Another reason to shoot Ilford? (Kodak messes with B&W emulsions) : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Take a look at this

Kodak are "improving" Tmax, Plus-X and Tri-X.

-- Bob Atkins (, February 25, 2002


since you haven't even tried this film why the negative slant? sounds to me like kodak is moving forward. you can bet that every film manufacturer will be looking closly at kodak's changes and if they are substantial improvements they will be making the same changes.

-- ricardo (, February 25, 2002.

So let me get this straight? they are using a new factory and we have to adjust developing times because of this? lol.....methinks there is a little fiddling with the emulsions here, why cant they come out and say it straight out? Ah well, I like the new Fuji ACROS...and never use TRI X or Plus X, so good luck to all of you who love these films and are being screwed by Kodak.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, February 25, 2002.

My negative slant results from the fact that I simply don't believe Kodak isn't going to mess with these films (reduce silver content maybe?). Obviously we have to wait and see but I don't look on this as a particularly good sign, whatever spin Kodak puts on it.

Personally I haven't written to Kodak complaining about dust problems with Tmax, Plus-X or Tri-X, have any of you? If not it's just a little odd that they are fixing something that isn't really broken, given that their economic situation isn't exactly strong.

-- Bob Atkins (, February 25, 2002.

Bob, maybe they read your postings and are now dumping a few ounces more of ISO boost into the TMax tanks?

-- daniel taylor (, February 25, 2002.

For a hundred years or so manufacturers have been continuously modifying films in production with no notification to users. Sometimes this is done for product improvement reasons, others to introduce manufacturing process changes, and occasionally both. The Kodak press release and packaging revisions are a welcome deviation from past practice. At least we know to look for something different, and probably adjust our development times. If, as claimed, they're going to "...maintain the familiar, fundamental characteristics of the films while improving the physical characteristics of the negative..." all will be well. I'll reserve judgement until after having exposed, developed and printed some new TMX.

-- Sal Santamaura (, February 25, 2002.

I'm with Sal.

I have no idea why this amounts to 'getting screwed.' On the contrary this seems like very good news. Kodak is announcing it is committed to producing B/W materials for the forseable future and is investing in state of the art manufacturing facilities.

There seem to be a lot of people on these boards that look for plots where none exist.

-- David Parmet (, February 25, 2002.

David I dont know if it is "being screwed" but I think that when you change emulsion so that you need different development times then the intrisic chracteristic of the film must also change. I use TMX and TMY and since I have been using them for many years I know them very well etc, now I have to go and make more tests (which I have had no need to do for years) and hope that the response to my developer will be the same! So you see I am getting screwed since Kodak is now making more busy work for me for no reason at all. With my loading technique I never had to spot a print and had no problem with dust, so this new process must have something to do with something else since I have never seen a package that comes with dust inside.

Lets face it they are either fixing somehting that is not broken or are changing the film in some manner and they dont want to alarm people. In any case the "dust control" explanation seems rather weak to me.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, February 25, 2002.

I look at this as "good news". I for one was of the opinion that Kodak was soon to be out of the B&W silver emulsion business. This press release indicates to me that Kodak will remain a producer of these materials. In addition this would also indicate that Kodak may continue to produce all the ancilary chemicals & paper. With this said, I must admit that I have been using Ilford materials for the last 4 years. When this change occurs I may get a few rolls of Tri-X to see the difference.

-- Robert Orofino (, February 25, 2002.

Here's what Big Yellow is saying:?

"Kodak Professional today ensured quality black-and-white photography well into the 21st century by announcing that its T- Max, Plus-X and Tri-X films are now being produced in a state-of- the-art facility utilizing modern manufacturing and emulsion processes that maintain the familiar, fundamental characteristics of the films while improving the physical characteristics of the negative. "

If Kodak planned to let the B/W part of its business dwindle down to nothing it wouldn't bother investing in a 'state of the art manufacturing facility' for just B/W films. They wouldn't even let their PR agency spend the billable hours talking about Tri-X. This tells me we're going to have Tri-X around for a few more years at least.

