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Tuesday, 02 October 2012


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I just shot some T-Max 3200P a couple of weeks back. I'll have to stock up before it's all gone. There's still Ilford Delta 3200, but I prefer the look of T-Max at that speed.

I'm still pouting over the loss of TXP 120 but I tend to hold a grudge. DuPont is still getting stink eye from me over Velour Black #2 and Varigam.
Gotta get over this stuff.

Mike I share that feeling of looking back at the industry and the changes, satisfaction is what comes to mind. I am 63, photographing with intent for 58 years, I started with a roll film box camera aligning the numbers in a red window, and today with an 800E I still struggle to solve the same problems that a photograph answers.
The industry too solved so many problems from auto exposure to focus to color to instant to video and to digital in capture and printing.
I am not sad to see products discontinued but satisfied to see the scientists and engineers solve their problems so that we artists may solve our own.

I recently took some pictures of a family gathering in a dimly lit restaurant. I didn't realize how poor the light was until the next day when I was editing the set. All settings were made automagically by the camera and no flash was used by choice. The results were much better than OK and I sent the files to a service that created books and mailed them to the attendees.

It's a little bit of a miracle what technology has wrought and I don't miss film at all.

"The promise and excitement of P3200 is of course completely lost on photographers now, who complain when they can see noise in actual ISO 3200 pictures."

I right there with ya Mike. I have a Nikon D700 that does low-light "pretty well" (by TODAY'S standard)and there's already plenty of harping on the net about how 'the D600 and D800 are SO-O-O-O much better'.
But having lived in the day of 3200 ASA (none of this ISO mamby-pamby stuff :-), the D700 is like living a dream.

I only discovered Delta 3200 in 2008 but it was a similar revelation for me... suddenly being able to candidly photograph my friends on tube train platforms at night. Wonderful


In fact, I severely underexposed a roll of Delta 3200 and still managed to get this, which I was very happy with. Call me old fashioned...


I too used P3200 developed in Diafine and a dilution of HC110 that I no longer remember. I scanned a bunch of the negatives recently and was able to make prints from the scans that were far superior to the fiber prints I used to make years ago... I think it is because of the excessive burning and dodging that I had to do in the darkroom. With digital, exact repeatability of image exposure manipulation is no longer a problem. I really treasure those images I made with P3200 in those next to no light, shoot wide open situations. Shooting in low light situations with a Nikon D4, using high ISOs, changing files to B&W, and then finally adding noise (grain)... In my opinion my results don't come close to using D3200 film. What few frozen rolls I still have left will be enjoyed like a vintage fine wine. End of another era....

Thank goodness we have Ilford.

I remember when it came out too...I think it was in 1988 and it was incredible. I was able to shoot at night with usable shutter speeds and still managed to get decent work done during the day. I'm sad because this film really mattered to me and enabled me to take many of my best pictures. Kodak has let us down so many times it's almost funny. I realize the company is in ruins now, so this time I'm not going to take it personally...Oh well.

Some of my anachronistic film faves: Kodachrome II, Kodachrome 25, "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon, all the Kodak T grain films.

Miss them? Yah! Go back? Nah... except for the song.

Well, poop.

This makes me very sad. I have been a heavy user of TMZ. Probably ⅓ of the work on my website was taken with an M3, a Noctilux and TMZ. Developed in FX-37, it scanned beautifully. The grain clumps were large enough that I could scan it on my 8000 dpi drum scanner and record the actual grain pattern.

Oddly, it made better extra-large digital negatives than Tri-X because of this. If I made a 16x24 digital negative from one of the TMZ scans, it looked very 'natural'. Grainy, to be sure, but grainy in the way a really big silver gelatin print would look from the same negative. Tri-X, when treated to that sort of indignity-by-digital-enlargement, just sort of falls apart into mush.

I agree that the better digital cameras can run circles around it. I have a D800 that looks pretty amazing at ISO 3200. The thing we'll miss, however, is the 'look'. Fast film was grainy in the highlights and smoother in the shadows. Digital is 'grainier' (noise actually) in the shadows and cleaner in the highlights.

I have about 40 rolls in the freezer. I suppose I need to plan the final project with the stuff and then say goodbye.

