digital? I’m not intending to restart the flame wars, just commenting. Following similar logic, are images created in Adobe Illustrator and other drawing programs not “art” (although they, I suppose, would be included in “digital imagery”)? Confusing terms these; see below…

On the other point about language, in my career I’ve noted that each subject area has its own terminology that sounds just like the everyday words we use. It’s jargon or slanguage that conveys meaning to those involved in the subject area and confuses those who aren’t. Consider “code” to programmers vs. “code” to spies as an example…

To me the AI-generated images aren’t photography; they’re just images created in a computer, even if they draw on “digital imagery” for their content...

Good luck with your printer quandary. I’ve used both Canon and Epson but have only purchased Epson. My latest is a P700. Have you checked into Digital Silver Imaging for your B&W printing? Highly recommended from experience.

Hello Mike, I can’t speak to the Pro 1000 printer from CANON as I only recently purchased the 600 version which uses dye based inks. My model definitely does a great job for B&W printing on all high grade inkjet papers. One great feature on the CANON printers is that the user installs the print head during the initial setup process. This means I’m sure you can purchase a new CANON printhead if it ever has an issue. This is huge since if anything goes wrong with EPSON printers, (printheads) you are dead in the water. EPSON has to repair it and shipping a 40 lb printer is very costly. I also don’t like a new printer getting partially filled cartridges, what a rip-off.

Yes, I covered the cartridge size differences between the Epson P900 and Canon Pro 1000 in my comment for your initial printing post. But I also mentioned another important distinction. Epson relies on the user to trigger cleaning cycles. Canon machines AUTOMATICALLY trigger cleaning cycles, whether the user wants them or not, so clogging might be reduced, but the cost per print is higher unless one frequently prints. This video explains the Canon approach…


There are of course other differences in the Canon vs Epson approach: user replaceable print heads (Canon) or not (Epson); feed mechanisms; ink sets and number of inks, etc.

The Pro 1000 is also much bigger and heavier than the P900, if that matters. The smaller Epson footprint unfortunately translates to smaller capacity ink cartridges. That’s one reason I haven’t sold my P800, still using 80ml cartridges.

Both are fine machines for b&w printing. Each can support ImagePrint, which I find very useful, including superb paper profiles for virtually all papers and lighting conditions. But that’s another discussion.

By the way, you’re actually better than most people at coining photo terminology, intentionally or not, for better or worse. See ‘bokeh’ and ‘bokeh king.”

I hope the young people refrain from calling a human printer an "old-timey printer". "Old-timey" anything makes me cringe when I see it in print, never mind hearing it uttered. (Yes, I saw that Mike used "old-tymey" later in the post.)

Film and digital photography is basically the same (disregarding the usual output form) until you run into the alternations or fictional digital photos. With film, you always have a negative to back up the photo and solve arguments. Digital has no equivalent that I'm aware of.

That Midjourney v4 is scary enough. Wait a decade and it'll have most of the bugs fixed.

Those AI apps are going to be used a lot for propaganda, publish fake but convenient histories of things that didn't happen. Your linguistic issues will be the least important issue.

But how about this for a working definition: Photography is the recording of things in the real world using whatever technology you prefer. Digital imaging is the creation of images, whole or in part, that existed in the mind(s) of the creator(s). I'm sure that is full of holes but so what.

I find the hoopla about these AI-generated pictures a bit strange.

One hears some folks refer to them as 'photographs' when clearly they are not. By definition photographs are made by light focused on a photosensitive sensor (film or digital). These AI-generated pictures/images are made by a completely new and distinct technology.

I acknowledge that language does in fact evolve, but note that the evolution of language sometimes leads to devolution. (Don't get me started on 'gifted' used as a verb!) I truly hope that the moniker "photograph" does not come to include AI-generated pictures. That would be a travesty.

Also, the idea that realistic-looking pictures are a solely the realm of photography or that they are somehow new is not correct. Talented folks have been making trompe-l'œil paintings for a very long time.

As the example you cite shows, there is currently often an element of AS (that is, automated stupidity!) in the output of AI systems. And, I agree that the AI generation of images will only get better as it matures.

