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Monochrom owners- How do you prepare your files for printing?
Old 08-21-2016   #1
Merkin
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Monochrom owners- How do you prepare your files for printing?

I'm going to be purchasing a Monochrom soon, and I am curious what steps you take in getting your files ready to be sent to the printers in order to get the best results from your prints. I know to expose for the highlights since so much can be recovered from the shadows and so little can be recovered from highlights, but since the Monochrom is such a novel camera compared to all of the other digital cameras out there, I am wondering what tips and tricks you might have for getting the best out of the files.

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Old 08-22-2016   #2
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I'm not an expert printing MM files. I don't print often, so a dedicated home set up for bw printing doesn't make sense. If you want professional quality big prints that push what is possible with MM files you are talking $$$ per print from pro-lab.

I guess one of the most accomplished printers of MM files on RFF is Cal (aka Calzone). He gave a presentation of his prints, various sizes and processing, toning, different papers at the ICP. Stunning results. I am not sure what he is willing to share of his experiences. As he has a quad tone ink set-up you will be able to get the same results only with the same set up. So general guidance might be very valuable but you won't get a match of his prints. Of course the result starts with the exposure and a lot can be optimized with yellow filters. Heliopan seem best suited for the MM sensor. The more you can expose to the right w/o blowing the highlights the better. So the shadows will have more detail to begin with and don't need to be pushed in post processing.
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Old 08-22-2016   #3
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Thanks for the response, icebear

I should have been a bit more specific- I am talking about prepping the files to be sent to the lab for printing, not for home printing. I've landed a gig where some professional printing will be involved.
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Old 08-22-2016   #4
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Merkin, I've only printed MM files at home, but have sent out files from other cameras for printing. I don't think MM files require anything special. Assuming your monitor is calibrated and you have the profile from whomever will do your printing, I'd say process to taste and transmit. Your best resource is your printer, who should be able to advise on how they handle grayscale.

Incidentally, my experience is the you have to REALLY blow highlights to have a problem. I'm always surprised what's recoverable, even at the high end.

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Old 08-23-2016   #5
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Thanks, John!
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Old 08-23-2016   #6
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I would think you would make a file that shows good shadow and highlight separation and send it to be printed on the paper you wish to use. Ask that the file not be manipulated. After seeing the print, you should know how to adjust the file for your current monitor, their printing.

Ideally you would ask for a profile and use your CALIBRATED monitor.

So you have a cheap and a good way.
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Old 08-23-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merkin View Post
I'm going to be purchasing a Monochrom soon, and I am curious what steps you take in getting your files ready to be sent to the printers in order to get the best results from your prints. I know to expose for the highlights since so much can be recovered from the shadows and so little can be recovered from highlights, but since the Monochrom is such a novel camera compared to all of the other digital cameras out there, I am wondering what tips and tricks you might have for getting the best out of the files.
...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merkin View Post
...

I should have been a bit more specific- I am talking about prepping the files to be sent to the lab for printing, not for home printing. I've landed a gig where some professional printing will be involved.
0) Calibrate and profile your display

Whatever software you use for your image processing, be sure that it honors profiles and can embed a profile for printing.

1) Render your photos the way you want them to appear on the print.

2) Work with a print house that delivers good instructions, and/or a printing profile, for you to use.

3) Follow their instructions regards preparing and outputting a print file.

It is most likely that you will need to perform a test or two to find the sweet spot between what you consider the best print and what their machinery/people produce. I often do this with one medium sized print, about 11x17, by breaking it into four or five representative sections with the full range of tonal scale and density, each set with slightly more or less 'brightness'. Once that comes back, I pick what I want from that test print and then put in my order for several based on that.

-
I normally print my own work up to 13x32 inch sizing (nowadays with an Epson P600 printer), but have used the above workflow several times for larger prints, always with excellent results.

G
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Old 08-23-2016   #8
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I thought this link to Ilford's lab site was interesting: http://www.ilfordlab-us.com/page/92/Tutorial-2.htm

They will send you a BW print which you can match to a downloaded file by adjusting your monitor. They say that for BW that will be an adequate substitute for calibrating. I'd never heard of this approach. Presumably, this process aligns at least your tonal settings with international standards, and is not unique to Ilford's printing.

I looked at WHCC's site, where I've sent files for printing, and they don't specifically mention BW. But I recall them telling me to submit as an sRGB JPEG. The prints from my M8 were completely neutral and absolutely radiant. As everyone above has said, it's best to talk to your lab because they all will vary somewhat.

