34 Year Old Kodak T-MAX Negatives

I was bored. There was nothing on Netflix or Amazon Prime, Apple TV or Hulu, or HBO Max that I wanted to watch. To distract my mind from boredom, I rummage through a set of negatives from my early college days with 35mm film photography.

In college, the chemistry for developing a 35mm colour film was expensive. As a student on a limited budget, black-and-white photography was an attractive option. I had access to the darkroom at the Media Centre at Drew University, spending hours experimenting and developing Kodak Tri-X Pan, Ilford HP5 and Kodak T-Max.

Kodak T-MAX Professional is a black-and-white film known for its high resolution, sharpness, and fine grain for decades. It has a nominal sensitivity of ISO 100 or 400, making it a versatile choice for various lighting conditions.

One of the key features of T-MAX Professional is its T-Grain emulsion technology, which produces extremely fine grain and smooth tonal gradations. This makes it a popular choice among photographers who want to achieve a high level of detail and sharpness in their images.

T-MAX Professional also has a wide exposure latitude, allowing for greater flexibility in various lighting conditions. It can be pushed to higher ISOs without sacrificing image quality, making it a useful tool for low-light situations or for creating dramatic effects.

In addition to its technical features, T-MAX Professional is known for its classic black-and-white look, with deep blacks and bright whites that create a striking contrast. It has been popular among fine art photographers and documentary, portrait, and landscape photography.

November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400
November 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX Professional   ISO 400

The Black and the White

Tuesday 6 July 2021

The Online Photographer compares the Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 R WR to a Nikon SE.

The new version of the Fuji XF 27mm ƒ/2.8 R is 22.7 mm shorter than the Nikon SE and about the same diameter. It's also considerably lighter at 84g / 3 oz.

It also sports about the tiniest lens hood ever...almost comical-looking. And yet, who wants a giant hood on a small lens?

There are a few more differences. The Nikon SE has nine elements, and the Fujinon has seven. The XF 27mm has an aperture ring, and the 28mm SE doesn't (neither did the original Fuji 27mm). The Fuji costs $399 (although, as Fujiphiles know, Fuji has periodic sales), and Nikon says the SE will cost $299 when available.

I keep reading good things about the XF27mmF2.8 R LM WR lens, which makes me smile, but then I am reminded that the lens is sold out everywhere, and the smile turns to a frown. It's good that I didn't sell my XF27mmF2.8 lens and place my order when the XF27mmF2.8 R LM WR was announced.


I watched the most recent episode of Apple's TV series, Home Before Dark. The episode is titled "Dark Rooms". During an emotional outburst, the main character, Hilde, breaks the lens on her camera and borrows her grandpa's old-school film camera. There is a great learning moment with the whole family huddled around Hilde holding the film camera. Her dad, Matt, explains that with 35mm film, you take pictures by exposing the roll of film, then when the roll is finished, you drop the film off at the drug store, and two weeks later, you get photographic prints by which time you've forgotten why you took them. Later in the episode, her dad helps her develop the images in the darkroom he set up in the basement of their home.

I have not developed a 35mm colour film since 1989. I'm inspired by nostalgia to develop a roll of 35mm film myself. I've got a kit from Film Photography Project in my shopping cart, but I'm nervous about completing the purchase.

I'm worried about failing.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

"The discussion was 'what are we doing in the future in terms of engine', because we want to save costs, so we don't want to reinvent the wheel," [Toto] Wolff, who did not attend the summit but is protecting vested interests, told the FIA conference on Monday.

"We also want to have a relevant engine from 2025 to 2030, and we can't be old petrolheads with screaming engines when everybody expects us to be going electric.

"So these engines are still going to be fuelled [by zero-carbon fuels]. We are staying with the current V6 format, but the electric component is going to massively increase."

The FIA are increasingly aware that a sport primarily based on burning gas station amounts of fuel on a single weekend needs to adjust expectations for a world where the phrase internal combustion engine is increasingly seen in a negative light.

Thursday 8 July 2021

Over on 35hunter, Dan James asked:

Do you prefer manual or autofocus, and why?

