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
Sitting in my studio with my Mentor Student Bill during our regular weekly class we decided to work on a new image Bill had made this last week. The image as described by Bill was not a “great image” but it had elements that he wanted to work with and explore. Cul.
I always give the advice that if you only work with your best images you are really missing the learning opportunity that other works you make offer. Working with images that are not quite 100% for one reason or another really releases the creative juices and allows you to take chances you would not with your precious perfect images.
The tipping point in this image was the initial crop. The monument was not the subject of the scene, in fact it hurt the image as it separated the scene into two distinct parts…the snow and color on the mountain was the subject and something which could be explored. Bill confessed to me after an hour of water boarding and general CIA approved questioning techniques that his initial instinct was to just shoot the mountain with the snow and color but he decided that the Monument would maybe make it better…(Bill will be forgiven for this lack of self confidence after he has read the Figital Revolution Manifesto 20 times as a penance.) So, after an hour of editing and working with color and local contrast the final image conveys the energy Bill was looking for in the first place.
What does this mean?…don’t discard an image too fast….the process of making an image can be very rewarding in itself and it is a great learning tool with regards to understanding your work and developing style.
Now go dig out those dusty negatives and digital files and get to work!
My thanks to Bill for help with this post…to view more of his works please visit: billguild.com