Yes, it most likely is. After months of stubborn resistance, due in part to my undying love for Kodak’s legendary TriX, I have been shooting TMax. In part to see what all the fuss is about, but also to mix it up a bit. Have not developed film in the darkroom for maybe three weeks or so. The 1st negative is hanging up as this blog entry goes out. Yes, this is gorgeous, gorgeous film.
Some caveats here- If you prewash, which I do for about a minute, when dumping the water, ir will have a magenta tinge to it. Yes, that is most likely the anti-halation layer. While some have claimed to also see this with TriX, I have yet to see it with that, or PlusX. But this film will show it when you dump the prewash. Not to worry.
Another TMax phenomenon it is LOADED with silver. It will exhaust your fixer at a much faster rate than the aforementioned emulsions. It is alarming indeed to see the tint after fixing- you can literally SEE the silver. Keep plenty of concentrated fixer in the darkroom cabinet- you’ll be going through this stuff like it’s going out of style. Wait, this is film we’re talking about here. Maybe it IS going out of style? Hardly. Shoot and develop a roll of this stuff, and you’ll be bringing your digital gear into local landfills.
One more thing- this stuff is getting pricey. The commodities market, well, we all know where that is. Yes, silver is getting much more expensive, so TMax is as well.
So why use it? The grain structure is fine. I have shot TMax before, but this is my 1st time developing it. Yes, it is insanely sharp. I used HC-110, 49-1, at 9 minutes, constant agitation for the 1st 30 sec, with 2 inversions thereafter every 30 sec, until complete. Sure, there are most likely thousands of ways to develop the stuff, including using Kodak’s TMax liquid developer. But, after my hesitation to use HC-110, I like the results, and the stuff is incredibly economical. But I would like to also try it with D-76, or TMax developer. But right now, HC-110 is my developer of choice.
Have a roll of exposed 120 TMax 100 in the fridge. Now, to figure out how to load 120 into the tank. Baby steps….
TMax can coexist with TriX, PlusX, and these gorgeous emulsions. This truly IS a golden age of film photography. The films just keep getting better and better.