D-Max of 2.21 / 2.22 on enlarging paper!

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by per volquartz, Dec 30, 2008.

  1. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

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    On Bergger enlarging paper using Ansco 130 (slightly modified) paper developer I have been getting a D-Max of 2.21 / 2.22 (my Macbeth kept on fluttering between the two numbers).
    This is the highest I have ever been able to get on any enlarging paper!
    In addition the tonal quality of this paper is terrific!

    - Thought those of you that enlarge your prints would like to know!


    :smile:






    (I am in no way associated with Bergger or any company that sells the stuff.)



    Per Volquartz
    http://www.pervolquartz.com
     
  2. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    That's not really very high. 2.6 is easily achievable with MGIV WT FB with selenium toning. 2.25 is the norm for plain-old untoned MGIV RC glossy. Both are with D-72 / Dektol at 1:2 for a developer. If you are going after high D-Max be sure to stop the seleium toning early, before there is any color change - as soon as the image starts to turn purple-brown the D-Max starts to go down.

    The key to high density is developing to completion: fresh developer, 70F or so, constant agitation, adequate time.

    It is also important to remove all dust from the print and to look out for fine scratches that can cause off-axis reflections that the densitometer will pick up as lowered density.

    A-130 is a very slow working developer, you may want to leave the paper in longer and see if that helps. When developed to completion, which takes about 6 minutes, A-130 produces results that are identical to D-72/3 minutes. Since A-130 is slow working a print can be pulled early for contrast reduction without getting mottling.

    The key isn't really D-Max but the density at which the paper shoulders off and looses contrast. A lower D-Max paper with a short shoulder can produce a print with blacker detailed blacks than a higher D-Max paper with a long shoulder.
     
  3. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

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    Guess my densitometer is off then???

    - have been getting 2.10 on AZO in Amidol...



    ???
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Maybe that's one of the reasons Azo and Amidol are not used anymore ...
     
  5. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    Is this the new Ilford produced Bergger?
     
  6. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

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    Yes it is the new Bergger made by Harmon / Ilford. It is great!
    The new Lodima paper by Michael and Paula supposedly gets up to 2.3 in D-Max when processed in Amidol. Enlarging papers never used to get even close.
    Lodima paper is most likely the paper with the highest D-Max and with great separation in both shadow and highlight areas. It is a contact paper only.
    Bergger in Ansco 130 (modified) - with alternating water-bath becomes a great tool for those photographers making enlarged prints.
    I have an original print by Ansel here. The D-Max is 2.0 - print probably made on Agfa Brovira in the early seventies. He most likely used Dektol 1:3 - after partial development in Selectol Soft at 1:1.
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The most convincing deep blacks I have ever got out of any paper is one of those with really poor D-max. Bergger Art Classic Silver Supreme in Ansco 130, toned in strong KRST. Since the paper has a very strong paper texture, no baryta layer, and is absolutely not glossy, it will always give "poor" D-max readings (no, I haven't measured). Yet thr blacks seem deeper and richer than anyhting else!

    No, D-Max isn't everything.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Those of you that know enough to care about this - what does an increased d-max do to the aesthetics of a print that makes this important? I have not studied maximum contrast much, but I can understand why a good strong black is desirable in some instances, and good highlight separation.

    The reason I'm asking is that lately I've been paying attention to the blacks I achieve versus the prints I make, and I often find I prefer prints without maximum black. This is just my opinion, and what I found I like.
    To Ole's point - I use both glossy and semi-matte Ilford MG warmtone. Despite being the same emulsion, the blacks look objectively weaker on the semi-matte version, but I still like those blacks better.

    So, why is d-max important? Help me understand.

    Thanks,

    - Thomas
     
  9. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

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    A paper with a pure white and a very high D-Max may enable you to make full scale prints. It is like music. Very low keys set off the very high keys in a composition that has a full range of notes. While some prints may appear to have good blacks and to give what appears to be a full scale there are actually only few paper / developer combinations that offer deep blacks and very long scale. Lodima contact paper in Amidol is one and Bergger VCCB in Ansco 130 is another. Generally speaking matte or semi matte papers rarely get above a D-max of 1.8. Platinum prints will usually never get above 1.8 also. It does not mean that a print has to have a high D-Max to be great. Perhaps an image may have only a few shades of gray - no blacks. It all depends on what kind of look you seek. If you love images with darker than coal - deep mysterious blacks with details in the blacks you will care - or should care about D-Max.
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Acutally the real data reproduction that the human eye can see is based on toe and shoulder curve shape as much as on Dmax. A sharp shoulder and high dmax is trumped by a soft shoulder and low dmax in most cases. So, if a black is deep and mysterious in the sense that there is just black there and no detail, then the high dmax is useless.

    I have seen papers with special addenda in them that reach a dmax of 3.2.

    In any event, the average Dmax of glossy papers is about 2.0 - 2.2 and of matte papers is about 1.8 - 2.0. This is goverened by the laws of physics.

