pushing Tri-X, D-76 stock, variables with most influence during developing?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by menos, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. menos

    menos Member

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    I am using Tri-X 400, exposed for ISO2500 and developed in stock D-76 for ISO 3200.

    I get consistent, usable results for scanning and further post processing.

    I would like to change a few things though and would learn, which variables during processing would introduce the biggest effects.
    I would like to stick with D-76 and would not like to sway to different developers.

    The shadows are very much blocked already and I would like to learn how to open them up more.

    The grain size and shape is perfect to my taste, only the abundance of grain would be nice to be limited somewhat.
    Which ways do I have to reduce grain quantity, but keep the overall character of grain.

    Contrast is already very high as expected - are there ways to flatten contrast slightly during developing with sticking to D-76 undiluted?

    Sharpness is sufficient and is no concern at the moment.

    I develop currently:

    1min constant agitation, after this every 60 sec 10 sec agitation.
    at 20ºC development time is around 11 min

    Which influence has agitation on the variables, mentioned above, keeping all else consistent?
    What influence does the fixer have if any on the grain? I use Kodak Rapid fixer without hardener and keep fixing times at 4:30min with fresh fixer without stop bath.
    Is my way of underexposing+overdeveloping ideal or would it be better, to have more exposure and less develop time for less grain and more shadow detail?

    Generally I use this combination to be able to still shoot handheld in very low light and run out of shutter speed already (1/8 − 1/30s already).
     
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The shadows are blocked because you are underexposing the film. Tri-X is an ISO 400 film and that doesn't change much, if at all with development changes. Shooting at an EI of 2500 is about a 2-1/2 stop underexposure. Using more exposure will solve the blocked shadow issue. Adjust EI downward toward 400 as needed until you get the detail you want in the shadows.

    To reduce contrast, reduce development. Time is normally the easiest variable to adjust. Temp changes work fine to. Agitaion is the least effective method.

    Believe it or not it's that simple.
     
  3. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Don't push film unless you are faced with a low light situation and there is no other option. It's not something that good photographers do routinely. Shadow detail, grain and contrast will all suffer. In fact some photographers over expose this film by a stop to get better tonality. There are faster films that can be used.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  4. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    As Mark and Gerald said, there are no mysteries. The further you move away from 400ISO with Tri-X, the more you block shadows. Even with XTOL, after testing, all I could get was roughly 320. If you want grain and open shadows you can use TX @100-200, expose for the highlights, and overdevelop with Rodinal. You can then print at hard grades (4-5) to get very interesting prints. Having said that, for scanning, it's better to have well balanced, less contrast negatives, since much can be added later. The problem with grain is that any consumer scanner just doesn't see grain the way an enlarger does.
     
  5. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    menos,

    Can you supplement the light? For instance in a nightclub discreetly take the candles from nearby tables so your subjects have three instead of one.
     
  6. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Someone, sooner or later will tell yoou to switch developers. It might as well be me. I can shoot TX in soup it in Diafine and get an easy EI of 1000, sometimes 1250. Diafine is a two-bath dev and that helps control contrast. There will be grain, but I don't find it harsh or overwhelming. Actually, using diafine gives me negs that really don't look pushed.

    The above info is good, too.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Actually, if a change in materials were to be made Delta 3200 would be at the top of my list, may as well get a real speed bump.
     
  8. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Tri-X is great in Diafine at 1000-1250 but not at 2500. At that speed I second the suggestion of Delta 3200 (or TMZ which is still available from remaining stock but if you change you might as well change to something still being made.) I get superb results from D3200 at 3200 in T-Max developer and I'd think D76 wouldn't do too badly at 2500.

    But the OP is just seeing the inevitable results of the way he is using this particular combination then asking how to escape those results without changing materials. Sorry, TANSTAAFL.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The laws of physics are a hard task master.
     
  10. menos

    menos Member

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    Thank you guys for the overwhelming flood of comments!
    Some were really helpful, but I think, my point was not understood entirely.

    I use the described combination of film, exposure and developing for a while and am happy with the results.
    I do not seek to deviate from:
    film (I like the look and multi purpose qualities of TX),
    exposure (I cannot raise exposure unfortunately but would actually have less exposure ideally as I am at the bottom of shutter speeds already),
    developer (I like to keep things simple and D-76 simply works perfectly well - I can easily source it, store it and mix it very economically)


    My intent was to gain more knowledge of which slight changes to my process might result in improvements, small or not I am happy to learn and tweak the process.
    I cannot believe that changes to my agitation will have any visible influence.

    Unfortunately I cannot switch to 3200 ISO films - the costs are absolutely prohibitive (+ sourcing them locally in 120 is impossible).
    I do not have more exposure (and frankly do not care about better tones at ISO 200, as it is not available to me for when I need ISO 3200).
    When I want better tones and have more exposure, I simply use Tri-X at 320 or just shoot digital.

    I read a side note about agitation and dilution with D-76, even fixing time having potential influences on detail and grain here:
    http://rogerandfrances.com/photoschool/ps how process 35-120.html

    …and simply wanted to hear about these minuscule effects from the experts, so I can improve upon the developing I do now.
     
  11. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    I am no expert but I can say that sourcing Ilford Delta 3200 film in 120 size in Shanghai is very easy. Where are you getting your film now? I must assume that you know of the camera mall on Luban road. There are several film stores on the 3rd floor and the one I go to has always had Delta 3200. I have not bought any in quite a long while so I guess there is a small chance things have changed. But I would be seriously surprised if it were not available anymore.

    Good to see another Shanghai poster here!
     
  12. menos

    menos Member

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    Hey RattyMouse - the name sounds familiar !?

