Having been and ILFORD user since learning to shoot with it in high school, I thought it high time I gave some Kodak stock a look (I have been shooting film again for about two years – a VERY long gap since my high school days). My only gripe with the ILFORD HP5 PLUS I’ve shot with has been some muddiness in the mid-tones, so I was keen to see how T-MAX 400 handled that.
The limitations of my job usually only allow me to shoot around the area where I work, and right when the sun is overhead, in my lunch break – I’ve been photographically mining this territory for nearly four years, and I feel I’ve become pretty good at squeezing out any of the left-of-centre subject matter.
When my Canon A-1 stopped working last year, a friend gave me his old workhorse Canon EOS1n – a beast of a 35mm camera, which I love. I put on the super-basic Canon 50mm EF f/1.8 II “Plastic Fantastic”, and headed out for the afternoon.
As this was not a work day, I was able to take my time and observe the T-MAX in a variety of lighting conditions from overhead sunlight to night-time. I processed in (probably too old) ILFORD ILFOSOL 3 at 1:9 for 6 minutes and fixed in ILFORD RapidFix for another 6 minutes. Probably due to my lack of processing rigor, the images were under-developed – I needed to push the contrast and brighten a little after scanning.
I’m pretty happy with the results, and the muddiness is no more or less evident than with the ILFORD HP5 PLUS I am used to using. The grain is quite pleasing, particularly in the night shot.
All-in-all, I am pleased to be able to add another 400 to my shooting arsenal.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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