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£2,106
pledged of 250.000 £pledged of 250.000 £ goal
16
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, October 21 2018 3:07 PM UTC +00:00
Huw WilliamsBy Huw Williams
First created
Huw WilliamsBy Huw Williams
First created
£2,106
pledged of 250.000 £pledged of 250.000 £ goal
16
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, October 21 2018 3:07 PM UTC +00:00

About

Beautiful prints for serious photographers

WHAT DO WE DO?

We have only one aim: to offer photographic enthusiasts the very best prints available anywhere today. Quality good enough for the portfolios of the world’s best professional, but available to everyone at a price that anyone can afford. Featuring our patented technology, our signature, exclusive, “L.Type” print is the world’s only 400ppi true continuous tone print.

WHAT IS THE FUNDING FOR?

There’s just one problem: today we can only print up to 12” (305mm) wide - and with bigger camera sensors coming out all the time, and for exhibition printing, we need bigger formats. 

Prints produced for Steve Gosling
Prints produced for Steve Gosling
Image copyright - Jonathan Glynn-Smith
Image copyright - Jonathan Glynn-Smith

This project will allow us to take our exclusive, proven, proprietary print head and mount it on existing equipment to produce images up to 48” wide. Because we print at 400ppi, that means images up to 370MP will be able to be printed in full definition, as a first target!

WHAT IS THE PROJECT PLAN?  

At L.Type we built from scratch our current, proven printers. We have the engineering expertise in-house and know how to scale up our technology. 

In essence, this project involves just a small extension of what we’ve already done. It uses the same print head that we already use, but mounts it on a high-precision plotter table that we will buy in. Using predominantly the same control software that we use today we will be able to reproduce the same micron printing accuracy on a much larger scale, with a much simpler machine. 

Our approach is broadly as follows: First, buy the right, stable granite bed for our printers, for ultra-high accuracy and repeatability. Second, build a mechanism to feed the paper medium into the unit and then hold it flat and totally still while we print. Third, mount our print head on a plotter system so that we can position it within micron accuracy to deliver our print accuracy. And finally knit this all together with technologies and solutions already developed for our existing printers. 

 This new printer will, of course, be shrouded in a dark environment and therefore we need to ensure the system can be operated and maintained effectively within that constraint. 

Our project plan identifies a total project timescale of 18 months and we expect to have a functional prototype in operation after 12 months. The budget covers hardware purchases and development and development of our existing in-house software: Hardware - £170,000 ($230k) Software - £80,000 ($110k) The balance of staffing costs and overheads will be covered by the current operation.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT L.TYPE...

Since 2017 and since then, L.Type prints have a gained an increasing reputation as the world’s most beautiful, natural photographic prints. 

We weren't satisfied with what was available, so we designed and built our own printers from scratch. 

We use 21st century digital technology to expose traditional silver halide ('C-Type') paper to a level of accuracy no one can match. Printing at 400 pixels per inch (“ppi”), we can reveal all the detail that a young human eye can see at arm's length. L.Type is the world’s only print service that designs, builds and operates its own printers from scratch. 

Over 15 years and almost $25m went into the development of the proprietary digital print head that is the foundation of our own printers today. Today, we don’t sell our machines to anyone else. Instead, the team of engineers that built them, operates them - and we are engaged on a process of continuous improvement and a quest for perfection. We are like a ‘Formula One’ team that builds and races its own cars - but our prints are available to anyone, anywhere.

Why does print matter?

It’s easy to take thousands of pictures and store them in the Cloud. But then what? How many of them do you ever look at again? How do you share them? Email? How many pictures really look great on a phone or tablet?

If you really want a photo to live, or a gift to have value, then you need to print. And the more that photo or gift matters, the more it deserves to be printed well. 

If you love photography, and if you’ve spent your valuable time and money on your passion for capturing the perfect image, then what’s it all for if you don’t print some out? And if you do, surely you want them to look their best? And if you are a professional and trying to showcase your work in an exhibition or portfolio, then you need your work to shine.

