Why I LOve Tri-X!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by momus, Aug 3, 2013.

  1. momus

    momus Subscriber

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    OK, I really do like Tri-X. It gives me tones that no other B&W film gives, even though HP5 is not bad. But until I started doing my own developing I never realized how good Tri-X really is. Recently I wanted to shoot a couple of lenses at wide apertures on 35mm cameras that had shutter speeds of only 1/1000 on the top end. In bright sun, a 400 ISO film and wide open don't work when you're limited to 1/1000. After trying various filters to give me the extra stops, I went another route on the next roll. I normally shoot at 200 ISO w/ a yellow filter, which means I'm effectively rating the film at box speed. This time I decided to shoot it at 100 ISO, so I set my meter to 50 ISO w/ the yellow filter. After dithering on how to develop it (some people said subtract 10% to the time, some said 20%, etc), I decided what the heck, I'll just develop it as I always do. D76, full strength, 70 degrees. Many people seem to prefer using this combination w/ the D76 mixed 1+1, I don't. Full strength gives me consistently better results.

    So how did it come out? It came out perfect! The negs look fantastic, and the grain is as tight as can be, w/ deep, luscious blacks and bright highlights. Even better, when I went inside to shoot I was having trouble w/ the film rated at 100 ISO due to the slow shutter speeds needed (camera shake, even w/ the yellow filter off for inside), so I uprated it back up to 200 ISO for the inside pics. I couldn't see any relevant difference in the negs or the scans. At 200 ISO or 100 ISO, it looked pretty much the same either way.

    I actually shoot the rebadged Tri-X when I shoot 35mm as it's so cheap. Freestyle's Arista Premium is under $3 a roll for 36 exposure. Really, really great film, and from now on I'm going to rate it at 200 or 100 when I shoot it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2013
  2. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Nice to hear your happy.
    A lot of people can/will advice other film and developer types, but I agree: in the end Tri-X and D76 is a very nice combination and suitable for many occasions.
    There are several variations possible, see for other recipes and examples:
    http://filmdev.org/recipe/search?search=d76+tri-x
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    momus, that is a good example of why I rarely adjust film development and I happily switch EI's from shot to shot if needed.

    The next step is seeing where your real limits are. Can you get results you like at EI 12? How about 1600?
     
  4. danfogel

    danfogel Member

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    How about a link to some examples?
     
  5. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    Yaaaa, if I couldn't get HP5+ I'd jump on Tri-X in a blink! :D
     
  6. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    An either/or proposition here. Both are great films; I use them interchangeably, and keep a healthy stock of each (I buy film in lots, a legacy of Kodachrome shooting?) in my frig.
     
  7. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    i know, i know, it's not so bad. just less silver perhaps? i could never get HP5+ shadows on Tri-X, not even rating at 250, very digi-looking... but hey, stole some great frames on it! :cool:
     
  8. clayne

    clayne Member

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    This less silver thing just needs to die.
     
  9. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    :confused:

    you mean, others notice it, too?

    :laugh:

    hey, seriously, i can die anytime you want, not much left anyway, but after thousands of rolls of each, you won't convince me they have the same speed. "less silver" is just a meme, ok? thin shadows is a fact

    peace. don't get me wrong, i didn't come here to rain on OP's parade. rather, hoping for a rally of Tri-X fanboys, er, experienced users, i wished somebody would have said, "hey, vilk, add some blackcurrant juice to the soup, say three hail marys and you'll get usable shadows..." no fun buying batch after batch, then distributing it among friends :sad:

    i'll be the first to admit i'm doing something wrong :wink:
     
  10. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Put about EI50 more of black currant light into your Tri-X juice.
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Before I switched to FP4 I use to use Tri-X in preference to HP5. There is probably no difference, but Tri-X had that jena sa qua - Good luck.
     
