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  1. #1
    Arcturus's Avatar
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    Why all the dislike for tabular-type films?

    A quick jaunt around various internet forums (excluding this one) seems to turn up all sorts of hate toward tabular-type films, with a particular dislike of anything Tmax. I turned up posts that said it looks "sterile" "clinical" and "digital" and it requires special developers and is as difficult to develop as reversal film. Also, it gets scratched easily, the highlights are "delicate" and get "blown out" easily unless you meter very carefully. They have no latitude and behave very much like a digital image. One poster said Tmax films "make me sick". Posts like this kept me from trying any tabular films for years, but once I did I didn't run into any of the problems that I read about. Does anyone know where all this craziness is coming from? I have not encountered any of these issues ever. I processed a bunch of TMY-2 with a thermometer I didn't know was broken, the temp was way higher than 20/68 and the negatives were perfectly printable and the highlights were just fine. I've run it through beat up old antiques with dubious shutter speed without issue either. Are these real problems with these films?

  2. #2

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    Kids say the darndest things.

  3. #3

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    Think TMax100 looks different from Tri-X. Negs to print from it are often thinner than the older films and some judge the negative rather than the final print.
    TMx 100 used to(still does?) has a UV blocking layer that makes it generally unsuitable for alt processes that rely on UV exposure.

    Take any film or film/developer combination you want and some won't like it for whatever reason while others will find it works well for them.

  4. #4
    JLP
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    Kids say the darndest things.
    Indeed they do.

    Welcome to the world of great film. TMY is one of the most versatile film ever made, you can make it look like anything you want when you learn to use it under different lighting conditions with different developers.
    Spend some time with the TMY and it will reward you. I have less experience with TMX why I don't include that in my praise.
    _______________
    Jan Pedersen
    http://janlpedersen.com

  5. #5
    RattyMouse's Avatar
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    I have never for the life of me understood what the differences are between TMax and "regular" films. So given that, I just shoot regular film.

    One thing I'm not clear on is whether or not Acros is a Tabular type film. Some say yes, some say no. I do shoot a lot of Acros so there you go.

  6. #6

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    Acros is tabular....

    It's mostly old dogs who don't like new things... Ignore them and find your own way

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by chip j View Post
    Perhaps they have a " Medium Format" feel to them that some don't like?
    You're saying my TMY-2 4x5 sheet film and Delta100 4x5 sheet film and Acros100 4x5 sheet film have a "medium format" feel?....

  8. #8
    MattKing's Avatar
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    It may be that people who like the more idiosyncratic things about older films (like large grain) are most likely to be disappointed by the extraordinary qualities of T-Max and the Delta films and Acros.

    In B & W I shoot Plus-X and T-Max 400. I like the differences, and I'll miss Plus-X when I've used up what I already have, but I'm more likely to transition to T-Max 100 than FP4+.

    Not that FP4+ isn't great film.
    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

  9. #9

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    Well, since Verichrome Pan, Plus-X, Panatomic, and the others are all gone, that leaves Tri-X. At least as far as I know. And Tr-X has a distinctive grain, whether in D-76, or Microdol. Some people like the grain of TX and D-76. Though I'm basically a Microdol man, TX and D-76 makes for a marriage suited for those who like good grain. The latitude of the film is stupendous, and no other film can do what TX does.
    It took me a long time to "accept" T-max, though it's been around 30 years. But considering the alternative of digital killing film entirely, it has become tolerable to me to the point I'm glad it's out there. It really is some fine stuff, if you can put up with its stubborn fixing qualities. Seems like it's always hungry for fresh fixer and can't get enough of it.

  10. #10
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    There exist differences between print made from classical and tabular films
    1) Tabular films have a longer HD curve, with nearly no shoulder. That means highlight will come to a higher density and will not be compressed in the same degree as with conventional films. High density form small negative formats can nearly not brought on the paper, which lead to blocked highlights. The shoulder f conventional films reduces the contrast in highlights but the densities are not exceptional high, so you have at least some structure in this image areas
    2) Tabular films have a smaller grain. (Fine but visible) grain helps for seeing sharpness. I had problems with Rolle Retro 80s which is fine grained too. Processed in some developers the prints came out looking "sterile" or "digital". I switched to another developer and the problem is gone. This happens more with medium to large format negatives.
    ---
    Uwe Pilz

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