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Thread: Tri-X vs. T-Max

  1. #1
    AndreasT's Avatar
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    Tri-X vs. T-Max

    Now I do not want to start a discussion of beliefs and maybe this has been covered already. I was just reading some stuff from Steve Anchell where he claims Tri-X is better than T-max. That is how I understand it unless I missed something.
    He wrote if I am allowed to quote
    "The reason is that the thin, flat grains of silver literally do not
    have the depth of rounded pebble shape grains which enable them to record microscopic
    variations in contrast. In other words, the flatter the grain the less capable it is of recording
    micro-contrast."
    Now I am sure that the new Tri-X is more similar to T-Max than the original Tri-X.
    I would just like to hear a few viewpoints of others regarding this.

  2. #2
    CPorter's Avatar
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    I like Anchell, but he might be hard pressed to convince John Sexton of that claim; I think it boils down to what the photographer can do with the film in his process. I started out with TMX with my move to 4x5 and have recently made a switch to TXP, so far, for myself, I like what I have been able to do with TXP better. My troubles with TMX are purely on me, IMO.
    Last edited by CPorter; 12-16-2012 at 06:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    The negative writings regarding tabular films are unfortunate parts of the Anchell and Anchell/Troop books. I generally like Anchell otherwise.

    If you like the look of the image structure of Tri-X, use it. If you want finer grain, use TMax. But do not discount the tabular films on the basis on tonality and "fine highlight detail". The TMax and Delta films can deliver every bit as much tonality and subtle highlight detail as Tri-X. It is about how you use them, and how you print.

    CPorter is right. Sexton's prints proved to me the anti-tabular thing was nonsense.

  4. #4
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    "The reason is that the thin, flat grains of silver literally do not
    have the depth of rounded pebble shape grains which enable them to record microscopic
    variations in contrast. In other words, the flatter the grain the less capable it is of recording
    micro-contrast."
    I don't know a better word to describe this except "BS".

    I'm not saying he's wrong, that would be dignifying. He's so wrong he's not even wrong.
    f/22 and be there.

  5. #5
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Like us, each film has a personality of sorts.

    Sometimes we get along well with one but not another, both human and film.

    The reasons we give for not getting along aren't always rational or even based in reality.

    I can say that I have used both films and both were, just fine thank you.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  6. #6

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    Tri-X is my enemy. Some love it. I have shot many films, and have used many developers. I have had great success. My failures always end up on Tri-X. I have few shots with Tri-X that I love. Many will disagree. I prefer TMAX 400.

  7. #7

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    What they said. Tri-X is a great film, as is T-Max. Try them both and figure out which you like the most.

  8. #8
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    I've just seen the results from my first ever roll of TMAX 400 (old one), processed in HC-110. I like it, but IMO it's nothing special. The grain neither adds character to the image nor annoys me or gets in the way. The apparent tonal range is excellent though.

    I'm happy enough with it that I can use it up - a friend gave me around 15 expired rolls. I'm afraid I'm not experienced with Tri-X, but I hear it's close to HP5+, and I love that too.

    Also, a thing that I found useful: when I was looking up the Kodak sheets for the development times, I saw that for HC-110 (B), it's recommended to expose TMAX 400 (TMY 5053) at EI320 rather than at 400. Just thought I'd point that out in case you're a HC-110 fan
    Jacob

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  9. #9
    eddie's Avatar
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    I sort of remember when T-Max was first introduced (early 80's?). I was in school, and a bunch of us photo majors gave it a whirl. Initially (at least in 4x5) most of us had a hard time working with it. Our results were inconsistent, at least with the developers we were using. Since then, though, I've found it to be a fine film, and am still pissed off they discontinued it in Readyloads.

    In truth, sometimes I think "old-timers" will naturally have a bias towards earlier films (at least at first). They learned on them, became proficient with them, and developed an expectation of what a print should look like. When a new film doesn't deliver the same look, it's natural for them (and I include myself based on my early experience) to think it's not as good.

  10. #10
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    I've done of my very best work on Tmax 100 and Tmax 400. I like Tri-X too. I've honestly never found a film that I could not get gorgeous tonality from once I experimented enough with it. I agree with the poster who said Anchell's books are marred by his silly bias against these great films.
    Chris Crawford
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