Can Someone Help Me "Super Size" My X-Trans Prints!

Started Aug 19, 2013 | Questions thread
Imagefoundry Regular Member • Posts: 269
Re: Can Someone Help Me "Super Size" My X-Trans Prints!

Hi there,

I am a fine art printmaker, and have made a fair bit of large prints just like the ones you are planning to make. I don't have any experience with WhiteWall per ce, but at various points in time was a lambda, lightjet and chromira operator, so if you have a specific question re: printing on these machines I can probably answer that.

Likewise with facemounting to plexi with dibond backing.

couple of notes you might find useful:

1. Lambda printer (at least models I used to print on) have two resolutions 200dpi and 400dpi. It doesn't have any built-in interpolation firmware like Lightjet has, so your best bet is to format your work exactly to printing resolution, rather than leaving it to the lab (you don't know what software they use to scale images, it can be something really crabby).

Also, few shops run their Lambdas at 400dpi, unless it's like signage with tiny text, so you should probably ask them about their workflow before committing.

Lastly the way Lambda printer is designed the center of the roll is always marginally sharper than edges. This is relevant if you are bunching a few images to be printed together.

2. about resolution issues

I think it's safe to disregard people claiming that aps-c sensor output is not good enough. In reality fuji xtrans puts out images that are better than vast majority of 35mm film cameras, and maybe as good as decent 645 film. And people been making mural sized prints from 35mm for ages. You shouldn't expect miracles of course but there's nothing wrong with large format prints from xtrans. Heck, I printed 40x60 inch prints from D100 and Fuji S3, and they sold for a ton of money.

If you want to maximize the detail make sure that your raw conversion is top notch (more about that later), then run your file through upsampling software. I used to have Genuine Fractals, now I use PhotoZoom and Blow-Up. At the heart of it it's the same algorithm, so I am sure you can find something that works for you. I normally won't do any upsampling for organic images (people, foliage, etc), but it works pretty well for landscapes, architecture etc. If you are going to upsample in Photoshop - bicubic smooth is probably your best bet.

3. sharpening

If you can afford testing and proofing that is definitely the way to go. Having prepared thousands of images for printing I kind of have a good idea what's going to print well at what size, but you probably don't. Try Nik Sharpener, or whatever it's called these days, - it used to provide decent output for variety of processes, incl. continuous tone machines. Also sometimes it makes sense to sharpen while upsampling, like with Photozoom. YMMV.

4. Raw conversion

as far as detail goes, C1 provides the best demosaicing, both for xtrans and bayer sensors. That's just my educated opinion, feel free to disregard it. If you are planning to upsample your image you are going to have to experiment with amount of sharpening you have to do in C1 in order to get the most organic result in upsampled image. Maybe just prepare one large test file with different amounts of sharpening and run some tests first. It costs money but is cheaper than disappointment later.

anyway, I'd be happy to help if you have more questions, just pm me.


umanemo wrote:

I know the subject regarding X-Trans .RAF file conversion issues have been resolved over and over throughout LR 4 evolutionary iterations earlier this year. I apologize if this seems another redundant query into the same arena of scope, though my search results through the archives have not answered my specific questions.

It is a specific focal point that I wish to resolve regarding very - very large, very - very expensive print output. Specifically, the Diasec process; 1mt. x 1mt. printed by WhiteWall using their aluminum/acrylic mounting of FUJI Lambda processing. (ca. 330€/ea.) I have seen the galleries in Paris and Dusseldorf, Berlin and London under the name LUMAS and their Diasec works on display are nothing short of Spectacular! What a format for formal gallery display of photographic works! Man, it really takes the breath out of you when you realize what a different appearance a large print can take on with this "Work of Art" like format. It really pulls your eyes into the composition instead of just standing in front of it. A very WOW! and Fascinating experience indeed, If you get the chance to see these works on display anywhere, don't miss it. I have been so moved by the experience that I am now on a quest to get a few of these works of art printed up for myself...

First of all; Has anyone had experience with these guy's?
Whitewall Labs;
Lumas Galleries;

Secondly; Since I will be going up past the 100 dpi limits that I have worked within before with traditional print enlargements, plus the fact that this output format is crystal sharp in visual perception as the acrylic seems to really enhance the sharpness of the output, I am looking into trying some fractal enhancement for this project. My concern is does this bring into play any issues regarding the FUJI X-trans unique mosaic sensor structure? How do the software enhancers accept the X-trans? What could I expect and what am I getting into? Does anyone have experience using these types of software? I.E.; Perfect Resize 7.5 (onOne Software – Perfect Photosuite 7) or one of the others.

The Third question; I currently have a LR-only workflow and file output. Would anyone recommend that for my X-trans files I experiment with CaptureOne over just sticking with LR 4.4? (This is the redundant arena mentioned in the opening) If so is it really necessary to go to "Pro 7" ? Could I get all the "tweaks" I need from just the "Express 7" version? And would I find the real sharpness enhancements I am expecting? Enough to really mess about with CaptureOne?

Finally; Would anyone recommend [nik] or [TopazLabs] for final sharpness/enhancement tweaking as an alternative or in addition to CaptureOne?

So I propose a Windows workflow as follows; LR to organize + C1 for .RAF conversion, PhotomatixPro HDR or nik-HDR EfxPro2 for HDR blending, Zerene (because I photo stack), back to CaptureOne for composition - contrast/color curves - sharpening, then nik or TopazLabs for the final touches. What do you think, am I crazy?

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