D-Max?

Started Aug 24, 2007 | Discussions
Bob Ring Regular Member • Posts: 140
D-Max?

I've got an Epson 7800 printer and have been using their Enhanced Matte paper with great results. I'm now printing on their Luster 250 paper and it seems OK to me.....not great. I thought I had read somewhere that the Luster paper had a higher DMax rating (deeper blacks, right?) than the Enhanced Matte paper but it doesn't seem that way to me! Am I missing something here? Thanks.

technoid Senior Member • Posts: 2,276
Re: D-Max?

Bob Ring wrote:

I've got an Epson 7800 printer and have been using their Enhanced
Matte paper with great results. I'm now printing on their Luster 250
paper and it seems OK to me.....not great. I thought I had read
somewhere that the Luster paper had a higher DMax rating (deeper
blacks, right?) than the Enhanced Matte paper but it doesn't seem
that way to me! Am I missing something here? Thanks.

Did you switch inks to the photo-black? I print with both enhanced matte and lustre and luster offers one of the best DMax's available. The darkest blacks reflect about 2.5% for enhanced matte and only about 0.5% for luster.
marty

OP Bob Ring Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: D-Max?

Yes, I switched to Photo Black. Again, perhaps it's me or the photos I'm printing but the Enhanced Matte paper seemed better relative to rich blacks. How does one measure D-Max? Thanks.

Robert Snow Senior Member • Posts: 1,091
Re: D-Max?

On various Epson printers I have used, the d-max for enhanced matte usually runs in the neighborhood of 1.75 (which is excellent for a matte surface). For the Luster, Gloss, and Semi-glossy, you should see 2.25 to 2.35, which is much "blacker".

bob snow

technoid Senior Member • Posts: 2,276
Re: D-Max?

Bob Ring wrote:

Yes, I switched to Photo Black. Again, perhaps it's me or the photos
I'm printing but the Enhanced Matte paper seemed better relative to
rich blacks.

If you have bright sources of light Lustre will reflect it as glare and scatter it in about a 10 degree cone. Depending on where the light is positioned it can easily exceed that of matte prints. However. if you illuminate the print at 45 degrees the lustre print should be much darker.

How does one measure D-Max? Thanks.

Normally with a spectro such as the eye-one pro.

DMax is deterimined by shining a light at 45 degrees to the print surface and measuring the intensity of the light reflected. DMax is the -Log base 10 of fraction of reflected light. One can crudely measure it with a spot light meter by comparing a white card (which reflects about 90%) with a "black" print and doing the math.
marty

NAT II Forum Member • Posts: 80
Re: D-Max?

Funny you mention that. I recently printed out two test images for a customer, one on Luster and the other on Matte paper (not Epson). The photographer customer preferred the black of the matte paper because it looked "richer". Clearly the dmax measured much stronger with the Luster paper but when looking at the images side by side, the Matte print just looked richer. Unless there is a major error like using the wrong ink or paper setting, I believe a DMAX measurement is irrelevant on the way a print should be judged.

OP Bob Ring Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: D-Max?

A Great comment! I'm an engineer so the 'numbers' often times mean a lot to me but as you point out it's what one 'sees' or perceives as best to them. Thanks.

Dominic.Chan Veteran Member • Posts: 6,168
Re: D-Max?

Bob Ring wrote:

A Great comment! I'm an engineer so the 'numbers' often times mean a
lot to me but as you point out it's what one 'sees' or perceives as
best to them.

That is true. However, in my own testing, the lustre wins hands down, both visually and according to measurements.

Dominic.Chan Veteran Member • Posts: 6,168
Re: D-Max?

Dominic.Chan wrote:

That is true. However, in my own testing, the lustre wins hands
down, both visually and according to measurements.

Should clarify that I was referring only to the deepness of the black, not image quality in general.

Doug Walker Veteran Member • Posts: 3,119
Re: D-Max?

Dominic.Chan wrote:

That is true. However, in my own testing, the lustre wins hands
down, both visually and according to measurements.

In using Epson Glossy Premium Photo paper, Epson Semi-Gloss, Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster, and Epson Ultra Premium Matte, I've found that the Luster offers the best image quality with the Epson 1400. The same is true of the Epson 1280. Unfortunately, since I'm not a pro, I don't have experience with the higher end Epson printers that use pigment inks. The Epson Claria inks, with their unprecedented longevity ratings, produce the outstanding images on Epson Premium Luster.

-
Doug Walker

Eric Chan Senior Member • Posts: 2,800
Re: D-Max?

As Marty mentioned, the issue with glossy/luster/semigloss prints is that they require good lighting (in terms of angles) to get the rich depth and color. Otherwise all you get is glare, scattered light ... leading to less depth.