    PE
     
  11. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

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    Deep blacks are only mysterious if there is a sense of detail in those blacks. Otherwise no mystery.


    :smile:
     
  12. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Does anyone remember the paper that freestyle used to sell called Europes Finest Warmtone. It came in a 2 and a 3 grade. Never had much luck with the 3 but the #2 with the right neg developed in Ansco 135 and toned with selenium I used to trip 2.26 all the time. I think it was Adox? Pretty sure J&C's Museum grade was the same paper. I miss it. It would take a negative long enough to easily print with platinum.
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Thanks Per and Ron for expanding on the subject. The interesting part here is that very few people actually have tools to measure d-max, so I am much more interested in an evaluation of blacks that is based on what the human eye perceives.
    I don't think I'll ever buy a print, or be impressed by one based on the d-max, as a technical term, but I may be impressed as hell by the appearance of those black tones (notes? :D) to my human eye.

    I appreciate you taking time to give your knowledge out, and my apologies for hijacking this thread. I should have known better by now.

    - Thomas
     
  14. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    For me, the color temperature and intensity of the viewing light is crucial. Apparent contrast, and density vary enormously as the light differs. I've no idea what d-max I'm getting, but if it looks right in the light it was intended to be seen in, then it's a good print.
     
  15. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

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    Yes Jim it was the Adox paper sold by J&C. The blacks were great. You should try Bergger VCCB in Ansco 130. To my eyes a better paper, with a beautiful color. When Selenium toned the blacks drop and create extra separation in very dark areas. Try Gold protective toning after that if you want those small Zone I areas to go below basement level!


    :smile:
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Wasn't J&C's museum grade really Fortezo Museum?
     
  17. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

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    If you are making limited editions of prints - knowing the D-Max in a reference print can be valuable if you wish to ensure some level of similarity.
    It is very true that different light sources create different "looks" of the same print.
    That is why it is important to look at your final prints under the same light source that is consistent with the light level in galleries where you may wish to show prints.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Per, I fully understood what you were saying, but merely quoted you back. :D

    As to curve shapes, Ansco 130 and Liquidol are similar giving more open shoulders when compared to Dektol as the reference. The upper curve bends more but has the same Dmax. The result is an open shadow with more detail. So, they have hints there of something in the blacks. Very often, you must make side by side comparisons to see it.

    A soft toe will make detail in highlights pop out at you strongly. This is usually only achieved in an emulsion or with severre split grade printing. The toe region is exposed as a grade 0 or 1, and the shoulder as a grade 0 or 1 with the mid scale at 2. The latter can be done in developers, but not as much for the former. It can all be done with split grade printing but takes a really superb artist in the darkroom. It can also be done in the emulsion, but then it is permanent for the entire batch of coating. Again, it takes an artist in the darkroom. :D I can do this to order. But, this isn't an ad. I don't do it at all except for testing an emulsion recipe. This also goes for my developer formulations..

    If you look on the Azo evaluation thread, there is a post of the Azo curve. It shows those characteristics which I have noted here, namely a rolled over shoulder and a soft toe compared to Lodima. In this case, it also includes the fact that the Lodima is about one grade higher than the Azo so this is not exactly what I am talking about, but it is close.

    PE
     
  19. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    Is there something on the package that indicates this? What question(s) can one ask a retailer before purchase to ensure getting paper from the new production?

    I also have those same questions concerning Kentmere products in case anyone reading this knows about that Mobberley transition.
     
  20. per volquartz

    per volquartz Member

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    Thanks PE!


    Makes a lot of sense!
     
  21. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I can confirm Per's results with Azo, and it is the most I have actually seen. My results with MGIV FB coldtone max out at about 2 or a little less, and most papers give less. PE's comments are quite important here. There can be a quite a difference between a paper's apparent DMax and its measured DMax. Kodak papers had very modest DMax compared to others, but the blacks often appeared to be blacker and better. Agfa papers achieved only a little better DMax, but they consistently had excellent blacks.
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    This gets into a subject called "Goniophotometry" or the measure of density as a function of angle of light and viewing system. The densitometer has a fixed value, but the human eye and head can move and integrate and this is the key to how we see a print differently than a densitometer does.

    Also, curve shape, as I said before, is very important. A low shoulder contrast and low dmax "looks" different to us than a sharp shoulder at the same dmax.

    The bottom line to this is what my first boss told me at EK. "Rely on the eye and pictures, we don't sell sensitometric curves, we sell pictures!"

    PE
     
  23. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I understand that Yogi Berra has said "You can see a lot just by looking". A print that has a long scale is useful in that using in the range of approx. 90% of it and not printing the blacks any darker than need be for dark tones to look sufficiently black will maximize shadow detail and highlight separation. Trying to achieve the blackest tone possible with a paper is a wonderfully effective way to discard precious shadow detail.