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Thread: Kodak

  1. #11
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Brian: I looked at your gallery and the photos are really very nice. Can you select one of yours that really show the kind of tones you like?

    I'm sure others posting here are very nice too. I just haven't had a chance to look at them all. Alan.

  2. #12
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Brian: I looked at your gallery and the photos are really very nice. Can you select one of yours that really show the kind of tones you like?

    I'm sure others posting here are very nice too. I just haven't had a chance to look at them all. Alan.
    Alan, sure! I'll post two. The first one I shot recently on Tri-x with a Holga. I shoot mostly in soft light. Tri-x really shines in this type of lighting. Smooth tones and nice shadow contrast. And the highlights just glow. I'm sure you could get a look very similar to this with TMY-2 but wit a much straighter line of information, which to me just looks flatter most of the time.

    The second is a recent shot of a detail of a shed. Shot in very bright sunlight. The highlight measured EV 17 on my spot meter, that doesn't happen too often! It was actually shot on FP4 but most would agree Tri-x and FP4 are very very similar traditional type emulsions. The wood tones to the left are just wonderful. Again, TMY-2 may be similar, particularly offering more highlight contrast, BUT again and I know it's been said over and over, films like Tri-x and FP4 just have a look to them that is very pleasing to my eye. Tonality is wonderful. I've shot plenty of TMY-2 and have made some nice photos with it but ultimately gave up on it. Most of the time the tonality to me looks like a digital image desaturated in photoshop.

    One final note: To really see the differences between these films one really needs to be able to make prints in the darkroom. A scanner can do whatever it wants with the films contrast and tonality.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bridge, Williamsport MD 12-18-11.jpg   farm, Pine Road 11-27-11 03.jpg  

  3. #13

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    I actually switched from T-Max 400 to Tri-X 400. I have my B&W film developed and printed by pro shops, and for some reason the Tri-X 400 always comes back with better looking negatives and sharper prints. Yes, sharper prints.

    I know, I know, Kodak assures us that T-Max has finer grain, and under a microscope or whatever the grain in T-Max is smaller. But to my human eye, my Tri-X prints generally appear sharper, the T-Max prints generally more "hazy" or "clouded".

  4. #14
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naples View Post
    I actually switched from T-Max 400 to Tri-X 400. I have my B&W film developed and printed by pro shops, and for some reason the Tri-X 400 always comes back with better looking negatives and sharper prints. Yes, sharper prints.

    I know, I know, Kodak assures us that T-Max has finer grain, and under a microscope or whatever the grain in T-Max is smaller. But to my human eye, my Tri-X prints generally appear sharper, the T-Max prints generally more "hazy" or "clouded".
    Most likely what you are seeing is the additional accutance that Tri-X offers as a result of having larger and more visible grain. In addition, there may be more contrast in your Tri-X negatives than your T-Max negatives.

    Subjectively, accutance has the greatest effect on perceived sharpness, followed by (micro) contrast, and finally followed by resolution.

    If you increase the size of your enlargements to the point where grain becomes obtrusive in the Tri-X prints, you may find that the T-Max prints start to appear (relatively) sharper.

    As T-Max highlight latitude is so extensive, and because it has such fine grain, you may find that you can offset much of the accutance/apparent sharpness advantage of Tri-X by developing the T-Max to a slightly lower contrast and then printing it with slightly higher contrast paper/filters.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #15

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    Thanks, Matt.

    So, are you saying that, all things equal, at least in 135 format Tri-X will typically print sharper than T-Max, or at least be perceived as sharper than Tri-X?

    If this is true, why does Kodak trumpet T-Max as being sharper? Because the "sharpness" Kodak is talking about is under the microscope? Isn't that a bit like saying a Toyota is better than a Ferrari because it has gold pistons?

  6. #16
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I'm talking about perceived sharpness, which is what you have to work with when you are comparing prints from labs.

    If you have the advantage of doing your own prints, there are steps that you can take to improve the perception of sharpness for the T-Max negatives. Those steps are possible because the resolution is as high as it is, and the grain is as small as it is.

    Primarily, those steps include adjusting the paper surface (glossy appears sharper than semi-matte), magnification (you can print larger), adjusting the printing contrast, and adjusting the light source in your enlarger. A condensor or point source enlarger will bump up the observable accutance in your image, and greatly increase the appearance of sharpness from your T-Max negatives. It will also accentuate grain, which is much more likely to be a problem for Tri-X than for T-Max.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #17

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    People often perceive grainier prints/negatives as sharper because the grain appears more defined, even if resolution is lower. There are a lot of illusions involved in the perception of sharpness. Subject matter, contrast, graininess, and the degree of enlargement are all critical variables.

