Tales from the Darkrorom: Playing with Kodak P3200

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by Francis A. Miniter, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. A very foggy Friday night led to me shooting a whole roll of cityscape
    pictures after midnight with Kodak TMZ, alias P3200. I used 3200 as my
    EI and shot most of the images at 1/30th second, f/3.5 (as wide open as
    the lens allowed - I was using an old Ansco Super Memar). I added one
    dayllight shot shot about 2 stops slower. Back in the darkroom I had to
    decide how to develop the film. I had a batch of D-76 available that I
    was using one shot at 1:1 dilution and I decided that would be my
    preferred mode of development. But Kodak only gives times for stock
    D-76. I checked web sites and archived posts from this newsgroup
    without much satisfaction.

    In the end I extrapolated from the Kodak times. Not wanting to wait
    forever for development, I settled on 80° F, for which at an EI of 3200
    Kodak recommended 8.5 minutes with stock D-76. Using the formula T2 =
    SQRT (D2/D1) * T1, I got a development time of 12 minutes at 1:1
    dilution. I processed the film in this manner and was initially
    disappointed to see how thin the negatives were. At first, I even
    thought that little detail had been captured in the night scenes. In
    addition, the Kodak film information in the margins seemed thinner than
    I would have liked. The day shot had good density though, so I
    questioned my initial assumption that I had underdeveloped the roll.

    Examining the film under a loupe, I saw that there were in fact many
    details in the thinnest parts of the negatives. Still, the negatives of
    foggy scenes had a density ratio of about log 0.35. I was almost in
    despair. If I chose grade 4 or 5 filtration, the fog element would be
    lost. So, wanting to keep the foggy atmosphere I settled on variable
    contrast filtration of grade 2 (Beseler filters) on Ilford MGIV cold
    tone RC paper. Exposure times were very brief, even at f/11, but
    surprisingly the detail was all there, just as I saw the scene. Even
    more surprisingly, at an enlargement of 8x12, the grain was extremely

    So, while I am not certain that the film was not a little
    underdeveloped, I can say that the development parameters I used yielded
    easily printable images. Again, the T-Max films continue to amaze me
    with the detail retained in thin areas of the negatives. I cannot
    escape repeated consternation upon first seeing the negatives, but I
    confess to their printability.

    Francis A. Miniter
    Francis A. Miniter, Oct 7, 2003
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  2. Francis A. Miniter

    lloyd Guest

    oct703 from Lloyd Erlick,

    I use a lot of Kodak TMY, a close relative of TMZ. Even though I've
    been using it for years and years now, I still perceive a properly
    exposed and developed TMY negative (which yields a good print at
    number two grade) as thin and flat. Compared to Tri-X, to which my eye
    seems permanently calibrated. The film of my youth???

    I doubt your negatives were under-developed. I wish you had done a
    series of exposures that night, so you could see frames exposed at EI
    1600 and especially 800. My feeling about TMZ is that it is an
    incredible 800 film that pushes rather well. (TMY is an incredible 200
    film that pushes very nicely to 400.)

    When I first used TMZ I assumed I would not like the grain. After all,
    TX had that beautiful grain pattern I loved so much, and Kodak
    recording film 2475 had the real grain if you wanted it (which I did
    for a long time...). But the grain pattern of TMZ is very nice, and
    really comes out to advantage at large magnification. I think that
    film's ability to see into the shadows at EI 800 (yielding prints with
    very nice shadows...) more than balances the grain factor, which in
    itself is rather pleasingly esthetic, at least to my eye.

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    lloyd, Oct 7, 2003
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  3. The detail in the thin negatives Francis processed with D-76 is enhanced by
    using a high-contrast developer. I found P3200 responds well to some of the
    high-alkalai X-ray developers, and also to the old standby D-19. The base
    fog is quite high, but you get used to that, especially if you have
    experienced Kodak 2475 and some of their older "scientific" emulsions.
    Maxwell Sandford, Oct 7, 2003
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