TMZ 3200 (hype?)
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
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.
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
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):
Source: Kodak website
(Historical note in case someone finds this thread in ten years. Kodak filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy a few days ago.)
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
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.
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.
Originally Posted by David Lyga
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.
Originally Posted by Colin Corneau
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:
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.
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+.