Pushing Tri-X 400 rollfilm@1600 - which developer?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by berraneck, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. berraneck

    berraneck Subscriber

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    Hi,
    I shooted Tri-X rollfilm as ISO1600 in contrast light and I am concerning about best developer. I want to get moderate sharp grain and slightly decreased contrast, I was thinking about Rodinal 1+100 or 1+200, but I think it is too grainy for what I want. Another solution from my fridge supplement is Amaloco AM74 or AM20, but I cannot find dilution and developing time for this combination. Anyone can help with any experience? thx
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    If you are in the states you can use Dinafine.
     
  3. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    The suggestion to use diafine is great. It is probably the best thing you can do.

    However, that wouldn't be "pushing", just the best option for you, having underexposed your film by at least 2 stops (more like 3, really because even 400 iso is pretty optimistic for XXX. Most people I know use it at 250, or maybe 320. I adjust the speed to correspond to needs of the developer I'm using.). The theory behind "pushing" is that you can compensate for underexposure by overdeveloping. This is just a little bit less likely to succeed than well, buying a lottery ticket, unless you really understand what you are doing. Then, you wouldn't be underexposing at all; you would be exposing and developing by design to achieve a result that you can predict with some assurance of success.

    This idea that one can compensate for underexposed film by overdeveloping is an unfortunate fantasy. In doing so in a situation in which, if I understand you correctly, you need to reduce the contrast, you've created a real contradiction to your intent. You are not going to be able to reduce contrast by overdeveloping! Overdeveloping increases contrast. Development builds contrast. So, in the shooting, you've committed yourself to increasing the contrast, when that is the last thing you probably would want to do.

    It's hard to bring this kind of news, especially noting that your question was your first post. I want you to know that all of us have done precisely this same kind of thing in our careers at some point. When I was beginning, nobody was around to help me understand this. They were around to misinform me. It was terribly frustrating. I tried and tried; they said it would work, but obviously, it did not.

    To make it worse, the popular press and even some textbooks used in photo courses perpetuate this fallacy, making it look simple when it just isn't. Even authors whom I know understand this because I know their teachers (like the author whose book I use in my own course - I won't mention names) put in a page or short chapter on it, casually, usually without explaining what is really going on. I think that it is such a sacred cow that publishers must insist on it, and the authors put it in against their better judgment. In my courses, I caution my students about it and explain to them why it does what it does and doesn't what it doesn't.

    There are times when making the choice to sacrifice shadow detail in favor of achieving a usable image does make sense. Learning what these circumstances are takes thought and experience. Usually, people do this in precisely the wrong situations. You certainly are not alone. You have big company here.
     
  4. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    When I was working PJ in the 70s and early 80s pushing film was very common, but there is no free lunch, just forget shadow details, expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may. Dinafine works best for high contrast while holding shadows. Other options are Acufine, Edwal FG7 with Sodium Sulfide, HC110, and even Mircrodal X 1:3. I use to carry quart sizes of Dinafine in my luggage just in case.
     
  5. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

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    I would also suggest Diafine.

    Diafine gives you something between 1200 and 1600 ISO with Tri-X. This is my favorite combo for low-light. Its is even less grainy than Tri-X @ 400 souped in HC-110 which is my main developper for normal situations. However, IMHO, you will loose a bit of the great tonality of Tri-X, Diafine processed negs are kind of flat. This is not a bad thing especially in really contrasty situations where you risk to blow the highlights.

    Finally, I found that Diafine+Trix doesn't scan very well. But APX 100 @ 200 in Diafine is doing good.

    Hope it helps!

    Kris
     
  6. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Hey Paul, better make that sulFITE. Sodium sulfide is the active ingredient of b solution of sepia toner. Wouldn't work. If not aware of the difference it might be easy to get the wrong stuff, especially if buying on the web because I'm sure Bostick and Sullivan and PF have both in their catalogs.

    You know, using diafine, it is possible to cycle through several iterations of the process with water rinse in between. In this way, you can promote the shadow development while holding down the highlights. Just a thought. That is, A, then B, then thorough rinse, then A, then B, then rinse....

    The best policy, though, would be not to push in the first place without careful consideration of what the results would be.
     
  7. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    XTOL 1+1

    No comparison to the old stuff, it'll give you better shadow speed, keep the highlights printable, and give a long linear curve.

    Xtol beats the old school soups because it is simply more efficient, it DOES build shadow speed. The others only build contrast. Kodak has reliable data for EIs from EI 100 to EI 3200. It works, and it looks like it was normal.

    Check it: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j109/j109.pdf
     
  8. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    Sounds far too good to be true. I'll rush right out and buy some!! Is it going to separate zone 1?

    Thanks.
     
  9. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Tri-X At 1600

    If you are in Europe you should be able to get Tetenal Emofin. I would try it on a test roll before developing the film you already shot. I also use AM 74 but mostly for slow and medium speed film. For your purpose I recomend that you look up the time for Tri-X at 400 in AM 74 at 1:7, then adjust the time for 1:15 and then develop for 150% of that time. This should give you a good starting point.
     
