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  1. #1
    Jim Moore's Avatar
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    Exposing TMAX for Pyrocat-HD/AZO

    I will soon be shooting 8x10 (Kodak TMAX 400) to be developed in Pyrocat-HD and contact printed on AZO paper. (Thanks Brian!)

    I would like to start concentrating on some landscape work, but the few landscapes that I have done I've had a little trouble with exposure.

    My first question is should I do anything different for exposure with this film/developer/paper combination in general?

    My second question is what is your method to determine your exposure for landscape work. I seem to to well with my exposure in other areas that I photograph, but I just can't seem to get the landscapes correct.

    Thanks!!

    Jim

  2. #2
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Jim, I haven't used Tmax 400 but the general concensus, as far as I know, is that for any film/Azo combination, set the shadows in Zone IV.

    You can search the Azo forum (michaelandpaula.com) and find several discussions of this. Jim Shannessy is one of the leading proponents of Tmax 400 there.
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  3. #3
    Jim Moore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley
    Jim, I haven't used Tmax 400 but the general concensus, as far as I know, is that for any film/Azo combination, set the shadows in Zone IV.

    You can search the Azo forum (michaelandpaula.com) and find several discussions of this. Jim Shannessy is one of the leading proponents of Tmax 400 there.
    Thanks for the info Alex, I will check out the Azo forum.

    Jim

  4. #4
    noseoil's Avatar
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    Jim,

    One bit of advice I can give is that in some landscapes I've been working on, less contrast works well with grade 2 azo. What would be a decent silver print is actually about a stop too much contrast for grade 2 azo (my findings only!). Try doing what Alex has suggested by placing shadow values (what would normally be zone III) on zone IV and doing an N-1 development with a subject of "normal" contrast. In other words, add density with the zone IV exposure then shrink the tonal range about a full stop to begin with and go from there.

    I'm shooting on weekends in an area of forest fires from last year's Aspen fire near Tucson. There are burnt trees (charcoal sculptures) with last year's crop of dried grasses (straw color). While this contrast range seems extreme, I've had to use a yellow filter to firm up shadows and bring out the highlights of early light on the dried grasses. It is a bit tricky to balance it all, but the area has a somber beauty and dignity which I find interesting.

    Jim S. really does have a good handle on this combination you're going to use. Best of luck. tim

  5. #5
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    I have a harebrained theory about the developer to use with Tmax (400 only; I've not tried 100 in years). I think ABC is too energetic for it, especially with minus development. ABC's better for old style thick emulsion films, of which none are available to me. With Tmax the energy's in the film and so a softer developer is best. With ABC the energy's in the developer, so a softer film (like Super XX or Isopan) works optimally. Just an impression. I have no data to back it up. Without sensitometric data of Super XX negatives to make a comparison, all evidence regarding this topic is anecdotal.

    I place my shadows on Zone IV (I rate the film at 200) and make sure that I develop for Zone VIII. It was hard to break the "Zone III - Zone VIII" habit, but those negatives consistently yielded negatives with too much contrast and not enough density.

    The negative of the statue at the monastery posted in the technical forum that Jorge and I both printed was made this way. The darkest shadows (under the hands) were placed on Zone IV and the wrists fell on Zone VIII. I gave N development. The lighting was ambient tungsten light from two indoor flood lamps mounted on the wall, each at about a 45 degree angle to the statue. This was made inside the main church of the monastery. With Tmax there were no reciprocity issues. As Jorge will attest, there is very low base fog with this negative. The negative needs a smidgeon more contrast than grade 2 produces. I'd say somewhere between grade 2-1/4 and 2-1/2. Grade 2 is definitely too flabby and straight grade 3 definitely too harsh. I printed it on grade 3 (the prior run, not from the new master roll) and gave it 20 seconds in amidol and 40 seconds in the water bath. Voila!

    I hope more people try Tmax. I'm just terrified at the thought of their discontinuing it. The only thing that will keep Kodak from doing that is for us to buy it like crazy.

  6. #6
    Jim Moore's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys... Much appreciated...

    I place my shadows on Zone IV (I rate the film at 200) and make sure that I develop for Zone VIII. It was hard to break the "Zone III - Zone VIII" habit, but those negatives consistently yielded negatives with too much contrast and not enough density.
    Just so I understand correctly. When I meter the scene with my spot meter I would place the lowest value that I want to hold detail on Zone III? Then meter the high value to see where it falls and adjust development to make it Zone VIII?

    And to find development time for Zone VIII I would need to do testing?

    Thanks!

    Jim

  7. #7
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    I set exposure the old-fashioned way; get the meter on a place so that its reading all shadow, which is a zone 5 reading, then crank in 1 stop overexposure. If there are no convenient shadow areas on the subject, I shoot a reading on my own shadow or anything else convenient.

    I develop my sheet film by inspection, so time is a secondary element. Using DBI, one inherently develops the negative for its highlights. Therefore, it was exposed for the shadows and developed for the highlights. (Gee, that sounds familiar!)
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  8. #8
    noseoil's Avatar
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    Jim, when you meter your shadow values, what would normally be placed on zone 3 needs to be placed on zone 4. This will provide enough density in the shadow values to make sure the film's toe is avoided. Azo needs to have sufficient density in the shadows for a decent print, or you will have pure black without texture. By placing those values on zone 4, you have added enough density to assure sufficient texture.

    When you do your development, you still want to have a zone 8. Functionally, you have narrowed the range of values the film sees in order to match the film to azo's reduced contrast needs. This was one of the most difficult concepts for me to grasp with azo. It is able to give a full rendition of tones, but it does this with a negative which would be too flat for regular enlarging paper.

    Azo myth: You need a negative with a net contrast range of about 1.5 for a decent print on grade 2. Wrong. You need a dense negative with a reduced contrast range for azo to do its magic. Strictly my findings, but I stand by them (for now).



 

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