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  1. #11
    erikg's Avatar
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    I remember that study, or one like it. The research tested the D-max of a number of prints made on some legendary papers of old and made by some legendary photographers of old and found that in many cases the D-max was about the same or less than what can be achieved with modern papers. The complaint that modern papers can't get a good black because "they took all the silver out" is really just a myth. That's not to say that the old papers didn't have qualities that may now be lacking, but that is a different issue. Photographic black isn't really all that black compared to other media, but we still have managed to make some pretty good images none the less!

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Marco,

    Quite a few years ago I read a study done that compared the D-Max as it relates to silver content with different papers. What was interesting was that there was no one-to-one correlation between the two. In other words, papers with the highest silver content did not have the highest D-Max.
    That maybe true, I don't know...

    It's just my experience that Ilford's Warmtone (MGRC and MGFB) papers give a clearly visible deeper black than the normal MGIV multigrade papers. I find the difference quite pronounced and significant. With the MGIV variants, like the OP suggested, I have always slightly the feeling that I am "lacking" black, it's more a kind of very, very dark grey. Not so with the Warmtone variants. And a small bit of seleniumtoning, will enhance this even more. The black of MGRC Warmtone with a minor amount of seleniumtoning is of another planet... but don't overdo these Warmtone papers with Selenium, as they will go brown or purple than.

    And the Warmtone variants in case of Ilford are quite a bit more expensive, if it's not due to a higher silver content, what might cause this?

    Well, I guess there maybe other reasons for the price, like difficulties in production, but any insights might be helpful...

    Of course a scan sucks as an example of DMax, but this one was printed on MGRC Warmtone (un-toned by the way):

    Last edited by Marco B; 04-21-2009 at 02:10 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

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  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tim_walls View Post
    Or in other words, if you ask like how much more black could this be? The answer is none. None more black.
    Took the words right out of my mouth. Or out of Nigel's, anyway.

  4. #14
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    Marco that is beautiful!

    if there would be a color blacker than black then we would call black something else, don't you think?
    Mihai Costea

    "There's more to the picture
    Than meets the eye." - Neil Young

    Galleries:My PN & My APUG

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by naeroscatu View Post
    Marco that is beautiful!

    if there would be a color blacker than black then we would call black something else, don't you think?
    Yeah - like Really, Really Black

    I've found that the quest for the absolutely blackest black paper tends to distract from the more important issues of tonality and highlight separation. The "feel" of a photograph depends less on the depth of the black than on other issues. The only reason I want to know the max black of my paper is so I can "nail" my proper proof exposure and then judge the paper from that.

    Bob H
    "Why is there always a better way?"

  6. #16
    erikg's Avatar
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    I totally agree with Bob. So much more goes into the impression a print makes than just the technical measurement of D-Max. Platinum prints aren't usually known for having a high D-Max but well made platinum prints are often praised for the fullness and richness of the tonal scale they display. What matters is what is relative within the world of the print.

  7. #17

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    Do you recall how the testing determined the actual silver content of the papers? I recall seeing a number of such studies, some relating to film, but they all seem to compare modern papers/films with vintage papers/films on the assumption that the vintage papers/films were more highly loaded with silver. But I don't remember any study that established as fact exactly how much silver was in any given paper or film.

    Sandy King


    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Marco,

    Quite a few years ago I read a study done that compared the D-Max as it relates to silver content with different papers. What was interesting was that there was no one-to-one correlation between the two. In other words, papers with the highest silver content did not have the highest D-Max. Probably due to the other factors PE mentioned above. I'll have to track down the article one of these days. Most likely most of the papers in the study are no longer around.

    Vaughn

  8. #18

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    Sandy - dig out your copy of "Controls in Black and White Photography" by Dr. Richard Henry. I believe he compared papers of the day (1980s) and then dissolved the silver from the prints with nitric acid and then used atomic absorbtion spectroscopy to measure the silver concentration. He then plotted it against Dmax.

    I highly recommend this book for the more technically minded photographers out there.
    Kirk

    For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!

  9. #19
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikg View Post
    I totally agree with Bob. So much more goes into the impression a print makes than just the technical measurement of D-Max. Platinum prints aren't usually known for having a high D-Max but well made platinum prints are often praised for the fullness and richness of the tonal scale they display. What matters is what is relative within the world of the print.
    I fully agree with you and Bob on this. I regularly tone my prints, for example in sepia, and clearly, the DMax changes in such cases

    So, black by itself is not the quest, but the OP asked for comments on his observations regarding MGIV paper and its particular DMax or max black, so that was what I tried to give input to.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

  10. #20
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobNewYork View Post
    Yeah - like Really, Really Black
    I think the community of painters and artist already tackled this one, there you have "Lamp black", "Ivory black", "Mars(!!!) black" (the artist that invented that name must have been drunk )... and the list probably goes on if you dive into the history of painting.
    My website

    "The nineteenth century began by believing that what was reasonable was true, and it wound up by believing that what it saw a photograph of, was true." - William M. Ivins Jr.

    "I don't know, maybe we should disinvent color, and we could just shoot Black & White." - David Burnett in 1978

    "Analog is chemistry + physics, digital is physics + math, which ones did you like most?"

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