Kodak Tmax 400 – sensitive and fine

Kodak Tmax 400 | © mare.photo

The Kodak Tmax 400 belongs to the analog black-and-white films with flat crystals and combines the average sensitivity with fine grain, sharp edges and a wide range of gray values. It makes it hard to choose either the classic and rugged Kodak Tri-X or the Kodak Tmax 400.

The Kodak Tmax 400 is a rather young film for analogue photography, and has only been on the market since 2007 as one of the sharpest films in the ISO 400 class. He belongs to the group of panchromatic films and quite to the favorites among black and white photographers.

To try out the Kodak Tmax 400, we drove to Wetzlar and visited the new headquarters of Leica Camera AG. Reduction to the essential, that is the well-known philosophy of Leica and this is exactly reflected in the architecture of the buildings.

Many design features of the architecture take up elements of photography, above all the monochrome picture. The interiors are kept in black and white, and the light in the entrance area of ​​the main building is so diffused that there are no reflections on the displayed images.

Thanks to the ISO 400, we were able to do it with the Leica Elmarit M 2.8 / 28 asph. new to expose the Kodak out of the hand. And it was only with the development that we noticed with astonishment how many finely nuanced shades of gray became visible between black and white.

[singlepic id = 294 w = h = float = left] At first, this sounds quite undramatic, yet everyone knows about the contrast that was once photographed by a wedding couple wearing a black suit and white bridal gown. Usually, depending on the exposure, the black suit is too light or the white wedding dress too dark.

As you can see on the cover picture, (a qualitative and high-resolution objective always assumed), it is possible to harmoniously and differentially reflect all levels of tonal value.

Basically, you have to decide for yourself whether you prefer rougher and grainy pictures with increased contrast and thus a bit more drama, as is possible with the Kodak Tri X, for example. Above all, the rugged classics such as the Tri X forgive exposure error rather than just a finer Kodak Tmax 400, which dissolves as fine as you would expect from a modern film of the ISO 100 class.

And yet, one may even be surprised at overexposed negatives, how much information has been preserved in such a false exposure, which are excellent and harmoniously visible by a corrected further processing in the analogue but also digital darkroom.

We’ve come to love the Kodak Tmax 400 and will use it for highly detailed or emotionally sensitive shots. To compare this with the craft, the blacksmith might use the Kodak Tri X, and the watchmaker might use the Kodak Tmax 400

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