Delta 100 vs. TMAX100 vs. (new) TMAX400
Things were simple when I was shooting medium format--I usually shot Delta 400. For rollfilm, I think that when Delta400 was reformulated in 2001, it offered better tonality and only slightly larger grain than Delta 100. I also preferred it to TMX and TMY.
Now that I've switched to large format shooting (4x5 and 8x10), I've been trying a number of films because Delta 400 isn't available in sheet film. So far, I've shot a fair amount of Delta 100 and TMX and I prefer the TMX. It seems to edge the Delta 100 in sharpness and tonality. For some reason the Delta seems a little sooty and blocked in the shadows. I'm developing using Pyrocat HD on a continuous roller system. I've been shooting both films rated at EI 64 or EI 80.
I'd like to hear some thoughts on how people think these films compare--especially in sheet film, but any observations are welcome. I haven't yet tried the new TMY, but by most accounts--it sounds like a very good film. I'd like to standardize on a single film for most of my black and white shooting and right now I'm leaning toward TMX. But Delta 100 is close and it's less expensive--so it's not out of the running. If the new TMY offers most of the quality of TMX with only a slight increase in grain, it might be worth standardizing on to gain the extra two stops. The qualities I value are fine grain, creamy tonality, and good shadow separation.
Last edited by Barry S; 09-24-2008 at 10:11 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I believe TMY does this. Even in medium format, it (to my eyes) only has a small increase in grain over TMX and it is definitely the sharpest high speed film. I would describe its tonality as "creamy" exactly as you stated. I have not used it in LF but based on my experience in 35mm and 6x7, I would use TMY. It may be the most versatile film there is and it has just been improved.
Originally Posted by Barry S
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah.
Keep in mind TMX has a UV blocker so if you decide later that you want to print alt process you'll be up the creek so to speak. I'd consider giving Delta 100 some more testing as I've had great success processing it in pyrocat hd. My entire Pond Scum series was made with that combo.
tmx vs Delta 100
I have settled on Delta 100 instead of TMAX, after developer tests. My pyrocat tests are not complete, but in Rodinal 1:50 and ansco 130 at 1:40, I get much better foilage contrast and the like with Delta.
I am shooting 5x7 mostly, and contact printing so far on cream based papers.
As a practical matter, I suspect either TMAX or Delta would be adequate to most any task, just need to be processed differently. I found huge contrast changes with different developer regimens.
Hmm, I thought that TMX and the new TMY only had the UV blocker in 35mm & medium format, not sheet. Anyone know for sure?
Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty
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I thought that the absence of the UV blocking layer only applied to TMY-2, or whatever it is being called. But maybe I am wrong.
Originally Posted by Gabe Racz
I've used exactly 2 rolls of TMY-2, in 35mm no less, but from that I can tell you that it is much improved over the older formulation. I was impressed. So take this for what its worth.
Arguments about grain size are purely academic. If you are concerned about this in large format, forget it. Yes, a faster film will be more grainy than a slower one. Does it matter with a 4x5 or an 8x10 negative? Not a damned bit. If you make an enlargement so big that grain shows, the viewing distance is too close to see the whole print.
Consider the small apertures generally used for large format work. The extra 2 stops of speed to be had with TMY-2 is a big advantage. Subject movement is always a problem when doing landscapes because the wind never stops blowing. The shorter you can keep your exposure times, the better off you'll be.
There is no need for fancy and finicky developers with TMY-2. D-76 works just fine. The film I processed was shot in the streets of NYC, where the contrast range is often far greater than anything you'll find out in open country. Shadow detail is there, and the highlights didn't blow out. If you want to get fancy, use XTOL. You'll might get just a tiny bit more shadow detail and a tiny bit less grain. It won't be enough to notice unless you compare two prints side by side where all other variables have been removed from the test.
Thanks for everyone's perspectives. I do have some alt-process work in mind using 8x10 negatives, so the UV transmission properties are of interest. I'm still fairly new to large format, but I can't help noting that there are many more choices in slow films available as sheet film, so I have to think that grain does make a difference. I did find that some old Tri-X was a lot grainier than TMX, although it may be partly due to the film's age. I think it's worth ordering a box of the new TMY since it seems significantly improved and may be significantly better for alt-process work.
400TMY-2 is my new standard film. I strongly suspect it would be phenomenal in large-format sizes, based on my experience in 120.
Xtol or D-76 either straight or 1+1 and it's spectacular.
If I could choose only one B&W film, it would be the one. Yes, not even Tri-X.
Originally Posted by MikeSeb
I'm with you Mike. I've spent the last couple days making proof prints from about 100 4x5 TMY-2 negatives developed in Pyrocat HD and they are stupendous. Even though these are just 8x10 RC prints, they look great. I get almost box speed, great shadow detail, I have trouble seeing the grain in a magnifier to focus, and the highlights are very well controlled. Did I mention that they are sharp? Ouch they're sharp! They are very easy to print and I can't wait to make larger prints on fiber paper. TMY-2 has replaced FP-4 as my large format film and I couldn't be happier.