PDA

View Full Version : Matte paper diminished tonal range?



RodinalDuchamp
6-Feb-2015, 19:55
Recently I have developed a strong affinity to matte paper.

However it was pointed out to me that matte paper cannot produce as deep a black as gloss paper.

This made me wonder whether matte paper has a decreased tonality or a perceived decrease in tonality.

ic-racer
6-Feb-2015, 20:05
Do you have any glossy paper? Can't you make two prints and compare them side to side and see which you like best? You don't want to get into a discussion of the perils of reflection densitometry do you?

Mark Sampson
6-Feb-2015, 20:05
The nature of the matte surface (which diffuses the reflected light) means that a black as deep as found on glossy paper cannot be obtained. it's not a quality issue, but an esthetic one. A matte paper can have a perfectly believable black, and some workers prefer them. If you want numbers, when i was testing RC papers at Kodak in the 1990s, Kodabrome II RC F (glossy) had a Dmax of about 2.0; Kodabrome II RC N (matte) had a Dmax of about 1.6. (I only quote those remembered numbers for long-discontinued paper to suggest the general relationship.) If you have developed a strong affinity for matte paper, then use matte paper and be happy. We are making pictures, after all, not H&D curves.

RodinalDuchamp
6-Feb-2015, 20:48
Do you have any glossy paper? Can't you make two prints and compare them side to side and see which you like best? You don't want to get into a discussion of the perils of reflection densitometry do you?
Yes I do. And yes I did. Gloss paper absolutely produces a deeper black. I might be interested in that conversation please continue.

RodinalDuchamp
6-Feb-2015, 20:53
The nature of the matte surface (which diffuses the reflected light) means that a black as deep as found on glossy paper cannot be obtained. it's not a quality issue, but an esthetic one. A matte paper can have a perfectly believable black, and some workers prefer them. If you want numbers, when i was testing RC papers at Kodak in the 1990s, Kodabrome II RC F (glossy) had a Dmax of about 2.0; Kodabrome II RC N (matte) had a Dmax of about 1.6. (I only quote those remembered numbers for long-discontinued paper to suggest the general relationship.) If you have developed a strong affinity for matte paper, then use matte paper and be happy. We are making pictures, after all, not H&D curves.
The reason I ended up using gloss was purely aesthetic. I find the matte paper to have beautiful subtle qualities in find hard to put into words. However this question was raised because we are conducting some tests on tonality, range, and exposure so the person who brought this up had a very valid reason to want to steer me towards gloss paper. And for the remainder of this test phase we will but I will print my final images on matte. It looks "silky"

Thank you for providing the empirical evidence.

Jac@stafford.net
6-Feb-2015, 21:06
There is another effect that makes matte paper images look dull - when printing on glossy paper dried matte (air dried, usually) on a paper with brighteners, there is a reflective quality that many of us feel is a 'depth'. I have never been able to articulate exactly what its origins are, and it depends upon viewing light, but I swear it is there, and so do my peers of fifty years of photography.

I miss Agfa Brovira graded fiber paper.
.

RodinalDuchamp
6-Feb-2015, 21:20
I don't think matte paper looks dull necesarilly.

Jim Jones
7-Feb-2015, 08:12
Digital matte prints have a special beauty that is absent in glossy prints -- until they are mounted behind glass. Unprotected, that quality can be marred by mishandling.

RodinalDuchamp
7-Feb-2015, 08:20
Digital matte prints have a special beauty that is absent in glossy prints -- until they are mounted behind glass. Unprotected, that quality can be marred by mishandling.
My experience is only with wet prints. But yes I agree this unquantifiable quality is specially endearing. I have no problem with the way black is represented but it's interesting since until now I had not been made aware of this distinction.

ic-racer
7-Feb-2015, 09:05
I might be interested in that conversation please continue.

In general, paper surfaces influence the D-Max as demonstrated in this diagram:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v670/ic-racer/2015/paperdensity.jpeg

However, more specific comparisons are difficult due to the nature of measuring reflected light from a print.

This diagram demonstrates the light available to view or measure a photographic print. We have first-surface reflections, perpendicular reflections from the base and refraction from the gelatin to the air.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v670/ic-racer/2015/ref1.jpeg

That different fiber based paper surfaces can wreak havoc with reflection densitometry is suggested in this graph showing how small changes in angle of measurement can influence the results on obtains with a reflection densitometer:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v670/ic-racer/2015/angleofincidence.jpeg


My opinion is that more information can be gleaned by judging blacks in darkroom produced photographic prints with one's eyes rather than comparisons of reflection densitometry data.

