If you’re like me you’re always on the lookout for a great black and white film/ developer combo for scanning. I’ve tried many different films and developers and then recently stumbled upon the great marriage of Diafine and TX (Kodak Tri-x)…my new standard. Watch the videos below to learn more about this dynamic combination and for tips on proper processing techniques as well as a few quick tips on scanning black and white negatives. Be sure to also check out my sample pictures under the videos to see just how good it is. (Click on the images for a larger view.)
Please note that due to YouTube 10 minute video limit I had to break this 12 minute discussion into two parts. (Be sure to watch both videos!)
This image illustrates the huge dynamic range possible with TX and Diafine. In this example TX was rated at 1600, 35mm. (Check out that shadow detail!)
This example is TX at 1600 in low flat lighting…the full print size is 16″x24″ and the crop is a 4″x6″ section out of the full image area. Film size: 35mm
This example and the close up represent TX at 1600. The final image size (print) is 16″x24″ and the crop represents a 3″x3″ area of the final image at full size. Remember…this is TX at 1600 in 35mm!!
Processing Information for Tested Films:
Fuji Acros 100 EI 200 70-75 5+5 (Best choice for really big enlargements and where an EI of 200 is ok.)
FP4 EI 200-250 70-75 3+3 (Very nice but I prefer PMK for FP4).
TMY-2 EI 500-640 70-75 3+3 (Very nice combo but I’d stick with Xtol or D76 1:1…see my review of this film here on the Figital Revolution.)
TX EI 1250-1600 70-75 3+3 (My personal favorite and my new everyday film. I also keep an ND filter with me (.9) for the bright afternoon light and just remove it as the day ends so I can shoot this film all day long on my M7 with no worries!)
All chemicals are mixed with distilled water. Processing is done by hand with stainless steel tanks and reels.
I will be posting Part 2 in a few days which will cover my scanning techniques (specific and general) as well as basic file handling. Part 3 (next week) will focus on the final print and have a demo (yes another video) on hand coating your own paper for inkjet. Stay Tuned!!
For a quick audioblog on my printing techniques and my thoughts on tonality just click on this link: A Fear of Gray
All images and video Copyright Stephen M. Schaub 2008
If you spend as much time as I do on the web (drinking espresso) you come across some pretty interesting assertions by photographers from all walks of life. I have posted this audioblog in an effort to ameliorate and perhaps provide a bit of “middle ground” for a conversation between the Luminous Landscape and Ken Rockwell. (To read each original article just click on the links below:)
Luminous Landscape Article – Your Camera Does Matter
Ken Rockwell Article – Your Camera Doesn’t Matter
Ok, now that you’ve been outraged by the silly, over-the-top claims on all sides, and are searching for some clarity in your photographic life give this audioblog a listen….it’s therapy time. In the end we can and should all get along!
Just in case you haven’t heard…that wonderful instant Polaroid material you’ve used for years is about to be no more! That’s right: Polaroid has announced that it will stop production of its instant materials at the end of this year. There have been rumors that Fuji and Ilford may be interested in the technology but to date nothing has, er, developed. Here is a link to a great interview from NPR on Polaroid and reflections by several artists who use this material for the artworks including Chuck Close. (Just click on the AUDIO logo.)
Having worked with Polaroid materials for several of my own artwork projects from my Through A Glass Darkly series and Book, The Haiku Series, The Sakura Porfolio and my Encaustic Cycle as well as also being collected in the Polaroid Permanent Collections as one of their featured artists I find this news of a once-great icon in photography closing shop very, very disturbing for the future of our creative medium.
Do you- or a photographer you know- suffer from Sticky Filter Syndrome? There is no need to be ashamed… we’ve all been there. This informative video gives a quick fix and a preventative cure for this dreaded photographic ailment.
“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”
– Abraham Lincoln
This is a key underlying concept of the Figital Revolution…if we as photogrpahers band together and speak out about what we want in our industry, the industry will be compelled to listen! So over the next few months I will be conducting brief surveys (3 yes or no questions each) on what the photographic community really wants. So click on the survey link and and make your voice heard! I will post the results on The Figital Revolution and also use this information in meetings with industry (aka The Photo Industrial Complex) to illustrate what Real Photographers- that’s you- want! Please note you must enter your email address at the end of the survey to keep voting honest… please only VOTE once… it’s how Lincoln would have wanted it.
Via La Revolution – Stephen Schaub
Please note that by completing this survey your email address will NOT be shared and you will NOT be added to any email mailing list. If you would to receive our online newsletter just click here to subscribe as it is FREE!