  12. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    I was going over my secret stash of films and had a little surprise. I found 10 rolls of 400TX (new version, 135 mm) and 5 rolls of TX-400 (old version, 135 mm). Didn't know I had these hiding in the dark.
    Kodak -400TX-box.jpeg Kodak-400TX-andTX400-roll.jpeg Kodak-TX400-box.jpeg
    Gonna be extra fun to shoot with!!
     
  13. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I accidentally shot a broad-daylight picture at 1/30th, F/2. That would be 9 stops overexposed. I'd be lying if I said the picture was fine, but after a bit of darkroom effort, it was passable.

    I don't find anything magic about modern Tri-X. It's a good film and economical in the form of Arista, but TMY is basically a better Tri-X.
     
  14. clayne

    clayne Member

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    How do you think that +9 would have fared with TMY?
     
  15. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I couldn't say. Probably similar.
     
  16. tsiklonaut

    tsiklonaut Member

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    Personally, I never understood the fuss around 400TX while the 320TXP run circles around it, literally. It was and still is my favourite overall B&W film, point period. Whether it's darkroom enlarging or scanning the Tri-X 320 (320TXP - the proper Pan) is just heads and shoulders above the common and vasty overhyped Tri-X 400 (400TX) that looks rather tonally "gutless" and "sterile" in comparison IMHO. Ironically the 400TX somehow managed to get "critical mass" of hype while the vastly better (IMO) 320 version that has better dynamic range, more shadow and highlight info, less grain and also much nicer-looking grain was always little known and not so widely available.

    And look what's happening now - 400TX is still produced while 320TXP got dropped by Kodak and ironically never was advertised like the limited 400 version - (probably the cost of producing the 400 was less than 320 thus it ment less profit?)

    Anyways, this particuar Tri-X case definitely proves we live in a (over)hype-based society where a simple practice or just common sense has very little relevance on what's being produced. :D

    For me the Tri-X is long dead (after the mighty 320 was discontinued by Kodak). I have a couple of rolls of 320TXP left and I value them as pure gold while the occasional couple of rolls ot 400TX (ASA1600 diafine is usable for some applications) I have is worth like the usual copper in comparison for me. :tongue:
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I love Tri-X too, but with a little work good pictures can be had with any film. Because I am curious, and because I know some people that have been extraordinarily kind to give me film for free, I can honestly say that TMax 400 and HP5+ gives me prints that I like equally much to those shot with Tri-X.
    Are there differences? Sure there are.
    Does it really make or break the picture? Hell no.

    It is fun to talk about films and developers, but in the end it is mostly about the content, and you can get awesome prints from any of the films above.
     
  18. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Indeed, Thomas. The main differences between films are granularity, and within a speed category (and grain type - ie tabular vs non-tabular) those differences tend to be pretty small. The gradation (tonality) characteristics of most current films in the ISO range of say 100-400 are very similar overall with few exceptions (such as TXP 320). Actually, in a "blind test", barring extreme procedures, I'd bet most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference between say TX400 and HP5. I often wonder how/why it is people are so emphatic about certain films vs other films when they can never even state clearly what the differences are. You get a guy saying one film has incredible tonality vs another film which is terrible, when in fact the characteristic curves may be virtually identical. Strange how that works.
     
  19. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Like Thomas and Michael, I truly believe that (barring film that has been mishandled or abused) you can good prints from most any film.
     
  20. clayne

    clayne Member

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    400TX is a great film. One of the best for sure. 320TXP is not discontinued its just only available in sheet format. Shoot some in 4x5.
     
  21. Josef

    Josef Member

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    Is Ilford HP5 the closest B&W film to Tri-X?
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Yeah, kinda, maybe, sorta.

    Not trying to be flippant, but at the print; TX, HP5, Delta 400, and TMY can all create very, very similar looks.
     
  23. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Closest is Neopan 400
     
  24. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Shoot and enjoy the legend as long as you can. No Regrets.

    With Kodak the end will come fast and hard. We can worry about a replacement after.