  10. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    Make that recommend.
     
  11. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Kodak Xtol & TX graph

    Here is a Kodak Xtol publication (in German ).
    I've highlighted the CI .75 curve in red, Kodak's suggestion for EI 1600.

    Xtol, for me, gives 1/2 stop more shadow speed than D76, with tighter grain. The highlights don't rise as abruptly. This picture is pretty much what I've always got from Xtol. Even BETTER with TMY, but that's off topic... :surprised:
     

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  12. Mike Richards

    Mike Richards Member

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    I'm in Europe and also recommend Tetenal Emofin.
     
  13. berraneck

    berraneck Subscriber

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    Thanks for your recommendations.
    I also have Instant Mytol, actually same developer as XTol, and is great to achieve details in shadows. But I do not like the very small blured grain, which is reason of big amount of sodium sulphite. It was reportage shooted during sunny days, and I exposed it as 1600 just for having times usable handheld with MF camera. As I read your posts, I think the best option for me will be Emofin, Diafine or AM74. I like look of 135 Tri-X in Rodinal 1+25/1+50, and that is something what I want to achieve with rollfilm pushed to 1600.

    Btw. I know, Tri-X is really not ISO400, but something between 250-320, but it is better then Delta/TMax 3200, which are really something around ISO1250:smile:

    After I make some tests I will posts some experience. Thanks!!
     
  14. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Btw. I know, Tri-X is really not ISO400, but something between 250-320

    Test the folklore before you believe it or publish it. Test it before you shoot it.


    .
     
  15. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Kodak says TMZ is ISO 800 in most developers. From their tech pub:

    This passage has been in the tech info sheet for TMZ since it came out. I had the manager at the lab I worked in at the time enlarge and post this section at the drop off window. I always wondered if that vagary about the rounding meant it was rounded up. :smile: I know most of our customers thought it meant rounded down... a lot. Even so, most went back to pushing Tri-X past its limits. My mantra at the time was "if you want me to print more shadow detail, put it in the negative."

    Ilford's tech pub says Delta 3200 is ISO 1000 in ID-11, nothing about "rounding".

    Lee
     
  16. bowzart

    bowzart Member

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    tmz & Δ3200

    I tested them both, simply can't remember what in, though. It's probably in the files somewhere. Whatever it was would have been fairly generic, most likely hc110b. I do remember the results, though, at least what I determined as a practical ISO for general use. Speedwise, it was 800 for both. Now I'm curious so I may try to find the data.

    Some fewer years back I retested Δ3200 in Beutler's and for that I do have some accessible records. I worked that one up because my wife shoots Zone Plate images on it. We were looking for a combination that would give us excruciatingly sharp grain with which to present the very soft images. Turned out to be just great. Of course, though, the zp itself imposes a different and more gentle kind of gradation which is pretty forgiving at both ends; almost more like an equal increment scale, rather than typically photographic.

    So here's something found in my notes for whatever it's worth:

    "First impression of the wet results is typical in my experience with these high speed films in that the first visible separation in the zone tests appears to place zone one in the realm of 400 ISO.... The subject exposures ... following the zone patches was made at 1600 ISO using the camera's metering system... They are underexposed. The granularity is visible to the naked eye, and there is a beautiful uniformity to the images, which nonetheless appear to be both underexposed and underdeveloped. I suspect that the useful rating will be ISO 800, and the developing time will be around 17 minutes."

    I had been living then in a barn with no densitometer and hardly a darkroom at all at the time, so I was doing these tests the old way; visual determination of separation from a controlled dead black on a contact print for the speed; marking with a sharpie on the upper zone patches enabled determination of separation from pure white on the same sheet. I know that these sheets are around somewhere. We always have to wonder, though, what they may have done to the film in the meantime. That was 8 years back.

    Even back in the mid '60's visual determination was pretty marginal on zone 1; Minor White suggested working from a clearly visible zone 2 as a practical adaptation. Ansel Adams' method from the old Basic Photo series was based on films that had a lot more silver in them (apparently). I'm curious about how these tests would work with the Adox films, whether a visual zone 1 might still be there. I have a good densitometer now and a better lab setup.

    Anyway, I have fair confidence in these numbers still, although with the zp's we kick the development time into the stratosphere since the negatives we get otherwise are a bit hard to deal with since they don't have enough contrast.

    Phil Davis' issues with the zone system seem to be born out with your data on xtol (df); he points out that the assumption that the lower zones don't move is invalid. With more typical film/developer combos, this is true, but practical results can be achieved nonetheless. Your xtol data shows that we may need to take a closer look at the whole curve if we are interested in any kind of precision.

    All this is fascinating and seductive. But maybe too complicated. I'm going back to scratching on stretched animal skins with burnt sticks.
     
  17. MarcoGiardini

    MarcoGiardini Subscriber

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  18. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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  19. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Count me as another fan of Tri-x in Diafine for low light photography. I always get what I want with this combo.

    Bill