pushing tri-x and and hp5

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by theoria, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. theoria

    theoria Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bucharest
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Now, that the days are very short and cloudy in my part of the world, I find increasingly necessary to push film, which is something I usually don't.
    I need some advice about what would offer the best results when pushing by one or two stops tri-x and hp5+. What I want is medium grain (in 35mm) and some compensating effect that would give me nice shadow detail.

    I use mainly rodinal and xtol, which I like a lot and have significant experience with. Recently, I started experimenting with d-76, but so far I can't say I am satisfied with the results. I like the tonalities I get when I develop in d-76 films shot at box speed, especially with HP5, but the grain looks somehow mushy. I can also source locally microphen (which I used and I liked the results, but is an expensive option) and diafine, which, as far as I can see in the scans posted on flickr ( I know, you can't really judge the negatives from scans), I tend to like. Almost everything else I have to order online, so I'd stick with these options, unless there are strong reasons to do otherwise. What's your advice?
     
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,704
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Instead of "pushing" which is a combination of developing and exposure changes just change development, expose at the normal 400 but develop for 800.
     
  3. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

    Messages:
    605
    Joined:
    May 14, 2008
    Location:
    Regina Canad
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What is your dilution for D76? I find I get a better negative when I dilute it 1+1 with water than when I develop in stock solution. The Rodinal will give a sharper grain (more defined) but in 35mm, the grain will become much more prominent and may overtake the image.
     
  4. theoria

    theoria Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bucharest
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm (chiefly) a street photograper, and I already shoot at EI 400 (or rather below, as I already tend to overexpose by half a stop or so and develop normally). But I need some leverage. Shooting at f5.6 and 1/60 is rather hard, because the room for error in terms of focus and motion blur gets very narrow.
     
  5. theoria

    theoria Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bucharest
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I tried developing in stock solution (didn't like the grain structure at all) and in 1+3 (rodinal looks better in terms of sharpness, I think)
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,704
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Same idea applies, if you need to set the camera for 800 just develop for 1600.

    This idea is really just a place to start, you gotta try it to see if it works for you.
     
  7. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

    Messages:
    1,272
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Downers Grov
    Tripod, do not push which does not add shadow detail. Shadow detail is only put there by exposure and you can not compensate by increasing time in developer.

    Try a higher speed film like delta 3200 which is really around 1000/1200. You can add xtol to Rodinal to soften the grain, but will not gain you any speed.

    Supposedly Diafine will get a true speed increase. Microphen will get you 640 .

    End of the day, tripod, box speed, and perhaps a slight increase in time for in developer for overcast cloudy weather.
     
  8. theoria

    theoria Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bucharest
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So, which developer (and dilution) among those listed would work better for developing HP5/Tri-X at 1600 and 3200 (in order to get less contrast and a grain that is not too coarse)?
     
  9. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,194
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I shoot a lot of concerts in low light and TX400 and Xtol 1+1 is the best combination I have found. I slightly overdevelop if the concert is poorly lit with up to 10 mins development time. My rule of thumb is if I can get highlights to at least Zone V when exposing I can usually make a good print from the resulting negative. Otherwise I probably wouldn't shoot.
     
  10. pekelnik

    pekelnik Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I had really excellent results with both in DD-X.
     
  11. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

    Messages:
    2,563
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I regularly push Tri-x and HP5 up to one stop in flat overcast light. HP5 I push to EI 640 and develop in ID-11 (D-76) 1:1 for 16 minutes. Tri-x gets pushed to EI 500 in ID-11 1:1 for 13 minutes. I would recommend using Xtol at 1:1 if that's what you have on hand. That will give you better shadow detail than most developers, especially Rodinal. Shoot at EI 800 and develop for the 1600 dev time. That will be a good starting point.
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,704
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    XTOL is a fine choice.

    Contrast is controlled by development, more development=more contrast and more visible grain.

    Given that you don't want more contrast I'm wondering why you are considering a push.

    In XTOL I'd even say that you could shoot as high as 800 and still get very usable negatives. You may not even notice a loss.

    Kodak's tech pub even says to develop Tri-X in the standard manner for 400 and 800.

    Bottom line is that you are going to need to experiment some to figure this out.
     
  13. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

    Messages:
    779
    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ...and as mark stated before, exposure controls density, developing controls contrast. If you're shooting flat light, it's best that you still shoot at 400 and develop at 800 if you want the shadow detail. Shooting some film that is rated at 1600 is not a bad idea either. Bottom line still applies though. My recommendation would be shoot some short rolls and run some developing tests to see what you like. Sure you might "waste" some money and time, but it's way better than spending a day shooting a realizing that your exposure or developing time was off.
     
  14. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,878
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Location:
    Brandon, MB
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've pushed film a lot (400 B&W to 800 or 1600) and have come to really like DD-X for its grain and shadow detail.

    Since you're shooting street, I'm guessing you are concerned less with densitometry charts and more with getting the shot. My take is that you won't really see a huge loss in shadow detail with careful development AND shooting in flat light. That last point is key.
     
  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,704
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Minor point of clarification.

    It might be easier to think of exposure as controlling placement, rather than density.

    Exposure places the shadow point on film quite specifically, at least within a small range, but density above the shadow point is a significant variable based on a combination of both exposure and choices in the development.

    If the development process is fixed and not varied then it can be said that exposure controls density directly. C-41 is a great example of this.

