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Thread: Hp5 vs TMY400

  1. #1

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    Hp5 vs TMY400

    If you have experiences with these films for portraiture I'm interested in what differences you see, if any. Also are you printing on silver paper?
    thanks,
    chris

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    I have minimal experience with hp5. tmy2 400 has a faint bit of yellow filtering built in. If you want big freckles and wet plate gnarliness, use a colder light source or filters. tmy2 is a more versatile film that doesn't have any particular look of it's own. Developer choice, lighting, are all more important. If it's artificial light you are using for portraits, use which film you are more familiar with, not what I recommend.

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    Very different films. I done lots and lots of silver printing from both. Don't like HP5 in anything smaller than 8x10 due to its graininess. My favorite portrait film is actually TMax 100, but it seems you want speed, and TMY 400 is analogous - both with a long steep line and excellent shadow separation - esp helpful where extreme of fabric contrast or group shots of mixed ethnicities are involved. HP5 has a longer toe.

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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    I like HP5 myself. Having never been a fan of Tmax films, my experience with TMY is limited to a single box I shot, so I can't profess to having learned its ins and outs as well as HP5. I had trouble taming the highlights with TMY, which is why I reverted to using HP5. I also didn't think the TMY dug out shadows as well. However, my understanding is that all of the Tmax films are more sensitive to development variations, so it could well be I simply never found the right exposure/development combination that worked for me.
    Michael W. Graves
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  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    Yes, distinctly more sensitive, needing more careful exposure and development. But that's the beauty of them. I've got a lovely framed portrait on the wall where taken with a Kern 14in dagor on 8x10 TMX where I deliberately underexp the blacks and expanded the midtone microtanality with overdeveloping, then "snatch" dev a Brilliant Bromide print in glycin, with everything deep black to full white coming out subtle silvery. It's hard to find papers that snatch dev well anymore, except in a "lith" sense; you need high-silver content graded paper. But I've done a newer version ordinary dev using MGWT and triple toning, equally nice but different. People have often asked me if the original print is an etching. It's highly detailed and extremely tonal nuanced, but so subtly that it doesn't look like a studio photo. HP5 would have yielded mud in the lower values in this kind of scenario.

  6. #6

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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    To me, IMHO, most evident difference is price, similar price for rolls, but surprisingly TMY is way more expensive per sheet.

    For the rest, one can adjust the photographic process to obtain very similar results. Let's go comparing every point...

    Direct match:

    The Ilford direct math for TMY is Delta 400, but Ilford only makes Delta 100 in sheets as a direct match to TMX, the closest Kodak match for HP5 is TXP 320 Pan. So the comparison has to account for that.


    Grain:

    TMax and Delta films are tabular type, fine grained, both have grain without aesthetic personality when it is seen in smaller formats, while HP5 and TXP have nice grain structures, this is having more evident grain in the dark greys (TXP) or in the mids (HP5). Of course grain is always more evident in areas without microcontrast, and seen (MF and 135 especially) much more in washed/OOF areas.

    Well, LF don't show much grain, but with HP5 and 4x5 you may want a fine grain developer like Xtol if you don't want grain, in the 8x10 game you won't perceive any grain.


    Spectral response:

    To get the same skin tonality filtration has to be different, if you look at the spectral response charts in the datasheets you will notice a very different graph, anyway it is difficult to say until what amount because the charts have different vertical units, being the Kodak graph more "scientific".

    Mr Sexton said that TMax films are designed to need less a yellow filter... but he makes more landscapes than portrait.


    Resolving power:

    TMY should have some advantage in theoric resolving power, as we compare a tabular crystal film to a cubic film of same ISO, but IMHO this is completely irrelevant because lenses may work worse than film, specially in portrait conditions.


    Linearity:

    Both are short toe an completely linear films, TXP is medium toe and it also has a bump in the mids (see curves in datasheets) that helps face volumes (IMHO), but we have to meter in a away that we have that sensitometric bumb in the subjects face's key area (IMHO).

    LIRF:

    In theory TMY has lower reciprocity failure, this is less a concern for portrait, anyway Ilford recently published more accurate factors stating a lower LIRF.

    Washing:

    TMax films require extended washing times (not necessary to overfix) to remove the pink dye (is it bare erythrosin ???), in fact it also for shure works as an emulsion incorporated color filter. Sensitizing dyes can be washed out from emulsion while the sensitizing effect completely persists anyway, so (IMHO) if Kodak don't remove the pinky in the film it's because it does some filtration that's useful to obtain the desired spectral sensitivity, or another thing...


