TRI X vs TMAX

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by John cox, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. John cox

    John cox Member

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    I'm getting consistent results with TRI X in HC-110. It's film ordering time however and I'm considering switching to TMAX 400. I should point out that this is just for 120 rolls, I would still shoot Arista premium for a while yet.
    My main concerns are tonal range, and variance. If I'm off by a minute with TRI X there's really no issue. Will this be a problem with TMAX? I've heard you can shoot TMAX at 800 and develop as normal.
    how does this work if I push to 1600. Do I push 1 stop? 2? I have about 80 rolls worth of HC-110 at the moment so is TMAX conducive to HC-110?

    Thanks in advance,
    John
     
  2. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I didn't know the still made Tri-X. Give me the Tri-X any day.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Have a close look at the Kodak specs for Tmax 400. The marketing men have written the opening stuff about shooting at 800 and developing as normal then the PE's take over and introduce some sanity by giving a time for 800 which is 1.5 mins more.

    I think that Kodak are really saying that if you want to develop both 400 and 800 in the same tank then use the 400 time and it works OK. I have tried this. However if you want to develop the 800 by itself then use the 800 time. The times are for 400 and 800 respectively 9.25 mins and 10.75 mins

    I have done both at the times for 400 speed at 9.25( the stated Kodak time) and the box speed 400 looks better than 800 at the 400 time.
    I should add this is with Xtol at 1+1. I cannot speak for other developers

    pentaxuser
     
  4. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Both great films. Tri-X certainly more "forgiving" but Tmax 400 is not as difficult as many portrayed it, mostly when it first came out is when it gained this inflated reputation. Can be very different in it's look and frankly like all films that depends highly on how you expose it, what look you're after, and then how you develop and print it. Really very subjective. Google it and search here and you'll see the subject has been beaten to death. Best to buy 5-10 rolls and have fun figuring out what you can do it with and in the end decide if it does what you like. Personally I shoot both.
     
  5. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    I like Tmax 400 in D-76 1+1, Tmax Developer 1+7, and PMK. Haven't tried it in HC-110. I think it pushes to 1600 in Tmax 1+4 very well, but HC-110 is not a developer I'd use for pushing any film. Tmax Developer is very good for pushing any film. I use it for Delta 3200 too.

    Here's a 35mm Tmax 400 (TMY-2) shot at 1600, developed in Tmax Developer for Kodak's recommended EI-1600 push time.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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  7. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Tmax I think has a more flexible tonal range; it can be like any thing you want depending on the developer choices; and the brightness range it handles is unmatched.

    You really don't want to be 1 minute inconsistent developing though. There's no need for that with any film, and Tmax reacts more to such changes.

    So shooting, it's not too fussy; developing it's more fussy, which isn't a problem if you can be consistent in time/temp/agitation.

    I've used it with PMK, Pyrocat HD, hc110, D76, xtol, Lots of ways to develop it successfully for different results.
     
  8. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Are you unhappy with Tri-X?

    How?
     
  9. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    I'm a big fan of TMY-2 400. I prefer the spectral response and forgiveness of Tri-X , but in technical terms Tmax 400 is hard to beat.

    Tmy-2 400 pushes really well to 1250 / 1600. It's finer grained and I think it retains better shadow detail than Tri-x, because it's curve is more linear. Tri-X has a dip in the toe.
     
  10. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

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    TMAX films have a quick change in gamma and effective film speed with small changes in developing time and temperature. This makes the very effective for Zone System N-2, N-1, N+1, N+2, etc. But it does demand precision in the darkroom.

    TMAX has a much more linear tonal scale than Tri-X. Tri-X has more highlight and shadow compression.

    TMAX can develop a very high Dmax, which is useful if you need it (Alt Process printing), and a pain if you don't want it. Again, precision and repeatability will reward you. Sloppy work will send you back to Tri-X.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'll repeat a post that I made earlier today in regards to Tmax 100 - the same analysis applies for Tmax 400 2:

    [​IMG] Originally Posted by Helinophoto [​IMG]
    Well, according to Kodak, TMax 100 can be shot at 100 or 200 without needing to change the development time (weird)."


