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TMY-2 strange findings
Old 05-13-2012   #1
alexandru_voicu
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TMY-2 strange findings

Hi everyone,

Some time ago, I decided to use TMY-2 (T-Max 400) as my main film. Until yesterday, however, I've never bothered to check its speed. After reading Tom Halfhill's "Personalizing your film speed" series, I thought I should give it a try, as the article makes a lot of sense.

Said and done. I shot an entire roll of TMY-2 (according to instructions), I developed it precisely after Kodak instructions (5 sec strong agitation every 30 sec) for 10.25 minutes, the temperature of the developer (D76 1:1) was spot on. And now the huge surprise. It seems that my test roll was actually faster than what's written on the box. According to my "test", it reached an ISO of 640.

Confused by the results, I decided to ruin a second roll. Again, I got some very slight density at a 4 stop underexposure at ISO 640.

How do you interpret my findings? Did any of you make this particular test with TMY-2? My camera is a Zeiss Ikon (with Planar 50/2) and I rule out blaming the meter, as it is spot on with my Bessa. I also have a Sekonic 308, but because Zeiss only shows full stops, I can't compare to a third of a stop. All in all, as much as I can tell, the meter is accurate.

I know a lot of people tend to slightly pull films and I feel really awkward to shoot at 640 and not consider it a "push".

Many thanks,
Alex

PS My apologies for my "funny" English.
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Old 05-13-2012   #2
sevo
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It is supposed to be 640 with the T-Max developer, but that is known to gain speed, while D76 won't. But personal ratings (across development and camera deviation, plus taste in contrast) tend to vary by a stop or two - if your findings are off by only half a stop, be happy and use them...
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Old 05-13-2012   #3
Erik van Straten
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I use the Tmax400-2 a lot, but I never use a lightmeter. This film has a very big exposure latitude and a bigger tonal-scale than TriX. Your experience however does not surprise me.
It's a wonderful film, much better than the earlier Tmax400. I hope it will be made for a long time.

Erik.
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Old 05-13-2012   #4
JamesFromSydney
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Your personal speed rating is going to depend on your light meter, your shutter, how you meter, your development techniques, local water chemistry etc. 640 is not unusual, it's not even a stop. What you need to do now is set the meter to 640 and you'll get beautifully exposed negs.
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Old 05-14-2012   #5
alexandru_voicu
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Hi everyone and thank you very much for your replies. After readings countless articles and posts that "most films" are actually slower than what the manufacturers claim, it is really unsettling to find that they are actually faster. What should I do from now on? Should I listen to me or the others? Or to Kodak?

May I ask you one more question? On paper enlargement, printing for the minimum time for obtaining maximum black, how much difference should there be between D-max and Zone 1 (on paper)? When I judged the speed of the film as ISO 640, the difference is certainly visible, but it is really small and it takes an attentive eye to spot it.

Thanks,
Alex
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Old 05-14-2012   #6
Moriturii
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Unless you have put that roll through his second part of the test, which is taking it into the darkroom, those negs won't mean much.

I did the same thing, and after I went through the darkroom part as well, my ISO on TriX went from 400, to about 200ish.

But now I've changed the ISO again, because I've changed the amount of working developer mixed with water I use with D76.
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Old 05-14-2012   #7
alexandru_voicu
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I actually followed exactly the second part of the test. The wet prints confirmed what I saw with my bare eyes on the negative. The question remains, however. How much difference should there be between D-max of the paper and Zone 1? In my strip, there is a difference, but it's very subtle.
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Old 05-14-2012   #8
Chriscrawfordphoto
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I get 320 from it when it is developed in D-76 1+1 for normal contrast that scans well and prints well in the darkroom on #2 paper n a diffusion enlarger. If you're getting 640 you are overdeveloping or your meter is off. Check your developing and see if the negs print well. If they're too contrasty, reduce the dev. time 20% and see what speed and contrast you get then. If its your meter instead of developing, then just use 640 and get good results. Some meters over or under expose a little.
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Old 05-14-2012   #9
alexandru_voicu
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Hi,

Thank you for taking your time to help me out.

I don't think the meter if off, at least not by one stop (my 640 vs your 320), as I compared the camera readings with a Sekonic L-308S meter.

The density below 0.1 (Zone 1) could actually be detected by the human eye? In this case, perhaps I should re-evaluate my test.

Many thanks,
Alex
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Old 05-14-2012   #10
Moriturii
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Well, then expose a few rolls @640, and make a few prints. If pictures look as they should in normal contrast scene, you can enjoy taking pictures and printing from now on.
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Old 05-14-2012   #11
taylan
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First of all I used T-max a couple of time at the past 15 years. For this reason I haven't got too much experience on this film. However your test results seems weird to me. Could you give any information about how to evaluate the film speed? Did you print it?
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Old 05-14-2012   #12
alexandru_voicu
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I did print a couple of shots and they came out fine. Deeper blacks than usual. I haven't had the chance to shoot an entire roll at the new "speed", though.