As promised here is a sample image (my wife Eve Ogden Schaub of Life=Art) in Puerto Rico pushing the new TMY-2 (Tmax 400) to an E.I. of 1600 and processed in Xtol Straight using Kodak’s suggested time/ temp . The light was very, very low as even at an E.I. of 1600 my exposure was still 1/8 at F1.4 (hand-held.) The image was made with a Leica M7 with a 50mm Summilux.
So what are my thoughts????
Please note: click on the thumbnails for a larger view.
1. Of course there is more grain than the 400 speed test I posted a few days ago (click here) but not a lot considering this is a 2 stop push! It is not as crisp and lacks some fine image detail as the other test image had due to the increased grain and I am sure the slow shutter speed and the f1.4 working f stop ( I do the best I can, but on 10 shots of espresso a day what do you expect?)
2. Good shadow detail and the highlights still have nice separation especially considering the light source.
3. Easy to scan- no problems with excessive contrast or anything…the scan was as easy as my last test scan. (Scanned on an Imacon Scanner at 3200 dpi, 16 Bit, wet mount, no sharpening.)
So what does this mean??? Where do we (I) go from here?
Well I for one will shoot this film as my NEW primary film at box speed (400) – but it is nice to know that in a pinch I can push this film to meet my needs no matter what they are… I am going to continue my exploration of different developers (stay tuned!!) for this film, but for now- Xtol works fine. Once again in my opinion – Kudos to Kodak! (It’s been a long while since I’ve been able to say that twice in one week!)
Image Copyright Stephen M. Schaub 2008
Kodak IMHO hit a home run with the new TMAX 400. I’ve been testing the 35mm version- (the box says world’s sharpest 400… and it is!) and having now shot around 30 rolls of this film in Puerto Rico and tested a few more here in Vermont here are some initial thoughts (note- please be sure to click on the images to get a larger view):
1. I tried 3 different developers (D-76, XTOL and PMK… XTOL Straight wins hands down.)
2. True 400 speed in XTOL.
3. Extremely fine grain with a very, very nice tonality…MY NEW FAVORITE FILM!!!
4. I feel that the times posted by Kodak for this new film are pretty darn good- at least the Xtol processing time/ temp produces negs that scan perfectly.
I have posted an example snapshot I took of my wife Eve Ogden Schaub of LIFE=ART while at lunch in Puerto Rico (my Pina Colada is just out of the frame). The image was shot on a Leica M7 with a Summilux 50mm F1.4 at F/2.8 (060 filter on lens). Be sure to check out the detail images as well as they really illustrate why I feel this film is a real winner (remember…this is 35mm 400 speed film!)
The scan was done on our Imacon at 6300dpi, 16 Bit, Wet Mount. Printed at 16″ x 24″ on our d’Vinci Fine Art Printer it blows me away that this is 35mm. Go get this film NOW! This is a film we as photographers should support as it is fantastic (and how often can you say that these days?)
Please note that there is quite a bit of old stock TMAX 400 out there (I don’t like the old film at all)…the new version has only been out since Oct/ Nov 2007 and can be a bit hard to find. The box should have a red rectangle that says “World’s Sharpest !” The Catalog Number is: 894 7947…I purchased mine from a Calumet Store.
Here is a sample preview of my new artworks from Puerto Rico (These are from my Fragment Series). The image is 36″ x36″!
Viva La Revolution!!
Please note all images Copyright Stephen M. Schaub 2008
Rarely do I get excited about new cameras (let alone another digital point and shoot camera) introduced to our already-flooded medium, but a new offering by Sigma (DP1) needs to highlighted. I have been watching the development of this camera for over a year now and it seems that Sigma will now have it (DP1) out by Spring 2008…early Xmas anyone? For more information click here.
After researching current printing technologies as it relates to scanned and digitally captured images Indian Hill Imageworks in conjunction with ErgoSoft has developed Hi-Def Giclee (TM) printing. This breakthrough allows for spectacular tonality and clarity that exceeds traditional wet processes and eclipses other Giclee printers. This ground breaking technology when married with the d’Vinci Fine Art Printer allows for unparalled preformance. Add into the equation a great film scan from a Pyro processed negative and the world is yours!
If a picture is worth a thousand words than the two posted here are an encylopedia… Picture A. represents a 1440 dpi print on an industry Pro Printer on fine art paper. Picture B. represents a 1440 dpi print on the d’Vinci Fine Art Printing Platform as a Hi-Def Giclee (TM). The printed image is only 1/2 an inch in size but look at the difference in detail….Amazing! For the first time digital printing has reached well beyond the wet process and now is using 21st century technologies to their fullest.
I’d like to thank Mark Rowe, Applications and Color Specialist at Ergosoft USA (the amazing RIP software that powers the d’Vinci Printer) for his insight, clarity of thought and help.