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  1. #11

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    I really don't want to get into scanning specific topics but using scanner at default setting often get you really flat results. Most scanner software will try to get as much dynamic range as possible and the end result is, a flat mid tone....
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  2. #12
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    Here's my suggestion.

    It's little different from "buy one film and stick with it" advise. While there aren't THAT much difference between films, there are differences both in how it will react to light and how it will react to developing chemicals. My suggestion, based on my own experience is to buy two films, say Tmax 400 and Tri-X 400 and use enough of them each. At one point, you will find either you don't see enough difference between them, or you'll develop a liking to one or the other. Then pick THAT.

    It's not that films aren't flexible and you could just about do anything you want if you know how - but that takes skill you'll develop over the years. Everybody has to start somewhere and enjoy the result as well. You might find, one will be more to your liking than the other and gets you the result easier than the other.

    That's what happened to me. Strangely enough though, I went back to the one I didn't like for a while as my skills developed further.

    I would suggest, NOT trying any more than 2 or 3 films. It will get awfully confusing and counter productive if you do. You didn't ask this question but I settled on D-76. Seems to get me the result I want - consistently.
    I don't necessarily disagree with you. There are differences between films. To me, however, you are not really going to solve much by switching films. The user will not learn anything that helps them actually get better at what they do.
    The root of the problem, poor midtone contrast, is NOT a problem of the TMax film. If you can't get good contrast in midtones using it, you need to learn how to become a better worker, and those lessons do you much more good than switching films.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

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  3. #13

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    I don't necessary disagree with your views either, Thomas.

    It certainly isn't Tmax's fault if OP cannot get a good mid-tone. It is entirely possible to get a good mid-tone with Tmax. I like the mid tone on Tmax myself.... To me, the image lacks contrast, rather than having excessive contrast. Muddy skin tone (OP said flat gray) tells me so. But it's hard to tell from scanned images.

    My point really is this. Tmax and Tri-X have different look. Forget the technical.... they LOOK different. I'm suggesting OP to start from one that closely resembles his liking and go from there and learn to get more out of THAT film.

    True, becoming an expert darkroom worker and getting any film to do anything one want is great but if another film gets you there easier, why not?

    These days, I am trying NOT to be so technically oriented in my approach to photography. Start from artistic expression and deploy technicality to support my artistic expression - not the other way around. Being an engineer by trade I love technicals but my goal as a photographer is to put my ideas on paper. If a film gets me closer to what I want consistently and easier, that's a better film.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #14
    clayne's Avatar
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    These shots look pretty normal to me. I dont think you have a problem here.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  5. #15

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    They also look normal to me. I don't think there is anything wrong with development or choice of film. The contrast and final look can easily be changed during printing. Tmax400 is my standard film and I've developed it in various soups, all with acceptable results. A couple of portrait examples:

    http://www.geldurkal.blogspot.com/2012/05/fc-ustas.html
    http://www.geldurkal.blogspot.com/20...-arif-bey.html

    cheers

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    I don't necessary disagree with your views either, Thomas.

    It certainly isn't Tmax's fault if OP cannot get a good mid-tone. It is entirely possible to get a good mid-tone with Tmax. I like the mid tone on Tmax myself.... To me, the image lacks contrast, rather than having excessive contrast. Muddy skin tone (OP said flat gray) tells me so. But it's hard to tell from scanned images.

    My point really is this. Tmax and Tri-X have different look. Forget the technical.... they LOOK different. I'm suggesting OP to start from one that closely resembles his liking and go from there and learn to get more out of THAT film.

    True, becoming an expert darkroom worker and getting any film to do anything one want is great but if another film gets you there easier, why not?

    These days, I am trying NOT to be so technically oriented in my approach to photography. Start from artistic expression and deploy technicality to support my artistic expression - not the other way around. Being an engineer by trade I love technicals but my goal as a photographer is to put my ideas on paper. If a film gets me closer to what I want consistently and easier, that's a better film.
    +1, true that, etc.

    And from what I can tell, Thomas lives by this philosophy as much if not more than anyone on here.




    Also, as was mentioned, those images don't look too far off either. At least not for 35mm.

  7. #17

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    I would look closely at your scanning and post processing technique first, and the film and developer charcteristics second. Sort one thing out at a time, and given you have a film to scan, that is your datum point. Now think about what in your scanning workflow could be causing the problem. Usually a fairly flat scan is best, although it may look ugly, but it does provide all the tones, just not in the right order. Then you move it into Photoshop or Lightroom etc and that is where you work the magic, not with crude scanning software.

    Steve

  8. #18
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    I actually think your issue has more to do with lighting than materials or processing technique. All of these are very soft, diffused light, so the contrast will be lower and separation between tones will be lessened.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

    Did millions of people suddenly disappear? This may have an answer.

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  9. #19

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    This is typical of a window light portrait. Or soft broad large source light with fill reflector. First "problem" if you don`t like it. Changing film will not significantly change this.

    Scanning or digital photography, both are the same, produces a straight line curve. Use photoshop or similar program to change to a S curve where the midtones will have more contrast and it looks more like a printed photo. You will need to do this with almost every scanned image or digital photo. Scanning is not the same as printing on photo paper which does get the S curve you need. Photoshop has a preset middle contrast curve or you can create your own and save it.

    Different films will get different shaped S curves or H & D curve. Tri X professional in larger format is not the same as 35 mm tri x regarding curve shape. 35 mm tends to be flat so it will pick up greater range. You may not be happy with tri x because it will tend to do what you have here.

  10. #20

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    Sample of what I curve adjusted. Standard medium contrast curve and I dodged the shadows 35%.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 0-img182 a.jpg  

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