35mm film review: Kodak Tmax P3200
My name is Andrew and I am a fine art destination wedding photographer in Italy (Lake Como, Amalfi). In my spare time I work on different projects and one of my recent projects is a casual film test. This article is going to be about quite popular film - Kodak Tmax P3200.
I have learned about this film quite recently. I knew about Ilford Delta 3200 and I already reviewed it last year. But this film was new to me so I did quite a lot of research to find out more about it and to see as many samples as I could. My main reason to test this film was the upcoming concert that I decided to shoot on film. My main reason not to know about this film that much was the fact that it is impossible to get it in my country. So I ordered couple of rolls from Germany (eBay) and totally confused with various articles about it brought to the action straight away. About my challenges and the mentioned confusion you can read at the bottom of this page. Here are some details about current images: the film is shot on Canon 300v mainly with 135mm F/2.0, ISO set to 1600, developed as 3200, scanned by a professional lab Photolab.lt. Enjoy the shots and the grain :) More info on the bottom.
Kodak Tmax 3200 35mm
Price: €8 + €4 shipping
Camera: Canon 300v
Lens: Canon 135 L F/2.0
Location: Cido Concert Hall, Lithuania
Dev + Scan: Photolab.lt (Lithuania)
Total test price: €17 or €0.48 per frame.
The main challenges were two - to expose correctly in such unpredictable environment and to understand all this confusion with the ISO of this film. Don't be fooled like me - when shooting this film keep in mind that it is 3200 ISO film!!! There are many articles about this film that shout out that this is actually 800 ISO film but can be pushed to ISO 3200. I am still not sure who is right and who is wrong but whenever talking to individual photographers I was always told that it is 3200 ISO film. So frankly I was fooled by the articles and was thinking that since it is 800 ISO film and since I shoot it at ISO 1600 I should ask the lab to push by one stop. With my confusion I also confused them so they called me and advised me not to push it but rather develop as 3200 or pull by 1 stop. That would mean that I overexposed it by one stop (while in my mind I underexposed it by 1 stop). So after a short debate with the lab about the actual ISO of this film I just let them do their job and they developed it as 3200 ISO film. They also asked if they should not pull it by one stop but I was so scared they will leave me with the dark scans so I told them to stick to the safe zone - 3200 ISO and so they did.
Well the scans look great, don't they? Not super amazing and probably way too much grain but that's something expected from 35mm film as such high ISO. If that was a wedding - I would not use this film again. If that was a woman singer - I would not use it either. But I have one more concert upcoming quite soon and it is a rock band - this will be the best place to use such grainy film and I hope to get nice scans from it.
P.S. Once I used Ilford Delta 400 35mm in a wedding and this is when I understood that grain + wedding is not a brilliant combination: the grain simply destroyed the beauty of the bride's make up and softness of the skin. If you do shoot Ilford Delta at the wedding - stick to medium format or ISO100!
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