Tri-X history question

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David Goldstein, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Just curious about the current formulation of this film. How far back does it go? I know Tri-x has been around for quite a while, but not a lot more.

    Update - well, I found this link - its a start, but for a film thats been around so long, it's more of a summary - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodak_Tri-X
     
  2. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    At least since 1962 which was the 1st time I used it. Wikipedia dates it before that but I can go back no further.
     
  3. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    The current formulation certainly hasn't been around since 1962, which I believe was what the OP was asking. Today's Tri-X is noticeably different from what I used in the 70s and early 80s.

    From the Wiki link the OP posted:

    "In 2007, Tri-X was extensively re-engineered, receiving the new designation 400TX in place of TX or TX400, and became finer-grained."
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    It appears to have had at least 3 reformulations over the years. The current Tri X is certainly quite different than the original.

    PE
     
  5. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    From a very limited personal experience of this film, I can clearly see a difference between my Tri-X negs from 2001 and those I took this year. Seems finer grained and a bit more TMax-like, but the grain structure does not have that regular geometric look that I see in TMax. It seems to be more in between, and very pleasant. XTol 1+1, shot EI 320 in 2001 and 200 this year. I apologise for how imprecise and subjective my statement is, I am sure those who calibrated it will provide more formal comparisons.
     
  6. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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  7. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I like the current one, but I think I liked the previous one better. For one thing, just like T-Max films, I find the current one effectively loses speed in tungsten light much more than the older one. I know this is contrary to the published spectral response and maybe it's something about my meters (though it seems odd this applies to several different ones AND the same meters worked well under tungsten with prior films) but I find meters that consistently give good exposure under daylight with T-Max films and Tri-X to consistently underexpose with current Tri-X, though the same meters did not do so with the older version.

    If you like the look of really old Tri-X use TMZ...er, wait, can't do that either. :sad:
     
  8. Jim Edmond

    Jim Edmond Member

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    I believe the orginal Tri-x (200 ASA) was introduced in 1954. Same year as the M3.
     
  9. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    The change from 200 to 400 was due to new standards in the definition, not to any change in the film. Older film speeds were biased to ensure plenty of light reached the film.
     
  10. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    The Wiki says it all. I like the current formulation. Tri-X still works best rated at 200 or 250. I would love to say its the classic film. However, the current version has more magenta dye, finer grain and perhaps improved sharpness. Since the late 90s the photo industry gave us the best film ever.
     
  11. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Which explains why half the world gets "good results" shooting at half box speed.

    Or if you have a working Weston Master II just use it without worrying about the correction.

    (Not that I'm saying the word should return to Selenium cell meters. They have their own shortcomings.)
     
  12. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    Roger Hicks has written that Tri-X was introduced in about 1940 as a sheet film: the earliest references he had is a Kodak handbook dated 1940 and the BJ Almanac for 1941 (where it is reviewed as a new product and also advertised). Tri-X is mentioned in Dunn (Exposure Meters and Practical Exposure Control), 1952. The '50th anniversary' (2004) seemed to apply to roll film and 35mmm only but he had not found a date for this intro either. Web searches (including Kodak's own web site) give 1954 as the date of intro, but this is clearly not the case for sheet film.
     
  13. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    I still think it's the best 400 speed b/w film around. It just works and looks gorgeous.


    Although I have to admit that I'm very impressed with TMY-2 400. But it does have a different look, so it really is a matter of taste.


    Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodak_Tri-X

    "Tri-X is a classic high-speed black-and-white photographic film from Kodak. Introduced around 1940 in sheets rated at ASA daylight 200 and tungsten 160, it was one of Kodak's first high-speed (for the time) black-and-white films. Tri-X was released in 35mm and 120 in 1954. Currently it is available in two speeds, ISO 320/26° (320TXP) and 400/27° (400TX). Tri-X 400 is the more common of the two, available in 24 and 36 exposure rolls of 35 mm and 120 as well as 50 and 100 ft bulk rolls of 35mm. Tri-X 320 is available in 4×5", 5×7", and 8×10" sheets."
     
  14. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    i've been using arista premium 400, which is tri-x, for the last six months or so pretty exclusively and i've been very impressed -- much nicer than the stuff I used in high school in the mid-60s, which was very grainy even on an 8 by 10 enlargement. I've got about 500 feet of it in the freezer and just ordered two bricks of the pre-loaded since, cost wise, it works out to a better deal to buy it already loaded. go figure.:tongue:
     
  15. zerobuttons

    zerobuttons Member

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    According to Wikipedia, that is true regarding 135 and 120 formats. Just for fun, I just checked with this book:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Magnum-Cont...3992/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350202802&sr=8-1
    and found that the first use there of Tri-X is Cornell Capa´s September 1955 photos from Buenos Aires, when the Peron regime was thrown out. Before that, it is all XX and Plus-X when Kodak is involved.
     
  16. Thanks all of you for your experience and perspective on what I think of as the B&W film of B&W films.
     
  17. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The Wikipedia article seems quite accurate. Tri-X first appeared as a sheet film. Super-XX (ASA 100) was the preferred high speed film at the time, and it gave better quality pictures in just about all respects. If you really needed speed, you used Super Panchro Press Type B (ASA 250), which was probably no worse. Tri-X was pretty much an orphan. When I first got interested in photography in 1949, I think it had disappeared. Tri-X was reborn in the mid 50s in 35mm and 620. It was a rather grainy film, with a distinctive, vital look. It also could be pushed a stop to a stop and a half with little loss in quality. Tri-X gave birth to the hand held, available light photography movement which flourished in the late 50s and early 60s. I first used the film in 1957. It was not nearly as fine-grained or sharp as Plus-X (and nowhere near Background-X motion picture film, which I used a lot of in that period), but it had its uses and produced pretty nice prints. The film changed a lot (mostly in two well advertised steps) during the mid 1960s. It became a lot finer grained and got a softer look, more like the current film. This newer film was just in time for the press photographers' changeover from 4X5 to 35mm, and they adopted it enthusiastically. It has continued to change and improve over the years, getting even finer grained and sharper. The last significant makeover was just a few years ago. It has become an excellent general purpose film, with sufficiently fine grain and high sharpness to compete against ISO 125 films.