I have a dilemma here, print or lens?

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bleirer

Well-known member
Supporting Member
Thank you so much for all your replies. I find always helpful reading other people views because it can help us seeing things differently.

Today é went shooting the sunrise, and while at the hill, looking downwards to the sea shore, I saw some rock layering that I wanted to get, but I was maxed out at 70mm on my 24-70 and thinking... man... I WANT, I NEED that 100-400! :giggle:

View attachment 26159

I decided to hold on the printer purchase and stick with my initial plan, by the lens.

I will take your advice though and will invest first on a new monitor and calibrator. Black Friday is near so I will look what offers I can get from BenQ.
Not sure on the 4K screen though. Never understood the concept of buying a 4K screen and then having to change Windows scale to be able to read the text due to its size. By resizing the screen, one literally loses the desktop space that a 4K screen offers when compared with a 1080P resolution. Spend $1000 on a 4K screen to then having it running at 1080 so we can read what is on the screen, seems a bad investment.

Apparently, it seems the 100-400 Z lens release might be closer than I thought since it has been "featured" (?) in Nikon's second Z9 teaser (according to Ricci).
400 is surprisingly little reach on a full frame camera. It might not be the end of your lens quest. So many lenses, so little funds....
 

MikePapple

Active member
I'd approach this dilemma this way:

1) good monitor
2) calibrate the monitor
3) send the files to a good printing service
4) buy the lens

sometime down the road, think about the printer.
Yes! I have a BenQ 32" 4K monitor (3840 pixels wide). I have the Datacolor SpyderCheckr 24 to calibrate the camera/lens as Lightroom presets. I then use the Spyder X to calibrate the monitor colours/brightness. If you get a printer, you should also calibrate that as well.

I have a 13" M1 MacBook Pro laptop connected to the monitor. The colours/brightness match each other.
 

Dan291

Member
Supporting Member
My point is that “ you could have your cake and eat it too” with a relatively inexpensive printer and limited printing supplies and have a new aspect of photography to explore while you wait for the new lens to be released. Somehow a print seems “real” to me compared to an image on a computer screen. I guess I’m just old!!
As an RN, the majority of my patients were elderly. As a male nurse in my early 60s, one of the first patient questions was, inevitably, “How old are you”? Upon answering, the 80 or 90 year old patient, with a wave of the hand, would reply, ‘You’re just a kid.”
You’re not old, you just appreciate a medium that much (most?) of the world never had contact with to begin with. The internet provides me with a look at the work of many famous, accomplished photographers. Still, I can pull one of many well-produced books from my shelves which contain the same photos… it’s just a different experience. To each their own, but I pity those whose experience with photography has been limited to the screen of a cell phone only.
 

Calson

Active member
I have used a variety of inkjet printers over the years but now only use a color laserjet for in house prints and use a pro lab 100% of the time for wall prints. With a pro lab I get a much more archival print when they use a photo paper from Kodak or Fuji and I have the print mounted by them so no need to have space or the cost of a large dry mount press. I also can use a standard mount board for smaller prints and have the option of Masonite or other material for large prints that need a backing for protection.

The last time I looked at an inkjet printer was when I was doing very large 14x20 photo albums with 20 to 30 pages and printing on vellum paper to be professionally bound by a book binder. For anything else it was far less expensive to have the lab do the prints and then send them to me. For one thing when I was making albums with 20 or more pages I got a pro discount of 40% on the print rate even if each of the pages was from a different image file. I could upload the image files on Sunday and have the prints delivered to my door the following Tuesday.

The only area where it may be advantageous to print your own is for black and white "art" prints on paper where longevity is not important. Inkjets prints are very easily damaged from mechanical abrasion (not unusual with very large prints that are not double matted), chemical contamination (and even prints in frames are exposed to fumes in the air), as well as color shifting over time.

When I shot chrome film and I was making my own cibachrome prints it took me a minimum of an hour per print. When I was using an inkjet printer it was actually taking longer in total time invested in maintaining the printer, checking its calibration, and adjusting for the color balance of the output (and it varied by the type of paper that was used and the color cast in the original image file).

