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  1. #51

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    A recent article by Howard Bond in the Nov/Dec Photo Techniques had me thinking about the old max black method. Don't forget to determine your "max" black in the same light you normally use to view prints. It really is just a perception of the max black a paper can produce. Try looking through the paper using transmitted light and you will see the blacks continue to increase even though you can't see this with reflected light and normal lighting. The point is to find a black that is just black enough. This puts the shadow detail on more of the paper curve's straight line. Too much exposure will bury your detail in the shoulder leading to the paper's max black. I find that print exposure time can be really important for the shadows as well as the highlights. Anyhow check out the Bond article if you have a chance.
    Chuck Pere

  2. #52
    titrisol's Avatar
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    I think a new printing is coming out in the UK these days.
    I got mine @the auction site as well and I think is a fantastic investment!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Miller
    I going to suggest two things without any great explaination, but trust me!
    1) Invest in a copy of Tim Rudman's book "The Photographer's Master Printing Course". May be out of print, but copies come up often on Ebay.
    2) Take time to get your head around "f stop printing".
    3) Use RC paper until you know what you are doing.
    Yes, I know that's three, got carried away.
    Mama took my APX away.....

  3. #53
    titrisol's Avatar
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    About a year ago I got a Ilford EM10 analyzer.
    I calibrated it to max balck, medium gray and skin tones by checking it against the kodak wedges test prints.
    It worked fine until I opened a different box of paper......
    Then I realize I had to do that for each and every box of paper, etc.

    So the quest goes on.
    Mama took my APX away.....

  4. #54

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    If all things were equal (they rarely, if ever, are) then the maximum black method of printing would seem to be effective. The discrepencies that arise to prevent this are several. The first is that one would need to be very consistant with their metering practice. By this I mean that each scene would need to be metered with a spot meter and the zones accurately placed insofar as film exposure. Please remember moving the exposure shadow value one zone will alter the low value density by .30 This amounts to a doubling or halving of the maximum black exposure time.

    Coupled with the consideration above is the difference that alternate development times (to adjust for differing contrast in the scene) impart into the mix. While it is true that altering development times affects high density regions to the greatest extent there is also a measureable impact on the low value densities even when the metering is accurate and repeated.

    Not only does altering development affect low value densities it also affects film speeds. Therefore when one thinks they have the EI nailed down it is in fact a moving target dependent on development time. So while the Zone system as proposed by Ansel Adams among others is a better then no system, it still does not address all of the variables that one encounters in the process of producing a fine print. It certainly does not accurately address the variation in film speeds that varying development times imparts.

    All of these affect the so called "maximum black" method of printing. But that still does not even begin to address the characteristics of the paper, paper grade, and emulsion. So what then is the answer to this dilemna? I believe that the most comprehensive method yet devised is the BTZS because it seems to address this in the comprehensive manner.

    I am sorry to rain on anyones parade on this but maximum black printing, while it may work for some in some situations, seems to be rather incomplete and highly inaccurate.

  5. #55
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    I don't have anything like the experience of many here, but I have always taken all these concepts (min time for max black, expose for highlights & grade for shadows etc) as methods to get me in the ball park.

    It really comes down to what vision you have for the print - if the only way to get what you want is to have no discernable black at all, then so be it. Hands up who has never decided that the shot they took, envisioning a wide range of tones in the print, suddenly looks great printed as high-key at grade 00, diffused for 30% of the time through a pair of the girlfriend's/wife's/brother-you-don't-like-to-talk-about's* pair of black stockings?

    (or is that just me?....).

    What I do find max-black invaluable for is for making contacts - tells me exactly how much I messed up with the exposure/develop time combination yet again... (thanks to the late and sadly missed Barry Thornton for that one).


    Cheers, Bob.


    * Delete as appropriate...

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