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  1. #1

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    T-max developer to push process 400TMY to 1600 with minimal agitation - question

    Hi all,

    I normally use T-max films (135 and 120) with T-max developer, occasionally pushing 400TMY for low light use. I read Steve Anchell's Darkroom Cookbook and wanted to give some different agitation techniques a try as I normally just follow the recommendations in the Kodak datasheet. One of the techniques, minimal agitation, involves continuous agitation in the first minute and then 10 seconds every 3 minutes, with a %50 increase in development time. This is supposed to increase acutance and grain, and also have a compensating effect on the highlights to stop them blocking up. In my case I exposed 400TMY 120 film at EI1600, and developed it at 21C for 12 minutes, continuous agitation in the first minute, followed by 10 seconds every 3 minutes.

    The results were that I seemed to get good shadow detail and high acutance and grain, but contrast is too high and highlights are blocked out so much that they don't scan properly (I haven't tried enlarging form these negatives yet). In the example below the skin tones are very overdeveloped:

    In these two examples the overall contrast is too high. Both photos were underexposed as I forgot to account for bellows extension in these up close photographs, but even the the light coloured petals are blocked out completely, whereas red and dark purple flowers have no density:

    Can anyone recommend a way to reduce development in the highlights or at least tame the contrast with this developer and film combination while retaining the high acutance and shadow detail? Should I increase dilution or decrease developing time? I would prefer to stick with T-max developer for the time being.

    Regards, Simon.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_20150203_0002.jpg   IMG_20150203_0010.jpg   IMG_20150203_0012.jpg  

  2. #2
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Try developing in Tmax Developer diluted 1+7. Normal agitation. Multiply the 1+4 dilution times by 1.5 to get the 1+7 times. This is how I almost always use Tmax Developer.
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

    http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

    My Tested Developing Times with the films and developers I use

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    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  3. #3

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    Thanks Chris,

    So the dilution of the developer will provide the acutance instead of the lack of agitation? I will try this on the next roll.

    Regards, Simon.

  4. #4
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simgrant View Post
    Thanks Chris,

    So the dilution of the developer will provide the acutance instead of the lack of agitation? I will try this on the next roll.

    Regards, Simon.
    I like it a lot. Results look slightly sharper than with the standard dilution, and gradation is great. Good highlight and shadow detail with good midtone separation.
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

    http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

    My Tested Developing Times with the films and developers I use

    Become a fan of my work on Facebook

    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  5. #5

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    At 1600 you're basically lopping off two zones in the shadows no matter how you develop this film. Since this is long scale to begin with, you
    might get away with it in a moderate contrast scene. Otherwise expect blacked-out shadows due to the inherently steep toe of TMY. Sometimes this feature can be used creatively. Of course, the web is not capable of showing shadow gradation or microtonality well unless something is particularly blatant. If your highlights are blocked up, you've overdeveloped. With certain films, including this one, I've at time
    deliberately blown out the extremes to dramatically emphasize midtone gradation, and then selectively reined them back in with unsharp masking.

  6. #6

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    Hi Drew,

    Yes I know, in the past I have just followed Kodak's recommended processing for small tanks when pushing to 1600. I have certainly found a loss of shadow detail when doing this. The shadows are really thin and lacking in separation when looking at the negative, although they scan well. When I have had important detail in the shadows that I needed to bring out in a darkroom print I have had to use split grade printing and dodge the important shadows during the #00 part of the exposure.

    Having tried this slightly different technique which is probably overdeveloping from a 2 stop push has given me much better shadow separations than a standard 2 stop push as per the Kodak datasheet, at the expense of blocked highlights.

    On a side note, I looked at these negatives again in strong light and could see detail in all the highlights that looked blocked out in the scanning except for the white sneaker in the first image, so probably an optical print could bring out all the detail in these negatives. I will have to get to a darkroom to do some contact prints.

    Thanks for everyone's advice.



 

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