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  1. #1

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    Developer for T-max

    I've only been home developing for a year or so and feel like I'm just scratching the surface. So far I've used Fuji Neopan 100 & 400, Ilford HP5 and Tri-X 400. Today T-max 400 was on sale so I bought some (120) and picked up a bottle of Kodak T-Max developer. I was shocked by how expensive it was. Until now I've only used Fuji Super Prodol and it is much, much cheaper and available in powders.

    So I guess the obvious question is, what kind of results would I get if I used Super Prodol on T-Max? The MDC doesn't have any data for this combo. I've heard that T-Max requires it's own proprietary developer to get optimum results, but then others say that's just marketing hype.

    And one more beginner question. The instructions on the T-Max developer say to dilute it 1:4 but on the MDC I see various times for different dilutions. If I want to save money by diluting it thinner than 1:4 and using longer developing times should I expect significantly different results than doing it by the book?

    All help greatly appreciated!
    Pentax 67ii, Fuji GF670, Mamiya 6, Pentax 645N
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  2. #2
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Any film will work with any developer (within reason, and excluding specialty films).

    Just try it. There is nothing telling you you will like the results until you've tried it for yourself. Shoot a roll of the TMax 400 and bracket a normal and Plus/Minus a stop. Develop in the Fuji developer according to the Neopan 400 time. Focus on shadow detail only when you inspect the negs. Pick the film speed you like the shadow detail in best, and now shoot an entire roll at that speed.
    In the dark cut the film in three pieces. Save two of them in a light tight container for later. Develop one third, and now inspect the entire tonal range. If contrast is too high, reduce developing time. If contrast is too low, increase time. Adjust until you have a good base line.

    This approach is MUCH better than finding something on the internet that somebody else did.
    "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

  3. #3

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    Agree with what Thomas is saying. A few specific points on your questions:

    1. TMax developer was formulated to give slightly more speed out of the TMax films. However you do not need to use TMax developer at all. There is no such thing as optimum results. In fact the benchmark developer for Kodak's testing of the TMax films was plain old D76 1+1 and the TMax films perform extremely well in D76 (or Ilford ID11). You can use virtually any general purpose developer with these films as long as you figure out the right development times, agitation schemes etc.

    2. If you want to dilute TMax developer further than 1+4, expect a slight increase in grain. You'll have to experiment with longer development times to get the same speed and contrast as if you used it 1+4. Higher dilutions (1+9, 1+15 etc) are most often used in combination with reduced agitation for contrast reduction. For standard work I would recommend the 1+4 dilution with this developer. My advice is always to only dilute the developer for specific purposes and characteristics, not to save money. If you want to save money, buy a cheaper developer.

  4. #4

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    What Thomas said.

    If you *are* looking for a new developer though, I really like XTOL for this film and others. One of the nice things about XTOL is there is a lot of data out there (from Kodak even) about using it with different films, at different dilutions, speeds, and temperatures. It also has a lot of other nice features.

    Also, if you look at the T-Max 400 spec sheet, it gives you some different times for different dilutions (1:4, 1:7, and 1:9) of T-Max developer. The one without a listed dilution is 1:4. Look at page 4:

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...4043/f4043.pdf

  5. #5
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Good old tried and true D-76 1+1 will give super results without breaking the bank.
    Rick A
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  6. #6
    jp498's Avatar
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    It's a very versatile film. I've tried and gotten nice results from d76, d76 1+1, xtol, xtol 1+1, xtol 1+2, PMK, pyrocat HD, dilute hc110, used pyrocat HD mixed with dilute hc110, etc...

    One thing is that it is sensitive to changes in development; meaning you'll have to experiment a little to fine tune the time/temp/agitation for a particular developer if you are fussy about getting consistent results.

  7. #7
    sandermarijn's Avatar
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    Anything will work, but Xtol (or D76) makes for a good start, especially since Kodak's times for that film and developer really work out well, IME. It's nice to have a starting point based on good authority.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...4043/f4043.pdf (Oops, Tim Gray posted this link already. Well, it's a good one.)
    Last edited by sandermarijn; 03-22-2012 at 10:32 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: oops

  8. #8
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    When T-Max film first came out, I compared T-Max and D-76 developers, and prefered T-Max. I have only used T-Max developer since then. It keeps very well, even when diluted and stored in a partially full bottle. A slight increase in development time compensates for its aging and use. This is done not by any chart or formula, but by observing density and contrast of the negatives.

  9. #9

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    Good Morning, Revdocjim,

    As others have indicated above, there are plenty of options available. Should the price of T-Max in Japan be exorbitant, something else may make a lot of sense. I use T-Max for T-Max films and have done so since it became available. Yes, it is more expensive that some other developers, but it produces excellent results, and the concentrate has a very long life. Long ago, I settled on a 1:7 dilution for both TMX and TMY; that works very well and saves a little money.

    Konical

  10. #10

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    With the re-use numbers on the bottle, I find that T-Max developer works out to be one of the cheapest developers I can get hold of. It works out cheaper per roll than D76 for me, in the UK at least.

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