View Full Version : Tmax 400 question

Jim Andrada
15-Jun-2013, 15:01
I tried some Tmax 400 a couple of weeks back and developed in Tmax developer in a Jobo. Negs were really dark, although quite clean and usable

But the more I read up on it the more confused I get. Kodak recommends in their Tmax/Tmax RS developer documentation that the same development time be used for ISO 400 and 800 - this seems a bit strange to me and makes me think maybe I should just rate the film at 800.

Also they make a comment that the development time should be reduced 20 to 30% for use in condenser enlargers. So should I interpret this as meaning I should reduce development time for scanning (I'm guessing it does but...)

I do like the recommended 75 degree processing temp as the "cold" water here is over 80 now so higher temp means less need for ice cubes to bring it down - I'd love to see a 100 degree dev temp though as I wouldn't need to chill the water.(one of the reasons I like Ilford XP2 in C-41!)

Anyhow, would appreciate any comments on the film/developer combo

(By the way, I ran the test with 120 film so used regular Tmax developer, not the RS version)

Gudmundur Ingolfsson
15-Jun-2013, 15:17
You need to reduce the times Kodak recommends as developing times for 15% when developing in a JOBO !

15-Jun-2013, 15:26
I don't reduce the times and my prints don't complain.

Oren Grad
15-Jun-2013, 17:57
But the more I read up on it the more confused I get. Kodak recommends in their Tmax/Tmax RS developer documentation that the same development time be used for ISO 400 and 800 - this seems a bit strange to me and makes me think maybe I should just rate the film at 800.

Here's what Dick Dickerson of Kodak said about it back in 1988 when the film was introduced and that recommendation was first made:

"If you extend development with T-Max film one stop underexposed, you get significant grain. The increased contrast can make the negative difficult to print, with little real speed gain or enhancement of shadow detail. The net result is you'll get more pleasing prints if you don't push development."

"T-Max Tips", Darkroom Photography magazine, July 1988

Jim Andrada
15-Jun-2013, 19:02
Hi Oren

That's exactly what I would expect - hence why would they show the same development time for 400 and 800? That's the part I find strange. I would have expected to have a longer development time for a 1-stop "push".

@Gunmundar: Re the Jobo and reducing time, I was using the times Kodak gives for rotary drum processing so I would think they had already factored the reduction for constant agitation into their recommendations.

Oren Grad
15-Jun-2013, 19:27
That's exactly what I would expect - hence why would they show the same development time for 400 and 800? That's the part I find strange. I would have expected to have a longer development time for a 1-stop "push".

To state his point more directly, Kodak's tests of T-Max showed that according to their criteria for print quality, increasing the development time for one-stop-underexposed film made it look worse, not better - hence the recommendation *not* to extend development.

Ultimately, what looks best to you is up to you - your criteria for print quality may be different from theirs. Try it and see!

Jim Andrada
15-Jun-2013, 22:20
Hi Oren

Yes, I got the point and yes, I will give it a try (maybe tomorrow) but it does strike me as strange that they aren't recommending a one stop push via extended development to go from 400 to 800, they recommend the exact same development time for 400 and 800 - unless their point is that a one stop difference is within the tolerance for a "good" negative - which also doesn't make sense because then everyone could just rate it at 800.

Anyway I'll try a few variations and see how they come out.

Mark Barendt
16-Jun-2013, 05:48
Jim, it may help to think of this in separate pieces.

First is that the real film speed doesn't really increase much with plus/push development, a little, but nowhere near 1:1. Reducing exposure always results in less usable shadow detail on the negative even if you push develop, but that doesn't always matter.

Second is that there is a safety factor built into the ISO standard. Reducing exposure 1 stop, by choice or by accident, for normal mortals will normally have no notable effect on the print. There is a large range exposures that good prints can be made from. With Delta 400 or TMY, with my normal metering techniques, with film developed for normal 400 speed, and my normal subject matter; I have tested and I can get nice prints from these films exposed at EI's anywhere from 50 to 1600, YMMV. (Not claiming exact copies, just nice prints that do what I intended. Also not claiming that shooting wild is the best way to do things, I normally meter carefully but will also happily take a grab shot with out changing my exposure settings.)