John
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Old 08-23-2016   #9
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I print my own work. I don't trust others to do it. I usually tweak the file some after i see the first print. Back light from the monitor can give the false impression of brightness and brillience sometimes that isn't on a print. I start converting in res to tiffs and finish the file using CS6.
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Old 08-23-2016   #10
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Best advice is use a calibrated monitor, then dim it down to either 50-80 lux, view it in a dim room, and use a hood. The effect is to lower the contrast so you can see the shadow detail.

The idea is to dim down you monitor so it is about the same amount of light that reflects off of paper and ink.

BTW with the Piezography system I can print more information than what I can see on a calibrated EIZO that is dimmed down.

The suggestion by Godfrey to adjust from a test print is great advice.

Cal
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Old 08-23-2016   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icebear View Post
I'm not an expert printing MM files. I don't print often, so a dedicated home set up for bw printing doesn't make sense. If you want professional quality big prints that push what is possible with MM files you are talking $$$ per print from pro-lab.

I guess one of the most accomplished printers of MM files on RFF is Cal (aka Calzone). He gave a presentation of his prints, various sizes and processing, toning, different papers at the ICP. Stunning results. I am not sure what he is willing to share of his experiences. As he has a quad tone ink set-up you will be able to get the same results only with the same set up. So general guidance might be very valuable but you won't get a match of his prints. Of course the result starts with the exposure and a lot can be optimized with yellow filters. Heliopan seem best suited for the MM sensor. The more you can expose to the right w/o blowing the highlights the better. So the shadows will have more detail to begin with and don't need to be pushed in post processing.
Klaus,

Thanks for the kind remarks.

Cal
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Old 08-23-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Best advice is use a calibrated monitor, then dim it down to either 50-80 lux, view it in a dim room, and use a hood. The effect is to lower the contrast so you can see the shadow detail.

The idea is to dim down you monitor so it is about the same amount of light that reflects off of paper and ink.

BTW with the Piezography system I can print more information than what I can see on a calibrated EIZO that is dimmed down.

The suggestion by Godfrey to adjust from a test print is great advice.

Cal

All good advice especially the part about the test print. BTW I don't know if I ever thanked you for the advice on the Heliopan digital yellow filter. Thanks Cal...
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Old 08-24-2016   #13
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Originally Posted by airfrogusmc View Post
All good advice especially the part about the test print. BTW I don't know if I ever thanked you for the advice on the Heliopan digital yellow filter. Thanks Cal...
A,

You are very welcome.

Thanks for the acknowledgement. The Heliopan filters that are marked "digital" really curb and control clipping, allow one to capture more data by exposing more to the right, and make a better histogram with more intense mid-range.

The additional filtering of IR and UV really gets rid of signal that basically is noise that does not provide any visual information.

The clipping indicators along with the histogram really make it easy to optimize almost everything at the time of image capture.

Leica made our dream camera...

Cal
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Old 06-02-2017   #14
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see next post, duplicate
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Old 06-02-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
A,

You are very welcome.

Thanks for the acknowledgement. The Heliopan filters that are marked "digital" really curb and control clipping, allow one to capture more data by exposing more to the right, and make a better histogram with more intense mid-range.

The additional filtering of IR and UV really gets rid of signal that basically is noise that does not provide any visual information.

The clipping indicators along with the histogram really make it easy to optimize almost everything at the time of image capture.

Leica made our dream camera...

Cal
Cal,
Which Eizo monitor do you use? I get lost in the sea of options available and model numbers.

Thanks,
John
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Old 06-05-2017   #16
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Originally Posted by mexipike View Post
Cal,
Which Eizo monitor do you use? I get lost in the sea of options available and model numbers.

Thanks,
John
John,

I use a 27 inch EIZO that is their biggest display. NEC makes a bigger display, but EIZO gives you a 5 year warentee. My EIZO also has a built in pop-up probe and self calibrates once a month after warming up.

It has been a while since we have interacted. In January of this year I was lucky to be invited to become an early adopter of Piezography Pro. I loaded up the boat and took advantage of a 15% discount to bulk up.

This new inkset has a blacker black than my K-7 inset, and Piezography made a complete new library of curves. I only use the canned curves and basically stuck with Canson Baryta.

One thing with Piezography Pro you need to know is that the splitones are broken down into shadows, mids, and highlights and that you can blend each of these in the print head.

Another thing is that with an I1 Pro and $150.00 worth of software you not only can calibrate your entire system, but you can also print digital negatives for wet contact printing on overhead projection film.

You picked a great time to be studying photography in college. See the Piezography Pro thread.. It is mind blowing the results. I almost forgot to mention that Piezography Pro is "one-pass" glossy printing.

THE BLACKS ARE UNBELIEVABLE.

Cal
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