If I were in the business of supplying commercial art or photography to corporations I would be worried about how to adapt in the face of this new (and inexpensive) source of imagery.

However, as an 'artist' working in photography, the AI-driven production of pictures has no bearing on my practice.

I’m also super-sensitive to the cost of ink, and consider it carefully as I shop for a replacement for my aging Epson 4900, and I agree that the razor blade model is annoying. But I decided not to let ink cost distract me, because the cost of high-quality paper is on average about five times the cost of ink. Here’s the average ink cost for a letter-sized print with an 6x9 inch image:

Epson P900: $.26
Canon 1000-Pro: $.21

The cost of a letter-sized sheet of Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag is about $1.44.

(The per 9x6 ink costs in my aging Epson 4900, with its 200 ml carts is only $.17. But there’s a downside to large carts for a low-volume printer. The ink in several little-used positions, especially for someone who prints mostly b/w, expires before I can use it up, and replacement cost is higher. I’d still prefer bigger carts, but this factor closes the gap somewhat.)

In any event it’s a bit like the cost of darkroom print chemistry. It’s not trivial, but it’s dwarfed by the cost of paper.

But by a large margin the most significant way to save media and ink costs is to reduce the number of prints necessary to get to a final. I use an EIZO CG247X, self-calibrated automatically every 500 hours to a brightness of 75 cd/m(2), contrast of 635:1 for matt papers or 1500:1 for glossy, and a color temperature of 5000° for warm-toned papers and 6500° neutral-toned papers. And I use ImagePrint, which has excellent profiles and a print preview that is much more faithful to the final print than the Lightroom preview. Together, these enable me most of the time to reach a final print in one-pass. I often export from Lightroom to TIFF and preview in ImagePrint several times before I click Print, but I’m rarely surprised by the printer output.

Finally, one thing to consider in comparing Canon to Epson: Canon heads change more over time than Epson heads, so the window within which a given profile is accurate on your machine is shorter. That’s why ImagePrint prefers Epson. Canon heads are by comparison a moving profile target.

I did some comparison shopping between the Canon Pro 1000 and the Epson P900. Based on specs I lean towards the Canon. But I used to print with an Epson 2200 (until the ink cartridges were discontinued) and I have many boxes of Epson paper. A quick search online suggests that using Epson paper in a Canon printer is not going to produce good results unless you can find a printer profile that matches these two together. Certainly neither Canon nor Epson will provide such a profile.

I certainly enjoyed printing when I could -- but do not miss it now that I can not.

My P800 will do for a while, as long as I don't switch too often between matte and photo black. I think it has larger tanks than the 900.

I think Brooks Jensen uses a term like digital imaging. I still call it photography. We call driving a car "driving" no matter the design, road style, tires, fuel and purpose. The term Photography works the same way for me.

Sometimes I wonder if we will ever have photographers who are looked at as masters, people collected, who have only used digital cameras. But there are a number of film masters who made the transition untarnished, people like Sam Abel. Are there new Sam Abels? I hope so, and I hope we get to see them.

Used Epsons through the 90's to 2015 when I switched to canon. Love the user replaceable heads. Every Epson I had eventually died of a unclearable head and when you find out how much it costs to replace you just buy a new one. I've only had my canon 5 years so I'm still on the first head but it will be very satisfying to drop a head in like an ink cart.

The cost of ink per volume may be misleading. My basic, now out of use Epson, used lots (precision metric quantity) of ink for head cleaning (or whatever rituals it went through). In fact in our moderate humid environment, the reservoir for the cleaning ink would get too full leading to streaks.


Photo/computer/printing terminology pixel per whatever mixed with size and resolution.

Good luck with printing, but I'd recommend getting some padded walls for banging your head against or the four letter words won't be heard too far away.

