Curves shmurves. 400TMax has the longest, straightest response curve of any film I've ever used. Take a look at this photograph, shot on 8x10 400TMax sheet film. There are approximately 12 zones between the shadows in the vaults and the highlights in the rosette. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting.
Having said that, I should also point out that I've heard that there's a difference between the TMax roll film and the sheet film; namely, that there's a dye in the roll film that blocks UV. I don't know if that is true or not. Maybe Ron knows. If true, it might account for your results differing so drastically from my experience.
I downloaded Jim's pic. With his permission, I'll post it to this thread.
Originally Posted by noacronym
It's a stunning shot of the interior of a cathedral consisting mostly of shadows and midtones, with solid white highlights in the stained glass.
It's still a curve. Such things differ from one film to the next, and relative to the development regimen.
I've done analogous shots with 8X10 TMY looking out from very dark tunnels, with detail reproduced over a very long range indeed (and I'm not referring to minus or compensating development, where the
midtone tonality gets compressed). But one still has to understand at what threshold value the shadows will indeed be decently differentiated, and at what point the highlights will simply blow out relative to the given print media (which can be employed creatively, of course). But if one does plot such things on a densitometer, TMY does have a lot of range for the sake of practical photography, but not quite as much as a few other films I've tested, which aren't commercially available anymore. The
verstility and quality of TMY makes it my favorite "go to" 8x10 film, yet also my favorite 35mm snapshot product.
Virtually every film has a UV absorber. It is either an incorporated dye (yellow) or in an overcoat.
As for the curve, my boss used to say "we don't sell curves, show me a picture". So, all of the comments above are useless if that film makes a good picture and the release curve is within specs.
That is why I suggested that you call EK.
I just sent EK a description of the issue. We'll see what they say...
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Curves mean a helluva lot once you start doing something outside the routine - color separations for
example, where you need to know not only where the linearity begins and ends, but how consistent it
is between radically different color filters, along with potentially differing exposures and their kind of
recip failure effect. I how know idea how they figured it out, but if you understand how the film works,
both speeds of TMax are remarkably consistent in this respect too. In the more ordinary world, just head over to our coastal redwoods - a film which might give wonderful results in a morning fog will be
just about useless once the sun breaks out and you end up with maybe fourteen stops of range, a task
just about impossible for any film without a steep toe unless you turn the whole thing into mushy
compensating dev. Even with TMY under such circumstances, I sometimes have to resort to supplemental unsharp masking, even with the finest VC papers. Curves mean a helluva lot in my world.
Sorry to sound like a wiseguy, Ron ... but I'm really trying to relate the wonderful versatility of TMax if
one understands the curve characteristics. Right now (besides general shooting) I'm applying TMax to
color neg masking. This is radically different than good ole Ciba masking ala battleaxe and spike ball
sheer force, and way more fussy than garden-variety masking for black and white printing. It's like power steering - very delicate, and ideally requiring a straight line way to the bottom of the relevant
curve even under extremely low-contrast development. This characteristic becomes critical with multiple
generation masking work - and by golly, TMax can do the job a helluva lot better than the oft-lamented
long-lost late Pan Masking film ever could. And if it can do that, as well as provide very long scale
relatively high-contrast predictable separation negatives, for example, that's a remarkably versatile
I wouldn't go so far as that. I called up a radio station a while back because my oscilloscope was showing a 45-degree line where the stereo scatter fuzzy oval should be. They thought I was a lunatic until I double checked by listening in my car. No it wasn't my equipment. And my scope is nowhere near calibrated. All their lab equipment was switched on the digital signal so they didn't notice the board on the analog side was switched to mono.
Originally Posted by noacronym
Meanwhile to add a possibly useful question to the thread. Is this the kind of step wedge layout used for testing?
If so, can you test with an offset, or 90-degree angles to your usual. Maybe you are seeing an effect where the outside edge of the film receives greater development than the center.
p.s. I work for Kodak, but not in film - here I am a hobbyist. The opinions and positions I take are my own and not necessarily those of EKC.