T-Grains: More than Marketing Hype?

written by: Dick Dickerson & Silvia Zawadzki

We grew up in a jaded era. Back in the Sixties, everything from toothpaste to gasoline had a magic, secret ingredient, identified only by meaningless initials. Everyone understood claims of such components were not necessarily a good reason to buy a product. When Kodak introduced its “T-Grain technology” in the T-Max line of films, we shuddered a bit at the sense of déjà vu it prompted. And we in fact continue to this day to meet people (largely our own age) who ask, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, if the concept isn’t just so much marketing hoopla. The basic claim with this line of Read more »


Perfecting Digital-Tone Reproduction

A Shortcut to Better Digital Prints
written by: Dick Dickerson & Silvia Zawadzki

In the July/August 2009 issue of PT, we discussed the Ideal Tone- Reproduction Curve, a product of research conducted more than a half century ago that identif ies, for a scene element of any luminance value, the shade of gray (ref lection density) at which it is “best” reproduced in a black-and-white print. We also raised the question of how readily this ideal tone-curve is achieved in a purely digital workf low—the subject of the present article. With the magic of Photoshop, any kind of tone reproduction can, of course, be realized with exacting precision. But what is inherent to digital Read more »

Can a Photograph Change History?

written by: Dick Dickerson & Silvia Zawadzki

Mt. Everest, June 8, 1924, 12:50 pm: George Mallory (“because it is there”) and Andrew Irvine are spotted 800 vertical feet below the peak and “going strong for the top.” Neither climber was ever seen again. Did they perish as they continued their ascent or after having reached the summit, 29 years before the successful climb of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay? An answer—a photograph from the top— may exist in one of the Kodak Vest Pocket Model B cameras the two carried, a “miniature” (for the day) camera that had become very popular with soldiers during World War Read more »


The Perfect Shade of Gray

What Constitutes a
written by: Dick Dickerson & Silvia Zawadzki

Your country’s flag on a sunny day: Easy enough to say how it should reproduce in a color photograph. But in black-and-white? There is no hard-and-fast rule about the shades of gray most appropriate to a colored image. Over a period of many years beginning in the early forties, that issue was the subject of some fascinating research by men such as L.A. Jones, C.N. Nelson, H.R. Condit and others. The topic was termed “tone reproduction” and was concerned with how scene elements of varying luminance were best reproduced as shades of gray in a black-and-white photograph. These gentlemen selected 170 outdoor Read more »