You might find one problem with Tmax 100 even if you get the development & speed set where you want them. Its extended red sensitivity that 'helps' with darker skies is a pain in the backside when it comes to shadow detail. The reflected blue light often found in deep shadows outdoors is not predictable with TMax. You find at times your low zone placement of the shadows under bushes, in the trees & in shade of buildings may be lower than you planned due to the sensitivity of the film. Lose shadows as a result. It can be unpredictable. I love the TMax reciprocity but just couldn't live with shadows that were unpredictable with the passage of the sun across the sky.
Try running a test of the same subject with the changing daylight & see if you can meter & keep the shadows where you want them. I couldn't & changed to FP4+ as a result. Not perfect but at least now my shadow readings come out where I expect them to be.
I rate TMX-120 @ 200 asa...
Developed in a Jobo ATL2000 with Photographer's Formulary TFX-2 @ 20c @ 8' ... came to this using densitometry
National Sarcasm Society
(like we need your support)
Exposure for T-Max 100 and others
Do a ringaround as per Kodak's "Kodak Professional Black and White Films publication F-5. It is sold in large camera shops or you can order direct from Kodak. It will take approximately 5 rolls and a lot of your time. Test for Maximum Black and follow the instructions in the literature. You will learn a lot about Photography in Black and White, and a lot about T-Max films. Besides the T-Max developers you can also mix yourself and try Crawley's Fx-37. It is a little tedious to mix but was formulated for Tabular Grain films. You get good results with it and depending on the dilution you can increase the speed of the film nicely. The formula may be found in "The Darkroom Cookbook" by Anchell.
Forgive me for reviving an old thread but I am new to this fine forum and the above quote is so contrary to my experience, I need to comment. I would hate to think that a new shooter would shy away from this fine film because of misinformation.
Originally Posted by WarEaglemtn
I shoot Tmax100 almost exclusively. I place my shadow and highlight elements not just to hit a Zone but to fall low, mid or high in a given zone depending upon what I want to do with the subject element in the scene. I record my target placement on a field card and check the accomplishment of my placements on a densitometer after development. I am so consistent and confident in this film, I know that when I miss my target, it is because I rushed my shot or allowed myself to be distracted. I am the weak link in the process - not Tmax 100
Many of the top pros use Tmax 100 and John Sexton uses it almost exclusively. It is a professional film that will be very kind to the amateur or pro who exposes and processes with precision. With that precision, you will gain access to a supurb tonal pallet and the fantastic expansion and contraction capabilities this film allows. Master this film and you will approach a scene with absolute confidence that the material you have chosen will respond to your reqirements so you can worry about the composition and visualization.
Tmax does not well tolerate estimated film speeds, sloppy metering nor poorly controlled development variables. If you allow a combination of these into your shooting, your negatives will be all over the map. This, however is not the fault of the film.
What does it take to work with Tmax 100? You have to find out your personal film speed, meter precisely and develop with great precision and repeatability. I use my developer (TmaxRS) one-shot. I even put in ballast sheets of film (fully exposed to room light) to be certain that the developer is exhausted at a consistent rate. If this is too much like work, then stick with materials that are more compatible with your working style but please don't discourage others.
If you are an amateur who is serious about black and white, if you are willing to be precise and learn to use professional materials that demand it, do not shy away from Tmax 100. To do so is to deprive yourself of a professional level tool that will give you capabilities found nowhere else.
There - I feel soooooo much better.
Good Evening, Blaughn,
Couldn't agree with you more, even though my own use is a lot less precise than yours seems to be, since I'm getting by without a densitometer.
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I did the same for years. It is amazing how close I could come with a transmission step tablet side-by-side with the negative on a light table. Shooting snow scenes and keeping granularity finally convinced me that I needed to invest in a densitometer. I find 2-minute burn-ins to be boooooooooooooooring! Would rather hit a 1.2 density and sail through!!!!
By the way, kudos to this forum. I have visited, briefly, many. There is less misinformation in this one than in most and respectful disagreement seems to be permissable.
Thank you for reviving this thread as I had missed it and was about to ask the same question as the original post. I use T-Max100 as it is what is available to me. I was told to rate it lower and have done so. I always stick to the times and temps as advised. The problem I sometimes have is that if I get detail in the shadows, I lose detail in the bright areas, but I think that comes down to not bracketting. I know I should, but if the green light says the exposures right who am I to argue with it. Fancy trusting a led that doesn't even know what film is in the camera. I will do some experimenting with the next roll. I hate being such a slow learner.
What you have described is a situation where the subject's contrast range exceeds that of your film. This is when manipulating the films normal contrast via modified development enter into the picture. Bracketing is NOT, repeat NOT the answer. When you bracket you simply loose a different end of the spectrum - detail in the shadows but blocked up highlights or good highlights and featureless shadows. If you want it all, you need to change the contrast of the film.
Originally Posted by Carol
If you use the zone system, meter for the shadows that contain information important to your picture and place them no lower than Zone 3. Then meter the important highlights and see where they fall. For the sake of this example, lets say you are shooting a sunlit snow scene and you want to keep the shadowed evergreen needles well defined while retaining the granularity of the snow. But, with the needles on Zone III.5, the snow is falling on Zone IX what do you do?
Snow will block up at Mid to high Zone VIII and Zone IX will render nearly featureless paper-base white. You need to change the contrast of the film by modifying its development. In this example, you will want to shoot with the shadowed dark needles on Zone III.5 and then do a N-2 development (thus preventing the highlights from reaching their full potential density.) This will cause your highlight density to fall 2 stops lower than the metered Zone IX (a Zone VII) and you will have supurb granularity in the snow while having excellent detail in the shadowed pine needles. In other words, you have it all!!!!
Lets return to the subject of bracketing for a moment. IMHO, bracketing is not a fine art tool. It has its place in a desperate moment where a more studied approach is impractical. I know, I use it every time I shoot pictures of UFOs. It does nothing to match the capabilities of your media with the contrast demands of your subject. As Maslow said: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." Thus it is with bracketing - it is a hammer when you could use a sculptors tool to bend the pallet of the film to your subject.
Remember, creating a fine print is challenging enough without saddling yourself with a poor negative. Get it right in the camera!
Thank you for taking the time to explain. Unfortunately I haven't mastered the Zone system (maybe one day) because I figured I would have to treat the whole roll of film the same and I tend to take lots of different types of photo on any one roll. For instance I might take some outdoor trees or stone work, a few night sky shots and even indoor flower shots. I know I'm all over the place, but that's how I learn.
I think I will try picking my time of day and weather conditions a bit better for the outdoor shots. We are in Autumn (Fall) here in Australia now, so I had planned to try some outdoor stuff when there's some cloud about and hope it doesn't make my shots look flat. Thanks again. Carol.
You are on the right track. It is a little known fact that God made early morning and late evening for photographers. These are the special times. Afternoons he made for naps!
If you are a 35mm shooter, you can load your own film with a dozen exposures per roll. Then, if you run into a special situation where you need to bend the contrast curve, pull out your working roll and load one for that situation. You would do most of your work with a normal setting. Your normal roll would cover N and N+1 settings by selenium intensification of those frames where more contrast is needed. Your other situations will often constitute an N-1 where you could devote a dozen shots to those conditions.
This gets expensive for MF shooters which is why interchangeable backs are desirable.
Even if you can't employ it, A basic understanding of the Zone system will help you to understand how to get the most out of what you are using.
Here's the secret, Carol. Achieve success where you are so you become addicted enough to abandon roll film in favor of Large format! Then you can join the exclusive ranks of people with more square footage of film that money!