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Just shoot it, Fox!
on November 27, 2014
I'm a Pan F man for the most part; it's my favourite back and white film, and I love its fine grain and higher contrast than other B&W films. Everyone who knows my photographic preferences knows this: Canon cameras, Pan F B&W film, and Ektar colour film.
Ahem. I'm a sucker for fine grain, and so when I saw that TMX is supposed to have very fine grain indeed, I had to order a few rolls and give it a shot. I exposed my first test roll of the stuff in an old Pentax K-1000 (made in Hong Kong, no less) and developed it in T-MAX Developer. Talk about your deviations from the norm. I'm still learning the art of developing film, but the prescribed regime (7:30 at 68 F in T-MAX Dev) gave negatives with excellent density (hooray for somewhat accurate metering) and serviceable contrast. More importantly, the negatives scanned brilliantly for use in a hybrid workflow. I'd recommend the now-discontinued Kodak BW400CN or Ilford XP2 for those serious about pursuing a hybrid B&W workflow, since those films are dye-based and work with the dust-removal algorithms of modern film scanners, but for serious B&W devotees, there is no substitute for silver-based films. Note that the box says "finest grain," not "non-existent grain."
Grain is fine yet visible; your scans will let you know that there's some texture there but it's not distracting like it would be with a faster film. (Before anyone asks: yes, I do appreciate the utility of grain as a form of artistic expression, but nobody using a 100-speed film is going to be considering grain a part of the medium. Want grain? Push some Tri-X or HP5, or shoot Delta or TMZ.)
Sharpness was merely OK, but I put that down to the glass I exposed this lens through: the SMC Pentax-A 50 mm f/2 was never known to be excessively sharp. With better glass, obviously, your results will be better. I shot this film, as I shoot almost all my B&W film, through an orange contrast filter (I prefer the Hoya multi-coated O(G) filters for this) to accentuate contrast more than with the standard yellow filter.
This film wants a fine-grain developer, like Kodak T-Max or Ilford DD-X, to live up to its full potential. You can soup it in any developer, however, and get serviceable results with sane exposures. I prefer this film to its faster sibling, TMY, and I think I'll find it useful for landscape work where I don't need the crazy contrast of Pan F. Like Peppy Hare says in Starfox 64, just shoot it, Fox!