Anybody who says anything against my favourite film automatically gets included in my little black book! Seriously, though, T Max is an ok film, but it really depends on what you shoot and what you like.
I reckon the debate is evenly matched; Tri X has some attributes that T Max hasn’t and vice-versa.
However, there are diehards as always in both camps, myself included.
Ok, let’s get on to talk about it. But before we start, I’m not going to bore you with comparisons betwixt the two; that’s been flogged to death 1001 times already, and I’m sure you don’t want to hear that.
We’ll talk about the good and bad points about T Max only here.
So; why would you want to use T Max in the first place? Well, if you don’t like grain, you should use it. If you regularly shoot long exposures, you need to use it.If you shoot portraits or landscapes, you need to use it. If you need great contrast between black and white or great tonal range, then T Max is for you.
T Max is also quite a sharp film, with a marked reduction in the grain as compared to other films. You can expect very good enlargements from this film, too. That friend of mine I alluded to at the start of this post? Well, he normally does 10×8 prints from his work, but what made him switch over to T Max was when he tried a 20×10 job. He says he was simply astounded at what resulted! There was superb contrast, excellent tones and sharpness to write home about — these are his words! Well, upon hearing him rambling on and on about it, I just had to see it for myself and so I did. It was exactly as he had said; I just could not believe the information contained in that print, with really deep, dark blacks and crisp knife-edge whites.
I myself would put up my hands and say the results I had with T Max weren’t that outstanding, but it all depends on who is the driver really, not the car! It’s very possible that I messed up with my exposures or developing times etc., all of which can drastically alter the end results.
What developer should be used with T Max? I can recommend several; Microdol X, or D 76 are two of the very best, or go with T Max developer itself. With these, you will be able to produce results even Ansel Adams would be proud of!