Rating Tri-X for Diafine

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Harry Lime, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

    Dec 10, 2005
    35mm RF
    I shoot a lot of Tri-x with Diafine and take two approaches.

    Usually I will shoot it as recommended at 1250. This works perfectly for shots taken in the early evening or at night with ample 'fill' light from store windows etc.

    But when things get really dark I will simply put the light meter aside and fire away at f1.4 @ 1/30th, 1/15th or 1/8th (Leica M), in the hope of sucking up as many photons as I can and counting on Diafine to extract as much of an image out of the captured energy as possible. Well ripened Diafine will stop the highlights from blowing out. My thinking is that if I rate the film at 1250 in such situations I will also drive up the contrast and sacrifice shadow and highlight detail.

    So, far this approach has worked perfectly, but not being the most technical shooter out there, I was curious if anyone else is taking a similar approach.
    Does what I am doing make any sense?
    Is it even counter productive or am I operating so close to the edge that it's irrelevant at what speed I rate TX?
    I've been shooting TX/Diafine like this for at least 10 years, but just recently gave the technical aspect of this approach some thought.

    Here are some examples of the two methods. The very dark scenes were shot on Tri-X at f1.4 @ 1/30th, 1/15th or 1/8th (Leica M). Most of the brighter shots were shot as recommended at 1250, unless I purposely wanted the image to motion blur.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2013
  2. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

    Dec 24, 2004
    Medium Format
    I don't see any problems with any of these images. You seem to be getting good detail on the bottom of the cymbals in a probably very low light situation. I'd stick with what you are doing which I would say is working pretty well. I shoot Tri X at 800 and develop in old Diafine and get very good results and have for a long tine much to the destabilation of my peers here.