Third is that the ISO standard assumes a standard developing regime and metering techniques. Shooting a 400 film at 800 isn't standard. As soon as you move away from box speed you and Kodak start guessing about what will work best, Kodak's suggestions for speeds other than 400 are based on lots of practical testing not the ISO standard, YMMV. If you are using the say the zone system or BTZS to determine your EI, then the ISO standard and Kodak's directions do not apply at all, you are on your own so to speak.

Forth is that adjusting film development changes the printable range, it changes the way all the tones in the print relate to each other. IMO, given the limited gains in speed available, I simply use normal development, this maintains the normal tonal relationships in the print.

Bruce Barlow
16-Jun-2013, 06:51
For years I followed the Picker Doctrine of testing film speed for my equipment.

These days, I just rate it at half the manufacturer's rated speed, and then test for the proper development time. At half speed, I get tasty, rich shadows. Works with Tri-X, T-Max 400, and HP-5. Development time is less, which I gather is a good thing. Works for me.

peter schrager
16-Jun-2013, 06:58
from a fellow apuger...develop 1+2 in xtol semi..that means initial rotation; then at 3 minutes; then at 6 minutes; then at 9 minutes; then at 12 minutes; for a total of 13 minutes...I do it in a tray for sheet or tank for smaller format.....ASA 400....there is no better way
have a nice day

Arne Croell
16-Jun-2013, 08:46
FWIW, when I tested TMY-2 in sheet film, I arrived at the following developing times in the Jobo, at 75F, mostly 50 rpm (=3.5 on the CPP-2), and with TMAX RS concentrate diluted 1+9:

N+2: 16:30 (EI 320)
N+1: 11:30 (EI250)
N: 8:30 (EI 250)
N-1: 6:00 (EI 160)
N-2: 4:15 at 25 rpm(!) (EI 125)

TMY-2 Rollfilm I ususally develop 10:00 in TMAX RS 1+9 with inversion agitation (30s continuously, then 4x every 30s), at 75F, resulting in something like N+1/2 at an EI of 320.

Jim Andrada
17-Jun-2013, 22:48
Thanks guys. This was very helpful.

Drew Wiley
18-Jun-2013, 15:39
TMax 400 exposed at 800 simply equates to lopping one zone off the shadows. Reducing development by whatever means can keep the overexposed highlights within
bounds, but nothing will recover the gradation in the deeper shadows. You'll get away with this in a low-contrast scene, but not in a full-scale one. The current
TMY is less grainy than the original version; but if you're doing rotary development, it's a good idea to use a low RPM.

18-Jun-2013, 16:04
I like tmax 400 ...although it is quite expensive. When scanned the grain seems to disappear unlike tx320. I use Tmax RS with great results and sometimes pryo HD with super good results... i only reduce develop time by 10% for Jobo and tmax RS, and no reduction for pryo HD. With pryo HD i seem to get the extra stop just by not reducing develop time by the Jobo factor. I also use 8 minutes in the Kodak Rapid Fixer without the hardener ...Oh and i always pre rinse with distilled water. This has always worked for me with the new tmax 400 and with the old formula film. You can push the tmax 400 film speed but in my experience it shortens the dynamic range of the photo. You can see this in the histogram when you scan same picture with different film speeds. I also only use 75 for dev temperature. If you over expose tmax by one stop (200 asa) the dynamic range gets huge... i like it for portraits because it moves the the face tones off the "toe" of the tone curve... more detail in the shadows!!!try it you will like it

over develop and the angle of the film curve gets steeper .....more contrast..... over expose 1 stop develop normal it moves your shadow of the toe and give more printable or scannable detail. Think of the scanner as the worst photo paper ever on a grade of 3 or 4.... my 750 epson just is not great at scanning shadows (toe end of film).... in fact i can say it is horrible because of the digital noise in the shadows. Its also bad on the highlights (shoulder end of the film)but dont care much if they fade...

now i hope i explained this right...... i use more instinct now a-days to take pictures. I have been taking portraits for a long long time....

