T-Max 400 has an odd place in my film workflow, as although I rate what it offers aesthetically very highly, I find myself choosing not to shoot it that often, opting instead for Ilford’s Delta range. I think this is because T-Max is almost too reliable in what it delivers; exceptional cleanliness, beautiful rendering across the tonal spectrum, and stellar sharpness. The closest equivalent I’ve been able to find to T-Max is in the digital Leica M9 Monochrom, which allows similarly deep blacks, bright bright highlights which look wonderful when burned out, and wonderful detail in between. Delta offers almost the same, but with a “classic” feeling which is difficult to describe, but definitely what I prefer when reviewing examples side by side.
I shoot a roll of T-Max whenever I feel I’ll be going through a few days of mixed light, as the high contrast really excels in almost any situation. I especially enjoy shooting with it in low light scenes, where I may need to underexpose slightly. These two frames were shot on the New York Subway, on the same roll of film.
When underexposure reaches levels I’m unhappy with I’ve had good results with T-Max pushed to 6400, although I’ll be experimenting with it pushed further in the future. I don’t see much point though, as T-Max 3200 is wonderful in it’s own right, and would probably fare much better when pushed that much further.
Pushed to 1600 on an overcast day in London.I really enjoy the contrast of this film, the distinction between light and dark is so clean and sudden. I’m always looking for scenes to exploit this in, and find my best results when shooting indoors but exposing for the light outside.
Although diffused light offers just as wonderful results, if a little less contrasty overall – not the fault of the film, but of the conditions.
Thanks for looking at my images! If you’re interested in seeing more of my work, please consider following me on Instagram! I buy all of my film from Analogue Wonderland.
Contribute to 35mmc for an Ad-free Experience
There are two ways to experience 35mmc without the adverts:
Paid Subscription - £2.99 per month and you'll never see an advert again! (Free 3-day trial).
Content contributor - become a part of the world’s biggest film and alternative photography community blog. All our Contributors have an ad-free experience for life.
Sign up here.
12 thoughts on “5 Frames with Kodak T-Max 400 – by Simon King”
Wonderful shots (and fantastic work on your IG, turns out I’ve been following you for a while!).
I love Tmax400, and like Tmax100 even more when the light allows for it.
Thank you Nick, really appreciate it!
Really nice shots, especially the woman standing in the door.
Sorry 😉 I will have to tell you again that your photographs are great 😉
When I look at them this what I think about :
– There are stories,
– Whaouuu Film is better than digital, because :
1. The texture
2. The BW rendering
3. The natural BW contrast
4. The grain whaouuu, I do not find that with any digital camera also Monochrom Leica (for me this is a big joke and a marketing talent)
5. The composition of the image because you have film, you can not miss it, so you care more.
I have seen a new HCB.
That’s incredibly kind of you to say, thank you so much Eric! 🙂
may I ask what’s that black patch on your Leica?
I put tape over all of my logos – to the point where it’s become a bit of a joke, I even have the branding blacked out on my water bottle!
Did you shoot this with your M6J?
Yes – it’s just an M6 though!
Were these all shot and processed at 1600? I really like the mood of them.
Of these only the image with the woman, fan, and dragon dancers was pushed to 1600.