    Actually, not weird at all.

    "Pushing" doesn't significantly change the film's sensitivity, it just increases contrast.

    So while a a push development may improve the contrast in the near shadows (where underexposure will cause low contrast), it will also increase contrast in the highlights, which may very well be detrimental to the image.

    So Kodak is saying that the improvement you will gain in the shadows from a one stop push isn't worth the loss of quality in the highlights you will experience.


    I have a feeling as well that pentaxuser may have been looking at Kodak's publication F-4016 when he made his post. That no longer applies to the current version of the film, although it still applies to the current TMax 100.

    The current publication, which applies to the current 400 TMY-2, is F-4043, which came out in 2007. It does not list times for EI 800.

    If you look at the Kodak datasheet for XTol (J-109) you will note that it does provide a time for EI800, but that it is the same time as EI400 (for certain temperatures). What I find fascinating is it also lists the Contrast Indexes (CI) for various EI and that, despite the fact that the development times are the same, the CI is higher for EI 800 - no doubt due to the loss of shadow detail.
     
  12. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I far prefer Tri-X. I rate it at 200 and develop in Rodinal. I tried Tmax 400 the other day at box speed and didn't much care for it. I may do some more for work with it to get the EI that works best. But I think I will just stick with Tr-X
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Well.... having regularly using both, I really suggest you'd actually purchase a few rolls of TMAX 400 and try it yourself. You say your main concerns are tonal range and consistency. Both films have more than sufficient tonal range. As far as consistency is concerned, TMAX is bit more critical but is quite manageable once you get a hang of it. I'd suggest being accurate to, say 15 seconds or best you can though. A minute is way too much variance for any film for consistency.

    The big difference is how they look. To me, TMAX has more of a clinical look with very little grain and very smooth rendition. Tri-X has more of a traditional look and have some bite. If you are expecting similar results, you may be very disappointed. That's why I use both - they look different.

    Having said that, I exposed Tmax400 and Tri-X at EI 1600 at a shoot and processed it with XTOL per Kodak's documentation. Results were remarkably similar.
     
  14. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I really wish people would first ask themsleves what characteristics they are looking for. OP says he's getting consistent results with Tri-X/HC-110. So, what is making him want to try TMY? Is there something specific he's looking for in comparison to the results he's already getting? Finer grain? Different curve shape? "Pushability" (ie underexposure tolerance)? This would really help.
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi john


    i agree with tkamiya ..
    film is cheap, get a few rolls and see how you
    like it, see how your processing methods and developer &c like it
    see how your paper prints like it ...
    over and under expose / bracket
    then over + under develop ...

    nothing is a direct replacement for anything ...

    im not too plugged into any one film, i just pick up and shoot
    what happens to be handy ... and it all seems to work OK ...

    have fun !
    john
     
  16. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Natural enough to want to try something new. Even if you're happy with what you're getting, you won't know if you might like something different better.

    I shoot Tri-X in 120 (and occasionally in 35mm, mostly shot at EI 1250 and developed in Diafine for 35mm) and TMY-2 in 4x5. When I'm working with the view camera and spot meter and able to take my time, I like TMY-2. But with rolls having mixed contrast ranges and sometimes hurried exposures, I like Tri-X in smaller formats. That said, if I wanted the best quality results in terms of grain and sharpness from 35mm - really from 120 too but especially 35mm - I'd shoot TMY-2. It isn't THAT difficult by any means.

    I think you'll notice surprisingly little difference in medium or large format if you're careful with development. TMY-2 is definitely more responsive to development changes. As someone else said a minute is way off for any film/developer but while you can get by with it using Tri-X you won't like it if you're that sloppy with TMY-2. In 35mm the grain difference really starts to show up more. Of course this depends too on what size you print.
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Nonsense.

    Every time I have thought that and shot the same scene with the same film in different formats I get proven wrong.

    I'm not suggesting one or the other is better for a given shot, I'm just suggesting that they are really, truly, and significantly different.
     
