I had a very productive morning. After getting out a couple of darkroom prints - I finally got a chance to use the 7960 to print some 8 x 12's on the P.P. Gloss Paper. Magnifico. Why they don't make this P.P. paper in legal size - another of life's mysteries. I cut down the 11 x 17 to 8.5 x 14.
I did one black and white and one color shot from the Rebel, and two prints from b&w 400 HP5 negatives. The D300 prints look better. While that may be subjective - I thought that in terms of color gamut, resolution, and appearance of 'grain' or 'noise' the D300 had a lot of punch and looked beautiful. I printed the Hup 2, 3 of the girls exercising in front of the Met in color and it just looks great. What did I do to it post production-wise? A touch of gentle unsharp; a touch more contrast; and took the saturation down a notch. That was it.
The 400 HP5 film, scanned with the Dimage 5400, is much grainier. Looks good, but not as clean as the digital-based prints (and they were rezzed up a touch to get them to 300 dpi). So - this morning, I'm a happy camper. One funny thing about the 7960 - although it supposidly will take legal size paper 8.5 x 14 - when that paper is done printing and shoots out - it buckles on the little ridge on the end of the thing that is supposed to hold the finished print so I had to make a little sliding ramp for it with paper and scotch tape so it doesn't buckle when it is ejected. Other than that - no problems.
Oh, and time-wise: 6.5 minutes for the 8 x 12 print at 300 dpi (PS) and 'Best' setting in 7960 driver. That is plenty fast for yours truly.
The paper isn't that expensive: $1.50 a sheet. Now I need to figure out how much the ink costs. And how many thousands of dollars I've spent on testing over the last 8 years :)