Developing Adventures · film photography · Film Processing

Developing Adventures – Pushing Kodak Tmax 400 to 1600

Kodak Tmax was actually the first black and white film stock I ever shot with back around 2013 when I got back into film photography. It is a high contrast film, which isn’t usually the look I go for these days, so I haven’t shot with it much recently. However, I had a roll in my fridge, and I wanted to see how it held up in my push processing experiment at 1600.

Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600

I processed the roll in Kodak HC-110 dilution B (the new formula) for 7 minutes & 30 seconds, agitating for the first minute and then for 10 seconds every minute after that.

Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600

What I love about this film is the clean look it gives. Not unlike its sibling Tri-X, it has white whites and really black blacks giving it that high contrast look, and I really like that look. I have said that in the specific quest I am on for a film I can shoot handheld in my home in low lighting, I want a lower contrast low grain look, especially for the pictures of my family.

Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600

I have loved my results with Ilford Delta 3200 pulled to 1600, and basically have been comparing every stock afterwards in hopes of finding that look in a cheaper film stock.

Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600

When comparing Tmax and Delta 3200 at 1600, the contrast does seem to come in handy in certain spots like the shots below because the whites are brighter. The grain is a little bit stronger, but I think that also helps to make these shaded areas sharper.

Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600Ilford Delta 3200 at 1600
Left Pic: Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Right Pic: Ilford Delta 3200 at 1600

Another film I have been enjoying pushing is Ilford Delta 400 because I found it to be similar to Delta 3200 pulled to 1600. Again though, when comparing it to Tmax (below), I think the contrast came in handy because with Delta 400, the highlights blew in the low light setting. With the Tmax the white became brighter and the highlights held up.

Ilford HP5 400 @ 1600Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Left Pic: Ilford Delta 400 at 1600
Right Pic: Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600

Now this is just my small test. I haven’t tested any of these films extensively and I am not well versed in the way film chemistry works. This is just a sort of journal for me that I have been sharing with you all. If you do have a lot more knowledge on the subject by all means share with me in the comments. I love hearing from you all.

Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600
Canon 7 with Kodak Tmax 400 at 1600

Final Thoughts

In the end, I was happy with the results I got pushing this film. I like the clean look it gives. The contrast and grain don’t suit the look I am going for, but it is a nice look. Once again, I am happy doing these tests because as I learn, I have more tools in my skill toolbox that I can refer to as I am working on projects.

Tmax also doesn’t fit the parameters for my quest because of the price. Right now it is $7.99 for a roll of 35mm Tmax film, where HP5 400 is $5.99 and Kentmere Pan 400 is $5.19. I think Kentmere will probably take the lead in this endeavor along with Ilford Delta 400.

Let me know in the comments below any affordable films I should try next. Some have recommended Berggar Pancro and Fomapan. I’ll see what I have in my fridge. Be sure to sign up to get my articles in your inbox in the email box below. Click here to catch up on all of my Developing Adventures.

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Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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