Tri-X at 1600

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Tim Gray, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I shot a concert last week using Tri-X at 1600. It was indoors with typical stage lighting. I spot metered off the performers' faces (for most shots). I normally soup my negs in XTOL, but I also don't normally push Tri-X to 1600. You guys think XTOL or Diafine (which is the other dev I have around) would be better?

    Normally, when I plan on using Diafine, I expose at 1250, so film exposed at 1600 might not be the best.

    However, there are two things of note:
    1 - Concert lighting is pretty contrasty lighting - Diafine might do better at 1600 in this situation? or no?

    2 - Some shots might be over exposed - when I entered the pit and didn't have time to meter before each shot for changing light, I put my camera on manual and preset the exposure for the largest exposure (slowest shutter, largest aperture) that I remembered using before hand - to err on the side of over exposure. Not sure if this makes a huge difference, but how overexposed would a frame have to be to have blocked up highlights due to pushing in XTOL?

    Just curious to see what you guys think. Thanks!
     
  2. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I would use the Diafine.
     
  3. mrtoml

    mrtoml Member

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    I would also use Diafine.
     
  4. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Sweet. Diafine it is.
     
  5. nicolai

    nicolai Member

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    Late to the game, but I second that, particularly since the exposure may be wonky.

    I don't know if this is a concern for you, but I hear people raving fairly consistently about how well Tri-X at 1600 in Diafine scans.
     
  6. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    I'm too am late to this party but I have observations to share. I've pushed Tri-X using XTOL and used Diafine, both at EI 1600. The results in Diafine were better (e.g. grain, definition, etc...) IMHO.
     
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  7. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    And here's why Diafine works: you can't push in Diafine. You will get the same 'great results' in Xtol if you develop normally. And results in Xtol will probably be a whole lot better -- there isn't much that boosts shadow speed as well as Xtol, and shadow speed is the name of the game in stage and concert photography.

    Pushing adds nothing to the negative, it just increases contrast. Pushing was de riguer in the old days when high contrast papers weren't as available or the negs were destined for newsprint. The increase in contrast is needed because the image was on the toe of the films response curve.

    For concerts the best strategy is to pull, not push.

    With stage lighting the bugaboo is high contrast, so getting the image off the toe of the curve isn't an issue; but getting any shadow detail is. I meter the shadows to determine the exposure - close down 2 stops from the shadow reading. Then I read highlights and pull development 25-50% to control contrast, anything above a 5 stop/zone spread and it's time to reduce development.

    You'll get the best concert photos you ever had.

    But now the problem is holding the camera steady. Fast prime lenses are the only way to go: 85mm f1.4 & 135mm f1.8/2.0. Tripods aren't normally allowed, but if you can, use one. Bean bags draped over the seat in front work almost as well. Use a cable release, lock the mirror up, and look at the performer to judge the moment to trip the shutter.
     
  8. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Therein lies the rub. If you can't steady the camera, which at times isn't feasible, then you won't have a useable shot. Ostensibly, you are going to get better results if you develop normally, however, low shutter speeds may prevent you from obtaining the desired photograph.
     
  9. David R Munson

    David R Munson Member

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    FWIW, TX at 1600 in HC110 looks quite nice.
     
  10. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Stage photos.

    Many years ago when I was first oboist of the Norfolk Symphony, I took photos of guest artists in rehearsal. The attached was of Alicia De La Rocha. My standard exposure with Tri-X was 1/60 at f/2.8. If I had use an automatic camera, my exposures would have been off because of white music in the foreground and very dark background. I was seldom able to leave my chair long enough to get on the audience side of the performer. I/60 at 2.8 will do it for most situations because the lighting person will see to it that there is that much light on the performer's face. I did not use push processing.
    I tried Acufine and Diafine but wound up using my own blend of Phenidone, hydroquinone and sulfite. It was a sort of kin to D-23, but with a little Phenidone and a lot of hydroquinone. You cannot really put too much Q in because activity is limited when the ratio to Phenidone gets above a certain point. Anyway, let me see if I can show a result.
     

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  11. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Thanks for all the input. No one's late to the party at this point since I just finished up my last batch of XTOL and haven't had the time to mix up another bucket of it. Which made me think of my only other dev on hand, Diafine. Which made me think of the exposure, etc.

    I was struggling to get exposures of 1/60s at f/1.6 of the performer's faces at times. I'm guessing I have a low number of keepers. Tripods, cable releases? HA! This was a pretty 'active' show. I almost lost a shoe, and by the time I finished taking photos, I was covered in sweat (mine and others) and alcohol (others). And a bit of an unidentified substance.

    I think I might run a roll through Diafine and see what it looks like first.
     
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Diafine will do a pretty good job for you. It will boost shadow details quite a bit with Tri-X and do a fairly good job of controlling highlight densities as well. I've found that rating the film at 1250 (and lately at 800) gives better results in high contrast lighting situations. Unfortunately you can't always do that, so you make do with what you can get.
     
  13. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Agreed. I've shot hundreds of rolls of ballet performances with that combination.

    But about 1990 I switched to HP5+ and Infotec HC, 1:31.
     
  14. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    Would you mind sharing your dev times as a starting point? I am interested in trying this combination.

    Stefano
     
  15. Alexz

    Alexz Member

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    I also got the bug for Tri-X pushing to 1600 recently, have only HC-110 as my standard developer. Started off with the times give in Massive Dev. Chart for dill. H (twice as dilluted as B) = 32 minutes at 20 deg. C. Time was fine but what turned to be the point - agitation regime. I figured in a contrasty conditions highlights tend to get overboard quite easily with excessive agitation, so I worked out a modest one: 1 turn over (slow) each 4 minutes (this is besides of regular 30 sec. constant agitation at the beginning).
    Highlights kept well this way, shadows are obviously harder to pull, but are acceptable in many cases...
     
  16. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    The old lab rats dealing with stage lighting often used a dilute metol only dev- eloper. I bet D23 1:3 would keep your skin tones in place.

    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  17. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    The first 2 rolls look like they turned out relatively well in Diafine. I haven't had a chance to scrutinize them, but it looks like it worked decently. Thanks for all the discussion!
     
  18. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    The developer I used was 0.6 grams Phenidone, 10 or so grams of hydroquinone and 100 grams of sodium sulfite in a liter. I treated it about like D-23. This was before I found the delights of ascorbic acid. To see the developer I would be using now, look at my article on Metol and ascorbic acid. About a gram of Phenidone, 8 grams of ascorbic acid and 24 grams of borax in a liter of water will do it.