The fake "photograph" is disturbing enough, but people are hard at work applying similar principles to generate, for example, fake scientific literature:


Ages ago I went with that generation's Canon "prosumer" photo printer (Pro9500II) as the most sensible bundle of compromises for occasional fine printing at home (and only after factoring in one of Canon's rounds of big rebates). I thought Epson's IQ was a hair better, but their printers were flakier, and Canon's printers and inks were cheaper and their printheads were replaceable (Epson's were not). The big disappointment and frustration was paper options and handling. I assume this has improved in later models.

Some time before that, I'd reluctantly turned down a free large format Epson printer that hadn't been used in a while because I couldn't afford to buy a set of ink cartridges just to find out if it still worked and that I'd possibly use up unclogging the heads!

If I had it to do over again, I'd look for a smaller printer. I thought I wanted to print large, but after the initial infatuation I rarely did. On the other hand, smaller usually means smaller cartridges, which makes ink more expensive. It's always something!

Mike, I question as more deep fakes and altered photographs come to light whether film photography and the proof of an unaltered negative will become valuable in the quest by the news industry to maintain trust and deliver authenticity. It may create a new viability for film photographers.

Not only are the Epson cartridges that come with the printer just one quarter full, a substantial part of that quarter is needed to "prime the pump", i.e. to initially fill the tubes between the tanks and the printer head.

Still I bought an Epson P700 when it first came out to replace my old one P600 (?) and I am very pleased with it. UI has been very much improved. And what did I learn using the old Epson? Do not mess around with cheap inks in any form of packaging. Almost ruined both me and the machine.

Re "printer machines", a typewriter is called skrivmaskin/Schreibmaschine in Swedish/German.

Freddy S beat me to it, but I still chuckle when I recall reading the report of a 19th century survey expedition to southern Alberta, Canada. They included the packing list which involved tents, cans of beans, shovels, rope, etc. And because this was an important mission, they brought a computer.

A what I thought?

Yes, they brought a computer. But he got sick and they had to send him home and finish the work without a computer!

P.S. The Canon Pro-1000 is very heavy, and as you may have learned from your research Mike, once it's setup up it Does. Not. Want. To. Be. Moved. If you tip it too much, it does an emergency ink dump. So pick your location and leave it there.

AI will be able to spot AI. It takes one to know one.

And experts can still spot master forgers best attempts to deceive.

The real worry will be the written word. And AI's ability to sway opinion through a mass of media from a non existent mass of people.

My take on AI. There is nothing really artificial about this term as it is collective human intelligence installed on to a chip which provides computers, bots and other devices with information. Just programming really.

$3,000 per gallon for ink? Yikes! That makes $16.29 per gallon for Dektol a screaming bargin.

Personally I don't use ink by the gallon. Using Red River's ink used per square inch (printing the Outback test image), ink cost for the p900 is slightly lower than for the pro-1000. Not to take sides in the Canon v. Epson debate, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say I have both.

Your distinction between "photography" and "digital imaging" doesn't work for me at all, so I would like to politely differ. This is because your emphasis is on the technology, not the important part for me: the image produced that I can view bases on the recording of the lens image. If the technology used to render the image is what makes something "photography", what technology during the last 180+ years should have the photography label, and what is best referred to as "X imaging"?

- Hole in a box imaging
- bitumen-coated plate imaging
- Collodion wet plate imaging
- Large format film imaging
- Polaroid imaging
- Positive film imaging
- Digital imaging

To me all of the above is a photograph (even if someone used dodging and burning in the darkroom or Photoshop on a scanned negative), and to me a "digital image" is more likely to be something that started in the computer and never existed as photons at any point in time, like the AI digital image.

So I think you get push back on the definition because you focus on the technology, not the photograph. We cant keep coming up with new names for a photograph every time we have a new technology. To me photography is about seeing the world and capturing the light, not the means of capturing the photons.

From an image provenance perspective, I think it's better to just record and document what process, film or camera that was used, not invent a new word. :-)

Seems to me that the “digital Image” and “photograph” question is simple. A “digital image” is just that. A bunch of 1s and 0s. It becomes a “photograph” when it is printed. At least that’s the way I look at it.

Re: print storage files….one could also buy and assemble inexpensive, small and moveable portfolio drawers like these…


Other companies make variations.

