In a previous post, I shared some scans of images I took at the ghost mining town with my Hy6 and 40mm Schneider PQ lens with Ilford Delta 3200 film. I made some very nice traditional darkroom prints from these negatives that I was quite happy with. I really liked the look of them a lot. The printing paper I used was some very old Ilfobrom 3F fiber based paper that a friend had given me. I could have been older than 20 years or more. The paper had yellowed some and wasn’t able to reach deep black (at least in Dektol with no anti fogging agent) so I’m sure the maximum tonal range could have been better. Nonetheless the prints are fabulous, at least in my opinion, with wonderful tones. I often use contrast filters when printing, and sometimes I will dodge and burn areas, but in this case I just made straight prints.
I did make high resolution scans of the negatives using my 80mp digital back and Schneider APO Makro-Symmar lens which yielded a 280mb file after cropping. I printed those files out to my HP Z3200 PS printer from Lightroom onto a semi-gloss photo paper.
When you look at the both prints side by side, its easy to pick out the inkjet ( or should I say pigment print?) as the likely winner because of its higher contrast whiter white look. But a longer inspection reverses the verdict. Tonality is better with the analog print and in fact it also has better detail too. Frankly I was surprised when I put a loupe up to both prints to see the difference. Fine detail like the tumbleweeds in the foreground are rendered much nicer in the analog print. I realize the prints are not sized exactly the same, but this is an informal test not a scientific study and YMMV. But the differences I saw were more than just detail but also tonality. What do you think? I held my Android Note 4 up to the loupe to show the detail areas.