As far as the practical implications for me, so I spend twenty minutes with a densitometer and a shoot a few test rolls to be sure I'm ok. So what? Did anyone see evil plots when Ilford changed Delta 400? Did that 'screw' anyone?

I don't know about any of you but I'd rather have the knowledge that at least two large photo supply companies are still investing in B/W manufacturing technologies, even if it does inconvenience me, than watching the supplies of Tri-X dwindle down to nil.

-- David Parmet (, February 25, 2002.

Anyone want to suggest that this be moved to the "Archived Forum"? I don't understand what this thread is about! I aggree with those that think that this is good news. If you want to shoot Ilford, Bob, I see no reason that you shouldn't. After all, they have never "tweeked" their films, have they?

-- Ed Farmer (, February 25, 2002.

The thread's just a warning of what Kodak are planning. Note for example that Tri-X shipments from Kodak will stop in March and the "new" Tri-X won't start shipping until October. That's a 6 month gap, so if you REALLY like Tri-X you might want to stock up on it since it's possible it will be in short supply.

I do shoot Ilford! Most of the time I prefer HP5+ to Tri-X, though I do also shoot some Tri-X. I think I'll probably end up using FP4+ over TMX too. However I am in the minority when it comes to high speed film in that I like TMZ over Delta 3200.

I guess I'm a bit cynical in thinking that any film "changes" are more likely to be for the good of the company making them than the photographers using them. Given that most film companies are chasing digital as fast as they can I suppose it's a good sign that Kodak seem to be suggesting they are in the B&W business for the near future at least. However my cynical mind keeps thinking of the questions "How do you know when a CEO is lying?", to which the answer is "You can see his lips move". Recent corporate history has made me take anything a company says about what it's doing and why with a 50lb bag of salt.

Time will tell of course, and I'll be as pleased as anyone if the new emulsions turn out to be an improvement.

-- Bob Atkins (, February 26, 2002.

I read the announcement. Sounds to me like they are just making a new factory to replace the old. They say the characteristics will remain the same. But the line about changing the developing times is a bit worrisome...

But nowadays I shoot mostly Iflord except for TMZ which is still the best high speed film for me.

-- Russell Brooks (, February 26, 2002.

Hello, sounds like good news. I think, the increased dust protection will just be some kind of additional coating (like on the Supra 400), which may influence the diffusion of the developer and thereby change development times. Not a big story at all. Regards Georg

-- Georg Kern (, February 26, 2002.

I don't see any sinister agenda here on Kodak's part.
The manufacture of film is still partly a 'black art'. Not all the variables are fully understood, and therefore not entirely controllable. Moving an entire manufacturing facility may well cause a slight unforeseen change in some of the characteristics of the films made at the new plant. I imagine this would apply especially to the older emulsion formulae, where grain growth and sensitivity are changed drastically during a ripening stage.
I think Kodak are just hedging their bets by saying that developing times may change when manufacture is shifted to the new plant.

Kodak's statement about 'better dust control' is also a bit ambivalent. They could mean that the new plant will have better air filtering and tighter environmental control during manufacture, or they could mean that the film coating itself will be altered.
Until Kodak themselves clarify the matter, or we've actually seen some samples of the new films, then I think we should suspend judgement.
Wild claims that they'll put less silver in the new emulsions, and suchlike, seem completely without any foundation at the moment. And anyway, T-grain films are actually capable of a higher Dmax than the more silver rich older emulsions, so where's the precedent for thinking that Kodak's next generation of films will be inferior?

-- Pete Andrews (, February 26, 2002.

Of course we are all speculating here, but it appears that the motivation for the changes is cost reduction. Kodak didn't really say that the new versions are "improved" emulsions, and the reference to dust control is probably "fishing" for something positive to say about the change. I have never heard about anyone complaining about dust on factory sealed film from Kodak. I think it would be a mistake to compare these changes with the upgrade of the Ilford films to the "Plus" versions, for example. But, we will just have to wait and see what the real effect of the change is.

-- Michael Feldman (, February 26, 2002.

