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Thread: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

  1. #71

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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    It took until the 70's & 80's for knowledge & techniques of grain growth & sensitising methods to get to the level necessary to be able to manufacture the fast, very high chloride content emulsions needed to make multigrade papers work really well - and until the 90's for those techniques to really reach maturity along with concomitant sensitising methods using less dye & super-sensitisers.

    As for the Tmax, I'd not severely underdevelop it - better to get your lower values largely where you want them via exposure & processing & use the good linearity of the highlights on TMX to pull them in at printing/ scanning stage by whatever means necessary.
    Last edited by interneg; 21-Jun-2019 at 16:19.

  2. #72
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    Tmax films are extremely versatile with respect to development. I know how to take them from a very low gamma at almost a full straight line to quite high gamma almost completely linear. But these films can be unforgiving if you don't have exposure well dialed in. And with respect to general photography, we aren't ordinarily going to work with the extremes of potential but usually somewhere between a 4 and 12 stop range, a range which might often be encountered around here this time of year every day when natural softbox fog conditons break up in the middle of the day and you're got twelve stops of range between specular bare branches and deeply shaded burn scars in the woods. TMax handles these conditions far better than any current option, and prints wonderfully. The faster 400 speed has better edge acutance and, being faster, handles windy circumstances better; it's so fine-grained for a film that speed that it makes sense for most large format applications. TMX 100 has to be tweaked for improved acutance; but for portraiture, I prefer it as is, as slightly softer-edged, yet still capable of high detail and a lot of microtonal gradation. These are not films for everyone; careful shadow placement is important in high contrast situations, but the payoff is high. If you want something more forgiving of error, stick with trusty FP4. I'm not going to drift too far into speaking about VC papers because there are all kinds of different printing personalities in that overall category. We'd have to discuss specific paper, developer, toner, and even light source combinations. But this is their era to shine, just like graded papers once dominated the scene.

  3. #73
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    At the risk of stepping into, as an unbeliever, what might be a religious war , I find that in all but
    the most extreme high contrast situations, Tmax 400 developed in D-23 1:4 with reduced agitation gives very
    nicely printable negatives on Ilford MG Warmtone. Under these conditions I back the ISO down a half-stop
    or so (and I'm one of those who like to place "open shadows" on Zone IV). MGW is so soft in my experience that
    I had to goose up my film development times considerably compared to MG Classic.

    I don't know, but I can imagine that that dilution of D-23 might cause the Tmax 400 to develop a significant
    toe that requires the extra exposure. In any event it's not a big issue because I'm not photographing moving
    subjects most of the time anyway.

    When things get really nuts (e.g., at the seashore with wet sand), WD2H yields easily printable negatives at
    the cost of one full stop of effective film speed. Low tone separation is excellent and highlights are perfectly
    tractable.

    I mostly use D-23 because it's so much easier (no need to mix things at the last minute), but I always have
    the pyro mixed up and ready just in case. Sometimes I make two negatives and try different development on
    each one. I own a densitometer but I've never bothered to use it. I employ just the little bit of science I need
    to accomplish the art that I'm interested in.

    There are many paths to the goal (good prints of good pictures, in my case), so the usual disclaimers apply
    to my practice.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

  4. #74
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    Of course you can use D23, but then you're drifting into compensation territory. This has nothing to do with a religious war. Do whatever you want. But there are real alternatives to the usual Zone System mantra of compressing the sandwich. You CAN have your cake and eat it too, with excellent deep shadow gradation and excellent printable highlight separation at the same time. Otherwise, why even bother with a relatively pricey high-performance film like TMax to begin with? If you want a more extended toe, just buy FP4 or HP5 etc to begin with.

  5. #75
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    Joe, I like your plain talk and we can view your images on your website.

    Your inquisitor does neither.

    I like your images.

