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

  1. #21

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

    One thing that totally sucks is...

    A ferrotyped print gives the greatest density range from white to black.

    So I am sure you would want to add the additional requirement for what you are looking for... "without ferrotyping".

    Maybe the question could be thus:

    What's your favorite paper and what kind of DMax do you get from it?

    My favorite is Ilford Galerie developed in Dektol 1:2 for 3 minutes toned in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1:20 and I just read a typical print of mine and got a density range from 0.05 to 2.12

  2. #22
    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
    One thing that totally sucks is...

    A ferrotyped print gives the greatest density range from white to black.

    So I am sure you would want to add the additional requirement for what you are looking for... "without ferrotyping".

    Maybe the question could be thus:

    What's your favorite paper and what kind of DMax do you get from it?

    My favorite is Ilford Galerie developed in Dektol 1:2 for 3 minutes toned in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1:20 and I just read a typical print of mine and got a density range from 0.05 to 2.12
    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the comments.

    True, I have not ferrotyped a print in over 50 years. I used a ferrotype print dryer back then.

    I too like Ilford Galerie. I still have a bunch of it.
    I think it's only available graded, not variable contrast.

    Probably everyone agrees that photography is a (sometimes uncomfortable) marriage of art and science.
    As a retired engineer, I tend to err mostly to the technical side rather than the artistic.

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

  3. #23

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    I too like Ilford Galerie. I still have a bunch of it.
    I think it's only available graded, not variable contrast.
    That's right, Leigh. Here's Ilford's availability list for Galerie:
    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/...graphic+Papers

  4. #24
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    Thanks, Jerry. I appreciate the link.

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

  5. #25
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    To put this in perspective...

    A few years ago I did a series shooting fire engines on a sunny day in direct sunlight.

    Do you have any idea how many specular highlights you get from that much chrome?
    Those regularly hit 4.0 density in the negative, and belong there.

    In that situation I can expose to resolve brush marks in the white lettering on the door.
    On the same negative I can read the lettering on the black tires shaded in the tire wells.

    I want this information to be present in the print.

    Of course I'm not going to expose a concrete sidewalk so that it hits 4.0 density on the negative.
    That would be insane (perhaps I quality).

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

  6. #26
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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    Where the specular highlight is density-wise doesn't matter, if you want it paper-white. Where the slightest amount of grey, almost-white is, density-wise, would be the question, no? If it's at a density of 3, I think it's clear you are overdeveloping your negatives and no paper in the world will let you silver print that (with proper tonal scale for the rest of the image).

    A long time ago when I first started shooting 4x5 I shot a ton of T-Max 100 and developed it per the normal Kodak recommendations. The trick was I was using BTZS tubes and constant agitation which made the negative's density scale go through the roof. I could wrangle an okay scan (just really grainy) but when I tried printing them traditionally I couldn't get a single decent print. Everything was blown to hell. Finally I did some proper ZS testing and found my "normal" development to be like 30% less time. I then read about rotary development and how that agitation method can make the contrast go up and push the density, so I had discovered the problem.

    This applies regardless of your "personal aesthetic opinion." Meter for what you want clearly visible as a shadow and place it at Zone III, or what you want as "black" in Zone I/II, then check the highlights (just less than white) and develop accordingly to place them at the top of the scale, as can be recorded on your paper - a.k.a. Zone VII or VIII.

    Personally I am a lot more lax these days on the ZS stuff but I still think about all of this. I couldn't care less what my "DMax" is for the film I'm shooting but I know I can't let the highlights push much past Zone VIII. Once I started at least thinking about this stuff and developing N-whatever (sometimes N-3 or 4 depending on the situation) I got negatives that were much easier to both scan and print. If you already shot a bunch of negatives and developed them to crazy densities I think you aren't going to be able to silver print them properly. Possibly you can by burning the heck out of the highlights. Perhaps get a high-quality scan from a scanner that can push through that density and send it out for either lightjet printing or reprint directly to a new negative for you to print.

    There's no magic bullet paper to fix wildly mismanaged negatives.
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  7. #27

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    To put this in perspective...

    A few years ago I did a series shooting fire engines on a sunny day in direct sunlight. ... In that situation I can expose to resolve brush marks in the white lettering on the door. On the same negative I can read the lettering on the black tires shaded in the tire wells.
    I want this information to be present in the print. ...
    - Leigh
    Leigh,

    I've been waiting to answer for a while, wanting to read what others have suggested and see your responses. Now I'm ready to comment.

