I Shot a Roll of Kodak T-Max 400 by Robert Chestnut

May 9, 2019
3 min read

My name is Robert Chestnut, I am an artist, teacher, and photographer. I live on Ocracoke Island North Carolina. My interest in photography started when I purchased a Minolta SRT101 from a thrift store back in 1998. In college back in 2008, I was enrolled in a photography program that gave me a renewed interest in 35mm film. I think I was the last of the college newspaper staff to be issued a film camera. I tried digital for a while when I was out of college. I don’t mind the look of digital.  I am a film photographer because I like the process. I like that I can take a photo without electronics. There is nothing better in the world than developing your film yourself and looking at the fresh negatives.

Most people think of Kodak Trix 400 when they think of black and white film. After all It is the ak47 of film.

While I love using Trix 400, I prefer using Trix’s younger brother Kodak T-Max 400. I enjoy the look high contrast photos and sharp grain T-Max never fails to deliver. T-Max also has many different looks depending on exposure and development.

My day to day camera is a meter-less Leica M3 and the exposure latitude of T-Max 400 allows me to get a good shot every time. While the previous statement is true of Trix, I seem to have flat negatives when I am off on exposure with Trix. I had been looking for a film like this for a long time.

I always skipped over Tmax films because I thought I would not like the T-grain and the sharpness. After years of avoiding it, this film has become my go to. T-Max 400 is my all-purpose film. Something about the look of Tmax photos reminds me of photos from the 1980’s I grew up seeing.

When I develop T-Max 400, I use a dilution of 1:1 of d76 for a time of 10 minutes and 30 seconds. You have to be careful on temperature if it’s just a hair too cold the developer won’t take off all of the purplish pink emulsion (the only fault I have found in a few years with this film). I normally develop mine at 25 Degrees C.  Kodak recommends 20 degrees. 

All the photos here were taken with a Leica M3 and goggled 35mm f/2.8 Summaron.

You can find many more photos from different film stocks and cameras on my Instagram @roastchestnuts.

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