L.Type brings your images to life.

Testimonials...

Here are a few testimonials from pro photographers who we've printed for... 

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L.Type Quality

So, how do we achieve this amazing quality and what makes an L.Type image so special?

Featuring our unique, patented photonic technology, the L.Type print is ultra-high-resolution 400 ppi true continuous tone, considered to be better than 4,000 dpi inkjet quality. This allows us to achieve images that truly show no digital patterning at all.

Colour Gamut

We use the best silver halide papers in the FujiFilm Crystal Archive Professional range. We are continually pushing the boundaries of what is achievable with these papers and can achieve exceptional colour density and make full use of the paper gamut, even with the most difficult colours. 

Image copyright - Bryn Griffiths
Image copyright - Bryn Griffiths

Fidelity

L.Type prints achieve amazing colour fidelity, with delta-e values of less than 1.0 across the gamut. 

Image copyright - Jonathan Glynn-Smith
Image copyright - Jonathan Glynn-Smith

Tone

The true test of a printer is its ability to handle subtle changes of tone in difficult colours - a gray sky shading from white to 5%, or a clear blue sky, for example. Too often, printers cannot handle these subtle shifts smoothly, and the result can be obvious banding or granularity. L.Type prints are exceptionally smooth, with over 4 billion colours in our range, and the ability to ‘paint’ each pixel unit cell individually.

Image copyright - Jonathan Glynn-Smith
Image copyright - Jonathan Glynn-Smith

Highlights and low-lights

The L.Type is also able to produce exceptional detail in highlights and low-lights. From the densest blacks to the palest whites and grays, very fine details will be reproduced perfectly, and all along the grayscale images will be neutral, with no unwanted colour shifts.

Image copyright - Jonathan Glynn-Smith
Image copyright - Jonathan Glynn-Smith

Edge-to-edge sharpness

Every pixel is produced individually and imaged directly from above. Our proprietary scanning print head achieves this in a way that no other printer can. This means that every pixel is the same shape, and the coloured layers in the paper are in perfect vertical alignment. The resulting image is perfectly sharp from edge to edge, with none of the distortions produced by laser-based or enlargement imaging.

Image copyright - Simon Puschmann
Image copyright - Simon Puschmann

Text and graphics

The exceptionally fine resolution discussed above also allows us to produce text and graphics with no dot gain, no trapping, no jaggies. We can print pin-sharp text down to 2-point size, including reversed-out text. In fact, we can print accurately smaller than the human eye can read, and our print regularly amazes the most experienced observers.

Image copyright - William Handyside
Image copyright - William Handyside

Resolution

Our printers print a continuous tone image at 400 PPI. This means that a pixel-for-pixel print from a 30MP camera will naturally print at A3 size (297mm x 420mm). Our exceptional resolution was designed to allow us to show more detail than the human eye can resolve at arm's length. The result is a level of fine detail that will astonish - and we can reproduce that detail without Moire effects or other aberrations.

Image copyright - Joel Tjintjelaar
Image copyright - Joel Tjintjelaar

How do we achieve it?

For high-end colour printing applications, there is a traditional divide between contone and halftone output. Contone prints on photographic paper are widely regarded as the benchmark for image quality, longevity, colour fidelity and competitive cost; whilst halftone methods have become something of the default for text, line art and convenience.

Halftoning was developed in the nineteenth century as a way to reproduce black and white photographs in newspapers. It reduces shades to patterns of dots of different sizes, shapes or spacing which could be printed with a single ink. Halftones simulate continuous tone images by optical illusion: the human eye blends the dots into single tones.

Colour halftone printing with multiple screens is more complicated, as it is important to keep the different coloured dots close together to fool the eye into seeing different colours. However, grouping the dots into rosettes is essential to avoid unwanted visual effects like moire patterns, and this ultimately forces compromise.