One of the things I love about my Fuji X-T2 is how easy manual focusing can be when using the focus peaking feature. On the Fuji, focus peaking detects the edges of the highest contrast in the scene and highlights them in bright colours (red, blue, or white).

I can adapt almost any manual focus 35mm film-era lens to my Fuji X and never worry about focusing. The ability to use decades-old 35mm film lenses on my Fuji X-T2 brought me back to 35mm film photography after a nearly thirty-year hiatus.

The digital Fujinon lenses for the Fuji X-series also have a focus ring with an instant manual focus feature. Just grab the focus ring and turn. In the viewfinder (or LCD), a manual focus indicator shows the distance to the subject (in meters or feet ), which is useful when zone-focusing. There is also a manual focus assist feature. When activated, the camera zooms in digitally, filling the viewfinder/LCD with a section of the scene for more accurate focusing. There is a digital split image focusing feature, but I have never used it. When using manual 35mm lenses at their largest aperture, I tend to use focus peaking and the "move the body forward-back" technique.

I enjoy using manual and autofocus lenses, but I prefer autofocus.

Saturday 10 July 2021

Inspired by Steve Schwartzman's horsemint portraits post, I grabbed my Fuji X-T2, FotodioX adapter, and a 1980's era manual film lens, my Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 and headed outside to my garden.

I love this lens. It creates a beautiful buttery soft cinematic look perfect for a portrait photograph. My lens was part of a Minolta X-700 bundle I bought from a local amateur who had owned the lens and kit for over three decades.

The MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 is constructed almost entirely of metal1. It feels hefty compared to my Fujinon XF27mmF2.8 lens, especially with the weight of the FotodioX MD-FX adapter, but it was a reasonably lightweight lens (165g) for its time. My X-T2 has a crop factor of 1.52, so the 50mm is roughly a 76mm full-frame equivalent when adapted to my Fuji.

MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 adapted to Fuji X-T2
MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 adapted to Fuji X-T2 | Saturday 27 February, 2021 | Apple iPhone 11 Pro | iPhone 11 Pro back dual camera 6mm f/2 | 1120 sec at f/2.0 | ISO 80

Extirpation is when a plant or animal species ceases to exist in a chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere. In densely populated areas like New Jersey, all the large native predators like the wolf, bear, wolverine, and cougar have suffered extirpation, allowing herbivores such as white-tailed deer to reproduce unchecked except by hunting. White-tailed deer are a problem in New Jersey.

Several years ago, I planted some Hosta, which I translated from my brother's garden in Stamford, Connecticut. Over the years, the Hosta have colonised a good section of the tiny garden and provided a short-lived burst of flowers in the summer. They are short-lived because deer find them tasty. This year I used Deer Out to keep the deer at bay; however, I still lost some flowers. But I had enough left over for this experiment.

The lens, camera and FotodioX adapter's overall weight make precise manual focusing extremely tough to nail at f/1.7. I was also kneeling on the concrete in the driveway. I used focus peaking to get the image to where things appeared sharp and then rocked my body back and forth to hit the right spot, but this made the kneeling even more painful. I need to invest in some garden knee pads. I gave up and went inside for my RRS L-bracket and Manfrotto tripod.

With the camera firmly placed to frame the flowers, I used the focus peaking and focus-check features on my Fuji to dial in focus. I captured three frames, one each at f/1.7, f/2.8 and f/4.

Bokeh was nice and circular at f/1.7, but highlights in the background became hexagonal once I stopped the lens down. This lens has six non-rounded blades. Here are three examples of how the bokeh looks at f/1.7, f/2.8, and f/4. I skipped f/3.32.

The flower at f/1.7 has a dreamy look that I love, but the DOF is too shallow. The bokeh of the f/4 image is less soft and feels a bit muddy, but the DOF is better. That f/2.8 is the sweet spot with pleasing bokeh and just enough DOF.

While I prefer the f/1.7, I think I'll experiment using this lens at f/2.8 for a while.

Hosta Flower
Hosta Flower | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1500 sec at f/1.7 | ISO 200
Hosta Flower
Hosta Flower | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1280 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 200
Hosta Flower
Hosta Flower | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 200

I practised using the Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm F1.7 at f/2.8. First, at the Brick Farm Tavern and Sourland Mountain Spirits.

Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1700 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 200
Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1250 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1950 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 200

After cocktails, we drove to East Broad Street to order takeout at Tomatello's Latin Cuisine, a clever assemble of the word tomatillo and the owner's last name, Tello. We had a large order for Bhavna, Shaan and myself. While the restaurant prepared our food, we walked around East Broad Street and Seminary Avenue.

Broad Street, Hopewell | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1700 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Harley Davidson
Harley Davidson | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1500 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400

East Broad Street is a popular location for showing off cars and motorbikes.

East Broad Street | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1125 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
East Broad Street | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/2200 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
East Broad Street | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1/1250 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1250 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 200
Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1750 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400
Flowers | Saturday 10 July, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | MD ROKKOR-X 50mm F1.7 | 1200 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 400

Sunday, 11 July, 2021

Lens-Artists Challenge – Black and White

This week, Anne Sandler hosts the Lens Artist Challenge #156. She has picked the topic of black and white.

I love the colour of colour photography. The colour reminds me of the vibrancy of life. In the West Indies, where I grew up, colour is everywhere. People paint their homes and shops in bright reds, greens, blues, pinks, yellow etc. When I was a child, the mode of public transportation was a large diesel truck with a wood cab mounted to the flatbed with the body painted in whimsical colours of the owner's choosing. The local fishing boats were similarly painted in a multitude of colours.

Bhavna is from India, and the women of that country wear vibrantly coloured saris and kurta pyjamas. There is even a festival, Holi, that celebrates colour.

I don't often photograph in black and white. Except for winter, almost all of my photography is colour photography. Why winter? It seems that people in the United States must dislike colour. How else to explain the drab colours of the cities and suburbs? How else to explain the beige and grey cookie-cutter homes that pepper the suburbs of the North Eastern United States? When I drive around New Jersey, especially in the winter, I often wonder why so very few think to paint some colour to their homes and shops front so that we could enjoy a break from the seemingly depressing days of winter when the trees have no leaves, the ground is covered in a mixture of dirt and snow, and the skies are cloudy all day.

two women playing in snow
Drew University, 1988 | Thursday 1 December, 1988 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | Kodak T-MAX 400

I have included examples of my black and white photographs from my early days as a student photographer to more recent ones photographed on my Fuji X-T2 and Minolta and Pentax 35mm film cameras. I remember back in the days shooting Ilford HP5 400, Kodak Tri-X Pan 400, and Kodak T-Max 400, but in the last two years, I have tried using film again after nearly a 30-year hiatus. The original Tri-X, T-MAX and Ilford are no longer available, but I could shoot modern versions of these films. I love Ilford HP5+ 400, but I have also exposed rolls of RPX 25 and RPX 100.

Wall Street Ferry, Manhattan, New York | Tuesday 11 February, 2020 | Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II | SMC Takumar 55mm f/2 | Ilford HP5+ 400
Molisana Deli, Witherspoon Street, Princeton, Rollei RPX 25 | Saturday 5 December 2020 | Minolta X-700 | MD Rokkor-X 45mm f/2 | Rollei RPX 25
Bridge Street, Lambertville, Ilford HP5+ 400
Bridge Street, Lambertville, Ilford HP5+ 400 | Sunday 9 February, 2020 | Pentax P3 | SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 | f/5.6 | ISO 400

When I process digital images to black and white, I use some of the same tools Anne uses, but most often, it's a mixture of things. Sometimes, I use Silver EFX Pro, and sometimes I use in-camera film simulation recipes. Sometimes, I apply an Adobe Lightroom preset and tweak the image to my liking. I don't use one set method. I use whatever works to create the image I want. However, I get the best results when I shoot in B&W on my Fuji X-T2 using the ACROS film simulation, or I flip to B&W in Adobe Lightroom and edit the images using the Lightroom histogram exposure, shadows, highlight and whites slider.

