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Thread: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

  1. #1
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Question What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    I gave my photo work a rest for a couple of years, and find that a few new papers have appeared.
    In the past I've used a variety of papers, preferring graded Oriental Seagull and similar, but those are NLA.

    I use Fuji Acros, which can achieve a density above 4.0.
    I'd like a paper that will come close to that range.

    Any recommendations as to max black / best tonal scale?

    TIA

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    Most DWFB papers of today have an excellent Dmax, so there are many choices, but developer choice/dilution/and dev time will be key, as well as choice of cold/warm/neutral tone and choice of surface (glossy for max black), etc...

    Cold tone papers will tend to go to that hard/contrasty look, and more difficult to fan out delicate midtones, and the blacks block up fast before the highlights have had time to develop out fully...

    Warmtones developed warm usually have the weakest blacks, but a full long scale (and a funny color too)...

    I prefer printing neutral tone by printing with a cooler looking warmtone (like Seagull MG warmtone) and developing it in the old Agfa 100 neutral tone formula (1:1 or 1:2) that has a good black (looks a little green wet, but drys to a nice, open black with many steps down to max black), fans out to a brilliant wide scale, has a very detailed fine paper grain with a nice edge, excellent detailed highlights, and you can trim the contrast with a colorhead on the lamphouse, and not so fast so you have time to manipulate/dodge/burn and blend it well (but often it can print with little to no alterations, so very forgiving)... So good for printing a brilliant longer scale effect... (But the MG range is shorter than other MG papers...) So that's a possibility... (But the Ilford WT will usually have a strong color cast, and the shadow/Dmax areas can be a little severe, so more difficult to evenly fan out the tones...)

    Hope this helps, and good luck/happy printing,

    Steve K

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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    I gave my photo work a rest for a couple of years, and find that a few new papers have appeared.
    In the past I've used a variety of papers, preferring graded Oriental Seagull and similar, but those are NLA.

    I use Fuji Acros, which can achieve a density above 4.0.
    I'd like a paper that will come close to that range.


    Any recommendations as to max black / best tonal scale?

    TIA

    - Leigh
    Depending on how you measure reflection density, most current glossy FB papers will top out in the 2-2.2 range, with warmer toned papers being on the higher end and cold toned papers on the lower end. Selenium toning can increase max black slightly. Note our ability to discern density differences decreases as reflection density increases, so it really isn't worth worrying about say 2.1 vs 2.15. In practice these are trivial differences at best.

    With respect to tonal scale, many enlarging papers are similar. The new Ilford papers (MG Classic and MG Cooltone) are a little different, having a longer toe and shoulder. There are still a few graded papers, and of course there are a few nice contact/chloride options too.

    My current preferred papers are Adox MCC 110 and Ilford MG Classic.

    Not sure if you are into cooler or warmer tones, enlarging vs contact printing. Welcome back to the darkroom!

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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    Are you using an enlarger or making contact prints?

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    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    One of the rather striking conclusions drawn from a study of the data presented is that the maximum print density is on the average considerably below the available density of the positive material. Control of Photographic Printing by Measured Characteristics of the Negative. LA Jones and CN Nelson, October 1942 J.O.S.A. Vol 32
    Analysis of 200 negatives on which prints were made at different exposure levels and contrast grades. Prints judged by a panel of observers.

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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    I'm not sure how you get a DMax of 4.0 with reflection measurement.

    If you are taking a transmission measure of print to establish density, well you are including the paper base which may be irrelevant... you could just as well mount the print to get a higher reading...

    I certainly understand your wish to use the best, and judge the look you want from your paper by the rich, dark blacks...

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    The glossy ones...

    I remember a test someone wrote up years ago (20-25 yrs?) -- measuring the black vs. the silver content of the papers' emulsions. No correlation, which I found interesting.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  8. #8
    Dave Karp
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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    I don't use any fancy measuring devices. I just print. My favorite paper right now is Adox MCC 110. I have not tried the MG Classic or Cooltone.

  9. #9

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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    It ain't about only D-max. Different papers look...different. Try a few, make matching prints of the same negative, and look at them. It is entirely subjective, which it should be.

    Been there, done that, long ago. Of all the papers I tested, Ilford Galerie is the only survivor that scored consistently near teh top of all comparisons.

    Mostly, though, have some fun with it!
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  10. #10
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    I'm not sure how you get a DMax of 4.0 with reflection measurement.
    Hi Bill,

    The 4.0 is transmission density of the Acros negative.

    The goal is to compress that into a paper with a max tonal range so I can hold both shadow and highlight detail.

    Thanks.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

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