View Full Version : Newby: Landscape Film to Try After TMax?

Michael Heald
18-May-2006, 14:31
Hello! After about 300 4x5 TMax 100 and 400, I need to resupply my film and developer. I was wondering if another film might be worthwhile to try?

I've been shooting mostly landscapes and architecture (that is, anything outside manmade), as opposed to portraits. I've gravitated toward normal to lower contrast scenes and I've found I generally like the images better after I darken the midtones after I scan them. I don't have a wet darkroom, so my prints come from scanning to a desktop printer or a printer service.

I've been using TMax RS with a unicolor drum for normal development between 68 to 72 degrees depending on the temperature of the house. So far, my results have been consistent with this method with adjustments for the temperature range from 68 to 72.

I've tried some Pyrocat HD for negatives from an 8x10 pinhole camera I've been using to experiment with alternative contact printing processes. I may consider trying pyrocat HD for my 4x5 images as well.

TMax/TMax RS has worked well for the images I shoot, but I don't have enough experience to determine if another film/developer combination might work better. I'm curious if members would recommend experimenting with another film for the kind of images I've been shooting? Best regards.


steve simmons
18-May-2006, 14:45
You might consider Ilford's FP4+. It will have a speed of 80-100. You might like the mid-tones better. I have been using Gordon Hutchings' PMK formula since the early 1980s and prefer it to the HD. I got better high value separation.

steve simmons

Michael Kadillak
18-May-2006, 14:55
I have been guilty of this charge as much as anyone in years past, but there always seems to be a greener pasture over the next horizon for all photographers looking for that Silver Bullet. Even though we have invested time and resources in learning the visual personality of a perfectly acceptable combination of film and developer, we are always ready willing and able to go back to square one and start over.

Stay the course and work on the compositional component of seeing with your camera because that will have the most serious positive impact on your photography. Any one of the 50 film and developer combinations that one could recommend or come up on their own will NOT make anyone a better photogapher. It will however squander time and materials during the dial in period and only confuse and disorganize. Particularly when you are scanning, your flexibilities in the computerized visual adjustment mode can accept and work with just about any negative so I contend the film and developer are really not critical variables in your particular work process. D 76, T Max RS, Rodinal or DDX as well as many others will all provide you with an acceptable negative to scan and massage as you see fit. If you were printing on wet paper then the conclusion may be completely different. Been there - Done that.


David Beal
18-May-2006, 15:23
Delta 100 at ISO 50 developed in Rodinal 1:50.

Good shooting.

/s/ David

Jay DeFehr
18-May-2006, 15:33
Hi Michael.

I think you'll be hard pressed to find a better-scanning film than the Tmax films. I use develoopers that I prefer to the ones you're using, but the ones you're using are capable of excellent results. That being said, there's nothing wrong with curiosity for curiosity's sake. If you feel like trying another film or developer, or both, by all means do so. This photography stuff is supposed to be fun, right? Good luck.


18-May-2006, 15:48
Why not give Tri-X a try? Quite a different look from T-Max.

18-May-2006, 16:11

I'll second the FP4... :)

It's one I've been using for quite some time now and it gives me everything I'm looking for.

BTW, FWIW, I shoot it at 100...


Where can I locate Gordon Hutchings' PMK formula? I'd like to give it a try. :)



steve simmons
18-May-2006, 17:17
To get Hutchings The Book of Pyro call Bostick and Sullivan at 505-474-0890. The also have a pre-mixed starter kit in liquid form.

steve simmons

18-May-2006, 17:27
if you want to experiment, you'll learn more by changing one thing at a time. why not keep the film and try different developers? or vice versa?

(personally i think that film is a lot more promising than that developer).

David Luttmann
18-May-2006, 21:28
Here is another vote for FP4. My favorite film is still Pan F....but that's not available in 4x5. Their is a beautiful, creamy tonality to FP4 that I find lacking in TMax. Some people seem to get great results from TMax, but I've never been a fan of it's curve.

18-May-2006, 23:15
Thanks Steve...:)


Ron Marshall
19-May-2006, 06:14
I am very happy with TMX and D76 1:1 hand rolled in a Jobo. I also love FP4+, however, for a while I was shooting mostly in low light so its reciprocity failure charecteristics rendered it unsuitable.

Colin Graham
19-May-2006, 17:54
FP4+ is excellent in Pyrocat. I get box speed at the 2:2:100 dilution, and it builds local contrast very well in flat low contrast scenes. And it's wonderfully sharp.