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  1. #1
    Kvistgaard's Avatar
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    Blacker than black?

    Hello my learned fellow luddites

    This may sound a bit daft, but is there a way of making a paper blacker than max black?

    I just exposed a strip of Ilford MG IV RC glossy to daylight for app 30 seconds, then developed and fixed as prescribed (Moersch warmtone 1+20 dev).

    The idea was to get a "reference black" for use in the darkroom when printing. The problem with that approach is that the max black does not appear very black at all (it's not grey either, it just isn't as pitch black as I want it to be.

    My question is if the "flat black" is an inherent characteristic of this (RC) paper, or if there is a way - through choice of developer, for instance - to increase the blackness of this paper?

    Thanks,
    S°ren

    "We are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than think our way into a new way of acting." - R. Pascale

  2. #2
    trexx's Avatar
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    You exposed the paper beyond black, it is a from of solarization that occurred. Expose under an enlarger at a time that gives you max black.
    D-76 is a standard developer, although not one I use.
    Ansel Adams - The Negative

  3. #3
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    The fundamental laws of physics limit "black" to a density of about 2.2 on glossy paper and about 1.8 on matte paper. This is due to multiple internal reflections which attenuate the light. This effect varies depending on the emulsion thickness. It can also be varied a small amount by addenda in the surface of the coating and by the process. But, that is the best you can get by common measurement.

    If you get less than that, it is indeed solarization or underdevelopment.

    PE

  4. #4
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    What I normally do is expose a test strip along an unexposed area of film. When that reaches black (or just beyond) you are at the optimal time without clipping too much of the blacks. You should adjust the filtration to achieve good whites using the same method each time.

    RC black black is very black. (if that makes any sense) when compared to other black blacks like matte fiber paper. don't hope for black black black though.

  5. #5

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    Selenium toning for short time intervals will deepen the blacks slightly without changing the highlights, but you probably knew that already, and it wouldn't be the "reference print" you're thinking of.
    "Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould

  6. #6
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiberiustibz View Post
    ... You should adjust the filtration to achieve good whites using the same method each time.
    While this obviously works for you and thus is a valid method, I do the opposite. I expose for the whites and filter for the blacks.

    I would not get too trapped by the idea of a max black. How all the tones work with each other within the image is what ultimately matters -- and that may mean a less than max black.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  7. #7
    tim_walls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiberiustibz View Post
    What I normally do is expose a test strip along an unexposed area of film. When that reaches black (or just beyond) you are at the optimal time without clipping too much of the blacks. You should adjust the filtration to achieve good whites using the same method each time.

    RC black black is very black. (if that makes any sense) when compared to other black blacks like matte fiber paper. don't hope for black black black though.
    Or in other words, if you ask like how much more black could this be? The answer is none. None more black.
    Another day goes under; a little bourbon will take the strain...

  8. #8
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kvistgaard View Post
    My question is if the "flat black" is an inherent characteristic of this (RC) paper
    Yes, it is!

    The MG IV papers of Ilford, whether RC or FB, just don't have the deep blacks of the Warmtone variants in my experience. This has, at least partially, to do with a higher silver content in the Warmtone variants as I understood it. At the expense of a higher price though...

    But if you want to see really deep blacks, the Warmtone variants of Ilfords RC and FB papers are worth the try. I love them

    Quote Originally Posted by Kvistgaard View Post
    or if there is a way - through choice of developer, for instance - to increase the blackness of this paper?
    Selenium toning will help with the MG IV variants, and also do wonderful things with Warmtone papers.

    Marco
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    ***How all the tones work with each other within the image is what ultimately matters -- and that may mean a less than max black.***

    So true, people forget this...........a full range from black to white is beautiful to see, and I found difficult to achieve most times as it also depends on how the neg was developed, and of course the subject that was taken in the shot.

  10. #10
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    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
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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