On the other hand, I will never understand why so many photographers are so suspicious of TMX/TMY. I cannot help but wonder whether the reported "flatness" of T-max films has anything to do with their speed. If people pull the film, no wonder the results are flat. I must admit that it happened that my favorite shots were on t-max film.
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Old 05-14-2012   #13
Tim Gray
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If you get prints that YOU like at EI 640, then who's to tell you you are doing it wrong? That's why the advice is to do this test for yourself, with your equipment, and figure out what you like.

That being said, if 640 feels odd to you, and the EI 400 shots came out just as well, I'd shoot it at 400. That'd give you a bit more room for error if you ever happened to under expose a bit. If the EI 400 prints came out worse than the 640 ones, then I guess your test has spoken: Rate this film at 640 and move on with things.
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Old 05-14-2012   #14
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Another great but tedious description of the test to which you are referring is David Vestal's 'The Craft of Photography.' He takes a lot of time to explain how you can tell the difference between over/under development and over/under exposed. And how they should look in the final print. It is an old book so it is what WE want. I got mine one Amazon for $3.00, but it took forever to come.

TMY-2 does have a long tonal scale, but I'm not sure everyone will agree that it has great latitude.
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Old 05-14-2012   #15
Tim Gray
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
TMY-2 does have a long tonal scale, but I'm not sure everyone will agree that it has great latitude.
Since getting photographers on the internet to even agree on what 'latitude' means, you are probably right
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Old 05-14-2012   #16
semilog
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640 is an entirely reasonable rating for 2TMY.

Kodak's starting-point times for EI400 and 800 in XTOL 1+1 are identical (9.25 min @ 20 C). XTOL, like TMAX developer, gives a slight (~1/3 stop) speed boost, so ISO 640 in D-76 is spot-on. For me, 10 minutes at 20 C is spot-on for this combination at ISO 800.

Note that ISO 640-800 is also the native ISO of the late, lamented Neopan 1600.
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Old 05-14-2012   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Gray View Post
Since getting photographers on the internet to even agree on what 'latitude' means, you are probably right
So true, but there is a reason why TMY-2 has less latitude than a traditional 400 speed film. In fact, slow speed traditional films don't have as much latitude as traditional 400s, like TriX.
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Old 05-14-2012   #18
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
TMY-2 does have a long tonal scale, but I'm not sure everyone will agree that it has great latitude.
I wanted to say that it will stand a ferm overexposure, much better than TriX or HP5. In fact, as long as you do not underexpose, the negatives are mostly acceptable (within reason). I never use a lightmeter, so I do not know anything about ISO-ratings, gradationcurves and such, but this is the way I see it.

Erik.
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Old 05-14-2012   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
I wanted to say that it will stand a ferm overexposure, much better than TriX or HP5. In fact, as long as you do not underexpose, the negatives are mostly acceptable (within reason). I never use a lightmeter, so I do not know anything about ISO-ratings, gradationcurves and such, but this is the way I see it.

Erik.
I agree with you but it's low tolerance to under exposure and being finicky with development inconsistencies really make it a somewhat unforgiving film. It is, in my opinion, a very, very good film which for me has a strong place in the three films I generally use.
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Old 05-14-2012   #20
Erik van Straten
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I agree with you but it's low tolerance to under exposure and being finicky with development inconsistencies really make it a somewhat unforgiving film. It is, in my opinion, a very, very good film which for me has a strong place in the three films I generally use.
Yes, it is the best 400 ISO film I've used in the last 43 years. Tmax100 is even 'better', but that one has a very different character. Btw, I have no problems with development inconsistencies of Tmax400-2.

Erik.
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Old 05-14-2012   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Yes, it is the best 400 ISO film I've used in the last 43 years. Tmax100 is even 'better', but that one has a very different character. Btw, I have no problems with development inconsistencies of Tmax400-2.

Erik.
I'm glad you don't have any problems with development, but many are sloppy which is not a good thing with TMY-2.
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Old 05-14-2012   #22
alexandru_voicu
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Many thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm so glad there are people who really appreciate T-Max films. Speaking of which, I shot and developed an entire roll this evening at my "personalized film speed" of ISO 640. I don't have a scanner, but I will enlarge several shots and let you know how it went. I might take a few days, though. Too bad I was in hurry to shoot this roll and there are too many contrasty shots.
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Old 05-14-2012   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I'm glad you don't have any problems with development, but many are sloppy which is not a good thing with TMY-2.
Agreed. TMY and 2TMY actually have pretty good exposure latitude but for good results they require reasonably careful process control in development.
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