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Thread: Good old Tri-X

  1. #11
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuzanneR View Post
    I just love how it renders skin tones...
    Same here, in 120 w/ PMK... fair skin can be remarkable.

  2. #12
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Thanks for your responses everybody.

    I still think TMY-2 is an absolutely marvelous film, and technically it's probably better than Tri-X in all ways, especially grain and sharpness wise. I have no problems whatsoever making TMY-2 and Tri-X look confusingly alike in an 11x14 print, with the only thing being different is that 'texture' that the grain provides. I don't think Tri-X is grainy at all, but it has enough to give something beyond a surface that to me gives the picture a little bit more depth, and the grain supports the texture, which in turn supports the print.
    I don't even mind going big with them. I print 16x20" while cropping 35mm negatives, and it still comes out looking amazing to my eye. Side by side with 120 Tri-X enlarged to the same size there is still a cohesive look to the prints, which is that texture again, regardless of grain size.

    Most of all it takes me away from the more technical approach that I've had for a few years now (which I think was necessary to get out of my system), and into a realm that more focuses on the pictures themselves. It's a much more relaxed way of shooting, processing film, and printing. And I love this aspect of it the most. Just pop a roll in the camera and go have fun. Proof it and see what gives at printing time. Collect prints in 'project piles' and let it amass, and then edit the series. I could do this with TMY-2 as well, but I think I'm having just a little bit more fun with Tri-X, and that's all I really seem to want from this adventure of mine - enjoyment.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  3. #13

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    It's interesting that Thomas mentions a Leica camera as I hadn't used Tri-X for years until I was given a roll as part of a deal when I bought an M6TTL. Aside from the odd roll of Neopan Pro 400CN (which I also like) I use Tri-X almost exclusively since acquiring that camera.

    Tri-X seems to work great in all sorts of lighting, I love the grain it produces and I find it scans well on a V750 (sadly I don't have a darkroom these days).

    May it live long and prosper.....
    Paul Jenkin (a late developer...)

  4. #14
    EASmithV's Avatar
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    I get a really good 1600 out of it in D76. The tonal range is fantastic.
    www.EASmithV.com

    "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."— Dorothea Lange
    http://www.flickr.com/easmithv/
    RIP Kodachrome

  5. #15

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    [QUOTE=M. Lointain;1292286]I don't know why anyone uses the T grain films. You might as well shoot digital! QUOTE]

    What a ridiculous statement.

  6. #16

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    hi thomas

    i always turn to tri x for a few reasons.
    first no matter the light conditions you can make it work.
    ( huge latitude ) ... and like suzanne and bruce said, skin tones look beautiful.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    So, to those Tri-X lovers out there, what is it about the film that gives it its mythical status and reputation? What is it about it that just makes you love it and never want to switch from it?
    Thomas, many fine phtographers started out with Tri-X, and they simply know how to use it and see no reason to change. It is a wonderful, time tested film. We should be careful with terminology though as Tri-X 400 and Tri-X 320 are not the same film.

    Having said that, many people base its mythical properties and reputation on the "classic" 1960s Tri-X. Current Tri-X 400 is not that film. It is more of a hybrid between traditional and flat grain emulsions (the same way current versions of Plus-X, FP4 and HP5 are not really "traditional" films). All these films are more homogeneous in their working properties than they once were. For example, current Tri-X 400, HP5 etc all have much longer, straighter lined curves than the old style films. So at least from a macro-tonality perspective, they all behave rather similarly, and not much different than the TMax and Delta films. There are some people out there (Anchell would be one) who find today's modernized Tri-X 400 (ie semi-flattened grains, more dye sensitiztion) inferior to the classic film, though they still prefer it to full-on tabular films like TMax.

    So I'd say, if you don't mind a little more grain than you're used to with TMY, Acros etc, you'll have no problems with Tri-X. It can do whatever you want as long as you know it well.

  8. #18

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    Over the years I've strayed away from Tri-X and I will try something else for awhile but I will eventually come back to Tri-X at 200 and D76 1:1. It's hard to describe, I love the highlights and sharpness with a touch of grain. I have a "comfortable" feeling using it, it's like an old friend.
    I really like Delta 3200 at 1000 developed in stock D76 as well.
    Jack Leigh used Tri-X almost exclusively and his prints are beautiful. Unfortunately Mr. Leigh passed away a few years ago, taken way too soon, but check his work out.

  9. #19

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    Steven 007

    I really was brought up on KODAK for film, ILFORD for paper, my Grandfathers maxim.

    You are correct, its a bond or perhaps a better word is a 'trust' between photographer / film choice:

    As a keen young salesman for ILFORD in the late 1980's we would have various sales 'initiatives' about building market share on film usually involving shlepping around upstairs 'studio's' in the less salubrious parts of London trying to 'pursuade' professional photographers to move from from brand x to ILFORD .....can I tell you much time and sweat was expended, for somewhat meagre returns. It was ( virtually ) never about a cost / price comparison, so much depends on what you learnt on, or what film your teacher used, but it really comes down to knowing that when you put 'your' brand of film in the camera it will perform the way you expect it to and produce the images that you want it to. I am not saying do not experiment or that using a range of films is in any way a bad thing.

    I changed to using ILFORD films before I joined ILFORD....but since then I have changed my choice of film usage frequently, I do like perceptable grain ( its meant to be there! ) within the context of the final print, I am currently using more DELTA 3200 ( 120 ) than anything else.

    I also really like controlled crystal growth type mono films such as DELTA and T Max, I just find for the work I do and like ( landscape predominantly ) these films are more velutinous and suited to less 'gritty' subjects, but thats just my personal opinion...and thats what film is a personal choice.

    And as for Tri-X : Great film.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :

  10. #20
    winger's Avatar
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    I learned on Tri-X with an old, no meter, Pentax. While I like TMax, Delta, and Acros in all their speeds for landscapes, I always know I can put Tri-X in the H1a and just shoot.

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