Graphs 1969 Hollis N. Todd and Richard D. Zakia, Photographic Sensitometry

Sal Santamaura
7-Feb-2015, 09:50
...prints have a special beauty that is absent in glossy prints -- until they are mounted behind glass...Irrespective of the type of print being discussed, in this or any thread, I contend that, if one sees a difference after framing behind glass, the wrong glass is being used. Try this


http://www.framedestination.com/glass/anti-reflective_glass_water_white-artglass/item/GLGAAR00000000/

and see if you still have the same opinion. :)

Nathan Potter
7-Feb-2015, 16:14
I use the Frame Destination AR glass for a few color prints that I feel deserve that extra bit of contrast and color rendition. Coated glass of course costs more money but in some circumstances is worth the price. Plus the Frame Destination stuff is clear borosilicate which has no detectable greenish tint. I might only question the 1% reflectivity claim but the visual improvement is still significant.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Old-N-Feeble
7-Feb-2015, 16:51
I HATE matte computer monitors just as I do TV screens just as I do prints.

RodinalDuchamp
7-Feb-2015, 16:53
Why? I mean I understand not using it and not appreciating its qualities but why such vehement opposition?

Old-N-Feeble
7-Feb-2015, 16:56
Why? I mean I understand not using it and not appreciating its qualities but why such vehement opposition?

I fogs the blacks just as 'severely' fogged film would do... not as much in a dark room with monitors and TVs but prints are viewed in bright rooms. Matte paper absolutely destroys Dmax.

RodinalDuchamp
7-Feb-2015, 17:03
I muddies the blacks just as 'severely' fogged film would do.
Aha. See this is what I was after. You don't believe that the relative tonality of matte paper creates a deep enough black?

I have seen both side by side and I would only say the blacks where not strong enough if viewing gloss and matte side by side. As a stand alone print I think matte produces a dark enough tone to represent black accurately relative to the rest of the print.

Vaughn
7-Feb-2015, 17:17
It depends on the images, of course -- not every print must have a max black. A friend printing 120 negs on Portriga Rapid 118 (matt paper)...images of the ruins in Chaco Canyon. On that matt paper, the pure black of the windows of the ruins looked deeply sunk into the image. It was amazing. One certainly would never see it on a screen, I doubt one could get the same feeling on a glossy paper (even on that wonderful 111 surface!) I think RD above is referring to a believable black...these were almost unbelievable!

Portraits can look wonderful on matt. But for my work, I tend to stay with glossy unless I have a good reason for matt...except with my platinum prints on watercolor paper...those are matt.

Peter De Smidt
7-Feb-2015, 19:29
Lighting is extremely important. Matte paper behind glass in a bright room, but without spot-lighting, can appear to have better blacks than a glossy print in the same environment.

Jim Jones
7-Feb-2015, 20:02
Irrespective of the type of print being discussed, in this or any thread, I contend that, if one sees a difference after framing behind glass, the wrong glass is being used. Try this


http://www.framedestination.com/glass/anti-reflective_glass_water_white-artglass/item/GLGAAR00000000/

and see if you still have the same opinion. :)

I agree, but AR glass would price framed photographs out of my market.

Bill Burk
7-Feb-2015, 21:36
Why? I mean I understand not using it and not appreciating its qualities but why such vehement opposition?

I have no opposition to matt paper. It's just a fact that it does not give as rich a black as glossy paper. And it's for simple reasons, like the surface diffuses the light.

Matt paper makes beautiful prints, there is no question. And to its credit, a matt print can be viewed as intended from most angles where a glossy print will shine and reflect when the light hits it wrong.

Corran
7-Feb-2015, 21:54
Matte paper absolutely destroys Dmax.

Hogwash.

I love matte paper. I think you have to be an expert printer to utilize it to its potential - leading to such silly statements as above because of less-than-adequate print technique. But that's just my opinion...

Peter De Smidt
7-Feb-2015, 22:22
I can get about 1.71 with an all-Eboni inkset and Epson Hot Press Natural, but I see that people are getting 2.4 or more with glossy papers. There's really no open question as to whether glossy papers can achieve significantly more dmax than matte papers. As a result, glossy papers have more dynamic range than matte papers, and if increased dynamic range is very important for the image, and proper framing and lighting are available, then the choice is clear. In addition, the smooth surface can show more detail than the slightly textured surface of smooth matte paper. But not all images benefit from the greater dmax or super fine detail. The printer simply has to make the choice as to what works best for a given image, keeping in mind how the image will be displayed, as well as considerations of the desired level of image permanence.