Peter De Smidt
18-Jun-2013, 18:43
I used 4x5 TMY on a trip to the west coast last year. I developed the film in Xtol 1+1. Film testing showed a true EI of 500, i.e. my zone I measured .15 above film base plus fog. That's the fastest film I've ever tested in 4x5, and the grain size is still outstanding. If you need to stop motion with faster shutter speeds, it's an outstanding film.

Lenny Eiger
20-Jun-2013, 17:00
I like this as well. I rate it at its rated speed, but I agree on the Xtol 1:1. It's much better than the TMAx developer.... if you are interested in tight grain.


21-Jun-2013, 06:00
hi jim

i am probably not going to be much help in your thread ...

but just wanted to make sure you are using TMAXRS not regular TMAX developer.
if you use the regular-stuff your negatives will be exhibit dichroic fog .. maybe not the first or second time but
when you think everything is going great .. yep happened to me and haven't used that developer since ...

(the only way i was able to salvage my film when it was covered with
dichroic fog was with farmer's reducer .. probably something you don't want to be doing ... )

good luck with your TMAXRS developer !


21-Jun-2013, 08:34
I have seen some fog from dichroic fog (chemical fog) HC110 years ago..... i have not seen this in my film since i started pre wash and using distilled water for all of my chemical mixing. This happens from the developer step mostly from badly mixed or old chemistry. Careful technique and distilled water can make this problem go away forever. Where i live the water is so bad that comes out of the tap, the county advises not to let your pets drink the water.

Wiki def "Chemical fogging occurs at the processing stage when old or spent chemicals are used, chemicals are used in the wrong sequence, inadequate washing between processing stages or inappropriate chemicals are used. Because of the wide range of cause, the effects can be diverse ranging from coloured streaks and blotches through to the lack of an image or a totally black image. The most common cause is the use of old or spent chemistry which often results in a lack of contrast and an undesirable background colour - usually brown."

21-Jun-2013, 10:54
hi mike

in my case it was bad advice from a kodak rep ( 91' ) who told me "with sheet film use the regular tmax dev, not rs"
she got it backwards ... regular tmax is well known to cause dichroic on sheet film ... unfortunately
when i called kodak to see what i should do with my 70 sheets ( my first 30 - 40 were tests to make sure what was going on and seemed fine )
well, first they asked if could remove the green metallic fog with a qtip :) then they told me i was hosed, and why wasn't i using the RS developer to begin with ...

fortunately paul krot was still alive and well at sprint chemistry in pawtucket ri... he had me mix some ferri
put my film back in hangers and put them in the ferri for a little while then refix + rewash &c ... he saved my skin.
i have nothing but praises for paul and his company.

kodak was nice enough to tell me the lady in their professional services division didn't exist ( my mistake ? )
and i have done my best never to use that chemistry again, not even the RS ... but i also try to make sure lf people i come across
who use tmax developer use the right stuff, i wouldn't want anyone i come across to have the troubles i had.

the funny part of the story was i got kodak's farmer's reducer ( or at least the ferri ) to fix my problem ;)


Jim Andrada
21-Jun-2013, 18:18
There's some story about why it's OK to use regular Tmax developer f or roll films but only RS for sheets - something along the lines of ifyou squeegee well before the film dries you won't get fog, which is easy to do with 35mm/120 but less easy with 8 x 10.

Anyhow I use the RS so fog isn't the problem. I think there's been a lot of good advice here so now I just need to practice more with the film. So far I'm testing with 120 in my Mamiya 7II but will try a couple of sheets of 8 x 10 soon.

27-Jun-2013, 19:53
TMY-2 is an amazing 400 speed film. I think they sprinkle it with pixie dust. I develop in deep tanks with replenished Xtol, 8.5 minutes at 68 degrees F. Less grain and sharper the Ilford 100 Delta. I've scanned it at 4000 dpi at a 13um aperture in my howtek 4500 and the grain is barely noticeable.