4×5 Tmax 400

October 11, 2010

I’m working my way through a 50 sheet box of Kodak Tmax 400. I’m not familar with this film in any format. In 35mm I mostly use Kodak Tri-X or Fuji Neopan 400, and in 120 mostly Tri-X. I actually don’t remember why I bought this Tmax. I was going to buy some Tri-X Pro 320 in 4×5 and at the last minute I got the Tmax instead. It might have been a better price, plus I’ve read good things about it. So I’m trying to work out if I like it and also how it looks in various developers at different times.

Below are two shots made with my Crown Graphic and Optar 135mm lens. Both were the same exposure. It was quite a high contrast scene and needed to be pulled, i.e. over exposed and under developed. I wanted full detail in the shadow area under the desk as well as holding detail in the glare on the desktop. I did a range reading of the scene with my Soligor digital spot meter. The area under the desk was around EV 8 to 9. The glare on the desk top was EV 13 as was the water in the background. That is four to five stops above the shadow area. So if I exposed under the desk as a midtone, the desk surface will likely be over exposed. I should be able to hold this back by reducing the development time.

Pulling the dev mostly affects the highlights but does have some impact on the shadows. I think it’s generally a good idea to add an extra stop to the exposure when planning to pull to protect the shadows. In this case I wasn’t paying attention and closed down a stop rather than opening up. I know this because at least I was keeping notes. The meter told me f/5.6 at 1/60 and I should have exposed at 1/30 but did 1/125. Setting the shadow area slightly under a midtone which is normally OK but not what I intended in this case.

Xtol 1:1  8.5 min at 20 deg

R09 1:50 9 min

I exposed two sheets with the same exposure and processed one in Kodak Xtol and the other in R09, the current Rodinal formula. I still pulled the dev in both sheets as I hadn’t realised my exposure mistake. I develop 4×5 by putting one sheet in a standard Paterson tank curved around the inside. I process the same as for 35mm and 120, agitating for the first 30 seconds and then 10 seconds at the start of each minute. At the moment I’m assuming normal for Xtol 1:1 is 9.25 minutes and normal for RO9 1:50 is 10 minutes. For these sheets I did 8.5 minutes and 9 minutes respectively.

I can’t see much difference between them, in the negs or the scans. I was surprised at first that they looked thin in the shadows but that is explained by the exposure mistake. I will try this shot again with correct exposure when the light is correct. It needs to be overcast or preferably raining.


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