Kodak T-Max P3200 — A Fujifilm Film Simulation Recipe for X-Trans IV & V
A grainy high-contrast B&W Film Simulation Recipe for the Fujifilm X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, X-T30 II, X-H2, X-H2s, X-T5, and X-S20.
“Stop the presses!”
That was the subject of an email I recently received from Anders Lindborg. Longtime Fuji X Weekly readers will immediately recognize Anders, since he invented the Kodak Tri-X 400, Ilford HP5 Plus 400, Ilford Pan F Plus 50, and Ilford FP4 Plus 125 (plus co-created Kodak T-Max 400) black-and-white Film Simulation Recipes—he is, in my opinion, the guru on Fujifilm B&W Recipes. Kodak Tri-X 400 is my all-time favorite Recipe, period. Anders also created the Kodak Gold v2 Recipe, seven Fujicolor Pro 160NS Recipes, seven Fujicolor Pro 400H Recipes, and made an important D-Range Priority discovery. When Anders Lindborg says to stop the presses, I knew to stop the presses!
The story that I found in that email was absolutely incredible! Whether or not you ever use the Film Simulation Recipe that Anders sent to me, the story itself makes this article a worthwhile read. I was (and still am) just blown away by it! It’s funny how life comes full circle in surprising ways sometimes.
“Some years back,” Anders Lindborg wrote me, “I found myself being totally photographically stuck. People liked my photos, but I could feel there was something missing from them and I thought they were still too amateurish. By chance, a photography magazine published an article called Learning How to See in which they mentioned a photographer named John Sevigny, an art teacher at a university in Mexico City. The magazine referenced Mr. Sevigny because he often talked with his students—and had also written some papers—about the subject of the article. Anyway, I started searching the internet and found many articles about him and his work. I also found some of his papers on the subject. Afterwards, I noticed that something gradually happened to my photos, and I realized that I could often see a deeper meaning in random ordinary things, people’s expressions and behavior. It really helped me, and I swore to never forget about this guy.”
“Life is funny,” Anders continued, “and I think I’m slowly starting to believe in this karma stuff. As it happens, awhile back I was contacted out of the blue by no other than John Sevigny himself! He had apparently found my stuff published on Fuji X Weekly very interesting and asked very kindly if I could help him out with the final touches on his upcoming book. The project that he had been working on was really heavy stuff, so he was temporarily burned out and needed some technical assistance, which I gladly provided. After the material for the book was finished, we continued chatting and I’m now proud to call him my friend.”
“After weeks of talking about photography, John mentioned that he really missed shooting with Kodak T-Max P3200 that he used to use all of the time while working as a news photographer. So, he said, how about making a recipe for it? I couldn’t resist, so we started developing it immediately. John provided me with all the information about the emulsion that I could possibly need, including a bunch of his own 25-year-old scans, but most important was his experience of shooting it daily for years. According to John, anytime there was a request for something that was going to be an article inside the newspaper, that’s the film they used since the available light would almost always be ranging from bad to worse. It didn’t matter if it was a sports event or a murder, they used Kodak T-Max P3200. After reading up about it (since I never shot it myself, sadly), I understood why: it was optimized to create sharp and (reasonably) detailed photos in generally bad light.”
“Much care and testing has been put into this recipe by both John and myself,” Anders concluded, “and since John had all this experienced with the film, he had to be the one to officially approve it, which he did. I couldn’t be happier with the results we got from the tests! I actually put his scans in a photo album together with my test shots and the only thing revealing was the lens quality. When using the recipe with a vintage lens, I promise that you’ll have a really hard time telling your photos apart from the real film! Even some of the film’s tell-tale quirks have been replicated.”
Wow! Thank you, Anders Lindborg and John Sevigny, for creating this Kodak T-Max P3200 Film Simulation Recipe and allowing me to share it with the Fujifilm community on Fuji X Weekly—your work is much appreciated! I really love how Fujifilm cameras and Film Simulation Recipes are bringing people together across the world—it’s truly amazing! As great as this Recipe is—and it is great—the story behind it is even better.
Like Anders, I have also (sadly) never shot with Kodak T-Max P3200 black-and-white negative film (I went with Ilford Delta 3200 instead). Originally released in 1988 (the ISO 100 and ISO 400 versions were released two years prior), Kodak discontinued T-Max P3200 in 2012, but reintroduced it (with an “improved” emulsion) in 2018. It’s actually an ISO 800 (some say ISO 1000) film that labs automatically develop with two stops of push-processing, unless you tell them otherwise. But you can shoot it at ISO 800 and not push or ISO 400 and pull one stop (for less contrast) or ISO 1600 and push one stop. Some (brave? crazy? desperate?) photographers even shot it at ISO 6400 and pushed it three stops! Kodak T-Max P3200 can basically be anywhere from an ISO 400 to an ISO 6400 film, and it can go from a fairly flat and fine-grained emulsion to a punchy and gritty film, just depending on how you shot and developed it.
With this Kodak T-Max P3200 Film Simulation Recipe, the higher the ISO you shoot with, the more it will resemble shooting the film at a higher ISO and push-processing, and the lower the ISO it will more resemble shooting at ISO 800 and not pushing in development. In other words, you are going to get somewhat different results at ISO 640 than ISO 6400; I especially appreciate how this Recipe looks from ISO 3200 to ISO 12800. You will need to consider if you want a cleaner or more grainy aesthetic, and choose an ISO that will produce those results.
If you have a Fujifilm X-Trans IV camera (X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, X-S10, X-T30 II) or X-Trans V (X-H2, X-H2s, X-T5, X-S20, and any other released after publication), I invite you to give this Kodak T-Max P3200 Film Simulation Recipe a try! It’s not compatible with the X-T3 or X-T30 or X-Trans III, unfortunately; however, if you ignore Toning, Grain size, and Clarity, it should still produce good results, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. This Recipe should also work with GFX cameras, although I haven’t tested it and have no firsthand experience if it will look similar or not.
Film Simulation: Acros (or Acros+Y, Acros+R, Acros+G)
Monochromatic Color (Toning): WC -1 & MG -1
Grain Effect: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Off
Color Chrome FX Blue: Off
White Balance: 5500K, +4 Red & +7 Blue
Dynamic Range: DR400
High ISO NR: -4
ISO: up to ISO 12800
Exposure Compensation: 0 to +2/3 (typically)
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodak T-Max P3200 Film Simulation Recipe on my Fujifilm X-T5, X-E4 and X100V cameras:
ISO 640 vs ISO 12800:
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