[I wouldn't recommend that, actually. Those handle openings look like they would invite dust in, and there's really no reason to store small prints flat in drawers. Flat files are specifically for very large sheets that can't be stored any other way. For 20x24 prints and smaller that would fit in that thing, I'd just get a few archival drop-front boxes and store the boxes on open shelves. There's no reason to have a drawer. For really small prints, letter size and smaller, you can get archival film boxes or Century boxes and store them upright on bookshelves, like books. As long as they're reasonably full and the prints won't slump, they're fine being stored upright. Just my take on it. --Mike]

My second 3880 just died. I wound up going with a P900 over the Pro 1000 due to the age of the Pro 1000, with the logic that the Canon will soon be replaced and the countdown to lack of driver support will begin. I'm done trying to keep old peripherals with no driver support alive.

Still learning the P900, but I have discovered an issue with bronzing on some images that wasn't there with the 3880.

I have hesitated to say this, but I miss Costco machine printing. $1 for 8x12, $10 for 20x30. I could get printer profiles for their machines, do the file my way and ask them not to mess with it. Color or B&W prints matched my monitor. The B&W prints cannot be distinguished from my old chemical prints except by touch. Maybe I'm not that good, but don't discount "drugstore" printers. IFF someone there wants it to work properly...
Of course, your local one is probably 2 hours away, sorry.

[Costco still does printing, just online only and no longer in store.



I will agree with Bruce Bordner here. Unless you’re printing regularly, the issues of cost and space make it more effective (for most of us?) to work with an agency that handles the hardware costs and upkeep. Sure, your cost per print looks higher. But if you factor in the investment in the printer, inks lost to head cleaning, and replacement costs for clogged heads, I suspect I’m coming out ahead. And I don’t have to have a giant machine taking up space that I can’t move around and eventually have to pay to dispose of. And that says nothing about your time to manage all of those things.

If you print often, of course you should go for it. But if you’re printing Ansel’s apocryphal “10 good images per year”, you might be better off outsourcing that aspect of your photography. Just like some people used to do to a Printer that they worked with and trusted.

I have been a user of Epson printers for ~20 years. My current printer is a P800 and I have a 3880 in mothballs for some reason. When I had a place in Brooklyn recently, I needed a "cheap" printer. I went with a Canon Pro-200. I have to say that I was VERY impressed. B&W prints looked graat. With the very low volume of printing I do at home in Austin these days, the P800 is overkill and likely could be replaced by a Pro-200 (or maybe Pro-300) and I wouldn't know the difference. Might be a good choice for you too if you can live without pigment inks.

Regarding flat files, IKEA "ALEX" drawers served my modest needs for years and also made a nice rolling stand for the Canon 13" printer. It can accommodate up to 17x22 photo papers.


Pros vs flat files: Cheap. Smaller. Has wheels. Pre-assembly will fit in (or on) most any car; cheaper to ship.

Cons: Cheap. Smaller. Assembly required. Has openings that admit dust (though that can be remedied).

I’m a bit surprised to see wood recommended for print storage. Especially anything from IKEA as most of their stuff is made from composites so apart from any natural gases from the wood there are ‘glues’ of some sort used in the construction.

The portable cabinets serve me well for discreetly storing archival boxes for small prints, open storage for work prints, some small framing supplies, etc.. In that same workroom (separate from my office, which has computer and printer), I have a wall mounted mat cutter, a flat file cabinet, a work table on top of the flat file cabinet, and various other storage for larger matting and framing supplies, etc. My bookshelves are elsewhere in the house, with the ‘library’ room holding my photo book collection. Don’t even ask about wall space and storage space for framed prints, including my vintage silver print collection. Let’s just say that photography occupies considerable space in my home. Audio/music is another space eater. At least I gave up my darkrooms.

How to eliminate head clogs on the Epson P600.
Have had my P600 several years now, and every summer here in the south of France was clog time - until I tried putting a dampened sponge on top of the heads (not forgetting, of course, to remove it before using the machine). No clogs now for 2 years.

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