    So...


    To me, in LF, it is possible to get similar results from TMY and HP5, but we need a different filtration for skin tonality and for the 4x5 case we may want Xtol for the HP5 grain.

    ...and anyway I'd prefer TXP for some conditions, if I want to use the TXP toe (rather an working shadows in the wet print) or if I want the bump in the mids...

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    Not quite right, Pere. Other than T-grain technology, T-Max and Delta are opposites. TvMax films have high contrast way down into the shadows; Delta has an upsweep favoring midtone and highlight repro at the expense of shadow values (a nice feature for high-key Caucasian portraiture in white garb). TMax is also spectrally unique in the manner all three primaries can be easily exp and dev to matching gamma - nothing to be concerned with here, except to note a mild YG like Hoya XO or Wratten 11 filter is handy to have around or pink complexions tend to go pasty. The pink stain completely washes out of TMax negs if you use alkaline fixer like TF4 from Photo Formulary, and the fbf will be nearly nil (around .03). With FP4, the residual stain slowly degrades with UV from printing, or simply neg aging.

  8. #8
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    Quote Originally Posted by chris_4622 View Post
    If you have experiences with these films for portraiture I'm interested in what differences you see, if any.
    I can compare for you some between the differences in a cubic grained film (Tri-X, HP5+, etc.) and a tgrained film (TMY, TMX, Delta, etc.). My experience however is with Tri-X, not HP5+, and TMY-2, the current emulsion IIRC. For context, I'm developing in a Jobo 3010 tank (continuous agitation) using XTOL at 1+3 and 1+1.

    I found two main differences. The biggie for me was that TMY-2 has considerably better reciprocity characteristics. This will mean something to you if you're interested in the level of detail you can carry in the shadows, which is really about how you light for portraits. If you're doing the "beauty light" thing where you light with big softlights above or next to the camera and you don't create much in the way of shadows, it just won't matter much. If you are going for more drama, and light at more of an angle so that you create a fair amount of shadows (e.g. Rembrandt lighting, George Hurrell, etc.) then this might be more important to you, IDK. But what I found was that I really struggled to get Tri-X to handle shadow detail well for what I wanted, because the shadow areas were entering reciprocity failure (while 90% of the film was not). When I switched to TMY-2 it was like a veil getting ripped off the scene -- the problem areas were suddenly extremely well behaved and I didn't have to do anything special at all with them to get the shadow detail I was after.

    The other big difference for me is that TMY-2's tonality was for me an exact match to what I was seeing. Tri-X wasn't. I couldn't tell you what the actual difference are, all I know is that years of working in B&W developed a part of my brain so that I can see in B&W -- I got to be fairly good at translating from color to B&W and actually seeing the image in B&W, as most photogs do. But it was always just a good translation, never excellent, because what I could see in my head never quite matched what Tri-X delivered. This resulted in printing difficulties, both in chemical printing and ink jet printing. Lots of dodging and burning either way I printed. When I switched to TMY-2, this problem went away for me. TMY-2 is just a better match to what I visualize tonally. I've printed TMY-2 negatives as "straight prints" (no dodging and burning at all) a few times, when everything clicked. That never happened for me with 30 years of Tri-X.

    So... once I started using TMY-2 I never went back. Didn't even finished the opened box of Tri-X I was part way through. But as you might expect, YMMV.

    Bruce Watson

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    If you're working with moderate contrast or balanced studio lighting around Z3 to Z7 (for you Zone System junkies), you can surf the relatively straight line section of many of these film and use them at least partially analogously. But let's say you're asked to do environmental portraiture where the contrast might change, or some Willie Nelson type shows up who wants a rugged individualist persona and Karsh-style lighting, well, that's where familiarity with TMax becomes an asset.

  10. #10

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    Re: Hp5 vs TMY400

    Thanks for all the thought provoking responses. I like using Fp4 but my lights are not quite enough to get the shutter speed faster than 1/8sec at f8 which is workable, I've done it plenty of times but I'd like a little more flexibility in exposures and two more stops would help.

    I tried Hp5 without much luck but maybe I'll have to experiment a bit more. I would try TMax but the cost...2 1/2 times the cost of Ilford.

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