But most of the time I was creating prints or printed materials for commercial use and so I needed to be more of a perfectionist. But I would still recommend looking at the ink costs and whether bulk ink is an option for a printer model, and the cost for head replacement, and any issues with warranties by the different printer manufacturers.
 

R_Warshaw

New member
Just a word on the economics. Using Digital Silver Imaging as an example of a really good pro lab, a proof print from them costs $ 25.00 and a print in my usual sizes (44 x 36 and 24 x 28 inches) cost about $ 300.00 and $ 150 respectively last I checked. I don't recall if this includes shipping or not. My at-home paper and ink cost for a proof is about $ 15.00, for a finished 24 x 28 about $ 30 and for the 36 x 44 about $ 50.00. This doesn't include the cost of the printer and service contract. My 24 inch wide Canon IPF6300 and 3 year service contract cost about $4,500 and lasted from 2011 until March of this year. I replaced one set of heads during that time for about $ 1,400 and would still be using it if Canon had updated the driver to 64 bit. I estimate conservatively that I made about a print a week over that time. A ballpark estimate of my savings suggests that I paid for the printer in the first year. I also make digital negatives for gum printing, no idea what these would cost from a commercial lab or even if they are available. The new 44 inch printer and service contract cost almost twice as much but I've already made over 40 prints with it, half at 24 x 28 and the rest at 36 x 44 inches so it will soon enough pay for itself vs the cost of custom lab printing. The value of immediate feedback and control can't be quantified but is worth every cent to me. This works out because I have the time and resources to do it. If I were a working professional being paid for my time it probably wouldn't.

The time it takes to achieve proficiency in editing and printing is considerable and not accounted for it the previous paragraph. The majority of the prints I made in 2011 wouldn't satisfy me today. As a famously slow learner I had to return to school in my 70s to make the transition from analog to digital. Even though I'm now qualified to teach digital printing I'm still on the steep portion of the learning curve. One last thought: Nowhere is it written that you have to print an image on the day or even within the year it was taken so I'll stick to the recommendation that acquiring a quality monitor, a calibration device and becoming proficient in Photoshop, Capture One Pro or both are the appropriate first steps.
 

R_Warshaw

New member
I have used a variety of inkjet printers over the years but now only use a color laserjet for in house prints and use a pro lab 100% of the time for wall prints. With a pro lab I get a much more archival print when they use a photo paper from Kodak or Fuji and I have the print mounted by them so no need to have space or the cost of a large dry mount press. I also can use a standard mount board for smaller prints and have the option of Masonite or other material for large prints that need a backing for protection.

The last time I looked at an inkjet printer was when I was doing very large 14x20 photo albums with 20 to 30 pages and printing on vellum paper to be professionally bound by a book binder. For anything else it was far less expensive to have the lab do the prints and then send them to me. For one thing when I was making albums with 20 or more pages I got a pro discount of 40% on the print rate even if each of the pages was from a different image file. I could upload the image files on Sunday and have the prints delivered to my door the following Tuesday.

The only area where it may be advantageous to print your own is for black and white "art" prints on paper where longevity is not important. Inkjets prints are very easily damaged from mechanical abrasion (not unusual with very large prints that are not double matted), chemical contamination (and even prints in frames are exposed to fumes in the air), as well as color shifting over time.

When I shot chrome film and I was making my own cibachrome prints it took me a minimum of an hour per print. When I was using an inkjet printer it was actually taking longer in total time invested in maintaining the printer, checking its calibration, and adjusting for the color balance of the output (and it varied by the type of paper that was used and the color cast in the original image file).

But most of the time I was creating prints or printed materials for commercial use and so I needed to be more of a perfectionist. But I would still recommend looking at the ink costs and whether bulk ink is an option for a printer model, and the cost for head replacement, and any issues with warranties by the different printer manufacturers.
Current cotton rag papers and pigmented ink combinations are archival. The Cibachromes I made in the 1970s have held up well but the current paper/ink combinations should do as well. Digital editing provides more control than we had when printing on Cibachrome which in my hands required masking the transparencies to control contrast.
 
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