Digital printing can mean a lot of things to a lot of people (including your cousin Dave who prints web pages to a four ribbon dot-matrix printer). Unfortunately we're not going to narrow the scope much here either.
Simply put, there are advantages to many different types of print formats, and all have a few dependencies, such as:
For example, for straightforward prints of portraits at 8"x10", we will likely choose a print technology such as Fuji Frontier or Fujix 4000 which uses traditional photo paper (such as Kodak Professional or Fuji Crystal Archive) in a traditional silver chemistry. These prints have the same archival qualities and colourfastness as traditional prints while allowing the use of digital darkroom processes. Prices are quite reasonable, with 8x10 reproductions costing between 20 and 40 dollars. Drawbacks include size limitation (though for a lot of casual applications 8x10 is sufficient) and difficulty of colour calibration.
If the print is quite large (such as for advertising), or does not require archival qualities (such as for pre-press proofing) then another print technology will make more sense. Let us know your needs and we'll explain the options.
In cases involving midrange enlargement, the purpose of the print dictates the print technology. Fine art prints will suggest the use of printers where costs add up in dollars per square inch, while an equivalent sized poster of the family dog for the rec-room can be had for a fraction of the cost.
All in all, digital print prices can rival traditional processes while allowing better control and freedom of experimentation (given equivalent size, quality of resolution, and archival qualities).
For some colour or black and white reproductions, the cost of custom giclée work, with the inherent controls, archival permanence, and choice of papers may be merited. For more information please contact us.
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