I've used hundreds of rolls of Tmax p3200, it made possible countless photographs that could not have been done with any other film. I like Ilford's Delta 3200 a lot, and have been using it quite extensively in the last year, so hopefully it'll be around a while. You should scan your TMZ negs, Mike, they scan beautifully.

I remember this film as something special. THIS was the roll I kept for the tail-end of the football games, the special roll in my bag on photo assignments for when pushed tri-x just wasn't going to cut it. It was never cheap - we had to have special permission to use it at the student paper I shot for - and after that, I still was careful to shepherd my rolls sparingly, but golly golly it let me shoot things I'd never be able to otherwise - which, in the end, is the highest compliment one can pay to film. (And I have to admit, I was always more partial to Ilford's Delta 3200 - but p3200 was first, and that counts)

Wow talk about straddling the eras, I just purchased and shot a bunch of this for a friend's kid's wedding this past weekend. It was my first time using it and I'm guessing my last. I exposed at 1600. Any recommendations as to developer?, time?

I only shot P3200 a couple of times. I used to view flash as a necessity for low light. But my most important use of it was shooting at the hospital when my daughter was born (10 years ago tomorrow). I bought a Sony F717 shortly after that, but I love those grainy newborn baby pictures.

Not to forget Fuji Neopan 1600. With Ilford HP-5 and Kodak Tri-X as the all-time-standard (I could never decide which to prefer), the Neopan was the low standard for me.
Maybe thats why I dont see any relevant noise when shooting digital.

Back in the day (when my younger eyes could focus easily), I went to the other extreme. I used tmax-100 with a 50mm f1 Noctilux, often focused at 3 feet, for almost grainless portraits.
More than the passing of Tmax-3200, I mourn the passing of the days when you could buy a Noctilux for $1000. :)

I used it at 3200 with trick chemicals (Agfa if my memories are correct) colder than normal liquids (and hence more time) and slow turning (with just a few "anti bubble bumps"). It did not reduce the grain, but I got a quite acceptable graduation. Lovely.

Agfapan 50, Tri X 125 and Tmax 3200 were my favourite films.

Yes, it is unnecessary in todays age and many modern photographers will not understand the sense of loss, but I use TMZ at 1600 and it makes lovely pictures.

I still have an aversion to synthetically introduding noise and grain, but these are essential to my photography, I think.

TMZ was my favourite fast film and its end is a loss. I too straddle the eras, but my love for film - process and pictures - keeps me using it whilst I can.


Least we forget Kodak's "Royal X Pan" ASA 1250 that came out in 1959 or there about. Only made in 120 and larger. There was a teacher at RIT in 1960 that pushed Ektachrome to over 1000 ASA shooting with an ƒ/1.2 lens. He was doing aerials of lower manhattan at dusk. The grain was huge, it took him weeks to paint out all the magenta & yellow grain to make the sky blue.
Ah! the good old days.
Professor Bagby http://library.rit.edu/findingaids/html/RITArc.0148.html

I haven't shot TMZ in years, but it was a great film for football games, plays, and dark bars. At least T-Max 400 is still available. When Kodak first announced their bankruptcy, I stocked up on two years worth of TMY in both 120 and 35 thinking that Kodak's less popular 400 speed film wouldn't make the cut. I'm down to 50 rolls of each, so it's time to reorder while I still can.

That noise in the background is the sound of deck chairs being folded and neatly stacked on the Titanic.

I can't say that I'll miss TMZ, as I haven't exposed any since 2007, but I can say it earned a special place in my photographic heart, if only because it enabled me to take a great many photographs of my kids that would not have been possible with any other film. Developed in XTOL 1+1, exposed at 800 in an M6 with a Noct or a 75mm Summilux it produced wonderful negatives that required only modest banging of my head on the wall in the darkroom.

I started photography when I was six or seven, with an Agfa folder given to me by my father, who helped me load it with Verichrome Pan (now gone, I suppose), a beautiful film. When I got older and moved to 35mm cameras, I often used Panatomic-X at asa 32 - another film I loved for it's smoothness. Given that history, it's difficult to even find the words to describe how revelatory an M6 with fast lenses and TMZ felt. It was as if an entire world previously hidden to photography was opened up to me.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

It's somehow heartening to see so many here lamenting the demise of P3200. In most online photo forums the consensus would be "No loss, no regrets; there's an app that provides the P3200 look even better than the real thing."