Sal Santamaura
7-Feb-2015, 23:21
I agree, but AR glass would price framed photographs out of my market.And once again I'm thankful to have decided lo those many decades ago not to make my enjoyable hobby into a job. In other words, my photographs neither have nor seek a market. :)

alavergh
7-Feb-2015, 23:39
I'd just like to share a story and give my thoughts as a beginner, comparatively.

About 6 months ago, I had the opportunity to purchase a large amount of photo paper. It was from a family whose father had passed away. I knew it could be intensly valuable, but I just couldn't pay what it was worth, but I couldn't let it pass.

When using RC paper, I prefer a kind of pearl finish to glossy. I can't keep from scratching the glossy RC after its dried. I do, however, love my ilford Classic glossy fiber. I love the way it looks after it's dry mounted.

This batch of paper, over 15 packs of 11x14 ilford, two boxes of Kentmere 16x20 (50 sheets each), some arista, and others.....,it's ALLLLL MATTE. Much of it is actually warmtone too. Definitely not my fav on two counts, but I've grown accustomed to it. It's not quite what I'd like, but still, once I got a 16x20 warmtone matte mounted and behind acrylic, I loved it, and I can't even remember that it was matte and warmtone.

If you are worried, try preparing two similar prints, maybe even prints from the same nagative printed identically. Get them all prepared, and ask somebody you trust objectively what they think.

After using all this matte paper, it still isn't my favorite, but I still don't have anything against it. It all looks glossy when it's wet anyways.

Jim Jones
8-Feb-2015, 06:31
And once again I'm thankful to have decided lo those many decades ago not to make my enjoyable hobby into a job. In other words, my photographs neither have nor seek a market. :)

Again I agree. Much of my photography is pro bono. Some is sold non-profit at the local annual arts & crafts fair. Life has been good to me. Photography is one way I can share that.

bob carnie
8-Feb-2015, 07:29
People compare the dmax of a silver gelatin and pt pd print (arches platine) all the time here in my gallery. . I have noticed since showing both in my space for the last 3 months that there are
really two camps. Well actually three camps as I belong to this third tribe which accepts both types of prints for what they give.

Right now I am playing with multiple register and multiple coating, a couple of very basic observations... double coating pt pd did not really give me the extra depth I thought I may get.
second, a pt pd base coat that has incredible highlight range, can be improved by making a gum over of black/blue using a shadow separation negative.. This indeed gives more dmax in the print
and now a fourth camp is made - ( which I am going to Join) where prints are made for each end of the tonality range and use materials that work best for both . I love Gum over Pt Pd using multiple negative , which can take one to
full colour.


The problem with where we are today is that the new phase backs, laser printed c print and high end inkjet technology can produce such high quality prints , that when we stretch from
the norm , sometimes our prints do not stand up to current trends.. that is a sad reflection on how people observe.. Have you ever seen a Fresson Print.... the layman would just call it
a fuzzy , rough inkjet and walk by it all day, A beautiful Dye Transfer cannot hold up to the current technology, but once again IMHO well done dye transfers glow, glow glow.

I was lucky enough to make a digital silver print for a long time member here who no longer visits, I was trying to show him my work compared to a Jon Cone print from the exact same file. He was very gracious
to tell me that he liked my silver print very much, he also provided me Jon's print for comparison... I was blown away how beautiful on matt paper his print was compared to my silver... I liked his much better
and this little comparison has taught me to open my eyes.

So what camp do you belong too??

Kirk Gittings
8-Feb-2015, 09:39
Camp four-most prints I see in all media are mediocre including historical alternative processes. No print media inherently gives a great print. Beautiful prints are possible with a variety of media including inkjet given a careful worker, a great capture and sustained effort in pursuit of a print that can move people.

Peter De Smidt
8-Feb-2015, 10:05
Kirk hit the nail on the head.

Kirk Gittings
8-Feb-2015, 10:11
I was at a show on Friday with a number of accomplished photographers showing a variety of print media. A friend of mine who is a recognized lifelong PP expert was literally pissed off because one of the artist's inkjets looked so damn good.................

