Problems with Kodak T-Max

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by reinis, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. reinis

    reinis Member

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    Hello!
    Today I face new problems.
    I use Rodinal for developing my films, and some kind of Agfa chemistry for the paper too.
    Till now I used Ilford PAN 100 and Tura P 100 films (cheap ones), but the rolls ended so I decided to try something "better".
    The problem I face now is the same I had with Ilford Delta 100, I tried once - thing is that the negatives (that would be ok for me), but also the pictures (and that's not good at all) are way too contrastly - You can't see human faces or any detail. Not even talking about any use of contrast filters (forget about them). I suppose that T-Max films are better (professional) than more cheaper Tura P or Ilford Pan 100, and it's good that the gradation is from dark black to transparent (for the negatives) rather than medium grey to transparent.
    But - how to lower the contrast? An'ything wrong with the chemistry? Or should I decrease the light of the enlarger/ increase the copying time?
    Thing is that with the greyish Ilford PAN 100 and Tura fils I had no problem.
    Hope You got the idea.
    Thanks!

    PS. I've never attended any lessons to photography, nether read clever books and have shot very few films in my life, but I like the analogue process, and that I can do it myself. So, maybe my problem/question might seem a bit strage to You, professional shooters.
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Reinis -

    When T-Max films were first introduced, one of the columnists in Popular Photography described it as a "film for consenting adults". What he meant by that was that it was not a very forgiving film, and had to be treated much more carefully than traditional films in order to yield the results that it was capable of.

    I have been using T-Max films for many years and get excellent results, but my first experiments were disasterous. I think I understand that your experience with T-Max is very limited, and that your early experiences are similar to the experiences that you had with Ilford's similar film, Delta. That's consistent with my experience.

    I eventually worked out a formula for T-Max that works very well for me. The essential elements are:
    1. Expose at half the nominal rating. I have done a lot of testing (to achieve a Fb+F of 0.1 for Zone 1), and with my equipment, T-Max 400 comes up at EI 200 every time.
    2. Process for less than the manufacturer's recommendations. I use HC-100, dilution B, at 20 deg C, for 4.5 minutes. (For a long time, I used T-Max developer, 1:7, for 7 minutes, at 20 deg C - also less than what Kodak recommends.) Again, this is based on actual testing to achieve desired density for a Zone VIII subject.
    3. Presoak the film in water before developing it.
    4. Agitation is a bit different. I agitate continuously for the first 30 seconds, followed by 5 seconds every thirty seconds for the rest of the development time. And my agitation is very vigorous.
    5. Fix in rapid fixer (ammonium thiosulfate) for 3 minutes.
    6. Rinse, hypoclear for one minute with continuous, vigorous agitation, and then wash for 15 minutes. Actually, I wash by using a succession of water baths rather than a continuous flow of water.

    You need to work with T-Max for a while before you can "tame" it's characteristics, but having done that, you will find that it is really a very nice film.
     
  3. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I agree and will add that after 8 or 9 years, I still can't work with it as well as what I know best: Tri-X.

    I believe that John Sexton uses it (TMX) and his work is pretty nice. :smile:
     
  4. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    Thanks for the thread guys...

    I just bought a box of 4x5 TMax100 and haven't really had much of an opportunity to work with it. Mono, your work may just have saved me some really big headaches and a whole bunch of ruined film.
    Thanks for sharing...

    Joe
     
  5. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Joey -

    I should add that the specific times, etc that I listed are for 35mm. I have found that MF takes longer - more like 6 minutes.

    And I don't use T-Max in 4x5. When I moved to LF, I quickly settled on Arista 400/HP-5 and have used that as my standard for years.

    But the key message is to make a choice of materials, and then work with it long enough to develop confidence that it will work consistenly for you. Constantly experimenting with changes results in chaos.
     
  6. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Reinis,

    If your negatives are too contrasty it is most likely that they were overdeveloped. Trying a new film is often a learning experience. I use TMX exposed at 100 or just a bit below and I develop in Xtol following the recommended times. Normally I end up printing with a 2-1/2 or 3 filter.

    Neal Wydra
     
  7. reinis

    reinis Member

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    Thanks
    Well, I'll keep that in mind.
    That means I need new developer.
    HC-100, okay, D-76 - both are good (I guess), but what about the T-max developer? Why people don't use it that much?
     
  8. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Many do use Tmax/Tmax Rs dev. Other popular are D76/ID11, Xtol.

    Rodinal by many accounts is poor for this film. Sexton does not rate it in HC110 either saying both grain and speed are poor compared tto others.
     
  9. reinis

    reinis Member

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    Can I find any recipes for the D 76 or Xtol on the net?
    Or are they secret?
    Haven't spent too much time on searching, but if noone tells me, I'll try to search on my own
    I'm asking, becaus getting any chemistry here, in Latvia isn't that simple.
    There are simply NO photoshops here. Just places You can go and order, and then wait or get to know that what You need is not avaliable NOW etc..
    So, if I knew any recipes, I could get the ingredients and try to get little quantity for some films.
     
  10. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have obtained good results with Ilford Pan F and Pan F Plus developed in Rodinal (1:100 dilution for 12 minutes at 21 C). Agitation: 5 seconds of gentle agitation per minute.

    I have obtained good results with Ilford Delta 100 using Rodinal 1:100 and the same developing procedure described above.

    I do not care for the "look" of Kodak Tmax 100. However, I have obtained good results developing it in Xtol (following Kodak's development recommendations).

    I like Kodak Tmax 400 (TMY). I develop it in Pyrocat-HD using the 1+1+100 dilution. I prefer to develop it using semi-stand agitation: 10 seconds of gentle agitation, stand unagitated for 8 minutes, then 10 seconds of gentle agitation, stand unagitated for 8 minutes, then water rinse and fix (all at 21 degrees C).
     