This is funny, but I did a bit of BW stuff but after loading a roll of Tmax 3200 I realized that I don't like shooting film in poor light. I had this roll in my camera for over a month and finally I have never finished it. Of course I have never bought another one, so now you know who is responsible for the fall of Kodak :-)

It will give a different look but one substitute would be Tri-X and Diafine. Shoot at pretty much whatever speed you want and develop the same way no matter what. My eyes like the look and it's what I have shot so many great pictures with (pictures I like). The day Tri-X is gone is probably the day film is really gone for me.

Dear ch,

Unless you live in a hot clime, save your freezer space. At normal room temperatures, it's background radiation fog that limits the shelf life of TMAX P3200, not thermal fog. Refrigerating or freezing the film doesn't extend its useful life. It may even shorten it by a bit-- chilling film helps preserve
latent images, in this case, a fog image.

pax / Ctein

I have absolutely no recollection of this film but offer my condolences to those who mourn its passing.

Speaking of passing, nice funeral moment there, Mike. This film took good pictures!

You can shoot the OM-D E-5 at
3200 and make superb 13x19 prints
on your home printer that will
run circles around Tmax 3200.
Tmax gone? No big deal.

Is there such thing as common good any more? Or has it ever been?

Instead of all these companies like Kodak going through struggles caused by whichever reason that lead them to abandon something artists rely on and that is important part of history (tomorrow it may be Fuji)... why don't they make a head-together meeting, release their IPS to some all new, all independent company, who's going to make film exclusively for artists today?

A single entity dedicated exclusively to one type of products will likely be more focused than all others spreading their attention everywhere.

After all, some things *ARE* worth preserving, aren't they?

Mike's featured comment about the photographer who quit because they quit making his favorite paper resonates with me to the extreme. I feel like quiting photography because digital just makes me sad, and messing around with programs on a computer makes me sad as well. One look at the post about corrupted image files and it makes me feel that way even more, nothing wrong with my transparencies and negs from the last 40 years!

Just finished a book about the making of Miles Davis's Kind of Blue (genuflect here), and was happy to read about the 8 microphones they used, into a mixing board, recorded in an old church that CBS owned, and then output to a 3 track machine that contained the two stereo pairs, and a mono track. Remarked on how the engineer didn't have to ride much gain, because the musicians knew how quiet down and let the solos lead. Compare and contrast this to a magazine article I read in a sound magazine, talking about the mixing of this summers earworm by Jepson/Call Me Maybe, where they started the mix using 54 tracks on a digital work station. To get that.

I've been thinking more and more about not wanting to be in this world, and maybe the Uni-bomber's anti tech tirade might have some valid points.

As I always say, the world we expect is the one we were born into. The changes in the world as we age might be welcome or not, but they often seem somehow not quite "as the world should be."

But to the babe born now, this is the way the world not only is, but should be. [g]


"A single entity dedicated exclusively to one type of products will likely be more focused than all others spreading their attention everywhere." Zvonimir MW Tosic

It's called Ilford.

"...but I really am going to miss the feeling of continuity in the craft and the sense of community it engendered with our "friends who went before."

Wow, that is a great line, Mr. Johnston!

For us lovers of photography, of this medium, you are right, it is also being part of this continuum (okay, that term's usage may not be deemed correct, inasmuch as there have been significantly different advances(?) in photographic processes), of this shared medium going back over a hundred and fifty years.

Of being a part of this visual tradition, with those that have come before us... Oh, I can't articulate it well... but, really do like that statement of yours... that angle of representing that aspect of why we (or, well, I) also love photography - of it's heritage, and that those of us today, are continuing on in that same moment-in-time-capturing, creative process, as the forefathers of the art that is photography...

Well, if it's any help, I know in my mind, what it is I am trying to say! :-)

Crabby, a few thoughts for you:

I think you're confusing the medium with the message. Undoubtedly, you could find examples of brilliant music recorded digitally, and some real schlock recorded in 1959.

Digital technology makes recording & sharing (music, still or video images) more accessible, with the end result that there's a bit more good stuff out there and a whole lot more junk to sift through to find it, but a lot more people enjoying it, whether they're creating trash or treasure.

