Tonal distribution in T-Max vs. Delta : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

In looking at various photos, by various photographers, using these two films (regardless of variables such as developer etc.) I generally find myself favoring the look of Delta for the way the tones are distributed. To my eye it seems that T Max photos render too many tones in the scene all as light gray, whereas Delta looks more brilliant to me. It seems to present those tones toward the white end of the black-white spectrum as a greater number of distinct separate tones. This is purely a subjective impression. I have no scientific basis whatever for saying this. I have two questions: 1.Do others see these films as looking that way? and 2.Is there any way this is objectively confirmed, such as in graphs of the 2 film's response to the color spectrum (i.e.: is one more panchromatic than the other?), or of the black-white (zone) spectrum?

-- Ollie Steiner (, May 07, 2002


Ollie, that does support my general impression of Delta 100. I don't have sensitometry graphs to support this, but it certainly is my impression that Delta 100 separates highlights better than TMX, and, for that matter, better than any other film I've seen.

On the other hand, TMX has richer midrange tones and reveals better gradation of tone than other films in the Zones IV - VI.

Naturally, this is somewhat dependent on developer choice, but these results have been pretty consistent with the different developers I've used with both films.

As far as color sensitivity, TMX has increased red sensitivity, while I believe Delta 100 is more traditionally panchromatic. I don't like this property in TMX since I believe it tends to reduce shadow detail and diminish separation in clouds. It also makes the use of a #25 red filter very unpredictable with TMX.

In my experience, Fuji Acros takes a bit from both. It has highlight separation similar to Delta 100 and the midrange look of TMX. I don't think it quite equals either of those films in their respective strenghts, but it offers the best balance of tonal properties of any of the modern grain films.

The catch is, Acros is twice as expensive in 4x5 as either of the other films, since it is not imported into the US by Fuji Films, and is only available through Badger Graphics. In 35mm and 120, its price is comparable to the others, however.

-- Ted Kaufman (, May 08, 2002.

Ted, Thank you for your helpful answer. While we're on the subject, it has always seemed to me that two other films which exhibit a high key, or brilliant, look are Tri-X and, perhaps most brilliant of all- the late, lamented Verichrome Pan. Again, just a subjective impression.

-- Ollie Steiner (, May 08, 2002.

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