  18. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Humm, well I've said "nonsense" to a few people too so I suppose that's karma, but it's usually been in reply to more strongly worded statements, not "I THINK you'll notice.."

    How about this - "I have personally tried both and I personally notice surprisingly little difference?" Of course there are some caveats: when both are exposed and developed carefully, when subject brightness range is close to what I think of as normal, when enlargements are kept under 8x and especially at 5x or less, and when prints are as closely matched as possible for density and contrast. Any of those variables will change things. TMY will record a wider range without compression. It is much more responsive to changes in development, making it also much more sensitive to errors but certainly not hard to control. It is noticeably finer grained but I don't personally notice that very much in the sizes I mentioned.
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Absolutely agree. The key to obtaining the correct answer, is to make sure the correct question was asked in the first place.

    What is it about Tri-X that you don't like enough to consider TMax?

    What I see in TMax that I don't see in Tri-X, is higher resolution, a slightly different color rendition, less highlight compression, and more shadow detail. TMax has a more spirited reaction to developing alterations. TMax is more forgiving in exposure because of its 14 stop, straight-as-a-nail tone curve. Tri-X has a more pronounced toe and shoulder.
    You can make TMax look a lot like Tri-X, but it's difficult to make Tri-X look like TMax. You can't really straighten a film curve, but you can bend a straight one, by using various exposure and developing techniques.
     
  20. Marco Buonocore

    Marco Buonocore Member

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    Thomas,

    How would you make Tmax 400 look like Tri-x?

    Thanks!
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Shoot it at 800 to 1000 EI, and slow down agitation to 10s every 3 to 5 minutes (I use Xtol developer because it's efficient in the shadows). Adjust developing time to get similar contrast index as Tri-X, which you develop normally, with normal exposure and developing agitation.
     
  22. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    We should just be clear on some Tri-X terminology here. Thomas, when you talk about making TMY-2 look like Tri-X, are you referring to TXP 320 (the longer toe, "upswept" curve film) or TX 400 (which has a fairly straight curve)?
     
  23. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    You are quite right Matt, I had inadvertently referred to the Old TMax 400 tech pub F4016. When I had developed what is new TMax 400 at 800 I had used the time stated in the new pub of 9.25 mins for Xtol 1+1 at 68F and found the negs to be OK but a little flat and grey looking compared with negs at 400 using the same time which as you say applies to both speeds in the new tech pub F4043. In fact the time of 9.25 mins applies to both old and new TMax 400 but only to 120 film as the old pub differentiates between 135 and 120 which the new doesn't. My film happened to be the 120

    When I had another look I had gone to the old pub F4016 where it differentiates 400 from 800 by an extra 1.5 mins and also differentiates times for 135 v 120 which the new pub doesn't

    However when you get to 1600 the old pub's times and new pub's times are only 15 secs apart and if you were to divide the difference in times between the 400 and 1600 times( 9.25 and 12.25 in F4043) you get to 1.5 mins which is exactly the same time as the old pub gives for 800

    Confusingly the old pub states that there are "no increase in processing times required for a one stop push with most developers but makes Xtol the exception to this rule. I haven't checked how many developers are the exception to the rules other than Xtol

    I must say that I'd be tempted to increase the dev time for 800 in the new TMax400 with Xtol although the pub seems to say that the loss in contrast in the neg can be made up for in using a half a grade increase in paper grade.

    So presumably if I were to try for a longer dev time to increase the contrast in the neg Kodak would say this does no more for me than increase the paper grade by a half so why bother?

    pentaxuser
     
  24. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Sorry, I always forget. When I try to emulate Tri-X 320 (TXP), I usually underexpose more and push process the TMax.

    The above, with a one stop lesser exposure and longer agitation intervals are to emulate Tri-X 400, which has a little bit more of a toe than TMax, and a little bit of a shoulder.
     
  25. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    You really can't tell what a film is all about by only shooting a few rolls. A single rolls is not going to tell you a lot. I probably shot about 20 rolls of Tmy-2 400 before I had it dialed in to where it worked for me. Give it another, longer look. You may be in for a pleasant surprise.