Kodak’s TMax 100 has quickly become my favorite black and white film I’ve ever shot. The slow speed of ASA 100 does prevent me from using it much of the winter here in Ohio so I started using it more in a studio environment and that’s where I’ve really fallen in love with it.
Being that this is a black and white film, there isn’t anything to say about color but there’s a lot to say about the tones of this film. Compared with some of its more muted tone Ilford counterparts, this film does a great job of covering more of the zone spectrum. My first experience with the film was in Banff in 2019 when I shot a few rolls of it along side a surviving roll of Acros. At the time I don’t think I truly appreciated the quality of this film. The lights are so bright and the darks are so strong – the contrast have been truly wonderful.
This is where I’ve really taken a liking to this film stock. This film in my RB67 performs so well, I wonder why even get out the 4×5. Honestly – as much as I zoom into the photograph, all I get is detail, detail, and more detail. All of this without any grain I can notice. Even though I would say this has become my favorite portrait film, I’ve continued trying out other films – most recently Ilford’s Delta 100. Thought to be Kodak’s TMax 100 counterpart, I went into the experience with my hopes up that I would have found a new film I like just as much but at a fairly significant lower cost. Instead, I found myself pining for TMax 100 more.
I do not have any experience pushing or pulling this film as of yet. I could see myself pushing it at some point if the situation was right but I cannot imagine a time or place when I would want to pull it.
I will continue to buy this film and shoot it as one of my favorites for the foreseeable future. The price hike Kodak implemented in 2020 was frustrating at the cost of this film rose enough to push me towards trying other films. As you probably read in the section on Portraits, one such alternative film I tried was Ilford’s Delta 100. For whatever reason, it didn’t dawn on me at the time that Ilford’s alternative is just as expensive if not more so. So, I will continue to shoot and give other 100 ASA black and white films a go just to see how they compare but I think I’ve found my home with TMax 100. With that said, I’ve yet to shoot through any of Acros II (I have some ordered but am saving them for a trip to the Alps in a month) which I may love even more; however, it is nearly double the price of TMax 100 so the odds of it becoming my everyday B&W portrait film is very unlikely.