Quote Originally Posted by AndreasT View Post
What does this mean?

..... that print quality requires the mid-tone reproduction gradient to exceed the mid-tone contrast of the original scene.
If you graph original "scene density" vs print density, it seems like you would want them to be the same (ie., a 45 degree line). Such that a photo of a gray scale should be printed so as to be identical to the original. This works great for reproduction of art work.

But...if you do the same for a real-life scene, the print has a dull, blah sort of look to it. If you make another print, with slightly more mid-tone contrast, it looks lively and "just right." A graph of this reproduction will be steeper in the middle, demonstrating what Steven has said. (I should mention that I've only done this with studio portrait work; I presume it won't matter when the scene is foreign to the viewer.)

It seems sort of odd that this would be true, yet it seems to be so. I don't fully understand why - it is often explained as due to viewing flare and/or the print not being as bright as the original scene. I'm not fully satisfied with the reasons, but I'm convinced of the results.