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Thread: Tmax 100 development and Scanning issue ( Silverfast )

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  1. #1

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    Tmax 100 development and Scanning issue ( Silverfast )

    Wasn't sure where to post this. I bought a 50 pack of Tmax 100. Initially I had some great results. I've read the film can be a little finicky but I didn't have many issues developing or shooting. I use XTOL. My standard development is 9 minutes @ 70 degrees.

    About halfway through the pack I noticed the negatives were coming out what looked to be like thin. At the time I actually think I was over exposing by half a stop. I usually expose .1 to .2 over. After a batch of thin negatives I checked the camera and questioned the XTOL but my HP5 negatives were developing normally.

    What I'm noticing now is that the negative itself looks good , not quite as dense as my HP5's but the tone looks nice. When I scan, no matter what I do the prescan is darker. I almost always need to increase the
    Exposure value to around 1.5 to 2.5 and or profile the negative via Negafix with something like TMAX 400 or the FP4 / HP5 profile , effectively brightening the image.

    Has anyone else had this issue or have a suggestion or comment regarding something I could change or tweak? Obviously I recently began shooting TMAX so maybe I don't know what a well exposed TMAX 100 negative should even look like.

  2. #2

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    Re: Tmax 100 development and Scanning issue ( Silverfast )

    I've had exactly the same issue with scanning 35mm TMAX100 developed in TMAX developer, i'd be curious to see comments on scanning this film.....

  3. #3

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    Re: Tmax 100 development and Scanning issue ( Silverfast )

    I don't use Silverfast, but I would take a look at the preview/pre-scan histograms and compare them.

  4. #4

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    Re: Tmax 100 development and Scanning issue ( Silverfast )

    Yeah it's difficult to say. I shoot HP5 @ 200. With 10 minutes of development the negative is dense , maybe a touch too dense but the results are pleasing. Next to what I think a well exposed TMAX negative should look like , the TMAX negative looks tighter , less dense , and sharper which it is if shot well. Yet when it hits Silverfast it's dark...

    Going to run it through Epson Scan as well and maybe Vuescan. If it's dark through all three and my HP5 negatives are fine then I presume I'd need to develope the negative for a longer period of time? Or less? I always thought an overdeveloped but well lit negative becomes more dense and contrasty.

  5. #5
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Tmax 100 development and Scanning issue ( Silverfast )

    Quote Originally Posted by 1erCru View Post
    When I scan, no matter what I do the prescan is darker. I almost always need to increase the Exposure value to around 1.5 to 2.5 and or profile the negative via Negafix with something like TMAX 400 or the FP4 / HP5 profile, effectively brightening the image.
    Why is this an issue? Really, scanning silver negatives is mostly about capturing the range from dmin to dmax, and getting all of it into a file. After that, you can process that file to your heart's content, yanking the "brightness" every which way depending on what you want at any given moment.

    As an old drum scanner operator who's scanned plenty of Tri-X and Tmax film, I can tell you that nothing scans as well as a modern t-grain film that has a dmax that's somewhat lower than you would want for printing in a darkroom. In zone system terms, I used to shoot for a Zone VIII density of about 1.0. That was my personal sweetspot (and yes, you can go too low, but that's an exercise best left to the user).

    In truth, if the film is optimized for darkroom printing, it will scan just fine. If you're ever going to consider printing in the darkroom, optimize the negative for your darkroom process.

    OTOH, if you're only ever going to scan, then optimize for scanning. Since it's a silver-based negative, it's subject to Callier Effect, just like a darkroom enlarger is. So you want exactly enough density in your highlights to get the job done, and not a bit more.

    To do this effectively with a film like Tmax (either one), you really should run your personal exposure index (EI, or PEI) tests, and your "N" development time tests. And you need to hit your exposures on the money (that means to not routinely over expose) to make sure you've got the shadow detail you need. Because even with scanning, it still comes down to the old saw: Expose for the shadows, and develop for the highlights.

    Bruce Watson

  6. #6

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    Re: Tmax 100 development and Scanning issue ( Silverfast )

    Quote Originally Posted by 1erCru View Post
    Wasn't sure where to post this. I bought a 50 pack of Tmax 100. Initially I had some great results. I've read the film can be a little finicky but I didn't have many issues developing or shooting. I use XTOL. My standard development is 9 minutes @ 70 degrees.

    About halfway through the pack I noticed the negatives were coming out what looked to be like thin. At the time I actually think I was over exposing by half a stop. I usually expose .1 to .2 over. After a batch of thin negatives I checked the camera and questioned the XTOL but my HP5 negatives were developing normally.

    What I'm noticing now is that the negative itself looks good , not quite as dense as my HP5's but the tone looks nice. When I scan, no matter what I do the prescan is darker. I almost always need to increase the
    Exposure value to around 1.5 to 2.5 and or profile the negative via Negafix with something like TMAX 400 or the FP4 / HP5 profile , effectively brightening the image.

    Has anyone else had this issue or have a suggestion or comment regarding something I could change or tweak? Obviously I recently began shooting TMAX so maybe I don't know what a well exposed TMAX 100 negative should even look like.

    It is a common practice to adjust development of TMX to obtain thinner (than normal, compared to classic cubic grain) negatives, as the regular way to go.

    TMX is has a very linear response (compared to TXP and TX) so it is easier blow highlights (or to get a too high density there, for darkroom).

    Also thinner negatives are easier to scan.


    IMHO you should not try to reach same general density level with TMX than with HP5.

    Just look the final result, scan or print, and take the settings that work the better for you, this may be a different targeted density depending on the film.

    Think that a very linear film like TX is used differently than an S shaped response film. With a linear film you capture light linearly and you compress shadows and highlights at a glace while printing, to fit the scene in the paper lower dynamic range.

    Normally with an S shape film, (like TXP, with longer toe and shoulder) you may compress shadows and highlights in the negative itself and then you "tend" to print more linearly.


    At the end scene (normally) has more dynamic range than paper, normally you end (more or less) compressing shadows and highlights to allow tonal richness in the mids. This process may vary depending on if your film is linear or S shaped, and for this TMX may be developed thinner than more classic films.

  7. #7

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    Re: Tmax 100 development and Scanning issue ( Silverfast )

    Just an update. I've switched to D76 with Tmax 100. The negatives now look great. I may have had a bad batch of XTOL or TMAX though.

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