What is a Lightjet printer?

The Océ Lightjet 500XL is probably one of the most amazing photographic printers in the world. At Metroprint we have one of ten Lightjet 500XLs in the world so all our C Types over 48” wide are printed on this machine. Until we netted ours, you had to go to Dusseldorf to find another one available for photographers. We decided it was time to change all that and now prints measuring ten by six feet are within reach of any photographer in the UK.

It works by instead of copying the image, the lasers write the image onto photographic paper using an internal 270 degree drum. The paper is held still in a cylinder while the lasers get to work. Laser light is reflected by a spinning mirror moving along the axis of the cylinder onto the surface of the media. ‘Uniform spot size and shape’ means that even the edges and corners of an image are as razor sharp as the centre. This uniformity is better than any other optical printing technique.

This technology results in better image sharpness, uniform density and colour and the highest geometric accuracy over the whole print. As you can probably imagine, this printer needs special treatment, so our large format Digital C Types are processed slightly differently to other colour photographic prints. See here for more details on large format printing.


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