    First, the negative and the print are a closed system: at a given print exposure, density x on the negative will produce density y on the print. In order to effectively use the available density range of a paper (say Galerie with a range from ~0.2 - 2.15) in a straight print at optimum print exposure, the range of densities in the negative cannot exceed the exposure range of the paper. Since most projection papers have a maximum exposure range of less than 1.3 (and that's for the lowest contrast grades/settings!), it only stands to reason that information outside this range on a negative will simply NOT get translated into print densities without manipulations of some sort.

    Of course, dodging and burning allow just this to some extent by giving different areas of the print different exposures. Masking is a further step in attenuating negative density range to match the print exposure range.

    Still, if you plan on working with a negative with a density range approaching 4.0 that you want to squeeze into the paper exposure range, you're going to have some problems. First, the separation between adjacent tones on the negative will be much larger than the usual desired visual separation on the print. Low midtones will render black and high midtones render white with an intermediate print exposure. All the other tones will be past the limits of tonal resolution, i.e., either black or white with no separation. Or you could favor one end or the other, letting the other extreme disappear. This isn't what you want if I understand you correctly.

    While I sympathize with your desire to retain all the detail in your negatives, you should know this: You don't have to have a huge density range on your negative to get a lot of information on it. If you had developed one of your 4.0-density-range negatives less, all that info would still be there, just not as separated in density range (and maybe a whole lot easier to translate to a print). I have negatives that print well on grade 2+ paper (with a bit of work) that captured scenes with a subject luminescence range from Zone II through Zone XII (a 10-stop range). The prints show detail in the lowest shadows and the brightest highlights.

    Bottom line: If you really want all the information available in a high-contrast scene to be visible in the print, you should be striving to achieve a density range for the important information in your negative that corresponds (roughly at least) to the density range of the printing paper you wish to use. Refinements of this include e.g., intentionally exceeding that range in the negative in order to retain midtone separation and then dodging and burning to bring in the extremes (or masking for the same reason).

    There is a whole science of tone reproduction and sensitometry that deals with this as well as exposure/development systems like the Zone System and BTZS, all of which I'm sure you're aware of, and which were intended to facilitate this matching of negative density range to paper exposure range. There's not really any way you are going to be able to avoid the laws of physics here.

    For negative that you already have that have such an extreme density range, there are options, traditional and digital, but that's another can of worms.

    Best,

    Doremus

  8. #28
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: What fibre-base paper has the highest black density?

    Hi Guys,

    Well, it appears I screwed up. Memory ain't what it should be.

    I decided to investigate this further since I've been developing and printing Acros successfully for over 20 years. I've generally been pleased with the prints, but I think they could be better.

    I just pulled out some old Across datasheets and found the D / log H density charts.
    It seems the Dmax varies from 1.5 to 2.5 depending on development time.

    This is obviously quite different from the 4.0 that I had been quoting.
    I found that 4.0 value some years ago and it stuck in my mind.

    Given that I can't edit earlier posts, there's no way I can correct it in those.

    My apologies for the error.

    The question of which paper has the highest Dmax remains. As mentioned in the OP, I'm coming back after a couple of years hiatus in my photography and find there are some new papers with which I'm not familiar. I'm wondering if any of those have better Dmax than traditional ones.

    Thanks very much.

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

  9. #29

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

    If you are contact printing or have the right type of enlarger try Lodima paper in Amidol developer with a water bath during development. Can handle negetives with excess contrast as you have been describing.

  10. #30

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    Hi Guys,
    Well, it appears I screwed up. Memory ain't what it should be. I decided to investigate this further since I've been developing and printing Acros successfully for over 20 years. I've generally been pleased with the prints, but I think they could be better.

    I just pulled out some old Across datasheets and found the D / log H density charts. It seems the Dmax varies from 1.5 to 2.5 depending on development time. This is obviously quite different from the 4.0 that I had been quoting. I found that 4.0 value some years ago and it stuck in my mind. ...

    The question of which paper has the highest Dmax remains. As mentioned in the OP, I'm coming back after a couple of years hiatus in my photography and find there are some new papers with which I'm not familiar. I'm wondering if any of those have better Dmax than traditional ones.

    Thanks very much. - Leigh
    Leigh,

    Join the club! Your present density range seems much more workable!

    As for papers: I use a couple graded papers as standard and switch to VC when needed. Galerie, Slavich and Fomabrom are in my arsenal. They all have good blacks. I've also been pleased with the Adox MC110. I've heard good things about the Fomabrom Variant and am anxious to try that. I like neutral to cold tone papers with a pure white base that then warm up a bit in the direction of brownish-purple when selenium toned.

    All these papers have good blacks. D-max can be upped a bit on all of them with selenium toning. However, what makes blacks in a print sing is not necessarily D-max, but rather the relationship of the tones. If you're not happy with blacks in your prints, it is likely a negative exposure or development issue.

    Best,

    Doremus

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