  11. reinis

    reinis Member

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    Seems that I found something like D-76
     
  12. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Steve Anchells Darkroom Cookbook has more than enough information for you if you can find a way to order a copy. Theres also been numerous threads in the forums for different variations of developers as well as a whole section in the Apug headers for Chemistry Recipes. The simplest recipe by far is D-23, a compensating type deveoper consisiting of 100g sodium sulfite and 7.5g metol in a liter of water. Let us know how you fare.
     
  13. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    You can find recipes for D-76 and several D-76 variants with a Google search.

    Xtol is a Kodak proprietary (secret) formulation whose developing agents are ascorbic acid (or an ascorbate) and a phenidone derivative.

    There are a lot of threads on Apug that discuss ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) developers.

    Perform an Apug search on PC-Tea (Pat Gainer's recipe). Mytol is another one, also Vitamin C and/or ascorbic acid.
     
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  15. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Reinis,

    You don't necessarily have to find a new developer. Reductions in time, temperature or agitation will reduce the resulting contrast. Increased dilution will reduce contrast.

    Rodinal is a popular developer on this forum and I'm sure that if you search the messages you will find some good advice on times and temperatures. Personally, I find that a little testing can be great fun. :>)

    Good luck,

    Neal Wydra
     
  16. reinis

    reinis Member

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    Yes, I found some recipes for D-76 anf Xtol substitutes.
    Guess I'll try to reduce the contrast and keep on using my Rodinal - I've plenty enough of it.

    I think I'll try to search the web agitation methods for Rodinal/T-max.
     
  17. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Tmax in Rodinal is do-able - I've done it, with OK results... but nothing really great. then again, no problems like the one Reinis describes - usually printed on multigrade through a 3, 3.5 filter... I think I may try Tmax again in about 20 years - right now I think I am just not good enough for it, and the results I have seen from others, even though nigh perfect, technically, I don't really find appealing.
    My humble opinion, from one beginner to another - try learning on a more forgiving film, traditional grain. I have found that APX100, 400 are very easy to work with, as well as Ilford FP4+, HP5.
    Even Delta films from ilford, although similar in technology... I find come out more life like and are easier to work with (but it might be just my bias).

    But, if you ever want to do a still "life" of some surgical equipment, Tmax is your choice - it will convey it accurately, in minute detail, with all the clinical coldness of the subject at hand... :wink: (joke!!! don't lynch me!)

    Besides, what good is a film that won't work well in Rodinal!!!??? (again, just joking)
     
  18. John Cook

    John Cook Member

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    T-MAX films have a nasty tendency for the whites to block up. White dress shirts on portrait sitters have no detail, but look like lighted lampshades. If you reduce development to tone down the whites, the middle grays become too dark and the photograph takes on a somber grim look.

    Some say that certain developers help to remedy this. Some say that T-MAX scans well for digital printing. Others actually like this funny look and judge it to be arty.

    My advice is to cut your losses and go with any traditional emulsion film, such as Tri-X, Plus-X, HP-5 Plus, Efke, etc.
     
  19. reinis

    reinis Member

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    It was great if I could get what I want, but You see - not every film is avaliable here in my country.

    Anyone hear about Jessops films? It's avaliable (The 30,5 meter roll)
     
  20. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    which jessops film? I have used the 200 speed rollfilm and it was very nice.

    They do 100 and 400 for 35mm
     
  21. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Pyro devs do help. I used pyrocat and exactol. No probs with blown highilghts unless I wnet mad with dev time and I mean mad. Still looked dull as ditchwater tho. No soul....Acros is a different matter.....
     
  22. reinis

    reinis Member

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    I'm not sure, just noticed it was there.
    Will Jessops be fine? I've never heard anything about Jessops at all.
    It's twice as expensive ar Tura (which I've been using since now)
     
  23. Dr.Kollig

    Dr.Kollig Member

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    Back in 2003 I bought Jessops own brand b/w film up in Scotland and it felt like Agfa/Tura. They films were labelled made in EC and at that time this outruled Foma, Forte, Efke, leaving Agfa and Ilford.
    (The last years Tura used to cut Agfa filmmaterial to size, so one could find the same Emulsion number on an Agfa and a Tura box, e.g. 628 for APX 100.)

    If Jessops is twice the price stick with Tura, as long as you can get it.

    Regards,

    Wolfram
     
  24. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    You are simply over developing. Expose at EI 80, develope in D76 UNdiluted one shot and throw away. Store the fresh mix in one time use bottles filled to the top. Never let air get to D76. You will get inconsistent results.

    6.5 min at 68 and agitate 5 inversions in 5 sec every 30 sec. Drop the loaded reel in the developer in the dark unless you use a Patterson tank designed for daylight filling.

    HC110, is handier, but the results will not be as good.

    Shoots some tests on six exposures at the front of a roll. Then pull off the 12 inches in the dark and develope just that much until you get it just right.

    I find T Max no fussier than any other reguarding time/temp than say tri x if you want perfect repeatable results.
     
  25. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    cat do any hard to try the jessops so if Tura is not available at any point you have an alternative, assuming you like it.
     
  26. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll tack on to the end of this thread with a related question:

    I have been avoiding T-max for years because my very limited experience with it didn't give me the results I like (I like FP4+ in Ilfosol-S, APX100 in pyrocat-HD, and EFKE in Neofin Blau). But now I've got a chance to buy some relatively cheap outdated 13x18cm T-max 100 glass plates, and the oppurtunity is just too rare to pass up.

    So I need help: How do I get the contrast I like without blowing out the highlights? Mind that these plates will most likely be printed on alternative processes - but maybe not all on POP...