Are digital prints any different than old film paper prints?
Everybody is using digital cameras these days. Although many people never end up printing any of the digital photos that they take others do print what is known as digital prints.
Before the digital camera revolution cameras used analog films in order to capture photos. The only way for one to view those photos was to develop the film into what is known as negatives and then print the negatives on what is known as photo paper. The printing process was an analog process that involved a complicated serious of exposures and chemicals in order to capture the photo on the printing paper.
The basic idea behind old film paper prints was simple. The film negative was projected on a paper that was coated with a light sensitive chemical. The photo was projected for just the right amount of time to capture it on the paper without over or under exposing it. After the photo was captured on the paper the paper was processed with a series of other chemicals. Those chemicals would stabilize the photo basically perpetuating whatever was capture on the paper. Those chemicals also produced other effects such as matte or glossy.
In the new digital camera era digital photos can be viewed in many ways. The simplest way is viewing digital photos on the digital camera small LCD screen. A better way is to download the digital photos to a computer and watch them on a bigger higher resolution LCD screen. Some users however still like the feel of paper digital prints and choose to print their digital photos.
Printing digital photos is very different than printing old film photos. For a start the source of digital prints is digital photo files and not a tangible film. With digital prints negatives are not needed. Also the process of printing digital prints can be either digital or analog since the source is an analog digital photos which is a simple but long series of pixels representing a digital photo.
Digital prints can be printed on a variety of paper. Because digital prints are not limited to an analog chemical based process they can be printed using a variety of different process that support a variety of different paper types and sizes. For example you can create digital prints with a simple color inkjet home printer. The process is the same as when printing documents the inkjets throws ink at the right color to represent each pixel in the photo. The quality of such prints is usually not that great due to the standard paper use and the printer resolution.
Higher end digital prints are created using special photo printers. Some of those printers use the old style chemical process. Such printers basically use the digital photo to project its image on a photo paper and from that point use the old style photo printing process. Other printers however use other more digital oriented technologies such as color laser printing.
Digital prints can be very similar to old film prints when printed on old style photo paper. They can be however very different when using modern digital printing technologies.
Danette Mckay writes about this and many other subjects. Read more about printing comparing digital photo printing printing