Kiran | Sunday 5 June, 2011 | Nikon D40 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 1/1600 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 450
Wonder Bar,Asbury Park | Sunday 13 November, 2011 | NIKON D40 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 1160 sec at f/11 | ISO 200
Princeton School of Public and International Affairs | Monday 28 September, 2020 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 16 mm | 1250 sec at f/11 | ISO 250
Flowing Water
Flowing Water, Millstone River | Thursday 4 February, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR @ 55 mm | 13 sec at f/20 | ISO 200
Kingston Mill House, Kingston | Thursday 4 February, 2021 | FujiFilm X-T2 | XF27mmF2.8 | 1/1600 sec at f/6.4 | ISO 400
Sunday 26 July, 2015 | Nikon D5100 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 180 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 800
Dandelion | Tuesday 2 May, 2017 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55 mm | 1160 sec at f/11 | ISO 500
,Gifford Pinchot State Park | Saturday 20 May, 2017 | Nikon D5100 | 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56 mm | 1250 sec at f/4.8 | ISO 180
Battle of Princeton Enactment, Battlefield Park | Saturday 27 May, 2017 | Nikon D5100 | 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 22 mm | 1320 sec at f/5.6 | ISO 100
Diwalii Fireworks | Saturday 21 October, 2017 | Nikon D5100 | 35 mm f/1.8 | 1.0 sec at f/4.0 | ISO 100
Happy Birthday | Sunday 24 December, 2017 | FujiFilm X100F | 23 mm | 1240 sec at f/2.8 | ISO 12800

  1. The aperture ring is plastic. 
  2. Full click stops are at f/1.7, f/2.8, f/16 and f/22. Half-stop clicks are from f/2.8 through f/16. 

Kodak Tri-X Pan 400 Memories

Bhavna found some treasure in a box in the basement.

Early in my photography journey, shooting with 35mm black and white film was easier. I felt that 35mm colour film was too distracting and did not have the pretension "art" look I was into then.

Tri-X panchromatic (Tri-X Pan) film was popular with photojournalists and many amateurs. Eastman Kodak manufactured it. Sales of Tri-X declined in the 1970s and 1980s due to the falling price and increasing popularity of colour films. Tri-X fell out of use in newspaper journalism with the onset of online newspapers and colour print media, though it remained popular in documentary journalism for a while.

KODAK TRI-X Pan Film was a venerable classic, boasting an impressive ISO 400 rating, making it the ideal choice for various photographic scenarios. This panchromatic film performed well when faced with dimly lit subjects or fast-paced action. It excelled when I needed to capture subjects demanding a substantial depth of field and fast shutter speeds or when I wanted to extend the reach of my flash. TRI-X Pan (TX) Film 6043 was readily available in 35mm film sizes.

TRI-X Pan Film was highly recommended for push-processing applications, opening up creative possibilities by pushing the boundaries of its inherent capabilities.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

Since I found only one set of Kodak Tri-X Pan negatives in my "film treasure chest", since it's over 30 years later, my memory is faulty about the dates. However, these photographs were captured around the Drew University campus using my budget-friendly Pentax P3 and SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 lens.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

Drew University offered compressed courses during the six weeks between December break and the start of the Spring semester. I can tell it's winter from the photographs, and the campus seems free of people. I speculate this was one of the many "Jan Terms" I was on campus. I don't know if this was Jan Term 1987-88 or 1988-89, but it was Jan Term 1987-88. The photographs have a theme around reflections, and the pictures of the Media Resource Center make me think this was the Jan Term when I took my first darkroom photography course.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

I learned about the relationship between ISO, aperture and shutter speed and how aperture affects depth of field. This is often referred to as the exposure triangle. My assignments were shot on 35mm black and white film on my Pentax P3 and SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2 lens and developed in the Drew University darkroom in the campus Media Resource Center. I was supposed to think about composition somewhere between learning to use the camera and exposing film and adequately.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2

Digital cameras were not generally available in the mid-1980s. Today, what can be learned in minutes with a digital camera, took weeks of effort shooting and developing film in the darkroom and making prints. My first photography course was supposed to be about the "art of photography", but given the steep learning curve, I spent more time thinking about the technical considerations required to make good photos.

Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2
Drew University, Jan Term 1988, Winter, Snow
Tuesday 12 January 1988 · Pentax P3 · SMC Pentax-A 50mm f/2