TMZ 3200 (hype?)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David Lyga, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Are there any out there who truly check films for speed using a standardized 'model' of their own making and check for shadow detail along with highlight detail?

    My 'model' is my bookcase which has 'constant' nooks and crannies (which show a very dark, shadowed rear wall wood-grain detail like A Adams' Zone I or II) along with a small white plastic drawer chest on one shelf that allows for measurement of highlight detail (ie, A. Adams' zone IX). For consistent measurement, I use a ceiling light, only this. Thus, I really get to measure a film's ability to render that slight shadow detail while retaining the highlight detail. And all this has to be present with neither too much nor too little contrast. Development time can easily mask the true speed: I scrutinize the processed negative with a magnifying glass in front of a lit light bulb while assessing shadow and highlight detail, along with overall contrast. This, I feel is a true measure of film speed.

    I have NEVER purchased a roll of TMZ 3200 that showed a true 800!!! I have always seen this film to register an honest 400 like Tri-X but no more. On the other hand, Fuji 1600 and Ilford 3200 I do find to be able to actualize an honest 800. Stored in salt mines after manufacture, that TMZ must have a very short optimal life. Am I alone here? And, to make matters worse, I have NEVER found ANY color negative film to satisfy my '800' using the same determinant. I find 400 tops, no matter how fresh the film. Of course, we all know that with both of these shortcomings, a little extra development can mask reality and coddle us to come to more generous conclusions. But I am strictly going by my bookcase paradigm and can honestly say that my results bear honest fruit. Is there a marketing intention with such speeds? - David Lyga
     
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  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    It has always been one stop faster than tmax 400 for me. I do have lots of examples of fogged (aged) film showing a loss of speed as it gets older. Maybe you are testing old fogged rolls of TMZ.

    I remember back in 1988 using TMZ for a college reunion and being under the impression the rolls I got from B&H had been sitting around for a long time on the shelf and were pretty fogged. I suspect the situation may be worse now, but it has been a few years since trying it. Maybe I should get some more and see.
     
  3. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I ALWAYS have had this fogging problem, IC. I simply do not use it because it seems to be more trouble than it is worth. If B&H sells 'old' film then who sells 'new' film? Their turnover is probably the best in the business. - David Lyga
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes that is the problem, if you can't get good fresh film from B&W, where then?

    However, threads and posts by folks that say they use a lot of TMZ indicate that it almost always has a dense base and are still happy with results. I was looking at some prints from negatives shot in 2003 on TMZ the other day and thought I should use some more of it. If I get some I'll do a side-by-side test with some other 400 film for a comparison like this test. I looked back at my notes and the last time I checked TMZ I plotted it on graph paper as it was before I had a graphing computer (1986!).

    I'm not showing any of my tests because they are probably too old to be of any usefulness. I'd be more excited about the film in its manufacturer would give some indication of long term availability.

    This is how Kodak reported its performance compared to T-max 400 (first graph = t-max 400. Second graph = TMZ):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Source: Kodak website
    (Historical note in case someone finds this thread in ten years. Kodak filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy a few days ago.)
     
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  5. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Do a precise test comparing a fresh 400 film and develop both to a constant gamma. Best to develop a partial roll so that you can develop the other portion to make up for either more or less contrast in order to conform to the ideal contrast. - David Lyga
     
  6. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Who is the market for TMZ? In other words, who was that film made for, or the demographic for it.

    Seems when it came out it was tailor made for photojournalism. Frankly, I'm a bit surprised it's still around when Kodak got rid of TXP-320. But I digress...I've only ever used TMZ for those types of purposes, when precise measurements like yours just aren't done.
     
  7. Sundowner

    Sundowner Subscriber

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    Yes, I check film speeds in my cameras, but not with a model. I use the stop-down method with a black card, which shows me the lowest zones...then I wait for printing to find the highlights. I've found that film speeds are consistently different than their box rating, i.e. Tri-X rates at 160 in most of my cameras, although it's listed as 400. I like the idea of a model that might show more than one zone, though...I'll have to give that a shot. Interesting idea.
     
  8. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Definitely intended for photojournalism; my 1988 Kodak B&W Dataguide describes TMZ as "useful for sports, available-light, and general-surveillance." I was a photojournalism student in the 1990s and my school paper used a lot of TMZ, especially for things like indoor volleyball. In those lighting situations, I preferred Tri-X pushed to 1600 or else Fuji 1600 color print film. Kodak rated TMZ at a nominal speed of 1000 and claimed resolving power better than Tri-X when developed to an EI of 800.
     
  9. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    It seems a good stop (plus a little bit) faster for me. I ran some tests the other year with fresh Tri-X, T-Max 400, and T-Max 3200 developed in XTOL 1:1 and printed at the same grade in the darkroom (and scanned, but that's a different matter). Tri-X at 400 and TMY at 400 showed pretty much identical shadow detail for me, and TMZ shot at 800 and developed for 800 showed a tiny bit more shadow detail. To be fair, the TMZ came out with a bit more contrast than the other two with the development times, but nothing that harmed the prints or couldn't be accounted for with a tiny adjustment in the grade.

    I also found that for my simple test, TMZ resolved visibly more detail than Tri-X.

