delta or tmax? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I have recently given up on tmax and have started using ilford delta films. These films have responded quite well to xtol and I am very pleased. I am wondering why anyone would use tmax when delta appears to have similar grain size, better tonal range and has a much more tolerant development range?

-- orman hall (, January 12, 2000


TMAX is a great film when it comes to sharpness. Problem is, it's fussy to process. I have been using Ilford FP4 with XTOL and have attain the sharpness thatTMAX has. On top of that, FP4 highlights look great, TMAX is poor in that area.

-- John Clark (, January 13, 2000.


I couldn't agree more. I tried T-max, too, but gave it up as soon as the Deltas were there. As for sharpness, I found Delta to be at least equivalent to T-max, if not better. The Delta films exhibit a pronounced edge effect, which tends to enhance apparent sharpness. I did not find the processing of the Deltas too much of a problem.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, January 13, 2000.


I'm at the point of giving up on TMX also, but I want to understand exactly what the problem is before I do. The film has much to recommend it, but the highlights stink. They burn out easily and never have much snap. With XTOL 1:1 I noticed that the Dmax on the leader is very low. That means that the film has limited range to reproduce highlights, and overexposure is disastrous. In spite of this and on the advice of someone else, I tried "pulling" the film a bit, and the results were pretty good. Go figure. Now I'm starting my own step tablet and densitometer tests to really understand this stuff. The bottom line is that fighting with TMX has given me almost a decade of substandard negatives, and it's time to either fix it or change films! (as for Delta, it's not as readily available here in Rochester, home of "The Great Yellow Father")

-- Conrad Hoffman (, January 13, 2000.

Chalk it up to YMMV. I've used Delta and Tmax developed in Xtol and Microphen (400 speed films pushed). I get finer grain and better sharpnes with Tmax. I get higher pushed speed with TMY. I don't have highlight problems with Tmax. I use a tempered water bath held within 1 deg. F. I do get a batch to batch variation with Xtol but I run a test roll each time and 5 liters lasts me 6-9 months. I often shoot line drawings on 120 size TMX. I like the way I can punch up the contrast with a not very large increase in dev. time. I do two bath fixing and have never had purple negatives.

-- Tim Brown (, January 13, 2000.

Tmax is a wonderful film if you do the testing necassary to reveal it's strenghts. If you are a sloppy worker then you'll have to use something else. Tmax is a very precise film and it needs calibration with your system. I have never had a single problem with it since I calibrated my system to it. Any tonal spread I want is attainable with this wonderful film. If it's not for you or you don't want to calibrate your system properly then use something else. Not everyone likes fords and chevy's. James

-- Mr.Lumberjack (, January 14, 2000.

T-Max definitely has its place--TMX 400 is faster than Delta 400 in most developers. Developed in PMK, I can print a negative taken in full sun and fit the tonal scale perfectly on a grade one paper. I admit that most of the time I prefer Delta 400, but I have to rate it at EI 240, which isn't always convenient.

-- (, January 14, 2000.

The less-tolerant development characteristics of T-Max are of little consequence: it isn't at all hard to get the required consistency. I never liked TMY much, but TMZ was useful. I much prefer D400, and slightly prefer D3200, respectively. D100 is great, and I'm not sure I've ever used TMX.

But I would emphasise prefer. I wouldn't claim that Delta is better, just that I prefer it. OK, so do many other people, but lots of people get on well with the yellow box films, and if it works for them, there's no reason to change.

-- Alan Gibson (, January 15, 2000.

Warning- TLA density now at 120% of design maximums, I don't think the hull can take much more!

-- Conrad Hoffman (, January 16, 2000.

Sorry. TMX = T-Max 100. TMY = T-Max 400. TMZ = T-Max 3200. D100 = Delta 100, etc.

-- Alan Gibson (, January 16, 2000.

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