    Peace

  6. #76
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    The "Inquisitor" does not go around pretending that web images equate to actual prints, which I presume is what is actually in mind in this discussion. How on earth can subtle differences in highlight tonality be visually compared on the web? That's like trying to play a violin with a chainsaw instead of a bow. Joe said it himself - D23, like most compensating developers, requires greater exposure to push the shadows up onto linearity. That means that in order to bring the high values back into range, you need to minus develop, i.e, smash the sandwich and all the tonality in between. What's so damn complicated about that fact? If doing so results in a print one likes, then by all means do it. But this being a thread about preserving highlights, meaning no doubt highlight gradation, one could hypotheticallly do just the opposite and simply underexpose and overdevelop the film. In that case you lose shadow gradation. And if that achieves the look you want, fine. I've deliberately done that a few time with TMY to get bold graphic black shadows. But you can have both excellent highlight as well as shadow separation, with good microtonality in between. Why are you complaining about that? I'm not charging anyone for that kind of basic information; and a couple of other people have stated essentially the same thing in more curt wording than I used.
    Last edited by Drew Wiley; 22-Jun-2019 at 19:34.

  7. #77

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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    But there are real alternatives to the usual Zone System mantra of compressing the sandwich.
    Drew, Zone System is no mantra, IHMO it deserves more respect and even some veneration, just see some AA prints.

    First ZS is a visualization method, it prompts the photographer to imagine the final print and to expose/develop to help that result.


    Later ZS says the obvious, how you have to expose to record your shadows, this has no debate. If you use FP4, HP5 or TMX they you may have an slight difference, say 1/3 stop. If developed Normal, all deliver 0.1D (over fog+base) at 3.3 stops underexposure when using true ISO speed.


    Then ZS says what development you need (compression or expansion) to have highlights where you want. Again it says the obvious, as shadow recording imposes the exposure then you develop more or less to have highlights in a workable density.


    So... what's wrong in the ZS ? It tells how to record the dynamic range of the scene you want !!!!


    Sorry for explaining the basics, but when DR is exceeds film latitude we only can compress, and latter managing to print that with a suitable technique, if not we won't record well the scene.


    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    You CAN have your cake and eat it too, with excellent deep shadow gradation and excellent printable highlight separation at the same time.
    If understanding well basic sensitometry then there is no secret. On paper we have 2.0D, the way we distribute out mids-shadow-highlight in that 2.0D paper range is "the score". Also obvious. If we had to compress to fit scene DR in the negative then we can expand on paper (to have the gradient we wand for mids) with a higher contrast grade.

    The rest is about understanding how shoulder-toe are in our film and in our paper. Also we can use advanced printing techniques, we may need dodging/burning, masking, etc.

    When do we need to compress? When scene range is wider than our film latitude ! we need that to take the range we want, if we don't record that range then nothing in the printing process will help.



    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    If you want a more extended toe, just buy FP4 or HP5 etc to begin with.
    Let me reiterate: If developed Normal, all films deliver exactly 0.1D (over fog+base) at 3.3 stops underexposure when using true ISO speed, as ISO speed is defined from 0.1D speed point.

    All recorded under 3.3 underexposure will be encoded in a muddy 0.1D range in the negative, Always !!!!! if you have good detail at -4 this is because you don't use the true ISO speed that's the absolute reference for comparing films.


    With shadows imposing the exposure, to retain highlights, if our scene exceding film latitude, we only can compress in a certain way, with a N- or a compensating development that lowers highlight density.


    _________________


    Of course, an accurate metering/exposure and graded ND will help to take advantage of all available latitude of our film before we need to compress.
    Last edited by Pere Casals; 23-Jun-2019 at 04:40. Reason: spelling

  8. #78
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    Gosh, Pere. I knew what I liked about AA's prints long ago, and what I didn't like. I've had my own side by side with his. I learned the Zone System long ago. There are all kinds of tricks AA never used; and in the meantime, films and papers have changed. That's not a criticism of the ZS. But there are other tools available too. I never used grad filters in my life and never will (except for CF filters to correct WA lens falloff). All they do is clumsily handle broad sections of a scene. If you really learn what films like TMax can do on their own, there's no need for such gimmicks. But you're not listening. I work with difficult lighting ratios all the time; but I haven't resorted to minus development even once in the past ten years that I can recall, maybe twenty.

  9. #79

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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    If you really learn what films like TMax can do on their own
    I guess I know what tmx is capable of. One of the best BW films ever.

    But it's very linear and not shouldered, so in the highlights soon it reaches insane densities that are difficult to print in the darkroom . Such high densities are no problem for scanning/Ps.

    In the shadows, if shot at box ISO speed, at -3.3 it delivers 0.1D over film+base, like all BW films.

  10. #80
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Retain highlights with Tmax 100

    No, you don't know what TMax is capable of; otherwise, you wouldn't write things like that.

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