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Difference between C-print and Lambda print?

David Buck , Jun 22, 2007; 01:20 p.m.

Can anyone explain the difference between a C-print and a lamda print?

What does the "C" in C-print mean? Does it mean Chromogenic print? Doesn't Choromogenic print refer to the normal colour prints we get from the usual labs - but maybe of a higher quality?



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Umut Arslan , Jun 22, 2007; 01:45 p.m.

C- Print mean Cibachrome Print, very high quality color prints from slides. But actually C-Print means cheap Computer Print :-)

Will Hammond , Jun 22, 2007; 02:02 p.m.

With regard to photography, a"C" print refers to C-41 (negative print) process not Cibachrome. Is there even a lab that does Ciba any more? It is toxic as hell. A "C" print is exposed with a negative where a Lamdba (processed from a Durst Lambda printer) is exposed via a computer (hi-res CRT)


Adobe CTI Photoshop

Dave Redmann , Jun 22, 2007; 02:26 p.m.

I have always understood "C print" to refer to a regular color print, i.e., one made on regular color, light-sensitive paper. For currently-made prints, I think C print is synonymous with a print made with the RA-4 process. It has nothing to do with how the paper is exposed to light. It would include anything from color negative film printed on a manual enlarger onto paper processed in trays to a digital minilab that take a digital camera picture and prints it on Fuji Crystal Archive paper.

Well, third response, third different answer.

John Kelly , Jun 22, 2007; 02:56 p.m.

Professionals and galleries always and only use "C" print to mean printed from negative. Printed from positive (slide) is "R" print (which nobody does anymore, I think) unless it's Ciba or similar, in which case there's no proper abbreviation as far as I know.

The light source isn't relevant...all of these papers can be printed optically or with laser.

Ronald Moravec , Jun 22, 2007; 03:08 p.m.

C prints are color prints from color neg film usually.

Lambda is a type of machine that exposes the photo paper.

Elliot N , Jun 22, 2007; 03:14 p.m.

Lambda prints are C-prints, and galleries will display them as such.

David Henderson , Jun 22, 2007; 03:26 p.m.

Prints from reversal film onto papers like Crystal Archive from Lambdas/LightJets/Chromiras are also referred to as C prints. Its the process/type of paper that defines the expression, not the material on which the original image was made nor the precise method by which the print is exposed.

Ciba/Ilfochromes are not C prints. Prints produced from slides onto black paper were known as R types but I don't think that either the paper or the chemistry is available commercially now. Cibas are the closest available- or sort of available anyway. No form of inkjet/giclee is an C print.

Having spent most of the last week wandering round summer art exhibitions in London, the impression I get is that the C print term is used pretty generically by artists who want to throw emphasis on whats in the picture, not how it was made.

David Buck , Jun 23, 2007; 04:27 p.m.

Thanks all for your help.

Maybe I should have been more specific in the first place.

The original images were either captured in digital or scanned from film.

My printer uses Durst Episollon. They claim that the print can be considered as lambda prints as the manufacturer of both machines is Durst. Difference with the Episllon is that it uses LED lights (if I understood correctly) and there is only a slight difference in the process.

The print is produced on Fujicolor Professional paper (that's what it says on the back. Not Archival crystal.

My old understanding of a C-print was the type C paper used to print the image, regardless of whether the image was captured digitally or by film.

I see alot of galleries using the term C-print for the mega size 40"x40" photos. And as far as I know, there are no machines apart from lightjet, lamda and Episollon that can print these sizes.

So my question is would an episollon print be considered as a C-print? And if I wish to be techincally correct, the final print produced from Episollon printed on Fuji Professional Paper - could it be called a lamda C-print?

And wouldn't a print made through an Agfa D-lab also be termed as a C-print?

I am just trying to give the correct technical term to my prints.

Thanks for your help.

Emre Safak , Jun 23, 2007; 04:29 p.m.

Call it a "digital C print".

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