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  1. #11

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    I realize many people are able to produce excellent prints when shooting on Tmax film. I was never one of them. I tried it when it was first released and didn't like it at all. Years later, I decided I would try it again and learn to make it work. I bought a brick each of 100 and 400 and Tmax developer to use along with other developers. After shooting about half of each brick, I gave up. I gave the film away. I hate the stuff.

  2. #12

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    I cant stand the stuff apart from for technical subjects. Devoid of soul in the extreme. Don't know why but acros is much better in this regard.. Still not as soulful as FP4 or APX100 or HP5 or.......but a world better than TMax. I gave up ages ago, as again, regardless of what I did, something was always missing. I have one print from TMAX100 which sells, but it is so tough to print some soul into it that it removes all sense of satisfaction from the final product. It works me too hard. To me APX100 is the soul king, but with no sheet, I use it in 120 and 35mm only. For sheet it is Ilford.

  3. #13
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    The "soulessness" of T-Max films is something I am quite accustomed to, having seen A-B comparisons of pictures shot on T-Max and orthodox technology films, one thing becomes immediately apparent:

    T-Max films (with the exception of 3200) are highlight-biased, while films such as HP5 Plus and Tri-X are shadow-biased, and the other films are more even-handed. In other words, T-Max hold highlight separation very well but cannot handle over-development (which also applies to push-processing), as the highlight separation is accentuated, the shadows tend to be rather bland. HP5 Plus and Tri-X favours greater shadow separation while keeping the overall contrast in check so it means they are pushable.

    Agfa films tend to favour a very even-handed approach so that they give a long-range of old-fashioned silvery tone which is fully exploited by Rodinal, among other developers. Due to the different tonal characteristics, when working with T-Max films, you need to aim for a thinner than normal (as compared to conventional grain films) negative so as to take advantage of them, but still, the lacking in shadow area separation might be helped by using developers giving higher compensation such as Tetenal Emofin, or for that matter, the Heinrich Stoeckler recipe.

    But for me, I would rather take the easy way out and stay away from T-Max. Ilford's Delta series is a very workable compromise which you might want to try out too.

  4. #14

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    Rather than T-Max film and Polymax paper being a match made in heaven they are a match made in Rochester. Kodak states this on their website. The characteristic curve of the paper has been designed to compliment the film. You will never get completely satisfactory prints using conventional papers.

  5. #15

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    Jay -

    This is the TMax merry-go-round. People either love it or hate it. When reading my input and those expressing the opposite, read them as personal opinion - not as absolute fact. Know, however, there are top pros for whom Tmax 100 is their default film. John Sexton uses it almost exclusively. The fact the this is the only Kodak B&W film available in readyload form should tell you something.

    Tmax has an incredible response range. It handles contracted development with minimal loss of speed (read shadow detail) exceedingly well and will give you an honest N+2 development and a wee bit more. You have to place the shadows well and control the highlights to ensure they don't begin to block up.

    To say that Tmax doesn't handle push processing well is absolutely contrary to my experience. If you look at John Sexton's latest book (Places of Power) you will see that 70 out of 79 images were recorded on Tmax100 and the other 9 were on Tmax400. His processing ran the gamut of N+2 to compensated development. I doubt there are many who would describe these images as souless.

    Good Luck to you.

  6. #16

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    I think the best advice you have gotten is that if you dont like it dont use it. I have gotten very good results with both tmax 100 and 400 and in fact is all I use with 8x10 (TMX 400).

    OTOH I agree completely with blaughn, given careful processing Tmx 100 is capable of great tonality. Here is a test I did with I first got my Hasselblad, I could not wait to go out and use it so I made a little set up at home and tried it.

  7. #17

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    I've used TMAX 100 for the last decade and printed it on Polymax FB. It looks wonderful. It pushes well, handles reciprocity well, and in my opinion is an A+ film. I use it in 120 and 4x5. It helps if you really have your Zone system down, and have done the testing. After that it's smooth sailing-




    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge
    I think the best advice you have gotten is that if you dont like it dont use it. I have gotten very good results with both tmax 100 and 400 and in fact is all I use with 8x10 (TMX 400).

    OTOH I agree completely with blaughn, given careful processing Tmx 100 is capable of great tonality. Here is a test I did with I first got my Hasselblad, I could not wait to go out and use it so I made a little set up at home and tried it.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Koch
    Rather than T-Max film and Polymax paper being a match made in heaven they are a match made in Rochester. Kodak states this on their website. The characteristic curve of the paper has been designed to compliment the film. You will never get completely satisfactory prints using conventional papers.
    Polymax is a conventional paper, actually. It has a long toe compared to only PolyContrast which was the exception rather than the rule among modern VC papers. Just about every other paper I've tried (perhaps with the exception of Agfa MCC) has more toe to it than PolyMax.

    The only real advantage here is that Polymax filters in conjunction with Polymax paper will deliver somewhat softer contrast (and easier to print highlights) than many other paper/filter combos.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by blaughn
    Jay -

    To say that Tmax doesn't handle push processing well is absolutely contrary to my experience. If you look at John Sexton's latest book (Places of Power) you will see that 70 out of 79 images were recorded on Tmax100 and the other 9 were on Tmax400. His processing ran the gamut of N+2 to compensated development. I doubt there are many who would describe these images as souless.

    Good Luck to you.
    Not many, but here's one at least who believes they are just that. I don't blame the film, though.

    Also, as Sexton is on Eastman Kodak's payroll (an assertion easily verified) it is not surprising he uses Kodak film exclusively.

  10. #20
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Lately he's been endorsing Tri-X, which I consider interesting.

    I've taken some photographs that I'm satisfied with using TMX. I used it almost exclusively for years in 35mm, and in some ways it's a film I feel I know better than any other film. But then I started shooting bigger (and bigger) cameras and grain became less and less of a concern, and I liked the option of choosing a film on the basis of tonality alone, so now I shoot mostly Tri-X, Classic 400, and Efke 100, and I do very little B&W in 35mm.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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