    I actually find that I prefer having a fixed development regime where I understand the limits for a given combo and will simply meter/shoot/expose within those limits, say -1 (800) to +2 (100) for Tri-X, or whatever range I have tested for.

    These are purely my personal limits. I have simply decided that I prefer to adjust for print contrast at the enlarger/paper instead of in the development of the film.
     
  16. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,704
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1 on DD-X
     
  17. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,805
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I was working JP in the 70s and 80s I pushed a lot of 35mm Tx. The lab used Fr chemistry in a Verisamat or developed in a tank with HC 110, if I developed in the feild I used Dinafine or Acufine. I do like HC 110 for a push due to low fog. Advantage of Dinafine is good grain and shadow details but needs to printed at higher contrast. Tmax 400 or 3200 will push well in TMAX or HC 110. I also like Tmax 400 pushed to 1600 and developed in Edwal 12, higher contrast but nice gain. I have also used Edwal FG 7 with sulfite added. When pushing by extending the time in the developer expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may. I have not used D76 for pushing, Rodinal will likley lead to increased fog and grain.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,254
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Your 'normal' exposure index of a film becomes an over-exposure or under-exposure in lighting conditions other than 'normal'.

    If it's foggy, for example, or heavily overcast, you usually have much less contrast in the scene. This means you can expose your film at a higher exposure index than 'normal' and still retain full detail, because the brightness in the scene is compressed. By underexposing you stretch the shadows back down towards the toe of the film curve, and then you over-develop the film, to stretch the highlights up the curve to make a negative of 'normal' contrast.
    I would not call that push processing. I would call it underexposure and over-developing for normal contrast. Push processing usually involves photographing in very low light where you don't have enough film speed to record the whole tonal range, so you sacrifice shadow detail in order to get the rest of the tonal range back into their normal places. The shadow detail is the main distinction here. In low contrast photography you don't push process, you just compensate for the low contrast of the light you're photographing.

    If you have very bright late afternoon sun, with super bright highlights, and very long deep shadows, to generate a 'normal' negative, you would have to give plenty of exposure to record what's in those deeeep shadows, and then to avoid blocking up the highlights you process for less amount of time. This is also a way to create a normal contrast negative, and in my mind pretty standard practice in making sure I have printable negatives that don't break my heart at printing time.

    Knowing what to expect is key, in my book. So underexposure in low contrast weather can be as much as two stops to yield a normal negative. Over-exposure in extreme contrast can be as much as two or three stops, just to capture all that shadow detail. To me that is just a variation of 'normal', because that's what I aim for the negative to be.

    With that said, you will find people (myself included) who think that an ISO 400 film like T-Max 400 looks best shot at 1600 in normal lighting conditions, just because we're not terribly concerned with shadow detail, and may actually prefer that there is NOT shadow detail all over the place. That is a personal choice, according to preference and taste, and nobody can argue that this is wrong either. The point is that you do with your negatives what looks good in the prints. Shoot a roll and bracket your exposures, see where you get 'enough' shadow detail to satisfy your taste. Then adjust developing time until the rest of the tonal range looks right.
     
  19. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,454
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If 1-2 stops will do it, try Tri-X in Diafine. The box lists EI 1600 and this used to be very workable, but I wonder if changes to Tri-X have changed this as now I find it a bit thin. EI 1000-1250 still looks very good, though. I haven't tried HP5+ in Diafine in years but it used to get a good EI 800.

    If you need more than EI 1250 or so, you may be better off going to TMZ or Delta 3200, but as Thomas talks about it depends on how much shadow detail you want. Those films will hold shadow detail better than pushing 400 speed films beyond a stop or two, but at the expense of grain. Tri-X in Diafine will make very nice 8x10s from 35mm.
     
  20. Grainy

    Grainy Member

    Messages:
    189
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    Norway
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I love TX400 exposed and developed as ISO 800 in Rodinal. But I do like grain and I don't care if I loose some shadow detail.
     
  21. theoria

    theoria Member

    Messages:
    53
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Location:
    Bucharest
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    That is very good advice, regardless of the future choice of developer (does the underexposure/overdevlopment method need serious adjustments if working with Diafine ?). I'll probably have to sacrifice a couple of rolls to get things spot on, but I might start by rating film at 800, underexpose and develop it as for 1250 or 1600. Hopefully, that will give me medium contrast and medium detail in the shadows, as a starting point to tweak until satisfied. What I am dealing with is a mix of flat and low light , the latter due to weather and tall buildings bordering narrow streets. I need some detail in the shadows because the pavement is usually pretty dark in my city (wet asphalt) and people are typically wearing dark clothes. I'm rather tall, so I tend to tilt the camera downwards, and that makes the picture contain a lot dark areas, which I find not to be exactly eye-cathing. ( It might be useful to mention that I use a Sekonic L-208, and meter for a combination of light reflected from my hand and from pavement, which gives me a reasonable average, I think - slightly brighter human faces, making them stand out in the picture, and enough shadow detail, but by no means all possible detail )

    So far, a lot of people seem to recommend DD-X but I'm also tempted by Diafine, which is reported to produce good results. I still have to choose one and learn using it, before experimenting with the other.
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,704
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A couple rolls will get you 60-80% of the way to being spot on. A couple dozen rolls may fine tune that to between 80-90%. The last few percentage points will take years.

    You'll have plenty of time to experiment with developers.