Summary of 'Workable' Digital set-up : LUSENET : Black and White Photography: Digital Printing : One Thread

Here is what I have taken away from the answers I received on and off the group about a 'Workable' hobbist darkroom:

1. CPU= Mac G3, provide adequate video card capability and plug&play.

OS= Mac, then NT as a distance 2nd, and not yet Win95/98.

Monitor= 17" minimum

Color calibrator= ColorVision OptiCal

Scanner= film scanner (600x600 to 600x1200), not flatbed. Or use PhotoCD as input.

Printer= Alps MD-5000 or an Epson EX or 7xx. Use 2nd cheapo printer for wordprocessing tasks,etc to conserve 'black' in photo quality printer.

Software= Photoshop 5 or LE (may be bundled with scanner)

Storage= CDRW over a zip drive

2. Expect significant learning curve for software.

3. Expect problems with matching monitor representation of colors with printed images (see#2 above and use color calibrator). This is expensive learning vis-a-vis an old Paterson test strip printer and a scrap of RC paper.

4. Use SCSI and avoid USB

5. One commentor advising to wait a year on more homogeneous digital printing bundling of hardware and software and also not building a optichem darkroom, but for now buy a 4x loupe and light table ($200), sending edited/cropped slides off to prints to a custom lab.

Reactions?? What is missing?

Thanks to all who responded.

-- John Abbott (, July 28, 1999


Get a copy of "PhotoShop 5 Artistry" to shorten the learning curve.

Color matching is not a problem with the OptiCal if you buy a monitor that gives you control over the RG&B guns. This means your basic $300 monito won't work. The good news is Mitsubishi just dropped the prices on their Diamond Plus displays (after I bought mine of course) so you can buy a suitable monitor for $400 or so.

Luminos and other companies have just introduced archival inks for the Epson printers, which is enough reason to choose one of them.

If you aren't buying right away keep your eyes open for Firewire scanners and CDRW drives. They are trickling into the market now and are less problematic than SCSI for newbies, although I've been using SCSI long enough I have no problems with it.

I don't understand why anyone would advise you to wait one year for "homogeneous bundling of digital printing hardware and software." My Umax Powerlook III came with PhotoShop LE, but I already own a copy of PhotoShop so LE is going on my son's computer. If you keep waiting you'll never make the leap. Get the system when you need it, and buy knowing that in a few months there will be something faster and cheaper on the market.

Digital output has arrived and the wave is growing. Catch it now or catch up later. I have my G3/450 all set up and humming. Now I just need to finish the tech writing project I've taken on so I can pay for the system and start playing with it like I intend.

-- Darron Spohn (, July 28, 1999.

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