    I really like TMZ. For all those people who lament the loss of the 'old' Tri-X and how it's too fine grained now, think of TMZ as a one stop faster version of the old Tri-X. It can be gritty or surprisingly smooth, particularly when rated at 800. So many people seem to slam it because they've only ever tried it rated at 3200 in crappy lighting, and then proceed to underexpose it by another stop or two. In good light given proper exposure for the speed you are rating it at, it can be really nice:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/tgray1/5328858727/lightbox/

    The results of the test I mentioned above are here: http://125px.com/articles/photography/film/txtmytmz/

    They might not be the most scientific, but it was semi controlled.
     
  10. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    I must be the only person on the planet who has never had issues with film from a big vendor. I like TMZ. Very nice for indoor sports. Very nice for walking around evenings without a tripod. It could be that I like it because I use it as advertized. A film that pushes well to 3200. At 800 I prefer TMY and HP5+.

    Neal Wydra
     
  11. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I never used a densitomiter but TMZ made wonderful images in very dark situations that I could NEVER do with Tr-x or Tmax400.

    I could get it to "act" like 3200 NO problem... not sure Ansel Adams would agree but I made images I couldn't make any other way.
     
  12. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    How old are those films you observed elevated fog?
     
  13. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    What are the expiration dates of TMZ you tried, and which developer do you use?
     
  14. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

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    I DID find TMZ to degrade FAST outside of cold-storage... I thought the film looked "flat" or fogged if it sat in my bag for 6 months or more... of course hot car! (Even in the winter a car can get pretty warm!)
     
  15. NB23

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    I don't know much about "true Iso Values". I shoot the film at 3200, I develop and I print. And I really absolutely love the look this film gives.
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi david

    i have never had trouble with tmz, even very out of date tmz.
    about a year ago i used it ( at 3200 ) to document a roasting of sumatra
    and then brewing of the same coffee that i typically use as my film developer.

    the tmz that i used was stored on a shelf or drawer for 15 years or so
    here are the results:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/blogs/jnanian/343-cup-coffee-negatives.html

    back in the 80s and early 90s when i used it often i would shoot it at 3200
    and it was fresh, and i'd process it in a conventional developer ( tmax rs, xtol, sprint )
    and never had trouble either ...

    all in all, i have learned over the years to have low expectations
    so sometimes i am pleasantly surprised.

    sorry for your troubles !
    john
     
  17. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    The results you get with a film like TMZ are affected by many factors. You can always get an increased contrast index by extending developing time. If you extend it too long you will get acceptable highlights but still poor shadow detail. If the light is low enough that you must expose TMZ at a higher speed than 800, that's what you have to do. The developer you use makes an important difference. A developer like Microphen, which is based on phenidone, will give you a little more speed than a developer like D-76, which is based on metol. Exposure is, of course, also very important. Someone who shoots Tri-X and insists it should be rated at 200 rather than 400 may be doing some of these things: using a camera with a meter which is off by one stop, metering improperly off of a very light colored subject, using a thermometer which is slightly off, underdeveloping. If you are using undiluted Microdol-X or Perceptol then you would need to rate Tri-X at 200. In most other developers, 400 wold be fine. By far the nost common problem with "rating" a film is underexposure when metering off of a subject which is lighter than 18% gray. Using a spot meter will not solve the problem. You have to understand what you are metering off of. In light which is not too high or low in contrast if you meter off of a white subject, you need to add two stops of exposure. This doesn't mean you are rating TriX at 100. It means that if you were metering off of an 18% gray card, it would show two stops of extra exposure compared with the reading taken from the white subject.

    Roll film shooting is not like digital shooting. You can't simply dial up the ISO for various shots and not for others. That's why a faster film can be useful. Fuji's Neopan 1600 is already out of production. TMZ may or may not still be in production. I do not have a problem getting 800 from TMZ. It must be handled very carefully, especially during loading, to avoid fogging but it can be done.
     
  18. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I just want to clarify that I often shoot TMZ at 1600 or 3200. It's a wonderful film up there too.
     
  19. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    from what i have heard, there is "lore" "urban legend" that suggests
    it is really "tmz1600", but "tmz3200" sounded better and was a cooler name, so
    they used that as the name, and the "real" iso is 1600 ...


    i have a few more expired rolls that i look forward to shooting !

    - john
     
  20. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I'm not sure why you quote that as 'lore' or 'urban legend'. Kodak very clearly states in F-4016, pg 19:

     
  21. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    HC110 contains bromide which prevents fog to appear. I've never experienced fog on my tmax3200, not even when expired by a year or two.
    HC110 and Rodinal are wonderful developers and a must for expired films if Fog is an issue.
     
  22. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I test some large format film, but in this case it's missing the pictorial forest for putting the sensitometric trees under a microscope. I don't care if it comes in at 400 or 40 in shadow detail testing. What I care about is how the photos look, and I like the look of TMZ @3200 better than anything else I can shoot at 3200. (Delta 3200 is a close second.) They are both far better than Tri-X pushed to anything above 1250 or so. In fact they let me make photographs on film in light that I otherwise couldn't (without going to digital) and give a classic, grainy low light film look that I sometimes want. So I use them.

    If I wanted to make prettier graphs I'd just stick to the TMY-2 I use in 4x5.
     
  23. cabbiinc

    cabbiinc Member

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    I tried TMZ 3200 once. Had the local pro lab develop it. Did not like the results. I assume that it takes a bit more care than he put into it to develop and I never tried again.
     
  24. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I shot TMZ 3200 at an Exposure Index of 1600 and developed it as recommended for EI 3200. This gave adequate shadow detail and acceptable grain. TMY also looked better to me when given more exposure than Kodak recommended. Kodak and others have often stated that recommended exposure and development are merely starting points, and should be tailored to one's own preferences.