    As for tonality, it should be noted most modern films, from the more "traditional" types like Tri-X, to flat grain emulsions like TMax films, are more similar than they are different. The differences in their inherent characteristic curves and spectral sensitivities are relatively minor. Ultimately whether you choose HP5, Delta 100, TMY-2, Tri-X or FP4 will have little to do with the tonality in your prints. Print tonality is really dependent on:

    -How you expose and develop the film
    -The size of the film
    -The degree of enlargement
    -*Printing skill*

    In general when it comes to tonality people place too much importance on the choice of film, not enough importance on exposure/development, and nowhere near enough importance on printing. The films themselves are all quite flexible.
    Last edited by Michael R 1974; 01-14-2012 at 05:44 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #18
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    People often perceive grainier prints/negatives as sharper because the grain appears more defined, even if resolution is lower. There are a lot of illusions involved in the perception of sharpness. Subject matter, contrast, graininess, and the degree of enlargement are all critical variables.

    As for tonality, it should be noted most modern films, from the more "traditional" types like Tri-X, to flat grain emulsions like TMax films, are more similar than they are different. The differences in their inherent characteristic curves and spectral sensitivities are relatively minor. Ultimately whether you choose HP5, Delta 100, TMY-2, Tri-X or FP4 will have little to do with the tonality in your prints. Print tonality is really dependent on:

    -How you expose and develop the film
    -The size of the film
    -The degree of enlargement
    -*Printing skill*

    In general when it comes to tonality people place too much importance on the choice of film, not enough importance on exposure/development, and nowhere near enough importance on printing. The films themselves are all quite flexible.
    Very well spoken, Michael. I just had a conversation with another photographer friend, and was nicely reminded that the magic really happens at the printing stage. Everything we do up until the printing stage is prep work.

    Exposure, filter choice, composition, framing, gesture, film processing, etc - it all leads up to the printing, and that's when it's time to bring out the fancy dancing, to be creative, in order to make those prints that we're proud of. To get the tonality *just right* in the print, for maximum visual impact, to accentuate those elements of the picture that are important, to support the composition and what it is we want to show the viewer, whomever they are...

    The final presentation is so important, and like you Michael, I find that most (perhaps all) films will do the job perfectly every time, as long as I am up to the challenge of actually getting the most from them.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #19
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    While I agree with most of the points from Mike 1974 above I can definitely tell a difference from T grain versus "traditional" grain emulsions.

    ESPECIALLY if it's Tmax 100. That stuff is so clean at modest enlargement from 135 it's almost too clean for my tastes. When I say clean I guess I mean grain wise to the point of almost being too sterile. Converted digi files have a similar look.

    For awhile I didn't like it and shot PLUS X instead.
    I just scored a bunch of Acros 100 to try it. I imagine it will look similar?

  10. #20
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucemuir View Post
    While I agree with most of the points from Mike 1974 above I can definitely tell a difference from T grain versus "traditional" grain emulsions.

    ESPECIALLY if it's Tmax 100. That stuff is so clean at modest enlargement from 135 it's almost too clean for my tastes. When I say clean I guess I mean grain wise to the point of almost being too sterile. Converted digi files have a similar look.

    For awhile I didn't like it and shot PLUS X instead.
    I just scored a bunch of Acros 100 to try it. I imagine it will look similar?
    Bruce,

    I think the advantage of something like TMax 100 and Acros comes at something like 16-20X enlargements, like 16x20" from 35mm negatives.
    For Christmas I made my father a 16x20" from a 35mm Acros negative, processed in replenished Xtol, and more than a foot from the print I simply could not see the grain. So Acros is really smooth too, and what I have found is that instead of finding acutance with the help of grain, I create it with contrast at the printing stage. It works surprisingly well, and while you may not like how you can't find grain in an 8x10" print from 35mm Acros, you may find a good alternate way of using it. Or take advantage of how 8x10" enlargements basically look like contact prints if you do it right.

    Also, Acros behaves differently in the highlights than TMX, which gives it more highlight contrast, so if you do really big contractions from very large brightness range scenes, you may find it difficult to fit all of the highlight tones onto your printing paper, so you have to be a bit careful. With that said, the same is a great advantage in low contrast shooting where you can get some really awesome highlights.
    I think within normal use, you will find Acros and TMX remarkably similar, though.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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