Sometimes I think modern culture is going down the tubes, but then I remember that people of ... ahem ... my age have been thinking that decade after decade, for a long time now.

And look on the bright side - fewer natural resources are being wasted (in the former of tapes and CDs or vinyl) in the making and distribution of "Call Me Maybe".


Interesting point, I actually sat through a lecture by a guy named Dykeswald (sp?) in the early 90's, at an advertising convention; he was promoting his "Age Wave" theory, wherein you can track somebody's buying habits by looking at what they were thinking and doing in their early 20's. He maintained they had a enough data to confirm that someone rarely changed their minds about the big things in life after their early 20's, and you could look at someone 65 years old, track back to what was happening in the world when they were 20, and make a fair assessment of how they would look at things. Seemed a reasonable assumption.

I, on the other hand, dislike digital because to me, it's more work, with more expensive equipment, for less money, and it's less easy to discern the wheat from the chaff. A person now has the ability to take a perfectly exposed, color "juiced", scratchless and spotless image, of an incredibly banal thing, and it even takes the experts a few "thinks" to realize it's crap, because some part of their ability to judge has been short-circuited by their assumption of technical excellence.

The point about the Jepsen/Miles Davis difference, is not that the technology difference is more acute between the two (and that I'm just an old crabby man!), it's that sonically the expectation is the 54 track, over-compressed audio, is the starting point. I do a fair amount of audio documentary recording, and I'm perfectly in love with cheap digital stereo recorders, and do some easy editing on computer; but I'm surprised that audiophiles such as yourselves, haven't noticed the terrible compression people use, even on jazz and symphony tracks, because they think the end use is going to be an MP-3 file on a iPod (or maybe you have noticed, and I haven't being seeing all your audiophile postings).

Another thing I guess I'm saying, vis-a-vie the 3200 film thing, is that for every technological advance, something disappears. And if you're the person using that thing, and loving that thing, and you can't get it, well, then, if it's your art, and not your lively-hood, why go on?

Mike, your comment: "I really am going to miss the feeling of continuity in the craft and the sense of community it engendered with our 'friends who went before'" strikes me very much as a "glass half empty" perspective. I prefer the "glass half full" view: think of all the wonderful talent that has come to light because of the prevalence of digital photography!

Mike Johnston adds: [...] I really wish Ilford or Fuji would make a genuinely retro emulsion or two.

Are there no "retro" emulsions i.e. current production, older processes) coming out of China or India?

This would seem to be an area for B&W film fans to experiment with. It would seem you have nothing to lose.

I can also see the half of the glass that's full. But a half-full glass is also half empty.


"I'm surprised that audiophiles such as yourselves, haven't noticed the terrible compression people use"

Oh dear! You should put that misconception to rest. We notice it, we discuss it, we deplore it, we live with it.

I used to have a good link for a dynamic compression demonstration--the same piece of music uncompressed and compressed. I think it was done by one of the audio magazines. But I can't find it now.



...I think if you get the Freestyle catalog, they actually market a few "retro" emulsions, so retro that some even need hardener in the fix. Whether they "look" retro or not, I cannot say, but I am sort of enamored of the Adox 'Art' 100. Mike knows I'm with him on the whole Verichrome Pan thing, and the only thing I was using after they killed it was Agfa 100 (cheap too), but they killed that. Now Freestlye carries the Rollei films, which someone once told me is made by Agfa under contract for them; so there's a couple of emulsions there to try, I think an asa 80, and an asa 200, but I'm pretty durn happy with that Adox 100. Mike, you might want to try it...

One of my favorite pictures of all time, was shot with one of my favorite lenses of all time, on P3200 rated at EI1600. And sent to a lab to be processed accordingly.


I'm not an old guy; indeed I might be the very youngest to have a foot planted in each of the film and digital worlds. this is my favorite film and I'm sad to see it go. I'll stock up.

When I assisted some weddings in college, the main photographer would shoot with his state-of-the-art D30 Canon, while leaving me (gleefully) with the 1v. I introduced him to P3200 and made some really good pictures.

Final note, I always got in the habit of calling films by their codes, and I still think of this emulsion as TMZ. For me it's consistently unnerving and weird that the celeb-shitshow empire has taken that name.

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