T-MAX P3200: Back from the Dead
October 1, 2012, was an incredibly sad day for film photographers. It was the day T-MAX P3200 was placed on the chopping block to be discontinued as part of the Kodak bankruptcy fallout.
First reviewed in April 1988, T-MAX P3200, unlike Tri-X, is a T-grain structured film, resulting in finer grain. It is a rated ISO 800 emulsion, yielding incredibly sharp images at high film exposures pushing to ISO 3200 and more. However, what made the film popular among users was it’s push and pull processing capabilities. Photographers have noted the original T-MAX P3200 captured usable images in very low light scenarios, at speeds as high as EI 25,000 by increasing development times. These speeds are nearly unheard of in the world of film!
On February 19, 2018, 20 years since it’s first introduction and nearly 6 years since its discontinuation, Kodak Professional revealed on Twitter that a worldwide announcement would be made with clues released throughout the week. Photographers were quick to believe the announcement eluded to the highly anticipated return of Ektachrome.
The hopes and dreams of an Ektachrome announcement were soon dispelled when the first clue was tweeted in the wee hours of Tuesday morning:
Murmurings of T-MAX P3200 circulated as photographers began to think the line of fast black and white film would make a significant return. The murmurings of P3200’s return increased when Kodak Professional posted the second clue on their Twitter page later that afternoon with a reference to the word “push”. In its former life, the “P” in P3200 stood for push processing.
Now that the film has been announced, questions loom. The immediate burning question: will this film be available in 120/220 medium format? T-MAX P3200 TMZ currently is only available in 135/36 exposure.
The next question: when will P3200 be available? Unlike the Ektachrome announcement on January 5, 2017 at CES 2017, and facing an uphill battle in reformulating this emulsion, T-MAX P3200 has already been manufactured with rolls of film “on hand” and scheduled to hit US distributors March 2018 and worldwide soon thereafter.
This article will be updated as more information from Kodak Professional comes out.
The Kodak Alaris site has been updated to include a tech sheet for the emulsion including development times. This sheet can be found here.
A FAQ sheet has been uploaded to the website as well giving answers mostly already covered in this article.
In response many questions in 120 availability a post on from Kodak Professional’s Facebook page:
In March we’re rolling out 35mm. Based on market response and demand we’ll be looking at 120.”
In other words, buy as much as you can in 35mm and Kodak Professional will consider the investment in formulating a first ever P3200 in 120, medium format film.