I have never used it myself, but after I printed some negs for a client and saw what the film could do I got curious. I made ten prints, eight from Tri-X 35mm and two from Plus-X 35mm. All printed at 9x12 on 11x14 paper. I think the Tri-X (my personal choice) negs had a very crisp grain, incredibly sharp and great contrast. I felt the Plus-X had finer grain, yet very crisp, but had a bit less pronounced contrast. It seemed like it had a bit longer tonal scale, but it could have been the subject matter too. My recollection tells me the film did REALLY WELL in high contrast situations.
All the negs were developed in Xtol chemistry and shot with a Leica M6 camera. All negs were very sharp and crisp and besides the grain I could easily adjust the printing to make the prints look very similar, which was the intent. So from that experience I can only conclude that Plus-X has what it takes to be an excellent film.
I have seen on the data sheets that it has very poor reciprocity characteristics. That was an old version of the film, however and I don't know much about it now.
My 2 cents.
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I was re-reading the Film Developing Cookbook last night, and I found there was a very sorry lack of information about tonal rendition. It's all about grain, effective speed, and sharpness. In my opinion, those are secondary considerations nowadays, even with 35mm, given the amazing modern lens and film technologies available.
Of course, films vary in the way their curve is affected by developers, so one should not make a blanket statement like "HC-110 is all about the highlights for every film ever made." But I'm paying increasing attention to tonality now, so I think the next time I go through the ordeal of testing film, I'll try to plot curves to have a sense of what the shadow/midtones/highlight contrast can be. And I'll make sure I understand how paper curves affect these tones.
In this respect, I've had very different reactions to Plus-X in XTOL vs. Plus-X in HC-110.
I did not care much for PX in XTOL: it's nice and clean, but it does not have the same character than it has in HC-110 (that midtones thing). For me, XTOL really shines in 35mm, with a straight film like Tri-X 400.
But I'm not a fan of Tri-X 400 in 120, perhaps because my first love was APX 100 in Rodinal, and the latter always created very nice highlights. So I guess in 120, I really like a film that sparkles in the highlights, and in 35mm I like a film with nice midtones.
All of this has very little to do with grain, sharpness, effective speed and the other usual obsessions.
Last edited by Michel Hardy-Vallée; 02-04-2008 at 04:55 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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Plus X lacking contrast? No way.
Great to see this post come alive after nearly 3 years. The original question, is Plus-X a sleeper? I have always wondered why Plus-X gets so little attention in this forum and others. It is a great film full of contrast and tone. Here is my two cents.
I get the best results by over exposing (both Plus-X and Tri-X) and under developing to the box speeds and developing charts for D76 1:1. In medium to high contrast scenes, I expose at ASA64 and develop no longer than 7 minutes in D76 1:1. (In full sunlight, 6-1/2 minutes is plenty. The standard Kodak chart says 8-1/2 minutes at 68 deg) This yields nice negatives that typically print well with an Ilford 1-1/2 filter.
In my opinion, the key ingredient is the agitation. I follow Kodak's (web site) procedure of 5-7 "vigorous" inversions every 30 seconds (in a stainless steel tank). This yields plenty of contrast. Since adopting this agitation procedure 3 years ago, I rarely print with a filter higher than a #2-1/2. In very bright light, you need to be careful not to overcook the highlights.
I am inclined to use this film more with portraits with a tripod and less for hand held street scenes or hand held portraits. This is due mostly to a combination of less depth of field with hand held medium format equipment (Mamiya C330 or Rolleicord) and the slower film speed compared to my other standard film, Tri-X.
I use far more Tri-X, but not for lack of appreciation for the tonal range and contrast available with Plus-X. Plus-X is a great film, I would hate to see it dropped by Kodak.
Pretty funny to look back on this thread. Well three years later I can say that Plus-X in Pyrocat-HD is one of the best combos I've come across (tied with FP4+ in P-cat lol)
Originally Posted by Daniel Lawton
I'd be interested in your development times and strengths.
I'm getting interesting results with Tri-X (400TX) 120 roll film at 20 degrees C, 2+2+100, between 10 and 13 minutes, depending on SBR.
I have a couple of rolls of Plus-X (125PX) I'd like to try with Pyrocat HD. Does it stain well?
Regards - Ross
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