Is Plus-X a sleeper?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Daniel Lawton, May 1, 2005.

  1. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    Hi everyone. Just out of curiosity I bought 3 rolls of Plus-X today to give it a try. Being that this is one of if not "the" oldest continuously made film out there, I'm suprised that very little is said about it. I can count on one hand the number of images I've come across in the galleries that were made with it. Much is made of FP4 and APX 100 but not Plus-X. What are everyones thoughts on this film compared to the other two. I'm looking for increased acutance so I was going to develop in highly diluted Xtol or HC-110.
     
  2. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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  3. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Love it. It doesn't get much better than Plus-x in D-76 (1:1). It's just so darned expensive compared to FP-4 though.
     
  4. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I think Plus-X is a fine film and yes, quite the sleeper. I used it almost exclusively in my younger days for outdoor photography with 35mm and got fine images with D-76 1+0. Nowadays, I shoot APX 100 instead, it's over $1.00/roll less expensive (I'd love to support my neighbors in Rochester, but my wallet comes first) and Plus-X now comes with a nasty blue stain in it. I know it's harmless, but it drives me nuts; kinda like nails on a chalkboard. My APX comes out nice and clear.
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Daniel,

    I think Plus-X was always a bit of a forgotten "middle child". Folks used Pan-X for fine grain and Tri-X for speed (and just a little "cachet"<g>). It never collected the cult following of it's siblings. Once TMX came out, Kodak shooters had fine grain and the same speed as Plus-X in one product.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    It's not as striking as Tri-X--more happening in the midtones than at the ends of the scale with Plus-X, I suppose. I haven't used it for a long time, but sometimes I go back and print some 35mm negs that I shot on Plus-X in the 1980s, and I like them. This is one of my favorites--Plus-X in D-76 I think, printed on Oriental Seagull in 1986.
     
  7. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    A long time ago, Ansel Adams wrote that he liked Plus-X in HC-110. A lot of people, including me, tried it in the 70s-80s and hated it. Soot and chalk. We blamed the film. I now think it was the film/developer combination. Note that not one of the above positive responses used HC-110 as the developer. Before you make a decision, I'd recommend trying several developers.
    juan
     
  8. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I always liked Plus-X in Microdol-X, but never managed REALLY good results in HC-110. Lately, I've been burning off my last 4X5 Plus-X using Ilfosol-S 1:9 with good results.
     
  9. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I was given about 10 120 propacks of it some time back.
    I develope it in Microdol-X and D-76 both @1:3 with dev times in the 11 t0 13 min range (don't hold me to that) when shot just under iso 100. I am not an expert on dev's, the 1:3 was a recommendation.

    I think the film is great, but when it is the only film you have you adjust to it. I used it on the street and in studio. The studio shots were mostly high(er) key -- white background @ 2-stops over and a red filter -- and I think the shots rocked.

    I have probably 3-5 rolls left and will probably replace it in kind.
     
  10. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    WHeb I was using Microdol, I always got very nice results. Now using D76 1:1, I still get nice results. It's an old standard.
     
  11. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    PXP makes a great film for portraits. The only good results I ever had with PXP and HC-110 was to use it between 1:100 and 1:127 for 28 to 35 min as a compensating developer but in D76 it is wonderfull.
     
  12. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Plus-x is somewhat blue sensitive and benefits from a yellow filter outdoors.
    It does not perform rated at 125 ASA but rate it at 64 in Microdol or perceptol and it's hard to fault
    Mark
     
  13. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I do not view Plus-X as a sleeper. I believe it is dead.
     
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  15. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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  16. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    Thanks everyone for their thoughts. I just shot a roll today and since nobody seems to keen on using it with HC-110 maybe I'll give Xtol or Rodinal a try being that I ran out of D-76. Hopefully I'll have some halfway decent prints to post if anyone's interested.
     
  17. mikewhi

    mikewhi Member

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    There is no way anyone should have troulbe getting good contrast with this film. That was one of my favorite things about it - I could get tons of contrast. Again, take a look at the 2 night shots in my gallery - lots of contrast. I also liked the low fb+fob of this film as it kept enlarger exposures short which I liked. I found it very convenient to use in Rodinal and the grain looked great to me - do you see grain in the 5x7 prints of mine?

    I did run tests with it to calibrate it to my printing paper at that time - Zone VI Brilliant graded paper. I used a calibrated step wedge to determine the scale of the paper and developed my negatives to match it. That's how I was sure to get good contrast with this film.

    BTW, if anyone out there wants to sell of any Plus-X sheet film, I'm buying it. I especially would like 5x7 and 8x10 or bigger. I have tone of 4x5 in the freezer.

