Newbie question, developing TMAX 400
So, just developed my very 1st 35mm film the other day, really exciting stuff!
Have one question though, can you somewhat "judge" if you developed it correctly?
I use TMAX 400 and HC-110 as a developer. I downloaded an app from digital truth which said that for this combination i should develop for 5:30 at 20c. Checked various results online with these "settings" and the results were good enough so i was planning on going with these.
However i soon faced some problems, after all it was my very 1st processing. Meaning that i could not manage to lower the water temp to the required 20c. Long story short i remembered that the downloaded app had a setting in which you could change the temp and with the same film and developer it would automatically calculate the correct duration based on the new data, so i went for it. At 22c it said 4:40.
Anyway the outcome is very nice. I really like how the negatives look even though i have zero experience on the matter. But there are sometimes that they give me the impression of being somewhat "pale". Not sure how to describe it better, perhaps i thought in my mind that they would be more contrasty and punchy!
So, did i mess up? Yes they do look nice to me and perhaps that is all that matters but that does not mean that i did everything correctly, perhaps i just got lucky this time.
I mean can you tell by looking at them if you did good or not?
Any feedback would be most appreciated, thanks in advance!
You probably didn't mess up. 4:40 is a bit short for a development time but the app probably did the correct math to derive that time.
If some of the negatives looks a bit pale (low in contrast? or just thin?) then it's most likely exposure that is the problem, if I could take a guess. This page might be of interest for you:
Anyways, good luck! When I used TMAX 400 in HC-110 last time I liked it a lot. I exposed mine at ISO200 and developed slightly shorter (I don't remember for how long, my notebook is somewhere else...) which made the negatives come out as I like them (with good shadow values), but that is simply a matter of taste.
Overall,I agree with Oscarbutfirst,lrtme statethat Tmax400 is a fantastic fimespecially for my type of work(portraits and nude figure) Tmax is an extremely well-behaving filmbut often a bit on the soft side.I rate it at EI250and develop itnormally in D76 1+1 for 10 minutesif it is too softup the ISO and extend development,whichwill increase the contrastor selenium tone the negatives,which will do the same.Itis however likelythat you will have no problemwhen printing with VCpapers.all the best and just hang in there;the first 10,000 prints are the worst.
Last edited by RalphLambrecht; 03-26-2014 at 06:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.
You said it yourself--"they look pale". So already you've got something of an eye for it. Trust that and run with it. Ever since the late 70's Kodak had a habit of leading you to the side of undevelopment in their time charts.
Can you recall the scenes from the negs?If you can then look for an area which records shadow where there should be some detail and an area which records highlight where there should be some detail. A good loupe of at least 8x magnification if they are 35mm negs should be good enough to reveal such details.
Better still if you have an enlarger put a neg into the carrier and look at the projection for signs of detail in these areas. If they exist then you are likely to have produced good negs
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Different photographers often develop the same film for different times; there are many variables, including how you exposed it and how you like your negatives to look. Evaluating a negative is often easier when you try to print it; if it's easy to get a print you like from it then the developing time is probably good. We all have different expectations and prejudices, so don't assume that published figures can't be changed and that someone else's true experiences will automatically become your true experiences. Keep at it, print what you shoot (because that's a big part of learning,) and don't get too frustrated when things get tough!
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming– “Wow! What a Ride!”
— Hunter S. Thompson
I have not tried HC-110 to develop Tmax 400, but I have found that the times Kodak recommends for both D-76 and Tmax Developer to be perfect. Why not try the manufacturer's time instead of searching unverified times on the web? The Massive Dev. Chart on Digitaltruth takes and publishes any times anyone submits with no proof they work.
Tmax400 is my first B&W film ever i did use, it is the most available film available in my area when i started to shoot back in 2010, Ilford is second, but i have a lot of TMAX400 film and it is always or mostly the first choice when i do tests for me gear, and soon i am going to test my new Mamiya RZ lens 110mm f2.8 and see how this film perform again, and not sure if i keep using HC-110 which is opened or use TMAX dev as it is my favorite developer in the past.
I don't print yet to judge, but i know scanning topic is not allowed here, but it gives me general idea if i can print fine or it will be difficult or not.
Also i kep those films which give me great results as a reference, and i note the processing, so whenever i need results i had before already then i know what to do, in all cases with me, as long i don't print and i don't sell and i don't post mostly on the web then i don't care how perfect my negs must be, i know how to correctly expose and i follow manufacturer's guide and it always or say 98% giving me what i want, i don't make a big tragedy if i can't or don't see what i want, i can always shoot and develop again if i want unless it is something can't happen again.
My standard time for T-Max 400 at E.I. 250 in HC-110 dilution B, 20C, was 5 minutes with gentle agitation for the first 30 seconds and two inversions at each 30-seconds thereafter. I'd say you're very close! If they look a bit thin, keep the time, temperature and agitation constant and do a bracket of exposures at 1/2 and 1 stop overexposed from your current normal exposure. See which prints best.
Don't obsess too much about it - if you get negs that are easily printable you are 95% of the way there! Ideally, you want less contrast in a negative because that means you have more detail (information) in the highlights and shadows to work with. You can always bump up the contrast when you print, but if the detail is not present in your negative you can't get it to show up in a print. Just try to maintain consistency with your film/chemicals/temps until you feel comfortable with what you are doing. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for time/temps until you gain experience because you are going to get 99 different recommendations from 100 members on this forum. Films like TMax, Tri-X and some of Ilford's offerings are good to stick with, as well as TMax, D-76 or HC-110 developers. If most of your negatives are not too dark (dense or overexposed) or clear (thin or underexposed) then your meter is probably accurate enough for B/W film. (Generally, it is better to overexpose than underexpose B/W film. Many photographers routinely shoot Tri-X 400 at 320 or 200 ISO).
I learned how to develop and print in high-school darkroom 35 years ago and am amazed at how many decent images I was able to produce, given that I had no one to teach me and there was no Internet to rely on. Just a few books about the basics of developing and printing, and a love for photography taught me the essentials of what I needed to know. Sometimes online resources like the MassiveDevChart have some flaky information, so take them with a grain of salt. I would highly recommend any of the late David Vestal's books like "The Craft of Photography" or Ansel Adams' "The Negative" to understand the basics of exposure and development. Also, for some inspiration, Bruce Robbins has a very good web site at http://www.theonlinedarkroom.com/ for some inspiration and ideas. And of course APUG is always a great community and resource to use!