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Thread: Good old Tri-X

  1. #81

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    Thomas

    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?
    Experience:

    I shot Tri-X since the late 60s. -135 Tri-X is much better than 30 or 15 years ago. Sharper, smoother with less grain.


    I experimented with a box of two of Neopan 400 and Illford HP-5. Neopan is 1/2 stop faster with more contrast/sharpness, not as long scaled as Tri-X. My impression of HP5 is it is slightly softer in contrast. The grain structure is grittier; leading to the appearance of sharpness up to a point were grain affects smoothness and resolution at higher enlargement factors. Face tones seem just a tad (brighter) higher on the zone scale.

    Enter a Leica camera that I was lucky enough to acquire last summer. Using it for a while it seemed to demand more texture in my prints.
    I'm fortunate to own a clean collapsible f/2.0 Summicron, code 11118. No fog or damaged front element. Astonishing 5x7 inch portraits using Tri-X, EI 200, lens aperture set at f/2.8 to 4, souped in D-76 1:1, 20c, 11min, 4 inv each 60s. Enlarger was a Leitz 1c. With this combination Tri-X tonality is creamy with all the sharpness you want. As far as grain, I'm viewing a 6 x 9 inch print with no visible grain in a bald sky. From viewing distance the image appears to be shot with medium format. Film Tri-X, EI 200, D-76 1:1, lens 11118.

    You mention printing to 16x20. In your case you may want more lens contrast which any of the Asp or post 1979 Mandler lenses will deliver.
    Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 01-30-2012 at 03:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    RJ

  2. #82

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    Oops, a 50mm collapsible cron is code 11116.

    I never got enough shadow separation until I shot Tri-X at EI 200 with D-76 1:1 or EI 250 in XTOL 1:1. I use the ISO 400 recommended developing times with a Leitz 1c enlarger. Tri-X is not a fussy film. Results are consistant. When I try something else, the negative quality is a little off. For example, T-max 400 has advantages. No need for a yellow filter, as sharp as a ISO 125 film, a smoothness which mimics MF. However, my test roll resulted in too dense highlights using Kodak's tech pubs recommendations. Consistancy is alway a good thing.
    RJ

  3. #83
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Jepsen
    ...using Tri-X, EI 200, lens aperture set at f/2.8 to 4, souped in D-76 1:1, 20c, 11min, 4 inv each 60s. Enlarger was a Leitz 1c. With this combination Tri-X tonality is creamy with all the sharpness you want. As far as grain, I'm viewing a 6 x 9 inch print with no visible grain in a bald sky. From viewing distance the image appears to be shot with medium format. Film Tri-X, EI 200, D-76 1:1...
    Thanks for your account.

    Even though there are obvious differences between different print sizes, (I go from 4.5x6" to 13.5x18" from 35mm), I just don't even care about the grain showing up. Tri-X gives me the tonality I want, easily, and it holds up perfectly well to the larger print size with convincing print quality. I can't ask any more of it, and the message I'm trying to carry forward is to just find something that works and go on making photographs.

    I use the film with replenished Xtol, EI 400 (for normal contrast), and 9 minutes with 10s agitation every full minute. Wonderful results.

    I have a shirtload of Fuji Acros lying around to use up, and that works really well too, but sometimes I miss the grain a bit. As far as I'm concerned, a little grain is good for the soul.

    - Thomas
    "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

  4. #84
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    As far as I'm concerned, a little grain is good for the soul.

    - Thomas

    Oh Yes !!!!
    :-)

  5. #85

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    Thomas, curious how you are getting so much grain. Perhaps you are commenting mostly on 35mm enlargements. I use Tri-X almost exclusively, mostly in 120 format. I do not see grain in my prints (8 x 10's up to 11 x 14 in). I have been thinking about trying another developer to achieve more grain for a more textured feel in the print. I use D76 1:1, expose ASA 200 and develop for 7:00 for very contrasty light, 8:15 for medium and flash lighting and up to 9-10 minutes for very flat light or fog. I believe the difference is agitation. I agitate 6 vigorous inversions initially and every 30 seconds thereafter. I know that longer development times results in more grain, not sure if the aggressive agitation accomplishes the same result? BTW, my agitation procedure comes from the Kodak development instructions on their tech web site. Prior to using this, I was suffering uneven development, especially with Plus-X which was always my number 2 film after Tri-X 400.

  6. #86
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    Started out with virtually all my best shots are with tri x while i was shooting a lot of different films, thus becomes my official 400speed bw film.

    The Latitude of the film is very great (comparing to other 400) and very forgiving with exposures. Quality is quite impressive developed in XTOL too.
    - Derek
    [ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]

  7. #87
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Sattler View Post
    Thomas, curious how you are getting so much grain. Perhaps you are commenting mostly on 35mm enlargements. I use Tri-X almost exclusively, mostly in 120 format. I do not see grain in my prints (8 x 10's up to 11 x 14 in). I have been thinking about trying another developer to achieve more grain for a more textured feel in the print. I use D76 1:1, expose ASA 200 and develop for 7:00 for very contrasty light, 8:15 for medium and flash lighting and up to 9-10 minutes for very flat light or fog. I believe the difference is agitation. I agitate 6 vigorous inversions initially and every 30 seconds thereafter. I know that longer development times results in more grain, not sure if the aggressive agitation accomplishes the same result? BTW, my agitation procedure comes from the Kodak development instructions on their tech web site. Prior to using this, I was suffering uneven development, especially with Plus-X which was always my number 2 film after Tri-X 400.
    Not getting lots of grain, Loren. Just enough to see it in most sizes from 35mm. I really love how it brings out a certain amount of texture.

    With Xtol I can agitate with up to 5min agitation intervals, and 120 up to about 3min. It helps to achieve the tonality I want. And I can expose at EI 400, which is good news for me since I hand hold a lot.
    "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

  8. #88

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    and the message I'm trying to carry forward is to just find something that works and go on making photographs.
    A very true statement. There are different looks and different paths to the desired photographic destination.
    I like open shadows. Others like strong contrasts. Ralph Gibson likes grain. I don't want grain to get in the way. But hey, a little texture is ok. Something for the eye to focus on without knowing it's there.
    RJ

  9. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Sattler View Post
    Thomas, curious how you are getting so much grain. Perhaps you are commenting mostly on 35mm enlargements. I use Tri-X almost exclusively, mostly in 120 format. I do not see grain in my prints (8 x 10's up to 11 x 14 in). I have been thinking about trying another developer to achieve more grain for a more textured feel in the print. I use D76 1:1, expose ASA 200 and develop for 7:00 for very contrasty light, 8:15 for medium and flash lighting and up to 9-10 minutes for very flat light or fog. I believe the difference is agitation. I agitate 6 vigorous inversions initially and every 30 seconds thereafter. I know that longer development times results in more grain, not sure if the aggressive agitation accomplishes the same result? BTW, my agitation procedure comes from the Kodak development instructions on their tech web site. Prior to using this, I was suffering uneven development, especially with Plus-X which was always my number 2 film after Tri-X 400.
    Loren, for a slightly grittier negative you could try d-76 at 1+2 or 1+3. Adjust your times accordingly. Some other things will change too - accutance and tonality - but only moderately and maybe in ways you'll like.

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