Re: Imagesetter vs. Inkjet

From: Jim Morris ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 12/08/04-08:48:48 PM Z
Message-id: <>

Last year I purchased an old Varityper 5300E with a hardware RIP for
next to nothing on Ebay. I am currently outputting negs for
Argyrotypes at 225 line and I am quite happy with the results. I cannot
see the screening pattern without a loupe and I detect no banding or
posterization. Detail-wise, I have output and printed Mark Nelson's
Tonal Palette for imagesetters and I can easily discern the details in
the 1-pixel grid. Frankly, I cannot imagine that output on a more
expensive machine (imagesetter) or even FM screening would give me MUCH
better output. I have an Epson 9600 but I have not output negatives on
it so I cannot compare the two, maybe I will if I get some time.

Now for the other side: buying an old imagesetter is NOT always
plug-and-play. First, it took me three months to track down copies of
the operating manuals and all the software required for its operation
and calibration. Second, I had to learn how to operate and
troubleshoot the machine, then I had to learn to calibrate it which
requires having-and knowing how to operate- a densitometer and the
calibration software. Third, even though the imagesetter cost very
little the same cannot be said for the film processor ( the imagesetter
does little good without a way to process the film). Fourth, even
though you can get cheap consumables (i.e. film and chemistry) nobody's
giving it away. Fifth...oh well, you get the picture.

I really like my imagesetting equipment. And, even though it looks and
operates like equipment from the dawn of imaging, the negative and
prints belie their prehistoric origin.

Jim Morris

PS- I should also point out that some of the software for many of the
older imagesetters may not run on current computers. Mine requires a
Quadra 800 and ThinNet - two more historical gems.

On Wednesday, December 8, 2004, at 06:33 PM, Jason DeFontes wrote:

> I never really considered imagesetter negs as an option, because
> dealing
> with (and paying) a service bureau would seriously curtail
> experimentation
> for me. However, I've been noticing that old imagesetters can be had on
> eBay, occasionally quite cheaply. Anyone want to comment on the quality
> difference between inkjet and imagesetter negs? Would there be any
> advantage
> to actually owning an imagesetter?
> It's not like I need another printer around here, I've already got more
> inkjets than I care to admit. Makes me wonder though...
> -Jason
Received on Wed Dec 8 20:50:21 2004

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