The release doesn't say a thing about dust control in the manufacturing process - it says that the new emulsions will be more dust resistant.

Considering the number of threads here on 'how can I clean the dust off of my negatives without ruining them' this is - in my opinion of course - a good thing.

-- david parmet (, February 26, 2002.

Here is part of what Kodak says:

"Kodak's venerable professional black-and-white films are being produced at Kodak's most technically advanced manufacturing facility in Rochester. The modern processes in use also improve the film negative so it is cleaner and much less susceptible to attracting dust. The only difference photographers are likely to encounter is a slight adjustment in development times.

'These next-generation black-and-white films from Kodak shoot the same as before and maintain the high quality our customers have come to expect,' said Bob Shanebrook, Worldwide Product Line Manager, Negative Films, Kodak Professional. 'Photographers might see minor differences in development times, but they'll enjoy the same exceptional results in their prints in 2002 and for years to come. This investment is solid proof of Kodak's long-term commitment to quality black-and-white photography.'"

It's not really clear to me what this means, we will have to wait and see.

-- Michael Feldman (, February 26, 2002.

Why didn't we see this thread when Ilford messed with Delta 400 or was it 400 Delta? I remember HP5 becoming HP5+ and there has always been changes to all films made without announcements, only when they affect the outcome of exposure/development is some pr announcement made.

I am happy to see some hope for a future in B&W film in this release, new packaging or improved emulsion.

BTW, Ilford HP5+ or Tri-X, FP4+, TMZ. I keep trying TMX and Delta 400 but never find what I'm looking for, maybe it was too much dust :<)

-- Steven Alexander (, February 27, 2002.

Michael - what exactly is 'not really clear' about Kodak's statement?

Stephen - my point exactly.

-- David Parmet (, February 27, 2002.

If Kodak have a real commitment to B&W, why are they dropping Verichrome Pan?

-- Bob Atkins (, February 28, 2002.


Kodak's only 'commitment' -- legally, morally or otherwise -- is to their shareholders. Period. If their black and white product line is a drag on their bottom line (and I would bet the house that it is) than it's the obligation of the CEO and the board to either ditch B/W or figure out some way to make it less of a financial drain on the company.

Rumor has it that Verichrome Pan costs Kodak more per unit to produce than Tri-X and Pan-X. Now I shoot mainly VP and I'll miss it as much as anyone else. On the other hand, Kodak is a publically traded company and has a fiduciary responsibility to it's shareholders that outweighs whatever dubious responsibilities it has to you or I as black and white photographers. Sorry but that's reality.

Now in light of all that, if Kodak is triming down it's black and white product line but is investing in a new manufacturing facility for it's remaining product line, I can't see that as anything but a positive development in the long run.

Just my opinion.

-- David Parmet (, February 28, 2002.

Unlike the Ilford + enhancements, It appears that the changes to the Kodak films recently announced are “driven” by manufacturing efficiencies, rather than improvements in film from a customer perspective. I think that Kodak may have been scrounging for "improvements" to tout when they came up with something about reduction in static electricity. Having worked in marketing for a major corporation, I can sympathize with someone trying to justify why the changes were made.

The exact wording regarding this improvement is "The modern processes in use also improve the film negative so it is cleaner and much less susceptible to attracting dust" is not clear to me whether it is an improvement that only affects the "modern processes" (as in manufacturing processes) or whether it will have any noticeable affect on the consumer. Even if did affect the consumer, does it apply to undeveloped film only, or does it continue after the film has been exposed to multiple chemical processes? Note that Kodak says, "The only difference photographers are likely to encounter is a slight adjustment in development times."

Even if photographers did encounter reduced static electricity, I doubt that any change related to static electricity is responsible for the change in development times. I suspect (but admit that I do not know) that there is some other change they are making that affects development times. I am a bit curious as to what the other changes are (if any).

Nevertheless, if these changes make it more economical for Kodak to produce these films, it does make it more likely that the continued availability of these films is assured well into the digital age. That part is the good news.

-- Michael Feldman (, February 28, 2002.

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