What is the difference between Laser & LED printing?

Lambda and Lightjet are both brands of laser printer companies (Durst and Océ, respectively) that developed innovative digital replacements for traditional darkroom printing. Rather than using a bulb to expose light on photographic paper, these printers use three lasers (red, green and blue) to expose light onto photographic silver halide paper, advancing through the Lambda and in the Lightjet, rolled inside a large drum. The exposed paper is then processed in photographic chemistry to create a perfectly archival, digital but traditional C Type print. Hence the term, ‘digital C Type‘.

Laser printers such as Lambda and Lightjet are the preferred choice by artists and photographers the world over. Laser systems rely on elaborate combinations of rotating mirrors and lenses that must remain in alignment through use. LED technology uses a Light Emitting Diode print-head as a light source which is ‘solid-state’ (i.e. fixed) and has no moving parts.

But at Metro Imaging we know that the needs of photographers, particularly for fine art, are quite specific and based more around the quality of the image, rather than the speed or efficiency of the machine. For artists and photographers the key issue is resolution and image quality. Here laser printers win hands down. Compare, for example the Durst Lambda (laser) printer with a commonly used LED printer: the ZBE’s Chromira:

Printer PPI DPI equivalent
ZBE Chromira 300ppi 1500 dpi
Durst Lambda Laser 400ppi 4000dpi
Océ Lightjet Laser 300ppi 4000dpi

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Photo Printing

Prints ready for collection from 4 hours, or for delivery worldwide. We are able to produce bigger and better C-Type photo prints than anywhere else in the UK. Our photo prints can go up to 120 x 72 inches (3m x 1.8m) in size, giving you a huge choice of sizes when it comes to producing your prints.

Fine Art Giclee printing

While all of our colour and black and white photo printing services are of gallery quality, a lot of photographers and artists like to produce their fine art prints on Giclee watercolour paper, using archival pigment inks.

Black & White printing

We can produce real Silver Gelatin 'Darkroom prints' from your digital files. Working with Ilford, we are able to print directly to Ilford Galerie Silver FB Glossy fibre based bromide photo paper and Ilford Galerie Digital Silver RC Pearl.

Mounting your prints

After your photos have been printed, our mounting team are able to mount the prints on a range of substrates, ranging from the lightweight foamex, foamboard or kapamount. We can also mount ctype photo prints onto more sturdy materials such as dibond or aluminium, backed with either battens or a subframe, depending on print size.

Framing your photos

When ordering online, we offer a limited range of classic photo frames, in three finishes: white photo frame, smooth black photo frame or a solid light oak frame. Alternately, just order your prints online to take advantage of our great value online ordering system, then contact us to discuss alternate framing styles and our range of thousands of frame mouldings.