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Thread: TMY film and Xtol developer

  1. #1

    TMY film and Xtol developer

    I am just getting back to darkroom work after 30 years. I previously used Tri X and HC 110 in my 4x5. I was happy with the results and was able to make N-1,2 and N+1,2 corrections. So-if I try going to TMY and Xtol, will I have to change approaches? Is it controllable like Tri X? What can I expect? Other suggestions? Subjects mostly landscape and airplanes.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    TMY and Xtol is a great combination, with high speed, small grain, and excellent tonality. TMY will respond more quickly to changes in development than Tri-x. So if tri-x needs, say, a 20% time increase for going from N to N+1, TMY will need a 10-15% change.
    May tomorrow be a better day.

  3. #3

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    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    I think Xtol is a very good choice, I use it with TMax films and with HP5.

    About Xtol:

    Low toxicity. Use distilled water for stock the dillution if your tap water is high in iron and you want to store it long time, iron content may cause "sudden death" of Xtol after a number of months, otherwise the stock solution do not change activity with time, as D-76 do.

    Xtol is "full speed", so you can shot TMY at ISO 400, and still Xtol gives some 1/3 stop advantage in shadow detail.

    Be careful with highlights (glare on airplanes...) Xtol has some slight tendence to blow higlights, also TMY is less resistant to strong highligts and saturates 1.5 stops earlier than Tri-X, if normal development.

    So in case of strong higlights try to use dilution 1:1 (or beyond) with reduced agitation(every 3 min), in this way developer exhaustion will take control on highlights. I use 1:1 dilution by default, also cheaper... To dilute stock dilution to 1:1 I use tap water, at the right temperature that will leave the mix at the desired one.


    What I do in case of strong highlights, if I make a N-2 development I pull one stop from reduced time and another one from reduced agitation.


    Xtol is a fairly solvent developer, so fine grain, but strangely this do not decrease sharpness (Kodak says), as a solvent effect should do. Diluted 1:1 the solvent effect decreases a bit and you may see a very slight difference after x10 enlargements.


    About TMY:
    This is a great film, but with less forgiveness than Tri-X, so metering and development has to be more accurate. Small grain for 400, and very, very sharp, the same or more than TMX talking in lppmm.

    One thing, TMY has more blue sensitivity than Tri-X, so to look the same a pale yellow filter is needed with TMY, or a pale blue with Tri-X, so if a Yellow filter is to be used it has to be darker in the TMY case than for TX to obtain similar result. (Spectral sensitivity charts at datasheets show it). This high blue sensitivity makes faces luminous under sunny illumination, if you don't like this effect, just place a pale yellow filter.

    TMY negatives have to be thinner than Tri-X, and they will be easily printable aswell, do not try to obtain the same density that would be correct for Tri-X, because "standard" process delivers thinner negatives with TMax.


    This is IMHO... of course.


    Best Regards

  4. #4

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    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    I second Pere's last point, though I don't disagree with any of his points. A properly exposed and processed negative will look thinner than you are used to. But it will print fine.

  5. #5
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    Quote Originally Posted by HartleyFalbaum View Post
    I previously used Tri X and HC 110 in my 4x5. I was happy with the results and was able to make N-1,2 and N+1,2 corrections. So-if I try going to TMY and Xtol, will I have to change approaches?
    No. The Zone System still works just like it used to.

    Quote Originally Posted by HartleyFalbaum View Post
    Is it controllable like Tri X?
    Yes. If anything, it's more controllable. That is, it's more responsive. For example, if you change your agitation a little, you'll see it. With Tri-X, not so much. This can be a two edged sword of course.

    TMY in XTOL (I used to use 1:3, but can't really see any real improvement over 1:1 -- you'll need over 15x enlargement to see it, and with 5x4 film, that's a heck of a print size) lends itself exceedingly well to rotary development. If you've got a Jobo system and a 3010 drum, you can play it like an instrument. It's really pretty cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by HartleyFalbaum View Post
    What can I expect?
    IMHO, you can expect better tonality than Tri-X, better linearity, and much better reciprocity behavior. Those shadows under the rocks in the river that Tri-X just can't render correctly with your 1/8 shutter (because only those shadows are going into reciprocity failure), show all the texture and nuance you could want with TMY and XTOL. It seems like a little thing, but for me it made a big difference.

    I find that Tri-X makes me work harder for the print that I want, whereas if I do my job correctly with TMY, getting the print I want is easy. For me, TMY is less work and more enjoyment. Just sayin'.

    The downside is that TMY needs more fixing, and more washing. Many people fix TMY for twice as long as they fix Tri-X. My TMY in XTOL exits the 3010 drum with a slight purple stain. Nothing that effects printing/scanning. That said, it passed my residual hypo removal tests by coming up clean after just four water changes (washing in the 3010 drum). I add a fifth, longer wash cycle just for the last of the dyes.

    One more thing -- if you're using Kodak Rapid Fixer, you don't need to add the hardener when you mix it up. TMY doesn't need it (hardly any modern film needs it), and leaving it out lets you do things like dilute to a working solution just the amount you need, when you need it. Which gets rid of yet another stock solution bottle in the darkroom.