While others claim 400 dpi resolution (as good as the eye can see), in reality they are achieving only 400 dpi 'addressability' given cross-talk and interaction between pixels. If pixel size is actually bigger than 63µm or interacts heavily with its neighbours, then it is impossible to achieve a genuine 400 dpi resolution even if the centres of the pixels are 63µm apart. The impact is a softening or blurring of the image, and colour bleed in fine details and reversed text. You cannot make a jigsaw look right if the pieces don’t actually fit together.

LumeJet’s technology permits the creation of a pixel of the correct size, with all colours perfectly aligned, in a manner that practically eliminates interaction with any neighbouring pixel. We describe it as “true 400 dpi continuous tone”, and we use the terms dpi and ppi interchangeably because we resample every image we print to 400ppi, and then each image pixel is represented by only one pixel on the printed page - rather than the multitude of ink dots you get with an inkjet image (which also introduce a false sharpness to the image).

The result is the sharpest photo print on silver halide, ever, which also enables the reproduction of fine text and graphics:

LumeJet text (scanned on Epson at 4800dpi)

Halftone magnified output (leading printer, scanned on Epson at 4800dpi) 

Stay updated with all progress...

Risks and challenges

This project has been in the planning phase for a number of years, and we have a clear development path to deliver it. The print head technology is proven and used in our printers today. It is wholly-owned by us and we have identified the equipment that we plan to integrate with.

Therefore we believe our only risk element is that we may come across some challenges that require more time than we plan. We have funding in place to manage significant time extensions on the project should they arise.

We have in-house the technical staff and knowledge used to develop the current print technology and therefore the new areas of development are limited and well-served by the vendors we would select to partner with us.

Technically we believe this project will be less challenging than the printers we have already developed and proven. The main reason? In our existing printers we move the paper (substrate) under the print head and this was our single biggest challenge - controlling paper to the desired micron accuracy. With the large format printer we will hold the paper stationary and transport the print head over the paper in 2 dimensions. This is very much more predictable and controllable. In fact, it's what similar machines already do today.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $32

    Pledge only £25

    We will send to you as soon as the project is live three free A3 L.Type prints of your selected images - normal cost £37.26

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    Pledge £50 or more About $63

    Pledge £50 or more

    We will send to you as soon as the project is live three free A3 L.Type prints (normal cost £37.26) and then 2 free large format L.Type prints of your choice when they are launched (expected normal cost £90)

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    Pledge £100 or more About $127

    Pledge £100 or more

    We will send to you as soon as the project is live 6 free A3 L.Type prints (normal cost £71.08) and then 4 free large format L.Type prints of your choice when they are launched (expected normal cost £180)

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    Pledge £300 or more About $380

    Pledge £300 or more

    We will send to you as soon as the project is live a free box set of 24 A3 L.Type prints (normal cost £257.38) and then 6 free large format L.Type prints of your choice, one of which we will frame, when they are launched (expected normal price £420), PLUS a 25% discount, for life, off L.Type products starting as soon as the project is live

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,266

    Pledge £1,000 or more

    We will send to you as soon as the project is live four free box sets of 36 A3 L.Type prints, one of which we will frame (normal cost ~£1,350), and then 12 free large format L.Type prints of your choice, three of which we will frame(expected normal cost ~£1,000), when they are launched, PLUS a 50% discount, for life, off L.Type products starting as soon as the project is live

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    Pledge £5,000 or more About $6,330

    Pledge £5,000 or more

    We will send to you as soon as the project is live 16 free box sets of 36 A3 L.Type prints, 2 of which we will frame, and one A3 landscape L.Type photobook (normal cost ~£6,300) and then 12 free large format L.Type prints of your choice, 6 of which we will frame (expected normal cost ~£2,000), when they are launched, PLUS a 75% discount, for life, off all L.Type products
    starting as soon as the project is live

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    Pledge £7,500 or more About $9,494

    Pledge £7,500 or more

    Once the project is live you can order any products from our range any time and in any quantity free of charge - you only pay the postage! For personal use only.

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Funding period

- (30 days)