    Yes, you can buy local but it does cost me between 10-15 RMB/roll more than TriX, which I import mostly in bulk from the US or buy local when prices are ok.
    After I went through many different films, I simply standardised everything on just TriX and HP5 for film and shoot the rest in digital.
     
  13. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Been to DPR? I'm a bit of a legend there I'm afraid.

    OK, you said earlier that it was impossible to source locally so I just wanted to point that out (that local sources are available).

    Are you a photographer here in Shanghai by profession or just a hobbyist like me?

    Edit: I looked at your website. Your photography is of exceptionally high quality.
     
  14. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    menos I don't think we missed your point. I'm not suggesting that you change materials if you are really getting what you want but you are expressing the desire to open up the shadows and increase sharpness. Your chosen materials are simply bumping their physical limits. The fixes that are most effective are more exposure or more sensitive materials.

    Yes, changing the dilution of your D76 can change the look slightly. Diluting the solution can reduce the solvent effect of fine grain developers so a change in perceived sharpness/detail can technically be gained. It is worth playing with.

    With fixing it is normally either complete or not, there's no good middle ground. If it isn't complete, it can negatively effect your results, but that is a significant processing mistake in my world. I check my fixer before each run and typically it clears my test strip in 30-40 seconds but I still fix for 5-7 minutes to make darn sure there are no leftovers. If the clearing test takes longer than 45 seconds I toss that batch of fix out and start with fresh.

    As to the effect of agitation changes, here is a link to an article that can give you a little insight into how agitation can be used. http://www.apug.org/forums/forum216/69617-shaping-tone-curve-rodinal-negative.html
     
  15. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    use a single coated lens instead of multi coated

    the single coated flashes the shadows that would otherwise be clear so a little more detail appears

    and

    a post bath of borax

    http://www.awh-imaging.co.uk/barrythornton/stoeckler2bath.htm

    this will improve the shadows a little and is easy

    if you mix up the D76 yourself alter to the Adox Borax MQ formula or ID68, D76 is too general purpose, a set of micro scales is cheap.
     
  16. menos

    menos Member

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    @ RattyMouse, thank you certainly ;-) Le't call it passionist though - might be more fitting.

    @ Mark: thank you very much for the link - this is exactly the kind of direction I was looking for. I am going to experiment with agitation during the next batch of developments and see what I can find.
    As you (and others) have commented though, it looks to be more like a combination of indeed more exposure (I will not get around it seems) AND a well balanced more frequent agitation to keep the negative curve more flat for better highlight protection.
    I will also look into a more thorough technique in noise reduction during digital post processing (I do practise a hybrid workflow and print entirely digital).

    @ Xmas, this is a very valid point and I am one of the people who very much prefer vintage lenses over the latest modern breed of perfected optics among others for the reason of a lower contrast.
    Regarding the STÖECKLER TWO BATH, this will be something I have to save for later when starting to experiment indeed with different materials.
    I wonder, if it is indeed applicable for heavy push processing to 2-3 stops over box speed, which is what I am doing at the moment.
     
  17. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Sorry don't do more than a simple post Borax bath for 5 minutes with D76.
    It should not compress shadows and may get some more detail out of zone 0 - 1. Borax is a wash aid insect killer easy to obtain?
     
  18. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    A little preflashing might get more shadows up off the toe. I've never tried it but it might be worth a shot. For that matter it might raise some below-threshold shadows up TO the toe where you'll at least get something.
     
  19. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi Roger

    That is how single coated lenses work. The effect is adaptive on scene contrast.

    Use a deep lens hood and no filter contrajour you don't need flare.

    I carry two sets of lenses MC and SC all great painters had more than one brush?

    But I use Microphen or ID68 rather than D76 (about 1/3 of a stop) and a borax post bath rather than overdevelop, id meter HP5 at 650 for zone0. If Ansell can use Borax so can I.

    When It gets too dark I overdose with latte in coffee shops with WiFi. Negs are pigs to print or s#&&, if I don't.

    Noel
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    You are on the right track Xmas but their is a real difference in effect between pre-flashing and the effects single or uncoated lenses provide.

    First, flare (internal) is the effect that causes the effect you are speaking of. Controlling the amount of flare using a hood is a good idea. Both types of flare can be used creatively, regulating good vs bad though, is an art.

    As I understand it, internal flare (from say uncoated, single coated, or dirty lenses) tends to bleed into adjacent areas around the bright areas (or the dirt), it doesn't affect the whole frame equally. If the highlights are far right, the shadows far left may not get any extra exposure from the internal flare. This can help the print by keeping blacks black.

    Internal flare reduces contrast mostly between bright subjects and their immediate surroundings and that may require extra development of the film or printing at a harder grade to look right. Those fixes may make menos's problem worse; it's an artistic choice that menos will have to play with to see.

    Pre-flashing by contrast affects the entire frame and the effect is most marked in the low tones, contrast in the high tones is relatively unaffected. Less development or more normal paper grade may be used to get the desired result.

    Both approaches can produce very nice results.
     
  21. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Well I was only attempting to help the OP.

    Some lenses do bleed high lights locally but many dont the (SC) ones I use tend to flash the whole negative.

    With provisos

    Use a hood the last thing you need is light sources out of frame 'helping'

    Remove filters you don't needs ghosts.

    Use camera with good internal baffles.

    This technique also works (even better) for d@&;-#&s...

    Flashing prints uses the same silver halide mechanism but in a reciprocal way.

    I use Canon LTMs '50-70s 28mm, 35mm and 5cm... and ocassionally FSU LTMs but they (the FSU) do have more bleed.
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    And it is helpful Xmas.