When prints are held in the hand, it is often advantageous for the print to be matte. Because then, no matter how the print is tilted, or where the light source is, the image will appear clear.
--
Eric Chan
http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/photos/
http://people.csail.mit.edu/ericchan/dp/Epson3800/index.html

Steve Bingham
Steve Bingham Forum Pro • Posts: 27,588
Re: D-Max?

Epson Luster with the 3800 has a dMax of around 2.3. Matt paper should be nearer to 1.8. it depends a lot on the paper. Perhaps you forgot to switch inks?

In my darkroom days anything approaching 1.8 was WONDERFUL! And yes, Velvet surface has a rich look. Very deceptive!
--
Steve Bingham
http://www.dustylens.com

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David Grabowski Veteran Member • Posts: 7,291
Re: D-Max?

Bob Ring wrote:

I've got an Epson 7800 printer and have been using their Enhanced
Matte paper with great results. I'm now printing on their Luster 250
paper and it seems OK to me.....not great. I thought I had read
somewhere that the Luster paper had a higher DMax rating (deeper
blacks, right?) than the Enhanced Matte paper but it doesn't seem
that way to me! Am I missing something here? Thanks.

I use a lot of Luster 250, it's my main paper for weddings and the like, for package prints and album prints. I have not found any matte that exceeds the blacks in say a black tux or black limo ( when printed on the 4800) of the Luster 250. I've read claims of more brilliance though from the Luster 260 but have not tried it.

I am now about to try Breathing Colors Elegance Platinum Velvet 310, which is supposed to be superior to Epsons Sumerset Velvet for clarity and Dmax ( we all know that's a brave claim!!) and work well with Photo Black ink . We shall see.

I'm using their Gamour II coating for canvas as well ( plus they say you can coat the Velvet with this stuff too), and it works really well from what I can see thus far. I have their Chromata White Canvas to try as well but have used the Glamour II only with Premier Water Resistant Canvas thus far ( this stuff makes the whole photo clearer and colors as well as whites pop).

I'd personally only use Enhanced Matte for proofing if at all. It's nice paper, it's inexpensive and prints well with matte ink but has optical brighteners in it that will cause the photo to yellow over time. Good for short term display , proofing and that's about it as far as I'm concerned. I don't consider it a serious paper for long term products that I might sell to a customer ( like a wall mount portrait for example).

David

Eric Chan Senior Member • Posts: 2,800
Re: D-Max?

Matt paper
should be nearer to 1.8. it depends a lot on the paper.

I would love to have d-max of 1.8 on matte papers with the 3800. For B&W, it is approachable with Velvet Fine Art (about 1.75 to 1.77). For RGB color, unfortunately d-max is limited to about 1.65 with only one or two exceptions.

Eric Chan Senior Member • Posts: 2,800
Re: D-Max?

An additional note is that it is usually easier to achieve visible tonal separation in shadows with glossy/luster/semi-gloss papers. This can be important for images that contain significant shadow detail. Obviously not applicable to all images.

OP Bob Ring Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: D-Max?

Thanks for the great comments everyone. It sounds like Luster is the way to go for me! I printed a couple of more prints last night and find you really do need 'good' light to see them properly. Thanks again.

OP Bob Ring Regular Member • Posts: 140
Re: D-Max? Prem. Semimatte?

OK, one more question: Thoughts, or experience with, Epson Premium Semi-Matte paper for mounting/matting hanging art work? Thanks again.

Robert Snow Senior Member • Posts: 1,091
Re: D-Max? Prem. Semimatte?

I really like the Epson Premium semi-matte paper, but alas, it is being discontinued...or so I have read several times. I notice that the Epson store is out of the sheets and most of the rolls now.

bob snow

Dominic.Chan Veteran Member • Posts: 6,168
Re: D-Max? Prem. Semimatte?

Robert Snow wrote:

I really like the Epson Premium semi-matte paper, but alas, it is
being discontinued...

I too like the Premium Semigloss and think it looks better than the Lustre. Didn't realize it's being discontinued. May have to stock up on it while it's still available.

The Red River Polar Satin is very similar.

i3c Regular Member • Posts: 261
Re: D-Max?

Eric Chan wrote:

Matt paper
should be nearer to 1.8. it depends a lot on the paper.

I would love to have d-max of 1.8 on matte papers with the 3800.
For B&W, it is approachable with Velvet Fine Art (about 1.75 to
1.77). For RGB color, unfortunately d-max is limited to about 1.65
with only one or two exceptions.

my favorite look so far is dye ink (epson 1270, in my case) on vfa.
now that's a black you can loose yourself in.
i was most disappointed when i moved to pigment

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