View Full Version : New to TMAX

1-Feb-2009, 17:47
I recently used Kodak's TMAX film in a new 4x5 camera I picked up and wanted to know if these results are typicial or not from those who have used it extensively..?? Thanks. Any coments on the shots is more than welcomed.

Ron Marshall
1-Feb-2009, 18:08
Typical in what sense?

1-Feb-2009, 18:11
I guess typical in tonal range?

Andrew O'Neill
1-Feb-2009, 19:16
This is just too difficult to answer. Who cares if it's typical tonal range or not as long as you are happy with the results. Is it TMY 400 or TMAX 100?

Gary Samson
1-Feb-2009, 19:55
I guess typical in tonal range?

The tonal range is going to depend on your exposure index for the film, metering technique, developer and development time, paper choice and contrast etc., etc. There are a lot of variables to consider in evaluating the performance of any film. If you are in control of your materials and equipment you will get predictable results that you predetermine through good technique and vision.

1-Feb-2009, 21:01
It's TMY 400

Bjorn Nilsson
2-Feb-2009, 02:00
Learning how little or how much you can get from a negative is something only you yourself can do. Gary took up most (all?) of the variables which you have to be in control of, but I recon you have to look at other pictures so that you can get some references on what can be achieved.

The easiest way is to enroll in some analogue photo class. Else, exhibtions, museums, art galleries etc. Pictures on the web can give you a hint, but seeing a good print in person is way beyond that. (Somewhat similar to sex. :) )

Anyhow, TMax films are known to be somewhat "tricky" or say nervous in that you have to be very precise in your development. But given correct processing, it's one of the best films around. Having said that, the pictures you post are nice with quite a pleasing tonal range. While there's probably more to be done with the prints, you do seem to know what you want.

I guess these are negative scans, and thus dependent on your digital workflow and hardware. What are your plans, to print wet or digital?


Bruce Watson
2-Feb-2009, 06:10
I recently used Kodak's TMAX film in a new 4x5 camera I picked up and wanted to know if these results are typicial or not from those who have used it extensively..?? Thanks. Any coments on the shots is more than welcomed.

You've got some empty shadows in these shots, and a lack of detail in the trees. It looks to me as if you underexposed somewhat.

TMY has a short toe and is therefore unforgiving of underexposures. The short toe makes it more important therefore to get your personal Exposure Index down -- your EI will vary from the ISO speed on the box depending on your developer and your process. Determining your EI is one of the first things you do in the Zone System. For more on that see Adams' The Negative or Pickers Zone VI Workshop. Or any one of countless other books about the Zone System and it's variants.

Brian Ellis
2-Feb-2009, 08:44
The lack of detail in some shadow areas in the one on the left is typical of film (T Max or any other kind of b&w film) that was underexposed (which might have been, but probably wasn't, intentional). The blown out sky in the one on the right is typical of film that may have been overdeveloped (unless the original sky was a bald, bright sky, in which case it's typical of film that was developed normally but that possibly should have been developed for less time, depending on what the original sky looked like and what sort of look you were trying to achieve).

A quick fix for the lack of detail in shadow areas in future photographs of similar scenes would be to rate the film at half the speed you were using for this one. However, that may call for a reduction in the development time you're using. If the sky in the one on the right is brighter than you wanted that can possibly be fixed in the future by reducing your development times with similar scenes. Proper testing, as outlined in many books including the one Bruce mentioned, will help you with all this.

Ken Lee
2-Feb-2009, 09:38
This discussion presupposes that the images you show us here, are a true representation of the results you see on your computer. Has your your monitor been calibrated ? If not, then it's unlikely that what we see, is what you see.

Are these scans of prints, or of negatives ? Who developed/printed/scanned the images ? What developer was used ?

What scanner was used ? Not all scanners are equal, especially with regards to how much shadow detail can be captured. And then there's the skill level of the scanner "operator" to consider. And how much time they want to spend, to get the best from the image.

By the way, what scanner software was used ? (Isn't Digital so much easier than Analog ?)

Was a filter used when you shot the scene ? A warm-colored filter may darken the blue sky nicely, but it will also darken the shadows, since shadows are lit by blue light from the sky... unless you're on a movie set, where the bring lighting and giant reflectors even to the great outdoors for just this reason. Their methods make most Large Format photographers look like amateurs, but then they have a lot of money to spend and really have to get things right.

2-Feb-2009, 11:28
Sure, some indication of possible underexposure, but nice images nonetheless. Can you reshoot them and boost the exposure?