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Black and White Printing Services

Matt Voight , Mar 28, 2006; 10:37 a.m.

Hello Everyone,

I was looking to get some high quality black and white prints developed through an online printer. I was wondering if anyone could offer any suggestions to great quality printing. Im not looking to empty my wallet on prints but the best print for a reasonable price. Im also not looking to go any bigger than 11x14. I ordered an 8x10 from mpix.com and was quite impressed, i was just curious if there was anything else/better out there. Thanks a lot for any help, I appreciate it.



Andy Hebert , Mar 28, 2006; 11:02 a.m.

You know what I was going to ask this exact same question down to the T. I ordered a couple of their Ilford B&W prints at Mpix.com and was happy too, but of course i always wondered if there is anything better. So I'm seconding the question!


Samuel Parker , Mar 28, 2006; 11:04 a.m.

Adorama just started offering BW prints from digital on Ilford Multigrade paper. I have not yet received the BW prints I sent them the other day, but I have had very good quality color prints from their lab in the past. They are the best online photo printers I know of, and their prices are very reasonable.

Ed Fladung , Mar 28, 2006; 11:27 a.m.

I checked out Mpix and their B&W prints are on RC coated paper. RC is not archival. This would present a problem for me.

Michael Bradtke , Mar 28, 2006; 02:12 p.m.

You might want to check these folks out.


You can even have prints done on fiber base paper


Bob Michaels , Mar 28, 2006; 10:09 p.m.

a few custom digital b&w printers come to mind:

John Dean at http://deanimaging.com

Tyler Boley at http://www.tylerboley.com

Now these are not production shops like Mpix. These are places where very talented people named "John" or "Tyler" will print your work. Of course you pay for what you get. But if you want to see what "GOOD" really looks like...............

Dave Redmann , Mar 28, 2006; 11:26 p.m.

This is an interesting topic / question and one that I've looked into myself. The only service I've used for B&W prints from digital is Mpix. I was fairly happy with the results, but I think I would have preferred a wet print on Ilford Multigrade IV RC with the satin surface (which is what I really like--alas, I think only Agfa made a color paper with this surface).

One thing that you need to be aware of is that there are, or have been, B&W papers that are truly B&W--they cannot print colors and will have a fairly neutral tone--but they are RA4-process papers that use dye clouds instead of silver to form the final image (IOW, you develop it like color paper, not in Dektol etc.)

Now a few comments on the advice you've requested and received:

great quality printing and Im not looking to empty my wallet on prints but the best print for a reasonable price.

Well, great and cheap don't really work together, at least in the B&W context. The shops that really get into this and print on fiber-based paper are expensive. But Mpix and similar services can probably give good results if you take care in color-to-B&W conversion and other preparatory work.

Adorama . . . are the best online photo printers

Let me start by saying I've never used Adorama for prints, but lots of people say that they give bad service and that Mpix and White House Custom Color are better (and at about the same cost).

RC is not archival.

Says who? I know some of the early RC papers are said not to have held up well, but I'm not at all sure this is true of today's RC paper. If instead of RC the poster means B&W RA4 paper, now that might be true. But if I understand correctly, today's "real" B&W RC paper has almost exactly the same emulsion as today's fiber-based paper: the image is as permanent as the silver left behind after fixing.

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