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  1. #1
    David Allen's Avatar
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    Best developer to achieve highest ISO with Tri-X

    One of my students has a project where he needs to get maximum ISO out of Tri-X whilst retaining at least some shadow detail.

    For all of his other work we have identified that Tri-X exposed in his Nikon FM + 50mm lens and developed in Barry Thornton's Two-Bath developer has an effective EI of 200. This gives him great tonality, full detail in the shadows and easy to print negatives. Alas, for this one particular project, an EI of 200 is at least 2 stops to slow.

    My first thought was to mix up Crawley's FX-11 developer for him. Although Tri-X and FX-11 worked great back in the day when I sometimes had to photograph nightime football games, I haven't actually used this developer in at least 20 years (probably more). Back then, I tested FX-11, Microphen and HC110 with FX-11 giving the best ratio between effective speed, retaining some shadow detail and 'normal looking' tonality.

    So to my question: Is Crawley's FX-11 still the best developer for getting the most out of Tri-X (and yes it has to be Tri-X as he has hundreds of rolls in his fridge) or is there a better choice these days?

    Thanks for your help.

    Bests,

    David.
    www.dsallen.de

  2. #2
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    Hi David,

    From ones that I tried - Ilfotec DD-X and Microphen were the best for high iso 400 push, but I never tried FX-11. Minus is the price of developers.

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    Try Xtol

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    Diafine.
    "The problem with photography is that it only deals with appearances." Duane Michals

    "Only weak pictures need perfection." David Vestal

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    Hi David

    Are you talking about using tri x at more than 400? My first boss, John Blomfield, who used to do a lot of opera and ballet photography in the 60s, introduced me to Acufine. Never tried it more than at 1600 or maybe 2000, but got great negatives with it. Haven't used it for a long time, but now quite intrigued to see how it would work with Delta 3200. Here's some info and pdfs.
    http://www.digitaltruth.com/products/acufine.php

  6. #6
    MDR
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    Acufine is the best choice imo. But why does he need to shoot with Tri-X it's a great film but T-Max 400 is better suited for pushing without losing shadow detail than tri-x and Delta 3200 is an even better choice if he needs speed and shadow detail. T-Max is also usually more affordable than tri-x

  7. #7
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDR View Post
    But why does he need to shoot with Tri-X
    Quote Originally Posted by David Allen View Post
    (and yes it has to be Tri-X as he has hundreds of rolls in his fridge)
    ..

  8. #8
    David Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Crawford View Post
    Hi David

    Are you talking about using tri x at more than 400? My first boss, John Blomfield, who used to do a lot of opera and ballet photography in the 60s, introduced me to Acufine. Never tried it more than at 1600 or maybe 2000, but got great negatives with it. Haven't used it for a long time, but now quite intrigued to see how it would work with Delta 3200. Here's some info and pdfs.
    http://www.digitaltruth.com/products/acufine.php
    Hi Mike,

    thanks for that - I had forgotten about Acufine - can you remember if you used it stock or the 1 + 3 dilution? Andrés' project will require him having an EI of 800 -1600 so Acufine could be the answer - especially if it really helps to keep the grain fine (so it would better match his BTTB developed negatives).

    Currently, Foto Impex are showing Acufine and Diafine in stock. My concern is that they are often not in stock for months - hence thinking about Crawley's FX-11. My particular concern with Diafine is that people either praise it as a magic bullet or say it is too flat.

    Bests,

    David.
    www.dsallen.de

  9. #9
    David Allen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDR View Post
    Acufine is the best choice imo. But why does he need to shoot with Tri-X it's a great film but T-Max 400 is better suited for pushing without losing shadow detail than tri-x and Delta 3200 is an even better choice if he needs speed and shadow detail. T-Max is also usually more affordable than tri-x
    As Darko has already pointed out, I already touched on this in the original post - he has lots of the stuff in the fridge.

    As a more general answer, it is also because he is following my advice:

    "Stick with one camera, lens, film and developer until you are thoroughly comfortable with it and then (and only if it is absolutely necessary) change only one thing at a time".

    In the case of my student, we quickly identified that the older lenses on his Rollei (as opposed to his Nikon) gave him images that suited his portrait work and the lenses on his Nikon better suited his other work. Tri-X in the Rollei tested at EI 400 in Thornton's Two-Bath developer and in the Nikon Tri-X has an EI of 200. These combinations have been fine for all of his work over the past two years.

    However, the particular project he is going to work on needs the flexibility and range of lenses available to him only with the Nikon - hence the question about changing the developer to suit.

    Bests,

    David.
    www.dsallen.de

  10. #10
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    Hi David,

    You will find interesting info with actual tests here:

    http://emirco.net/photo/projects/Tri...h-ISO-Test.pdf

    Ok, they are aiming for an EI of 6400, but it still can give you a reference of the possibilities.

    Since you specify that you want ISO 800 with great tonality, i would suggest going for Ilford Delta 3200, which is actual ISO 1000-1250 more or less. Such film should give plenty of shadow detail at ISO 800.

    But since you specify "Tri-X", then it's not so easy. Has he tried Microphen? Microphen should give "real" ISO 500 out of Tri-X, perhaps even 640. Without push.
    This Nikkor lens is so good... that it should be labeled as a Canon lens!

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