RodinalDuchamp
8-Feb-2015, 10:15
Kirk. I am a traditionalist but I can't understand why some people get so whipped up about media choice. In the end everyone does what they enjoy, for me a computer and high dollar printer could never replace the peace and joy of working in a wet darkroom. I agree though seldom do we see a photographer who can fully develop the most from a good negative. Printing is probably the most difficult to master strata of the picture making process.

Kirk Gittings
8-Feb-2015, 10:19
Didn't Weston say something like he didn't care if a print was made on a bathmat as long as it was good? I'm with him on that. Successful art by my friends or colleagues does not diminish me-it challenges and stimulates me.

riooso
8-May-2015, 18:35
I know that this thread is kind dead but I read this thread when I first started my beginning digital class this semester after taking a class in film photography using B&W film, develop, and making an enlarger print and, I had an opinion....I liked glossy and everything was just a degradation of a silver glossy print. Biases of one kind of another are falling by the wayside the more classes that I take. I really do have an astounding professor and he handed me a multiple packs of printer paper from Hahnemuhle and stated because of my personal bias to glossy prints that I had to print my semester series project using each of six types of paper including glossy or I would not be able to obtain a top grade in his class. I protested that nobody else had to do all this work and his reply was simply a smile and a reiteration that a B really was not much of a punishment! He also stated that each images had to be optimized for the paper that I was using "so do a lot of proofs".

What I discovered is that I love them all given certain images be they B&W or color. I am now biased in the matte direction but what it really comes down to is what do you want to do with the image. Deep dark blacks are only good if they are good for the image and besides the image that you see is just an interpretation of what you see.

Now it is difficult for me to choose a paper to print on and it just adds to the fact my photographic life is more blessed complicated!

Corran
8-May-2015, 19:06
Congrats on having what appears to be a top-shelf instructor.

riooso
8-May-2015, 19:27
I am lucky to have found him. He is a talented individual who not only makes sure that we know the technical end but, he makes us throw it out there and he says "Expose your soul"!

RodinalDuchamp
8-May-2015, 20:06
I get what you are saying. However, matte paper definitely does have a diminished range

riooso
8-May-2015, 20:33
LOL! Of course it does! I would make the point though that an image is a sum total of related parts that include dark black. Photography is so vast that one could spend a lifetime using deep black beautifully in images.....or not! That is why this discipline is able to do what it does.

Jim Jones
9-May-2015, 04:57
An image is indeed a sum total of related parts that include dark black. Ultimately its presentation, including the choice of mount board or window mat, is an additional part. I usually frame photographs behind cheap window glass to accommodate buyers in an unsophisticated market. This negates the beauty of printing on matte paper.

bob carnie
9-May-2015, 06:37
Wow - hate is pretty strong word... I just LOVE matt papers and I LOVE glossy- they both have a close place in my heart.


I HATE matte computer monitors just as I do TV screens just as I do prints.

djdister
9-May-2015, 06:46
Wow - hate is pretty strong word... I just LOVE matt papers and I LOVE glossy- they both have a close place in my heart.

Absolutely. Each type of paper can work very well depending on the subject matter and printing to match the paper's unique characteristics.

Mark Sawyer
9-May-2015, 12:01
If D-max was everyone's goal, there would be no platinum or palladium prints. No salt prints or albumen prints, no carbon or bromoil prints, no Daguerreotypes, no cyanotypes, no Kallitypes or Collotypes or gum bichromate prints...

riooso
9-May-2015, 12:56
Excellent point Mark.


R

RodinalDuchamp
9-May-2015, 17:10
That's true I can't deny that but initially when I asked this question I wanted to know the differences in D-Max which are significant. But you are right each medium has its uses, beauties, draw backs.

Mark Sawyer
9-May-2015, 17:49
I don't deny very a deep black can be quite beautiful in a print. Just pointing out that it's not the only beauty, or the most appropriate for every print. A matte paper can often be the best choice, depending on, well, just about anything other than the deepest black...

jnantz
9-May-2015, 18:43
Didn't Weston say something like he didn't care if a print was made on a bathmat as long as it was good? I'm with him on that. Successful art by my friends or colleagues does not diminish me-it challenges and stimulates me.

yeah, that is the camp in am in too ..
too much concern about media
and mediocre prints made on it ..
make it a good print, and it doesn't matter
what it is made with or printed on ..

that weston fellow was pretty smart ..