TMax P3200 vs Delta 3200

TMax P3200 scanned negative  

TMax P3200 scanned negative  

Early 2018 I was going through some rough time and Kodak’s, out of the blue, announcement of the resurrection of TMax P3200 was just what I needed to cheer me up. 

I’ve more of less settled on Tri-X for most situations and rate Tri-X at 400 and shoot it with a yellow-green filter. Effectively that make it a 250 ISO film for me. Sometimes, 250 iso just doesn’t cut it and that’s when I used Delta 3200. An interesting film with lots of grain. A little too flat for my taste but I had to work with it. I figured out how to make it work for me but never really liked it as much as Tri-X. Delta 3200 is an extremely flat film. Super low contrast and HUGE grain. Some people prefer pushing Tri-X instead but pushing film makes for difficult to print negatives. If you only scan your film this will not be a drawback for you. For me it is, hence I opted for a faster film when I needed speed.

Delta3200 scanned image.  

Delta3200 scanned image.  

Ilford recommends Delta 3200 at EI 3200 to be developed in Microphen Stock 1:1 for 9:00 minutes. I’ve tried that and got incredibly flat and boring results. I kept on increasing development time until I got to a contrast level that I liked. At 20:00 minutes, more than twice the recommended time, I was semi-satisfied. The grain however was horrifying. I like grain but this film is really grainy. 

Delta 3200 scanned image

Delta 3200 scanned image

When Kodak announces the return of TMax P3200 I was pleasantly surprised. I got back into film in 2013, one year after Kodak discontinued P3200. Since I never had a chance to compare the two films I jumped on it.

I ordered 20 rolls from B&H and shot test rolls in T-Max and xtol developers. I didn’t like it in TMax developer but that wasn’t a surprise. I’ve tried that developer before with Tri-X and Delta 3200 and never liked it. It blows out highlights too fast and makes for weird grain to my eyes. In Xtol 1:1 I got results I really liked. The grain is pronounced as you would expect from a film this fast. However, the grain structure was very pleasing and unobtrusive. The tones looked better than Delta 3200, too. In terms of speed I think Delta wins. I know neither one of these films is a true 3200 ISO film but I can get great results at 2000ISO or maybe 2500ISO with P3200. The Delta film I have to shoot at 3200 and massively over develop to get some contrast into the negs. 

As I shoot 35mm almost exclusively TMax P3200 is the clear winner. It’s a dollar cheaper per roll, Xtol is a fraction of any of the Ilford Developers and the film is sharper and less grainy than Delta. Hands down, TMax wins.  

TMax P3200 printed on MCC110 paper.  

TMax P3200 printed on MCC110 paper.  

Olympus XA2 vs Leica MP + Summicron !

Both take 35mm film, both have 35mm lenses. Both take SR44 batteries, both have a meter, both are  manually wound, both are black, both are ....

Ok, there are a few differences. f/2 vs f/3.5 lens. Manual aperture & shutter speed vs automatic aperture & shutter speed. Manual focus vs zone focus. One is made out of brass and basically indestructible the other is basically cheap metal and plastic. Oh yeah, and the Olympus costs about 1 % of what the Leica will cost you.

Can you tell the difference?

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Do we still need contact prints?

Now that we can batch scan thumbnails? 

As far as I know, the only use of contact prints was to evaluate which ones were keepers and worth enlarging. I've made contact prints in the darkroom twice. Once for black and white and once for color. Never again. Reason being, when I go to my local rental darkroom to print, I have already decided which frames to print. 

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Latest digital experience.

Last Sunday I met up with a friend who just bought a SONY A7r ii. 

I haven't been following news and rumor sites for almost two years now. Once in a while I see stuff pop up on youtube or facebook. It seems that manufacturers are releasing the same cameras with minor changes every year if not more often. It's really mind boggling how people keep buying these things. A7r ii is one of the latest and most interesting releases in the digital camera market. So I had a 10 minute go at it.

It feels great in hand and looks pretty neat. My sample had a 55mm 1. something lens on it. The first thing that shocked me was the electronic viewfinder. I picked it up, peaked through it and everything looked like you're looking at a video game version of the world. According to my friend and numerous reviews online, this is the best EVF on the market right now. I guess EVFs have far ways to go if they will ever be a competition to bright DSLR viewfinders. 

Next I had a go at shooting some people on the street passing by while I was sitting outside of Starbucks having a coffee. People passing by were almost always between 2-3 meters away from me. It was a nice sunny day so I set the aperture to f8 and wanted to focus to 2.5 meters... but you can't! the lens doesn't have any focal range markings. You have to either auto focus for every single shot (which obviously makes the shutter lag even worse) or use focus peaking to manually focus. While focus peaking works, but is not easy, you have no idea if you're focus is still spot on after a few shots. The lens has no markings whatsoever. Looking at the lens you have no idea whether the focus wheel has turned or not.

Every time you take a shot the EVF blacks out and takes a short but very noticeable amount of time before you can have a go at your next shot. 3 years ago I owned a Nikon D600, which beats any of these mirrorless cameras by leaps and bounds. The viewfinder was crystal clear, bright and beautiful. Like any SLR it blacks out at the moment you fire a shot, but it's only for the duration of the shutter speed. Almost all lenses for the F mount had focal distance scales marked on them.  It looks like DSLRs will dominate for a long time to come. 


A few things I want to get done or change this year:

  1. Stop looking at my phone while I'm walking. It's actually dangerous and it annoys me when other people do it.  
  2. Stop spamming groups on Flickr. What's the point? Get a few more likes? … then what? 
  3. Stop hoarding film. Just because something is going out of production doesn't mean I need to buy it in bulk. If I never cared about it then why care about it when they announce the end of Velvia 100F?  
  4. Worrying about what film I shoot is about as production for my photography as worrying about the latest digital sensor.  
  5. It's getting warmer here in Tokyo now. I want to shoot more in the summer and worry about the darkroom in the winter. Color negative is a nice thing for the winter as the table top processor gives off a lot of heat.