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  1. #1

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    Problems with Kodak T-Max

    Hello!
    Today I face new problems.
    I use Rodinal for developing my films, and some kind of Agfa chemistry for the paper too.
    Till now I used Ilford PAN 100 and Tura P 100 films (cheap ones), but the rolls ended so I decided to try something "better".
    The problem I face now is the same I had with Ilford Delta 100, I tried once - thing is that the negatives (that would be ok for me), but also the pictures (and that's not good at all) are way too contrastly - You can't see human faces or any detail. Not even talking about any use of contrast filters (forget about them). I suppose that T-Max films are better (professional) than more cheaper Tura P or Ilford Pan 100, and it's good that the gradation is from dark black to transparent (for the negatives) rather than medium grey to transparent.
    But - how to lower the contrast? An'ything wrong with the chemistry? Or should I decrease the light of the enlarger/ increase the copying time?
    Thing is that with the greyish Ilford PAN 100 and Tura fils I had no problem.
    Hope You got the idea.
    Thanks!

    PS. I've never attended any lessons to photography, nether read clever books and have shot very few films in my life, but I like the analogue process, and that I can do it myself. So, maybe my problem/question might seem a bit strage to You, professional shooters.

  2. #2
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Reinis -

    When T-Max films were first introduced, one of the columnists in Popular Photography described it as a "film for consenting adults". What he meant by that was that it was not a very forgiving film, and had to be treated much more carefully than traditional films in order to yield the results that it was capable of.

    I have been using T-Max films for many years and get excellent results, but my first experiments were disasterous. I think I understand that your experience with T-Max is very limited, and that your early experiences are similar to the experiences that you had with Ilford's similar film, Delta. That's consistent with my experience.

    I eventually worked out a formula for T-Max that works very well for me. The essential elements are:
    1. Expose at half the nominal rating. I have done a lot of testing (to achieve a Fb+F of 0.1 for Zone 1), and with my equipment, T-Max 400 comes up at EI 200 every time.
    2. Process for less than the manufacturer's recommendations. I use HC-100, dilution B, at 20 deg C, for 4.5 minutes. (For a long time, I used T-Max developer, 1:7, for 7 minutes, at 20 deg C - also less than what Kodak recommends.) Again, this is based on actual testing to achieve desired density for a Zone VIII subject.
    3. Presoak the film in water before developing it.
    4. Agitation is a bit different. I agitate continuously for the first 30 seconds, followed by 5 seconds every thirty seconds for the rest of the development time. And my agitation is very vigorous.
    5. Fix in rapid fixer (ammonium thiosulfate) for 3 minutes.
    6. Rinse, hypoclear for one minute with continuous, vigorous agitation, and then wash for 15 minutes. Actually, I wash by using a succession of water baths rather than a continuous flow of water.

    You need to work with T-Max for a while before you can "tame" it's characteristics, but having done that, you will find that it is really a very nice film.

  3. #3

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    I agree and will add that after 8 or 9 years, I still can't work with it as well as what I know best: Tri-X.

    I believe that John Sexton uses it (TMX) and his work is pretty nice.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the thread guys...

    I just bought a box of 4x5 TMax100 and haven't really had much of an opportunity to work with it. Mono, your work may just have saved me some really big headaches and a whole bunch of ruined film.
    Thanks for sharing...

    Joe

  5. #5
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Joey -

    I should add that the specific times, etc that I listed are for 35mm. I have found that MF takes longer - more like 6 minutes.

    And I don't use T-Max in 4x5. When I moved to LF, I quickly settled on Arista 400/HP-5 and have used that as my standard for years.

    But the key message is to make a choice of materials, and then work with it long enough to develop confidence that it will work consistenly for you. Constantly experimenting with changes results in chaos.

  6. #6

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    Dear Reinis,

    If your negatives are too contrasty it is most likely that they were overdeveloped. Trying a new film is often a learning experience. I use TMX exposed at 100 or just a bit below and I develop in Xtol following the recommended times. Normally I end up printing with a 2-1/2 or 3 filter.

    Neal Wydra

  7. #7

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    Thanks
    Well, I'll keep that in mind.
    That means I need new developer.
    HC-100, okay, D-76 - both are good (I guess), but what about the T-max developer? Why people don't use it that much?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by reinis
    Thanks
    Well, I'll keep that in mind.
    That means I need new developer.
    HC-100, okay, D-76 - both are good (I guess), but what about the T-max developer? Why people don't use it that much?
    Many do use Tmax/Tmax Rs dev. Other popular are D76/ID11, Xtol.

    Rodinal by many accounts is poor for this film. Sexton does not rate it in HC110 either saying both grain and speed are poor compared tto others.

  9. #9

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    Can I find any recipes for the D 76 or Xtol on the net?
    Or are they secret?
    Haven't spent too much time on searching, but if noone tells me, I'll try to search on my own
    I'm asking, becaus getting any chemistry here, in Latvia isn't that simple.
    There are simply NO photoshops here. Just places You can go and order, and then wait or get to know that what You need is not avaliable NOW etc..
    So, if I knew any recipes, I could get the ingredients and try to get little quantity for some films.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by reinis
    Hello!
    Today I face new problems.
    I use Rodinal for developing my films, and some kind of Agfa chemistry for the paper too.
    Till now I used Ilford PAN 100 and Tura P 100 films (cheap ones), but the rolls ended so I decided to try something "better".
    The problem I face now is the same I had with Ilford Delta 100, I tried once - thing is that the negatives (that would be ok for me), but also the pictures (and that's not good at all) are way too contrastly - You can't see human faces or any detail. Not even talking about any use of contrast filters (forget about them). I suppose that T-Max films are better (professional) than more cheaper Tura P or Ilford Pan 100, and it's good that the gradation is from dark black to transparent (for the negatives) rather than medium grey to transparent.
    But - how to lower the contrast? An'ything wrong with the chemistry? Or should I decrease the light of the enlarger/ increase the copying time?
    Thing is that with the greyish Ilford PAN 100 and Tura fils I had no problem.
    Hope You got the idea.
    Thanks!

    PS. I've never attended any lessons to photography, nether read clever books and have shot very few films in my life, but I like the analogue process, and that I can do it myself. So, maybe my problem/question might seem a bit strage to You, professional shooters.
    I have obtained good results with Ilford Pan F and Pan F Plus developed in Rodinal (1:100 dilution for 12 minutes at 21 C). Agitation: 5 seconds of gentle agitation per minute.

    I have obtained good results with Ilford Delta 100 using Rodinal 1:100 and the same developing procedure described above.

    I do not care for the "look" of Kodak Tmax 100. However, I have obtained good results developing it in Xtol (following Kodak's development recommendations).

    I like Kodak Tmax 400 (TMY). I develop it in Pyrocat-HD using the 1+1+100 dilution. I prefer to develop it using semi-stand agitation: 10 seconds of gentle agitation, stand unagitated for 8 minutes, then 10 seconds of gentle agitation, stand unagitated for 8 minutes, then water rinse and fix (all at 21 degrees C).
    Tom Hoskinson
    ______________________________

    Everything is analog - even digital :D

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