Grainy Tmax 400!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by John Kasaian, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Hello!

    I took my Olymus Stylus to a wedding to get some candid shots. My normal film is 100 Tmax and has always works well for me. I loaded up with 400 Tmax because the wedding was indoors at night and that on-board flash is on the enemic side. The local lab souped the film in Tmax developer and I was surprised how grainy they look---almost like the Tri-X circa 1970's "gritty" journalism genre, only worse. Since I use Tmax in 8x10 and I'm quite happy with it in situations that call for great reciprocity characteristics, I really have't played with it much in 35mm. What I'd like to know is...well...like is it suppossed to be so grainy? Or do I need to find another lab to develop my B&W 35mms?
    TIA
     
  2. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    I have never been happy with "lab" development of B&W film - it is too easy and too cheap to do your own - no darkroom needed - just a closet and a few chemicals and a tank - try some split d-23 - it is really hard to screw that up. You can always get a "lab" to do your prints later.
     
  3. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

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    Probably because you're shooting Tmax at ISO 400. When I use my Stylus Epic II, I usually modify the DX markings to reflect ISO 250 and get great results.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    john

    i would find a different lab :smile:

    i've not used tmax developer in ages ( since 1991<?>) but all the rolls i have shot with tmax 400 and run through tmax-rs - none ever came out grainy ....

    good luck !

    john
     
  5. bmac

    bmac Member

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    My guess would be underexposed negs, poorly developed by the lab.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    TMY just has lumpy looking grain in small format, in my opinion. People who really like TMY often seem to be shooting it in large format.
     
  7. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Well, I think that TMY has the lowest graininess and highest true speed of all the 400 speed films, including Delta 400, but that's just my opinion based on the techniques I use - clearly it isn't everyone's experience with TMY. Like Brian says: maybe the lab messed it up / is there any possibility that it was overexposed?

    Why not consider using a C-41 B&W film if you are going to get it lab processed. Maybe Ilford XP-2 if it's going to be printed as if it is silver-image B&W film, Kodak BW400CN if it is going to printed on RA-4 paper, colour or B&W. Of course, if you are going to use a lab that has RA-4 B&W paper, Portra 800 pushed two and rated at 2000 would be a good choice and you might be able to forget the flash. Try some. Low graininess and lots of latitude.

    Best,
    Helen
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2004
  8. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, John,

    I agree with those who suggest a processing problem. I've done 35mm T-Max 400 in both HC-110B and T-Max developers and found no graininess problem in moderately- sized (up to 8 x 10) prints. Obviously, the 35mm T-400 can't match the same stuff in larger sizes, but results should be far superior to those with Tri-X.

    Konical
     
  9. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    I bulk load the stuff in 35mm, shoot it at 1600 and drown it in Xtol.
     
  10. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    Ahhh, my lowly snaps look nothing---absolutely nothing like the thumbnails but more like something from 1937 L.A.Times. It must be the lab. Thyanks!
     
  11. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    JD just excellent! What was the development time in XTOL?

    I need to try that out!
     
  12. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    1600 ISO - 68 deg. 9 minutes 5 rapid inverts every 30 seconds
     
  13. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    At 1600 ISO, TMY grain is somewhat controllable via exposure. Properly exposed it is very fine grained processed in Xtol. If you WANT some grain for artsy purposes just under-expose that shot.

    The two examples below are frames #23 & #24 from the same roll of bulk load TMY @ 1600 processed in Xtol as described in my previous post. #23 is under by a couple of stops. It is not manipulated post-process except crop, levels & USM (no burn/dodge or vignetting).