    Thanks.

    -Mike
     
  18. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Plus-X

    I've been shooting Plus-X developed in Rodinal 1:50 as my classic film in classic cameras. There's something about this film and old lenses that I like. The attached photo was taken with Contaflex II with yellow filter and sunny f16 guess. The negative was scanned on an Epson 2450 and curves adjusted in PSE1.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2005
  19. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    One of the great film developer matches for B and W landscapes is Plus X and D76. The trick is to use replenisher and keep the D76 rippend. I knew folks who had tanks of D 76 that they kept working for years.
     
  20. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Subscriber

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    I've used Plus-x for years. For me it is the best portrait film I've found. Develope in D23 1:1 or 1:3. Was afraid they would screw it up when they changed the formula a year or so ago. But thankfully still looks the same.
     
  21. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Hi All,
    Since this thread has at least briefly come back to life, I thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth. Specifically, while I thought the old Plus X of several years ago was nice, I preferred FP4+. However, the recently ( 2001 ?) reformulated version 125PX has significantly finer grain in 16X20 enlargements from 35 MM negs as well as truly beautiful tonality for landscapes and portraits. I think it is lovely in Sotol 1-2, but even nicer in PMK. It and Acros 100 in Acutol 1-14 are significantly ahead of any other medium speed films I have tested (and I have tested plenty) in terms of grain acutance and tonality combined.
    If you haven't tried the newer version 125PX you may be surprised to see how much an already fine film has been improved.
    Cheers,

    Jay L
     
  22. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Oops!
    The mysterious Sotol 1-2 referenced above is actually the more familiar Xtol 1-2. I do proof and spell check my posts, but that one got by me.

    Jay L.
     
  23. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    I agree Jay, most people seem to think the newer plus-x actually looks better than the old as opposed to other Kodak films that receive mixed reviews when compared to their old counterparts. I recently shot some Plus-x and developed in HC-110 dil "H" and liked the results. A little on the flat side but made for nice easy-to-print negatives that displayed good sharpness.
     
  24. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I have used Plus-x for a while now souped in Tmax developer and like its contrast but I would love to try it in Rodinal 1:50. Can anyone provide some times apart from Digitaltruth and the other usual sources.

    Peter

    p.s. sorry to hijack your thread Daniel.
     
  25. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Plus-X in HC-110: WOW!

    Two years later, I revisit my lukewarm response to Plus-X, and now I can say: I got it! I figured it out! I can see where it looks good!

    I rented a Hasselblad a little while ago, and I went along taking pictures on a bright sunny day, from 1PM to 4PM. Chilly cold, wind factor brings us down to -30C I'm sure, and lots of sparkling white snow everywhere.

    I bought three different films: Plus-X, Tri-X 400, and Tri-X 320. I have been shooting high contrast scenes: angular light on snow, shade and light, etc. All kinds of scenes that would supposedly ask for a soft developer to keep the highlights in check.

    But oh! the idiot: I used HC-110, which actually augments highlight contrast by depressing the midtones. Well, DUH! I just made sure I did not over-develop. Dilution H, 9 minutes for all films, based on some prior testing and my big thumb.

    The contacts are perfect on a Grade 2, and negatives print somewhere between Grade 2 and Grade 3 on Ilford MGIV RC, depending on the scene. I used incident light reading to work faster.

    Plus-X and Tri-X 320 really are in the same family. They both have sparkling whites and rich blacks, the signature of an upswept curve, if I am not mistaken.

    In comparison, Tri-X 400 has a much more straight curve: tones are more evenly distributed. This is not what I wanted in a scene that has lots of dark areas immediately adjacent to bright whites areas. (If you want to have a quick idea of the difference an upswept curve does, open up Photoshop, and apply such a curve to a rather flat photo, but I digress.)

    I understand now why the last snow scenes I took with Tri-X 400 in XTOL did not look satisfactory: too much midtones. XTOL emphasizes the midtones, which is great for portrait, street photography, or anything that employs subtle shades of gray.

    Chuck the midtones by employing Plus-X or TXP in HC-110, photograph a sharply lit subject, and voilà! you have that great "Kodak" look, typical of many Ansel Adams photos.

    I'll post scans later this week when I have the chance, but I am absolutely over my head with Plus-X. I will try it in 35mm to see if the contrast effects of HC-110 also look good in a smaller format.

    Yeah, and I want a Hasselblad too. Or a Rolleiflex...
     
  26. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Yep...Dilution H, 9 minutes, TXP equals great negatives. Some of my favorite and easiest printing images.

    I've only been printing for 3 months, but these negs have been the easiest to get great results from.