How good is the image quality from paper negatives?

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momus

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I've been considering getting a small digital camera and perhaps trying the paper negative idea. Does this approximate the image of a print made from an enlarger, or is it going to be more for art type images?

I'm also wondering about the costs involved. I would need to buy a decent printer, ink(s), paper, etc. Before I went to wet printing, those costs added up. Not sure there would be any monetary savings over wet prints, but at least I could make prints from old digitally derived files.
 
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momus

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Thank you. The method you used is sheer genius. Artsy it is then, and that shot on your link is beautiful.
 

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Btw, there’s a shortcut to inverting images on your iPhone. Go to Settings, Accessibility, Accessibility Shortcut, and select Classic Invert. Three quick depressions of the side key and your entire screen inverts. You could use it for the printing method above, but I use it to preview negatives on a light table.
 

VinceInMT

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Btw, there’s a shortcut to inverting images on your iPhone. Go to Settings, Accessibility, Accessibility Shortcut, and select Classic Invert. Three quick depressions of the side key and your entire screen inverts. You could use it for the printing method above, but I use it to preview negatives on a light table.

Thanks, that’s excellent. I would clarify that the steps are Settings > Accessibility > Display and Text Size > Classic Invert.
 

AZD

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Correct, that works too. I don’t know iPones well, so maybe not all versions have feature I mentioned, which turns your selection into a hot key. That way you don’t have to navigate the menu each time. Either way it’s a neat trick.
 

koraks

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trying the paper negative idea

Please elaborate; do you mean you intend to print digital files using an inkjet printer onto paper, and then use those paper prints as negatives that you want to contact print using a wet process?

I never tried this, but in principle it should work. I think your best bet is to not use a paper for the negatives but instead just use generic screen printing transparency film. This is similar stuff to the far more expensive Pictorico OHP and Fixxons, and indeed, with somewhat modest ink loads behaves nearly identically to Fixxons in my experience. This way you don't have to worry about the influence of the paper base, although a thin (low-cost) inkjet paper might work just as well, as these tend to pass quite a bit of light. How much light you need, will depend on the final printing process. Since it's unspecified, I can't comment.

To get decent prints, you'll need to make the final prints 'emulsion to emulsion', so have the inkjet-printed negative image in direct contact with the final printing medium (e.g. silver gelatin paper). You'll also have to go through the process of linearization, as the inkjet negatives as they print 'out of the box' will give very wonky curves due to the sensitivity characteristics of the final printing medium combined with the idiosyncrasies of inkjet prints (dot gain/bleeding, light transmission etc.) There are several methods for linearization, ranging wildly in the software and hardware they rely on. If you dig around a bit online you'll find solutions like Peter Mrhar's Easy Digital Negatives, linearization using QuadTone Rip (for Epson printers) or a variety of plugins relying on scanner captures mostly for Photoshop.
 
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