Inkjet vs. Lab Printing

Today I received a print request from someone who describes themselves as “old school.” They want a lab print. Which I had never heard of, since I typically deal very little with print creation, and my customers have been happy with the inkjet prints from my online vendors. But it’s a different process than inkjet printing (note, that blog post is seven years old and I’m not sure if that lab even does lab printing any more), which both of my vendors–and seemingly most other popular print vendors–use these days.

I’m curious if any of you who are much more hands-on with your printing process work with a lab that specifically offers “lab prints,” rather than inkjet, and if you have any recommendations.


I know BayPhoto and Aspen Creek Photo still do some of their prints this way that are exposed with a digital enlarger and processed in chemistry. I’ve done some Fujiflex with Bay that turned out great. I would contact them to ensure you’re getting exactly what the client wants.

I also ran across this lab which apparently is the only one with a large format Polie HD C-Printer, which is the best continuous tone printer out there if you’re looking for the ultimate in sharpness.

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I had several custom 16x20 prints made by West Coast Imaging (Now Metal and Paper Pro) from scans of 4x5 chromes. The quality is impeccable, and service was top tier.

They used a digital enlarger and Fuji paper in chemistry:

Light sensitive chromogenic papers are exposed in a digital enlarger like a LightJet or Chromira then processed in RA4 chemistry. Commonly called Digital-C, LightJet, Chromira or Lambda Prints.


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