It does sound like contrasty negatives, but it is hard to say without seeing the negatives (and the original scene) if the issue is entirely one of too much development, or if perhaps there is underexposure as well.
Originally Posted by kbrede
When you say the shadows quickly go black when printing (and you say you are closing down the lens - which should not be a variable here) it makes me suspect there may be some underexposure in addition to the obviously high contrast. Not sure. Can you possibly post a scan of a sample TMax negative?
On the other hand, there might be no problem at all with the processing if the scenes are simply high in contrast, and/or higher in contrast than the scenes you had been shooting with Tri-X. If it turns out there is simply too much contrast in the negatives plain and simple, try developing less. As you play with reduced development times you may have to give a little extra exposure. But first just start by developing less and see what happens to contrast. As Stephen noted, the manufacturer instructions for development times are typically for diffusion enlarging. They will typically recommend reducing development time by around 15% for condenser enlarging. But 15% overdevelopment would not bring you down to a #00 filter. Something strange here.
I have a few additional questions :
-Is your tank plastic or metal?
-Have you checked the temperature of the developer when it comes out of the tank?
-Are the TMax negatives relatively neutral in colour or do they have any kind of strong tint to them (magenta, purple)?
I don't want to overcomplicate this. In the end, you have to use materials you get good results with, so if you prefer Tri-X, no reason to use TMax. The only point I want to make is while the conventional wisdom is that the TMax films are significantly more difficult to work with than say Tri-X, this has not been my experience in testing. They are a little more sensitive to exposure and development variations, but I find them to still be quite forgiving. In particular, the notion TMax films are inherently prone to "hot" highlights is suspect based on my data.
Last edited by Michael R 1974; 01-21-2013 at 07:55 AM. Click to view previous post history.