    Quote Originally Posted by HartleyFalbaum View Post
    Other suggestions?
    I find that I want filters less with TMY. All those yellow, orange, and red filters just sat on my desk when I switched over to TMY.

    So, welcome to the future -- TMY is perhaps the best film ever made. And XTOL is excellent at 1:1, so consider giving that a try. All the rest is pretty much how you remember it. Enjoy!

    Bruce Watson

  6. #6

    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    In medium format I do 1+2 13@68..intermittent shake...first@ 1 then 3 then 6 then 12...takes care if the highlights

  7. #7

    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    I have been using x-tol for almost all of my development for quite a while. It's very reliable. I like x-tol with tri-x but I also like it with FP4+ and HP5+ as well. I like PMK too, but it takes a bit more effort. You won't go wrong with x-tol.

    David

  8. #8

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    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    Bruce, let me debate next points:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    The Zone System still works just like it used to.
    just in the same way, but with a difference... TMY has less silver than TX and additional care must be taken if we want a smooth highlight roll-off, in case of strong highlights there.

    Even with lower silver content, TMY can reach same DMax than TX ( aprox 3.0 D), but TMY will reach DMax whith 1/3 of the light than in TX case, (this aprox 1.5 stops), so the shoulder is different. In TMY case it's more linear but it clips earlier. This suggests to me that TX has more cubic grains of the smaller size. (Note that TMY also has a layer of small cubic grains, being tabular grain type, and today's (2007+) TX also has Tabular grains, being "cubic type".

    This may concern to how highligts are used, and how it's control is mastered...


    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    Those shadows under the rocks in the river that Tri-X just can't render correctly with your 1/8 shutter (because only those shadows are going into reciprocity failure), show all the texture and nuance you could want with TMY and XTOL. It seems like a little thing, but for me it made a big difference.
    When we meter shadows with TX we have to count for the reprocity failure to know in what zone shadows really are, if we expose for that shadows (accounting for reprocity failure) that will overexpose more the rest (say an additional stop) so we needed a N-1 we'll need a N-2, so TMY is to work better when reprocity failure inolved.

    Anyway the very low reprocity failure film is Neopan (also the chromogenic BW400CN), but neopan is short toe, and shadows are very dark...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    So, welcome to the future
    We'll... let me point that (I think) TX it's also the future(if Kodak alive): it was the future in 1960, and also in 1990, and by 2016 it's also the future (I feel...).

    TX for LF perhaps happens to have a weaker footpint than in MF, that's completely true, because grain...


    Beyond this, perhaps the important thing it's not the tool, but mastering the tool one has.

    Michelangelo made The Pietà with a bare hammer, and hitting that boulder with passion. He mastered how a simple hammer can make a Pietà!!

    Those three armonies that sculpture has... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet%C3%A0_(Michelangelo)


    Anyway even Michelangelo failed with the hammer once at least, he violently hit the right knee of the Moses statue with that hammer, shouting, "Why don't you speak to me?", a legend says... : )

    Just to tell that perhaps all we sometimes complain about our tools, but not always are the tools, but something about us. This is the mystical point of view I try to have when I do not obtain a result, not always works... sometimes I buy a new camera, or worse, a new glass !!!! : ) As all we do : )

    Regards !

  9. #9

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    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    Quote Originally Posted by HartleyFalbaum View Post
    Other suggestions?
    If with Xtol you want deeper (strong) shadows you have the option to mix some Rodinal in. Xtol and Rodinal are one of the few mixes of developers that make sense, IMHO.

    I discovered it from photographer Mr Peter de Graaff:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterd...in/dateposted/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/peterdegraaff/

    Now he uses Delta, comparable to TMax, (a difference is that Delta has lower blue sensitivity than TMax (see spectral relative sens. charts in datasheets), but a filter can make them work mostly the same, IMHO).

    A recipe is (for rotary) to take Xtol 1:2 (or 1:3) and just add from 1ml to 1.5ml of Rodinal concentrate for each sheet, use the standard times for the Xtol dilution in use.

    You won't appeciate any fog with that mix, as some predict, but special shadows...

    Rodinal is cheap and concentrate stays alive for years in the shelf, so nice to try if you like the look of Mr de Graaff genuine style.

  10. #10
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: TMY film and Xtol developer

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    TMY has less silver than TX and additional care must be taken if we want a smooth highlight roll-off, in case of strong highlights there.

    Even with lower silver content, TMY can reach same DMax than TX ( aprox 3.0 D), but TMY will reach DMax whith 1/3 of the light than in TX case, (this aprox 1.5 stops), so the shoulder is different. In TMY case it's more linear but it clips earlier.
    This is... odd. Everything I've read since TMAX came out in... what? 1978? shows that the Tmax films don't really shoulder at all, and I have no idea what you mean by clipping.

    I remember reading a Kodak tech. bulletin from the 1980s where Kodak was reporting that Tmax (probably Tmax 100) was good for 20 stops linearly. In the lab. Because Kodak had lab equipment that could read through a negative that dense. You couldn't print it in the darkroom, nor scan it on a drum scanner. But Kodak said it was flat and linear out 20 stops.

    The point they were making was that the Tmax films don't shoulder off. They have a short toe and no shoulder. The most linear films made. I can only think that TMY-2 is exceedingly linear.

    Bruce Watson

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