grainy when sunny??? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I've been told that when shot in direct sunlight rather than overcast conditions, B&W films tend to show a lot more grain. Is this true? Recently I had some TMY negs developed at a custom lab. They came back with grain larger than I'd ever seen with Tmax. They fed me the "grainy when sunny" junk. Are they just trying to coverup their shity developer?

-- Garry Belinsky (, January 31, 1998


Junk, but...

There is no way that the grain on the film could be affected by sunlight vs. overcast. Textures will be different, of course, directional light will emphasise textures. This could be mistaken for grain: you should look at areas of zero texture when evaluating grain.

-- Alan Gibson (, January 31, 1998.

What you're seeing isn't grain, but artifacts from light bouncing around inside your lens. Modern APO lenses minimize this effect, but the lenses most people use cannot reproduce what the eye sees when shooting directly into a strong light source. I have seen the same effect when shooting backlit stage acts and landscapes, black-and-white or color. The lab isn't feeding you a load.

-- Darron Spohn (, February 02, 1998.

things will make TMAX (or any other silver based B&W film) liik grainier: 1) Texture-less parts of the image, as someone else mentioned, like a cloudless sky. 2) Overexposure, more likely on a sunny day. 3) Lens flare reducing image contrast, see #5 4) Sloppy developing technique and/or exhausted developer, see #5 5) Printing with higher contrast paper, to get a punchy look, or to make up for #3 and #4 above.

I tried putting some Tmax in my favorite lab for color once years ago and the prints were grainier than the Tri-X I used to use, developing myself, prompting me to use XP-2 until I started doing my own B&W again a couple years ago.

-- Tim Brown (, February 02, 1998.

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