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What is D Max?

Brian Shanley , Mar 03, 2008; 04:58 a.m.

I've been coming across the term D Max alot lately. Is this a purely digital term or does it have any relevance to a darkroom printer like myself?


Jim Appleyard , Mar 03, 2008; 07:39 a.m.

D-Max is the blackest a piece of photo paper can get; maximum black. Take a small piece of photo paper, expose it to room lights for a few seconds and develop it your print developer for the correct time. That is your d-Max for that kind of paper.

No, it's not digital.

Ellis Vener , Mar 03, 2008; 09:50 a.m.

The term dMax predates the digital era significantly. it refers to the densest value a film is capable of d = density and Max = maximum. For a negative film that will be the most exposed and developed area in the film . It results for m the combination of exposure and development. For a transparency or slide film, the dMAx would be an area of completely unexposed film.

dMin is the reserve - -the most transparent area of the film. it is anotherway of saying "base + fog".

Both values have very significant meaning to careful film based photographers

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