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  1. #1
    mtnjunkie's Avatar
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    Surprising Grain w/ Tri X 320

    I recently enlarged a 4X5 negative to 11X14 and found that a mid-toned sky had really pronounced and just ugly grain. I was surprised to see this at such a moderate degree of enlargement, and I don't recall running into grain problems before with the same film developer combo (though, I haven't printed too many blank skies this big).

    I developed the shot in Tmax developer (I use a darkroom and processing facility at a local college, so I have been using their chemicals etc.), using homemade abs tubes for about 8.5 minutes if I recall. Good contrast and exposure.

    Is this a bad combo? Have I overlooked some developing variable that can accentuate grain? Or is this what I should expect from Tri X and I just haven't noticed it yet?

    Any other film developer combos to recommend for 4x5 landscapes using tube development. Latitude and tonality had been my big considerations - but maybe grain is also a real issue even in this format. I've only been working w/ 4X5 for under a year now - but I'm still amazed at how good a $150 camera lens combo from ebay can perform!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    dphphoto's Avatar
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    I tray develop, but let me chime in anyway.
    I've had great success with JandC Classic 400 at e.i. 200, in HC110 at dil H, and at 1/2 dil. E. (I also know there's a lot of Rodinal fans on these pages.) I use a condenser enlarger and make rather thin negs.
    You could always use a pyro dev, like PMK. And of course you can always try a slower film.
    A 4X5 camera AND lens for $150 from eBay? Ain't eBay great! Come on, what is it? I'm dying to know. Dean
    dphphoto

  3. #3
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    It sounds like my first and only foray into Tri X 320. I processed a roll of 120 in Xtol 1:1 and was amazed at how incredibly grainy it was. An 8x10 enlargement was grainier than any that I have done from 35mm Trix 400 in Rodinal.
    I have a box of 4x5 Tri X and will watch this thread with interest.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  4. #4
    mtnjunkie's Avatar
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    Hi Dean,
    Thanks - it's a Meridian 45B. Like a Linhof but w/ an internal focusing track. They were made in the late 40s I think - love it.
    Mike

  5. #5
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Grain can be managed in several ways. The easiest is to reduce the amount of agitation. Sadly, with tube development so popular, this is not always easy. Sandy King has detailed his method of reduced agitation with tubes: it is worth a quick search.

    Reducing agitation to 5 seconds every fifth minute, and compensation by increasing the length of development, will reduce the 'clumpy' effect of the grain in the sky.

    If you want to stay tube development, you can just switch to straight Xtol.

    And if that is troublesome, you can switch to TMY.

    And the final step out of the envelope, which can be a remarkably good choice for lots of work, is to shoot TMX, rate it at 400, and develop it in Xtol. You'll get a similar curve to TXP, and still get virtually no grain.

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  6. #6
    BradS's Avatar
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    I've been doing 4x5 TXP in HC-110 dil. D (1+39) for five to six minutes with continuous rotation in a Jobo tank and reel system. I rate the film at EI-320 or EI-250 depending on...well, frankly depending on which one makes the numbers come out closer - it doesn't really seem to matter too much. Anyway, I can't say that grain has been a problem even with enlargements up to 16X20.
    Last edited by BradS; 10-21-2005 at 12:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    I've had to start using Tri-X 320 in the air for 6 x 7, as Ilford have stopped making Delta 400 in 220. I also find it grainier than I'd like, but definitely still better than 35mm Delta.

    David.

  8. #8
    fhovie's Avatar
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    I noticed tri-x grain is smaller than ever (with the new stuff). I would not be quick to blame the film. I have tri-x 4x5 sheets that are as fine grained as some sheets I have with FP4. - The grain check list might include:

    All the chemicals need to be within 4 deg F of eachother.
    Can a too strong stop cause this? - maybe.
    Chemistry too weak (college chemicals - mixed wrong - barfed in - just used to develop 75 sheets of ortho film - paper developer instead of film developer)
    Aggitation to often or long
    Tempurature too high

    I would not make changes in "the plan" until you get control of your processes. Mix or buy your own chemicals - then you will KNOW - what the conditions of failure are. What will you do when you use HP5 and get the same result?

    Just my $.02
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  9. #9
    mikewhi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnjunkie
    I recently enlarged a 4X5 negative to 11X14 and found that a mid-toned sky had really pronounced and just ugly grain. I was surprised to see this at such a moderate degree of enlargement, and I don't recall running into grain problems before with the same film developer combo (though, I haven't printed too many blank skies this big).

    I developed the shot in Tmax developer (I use a darkroom and processing facility at a local college, so I have been using their chemicals etc.), using homemade abs tubes for about 8.5 minutes if I recall. Good contrast and exposure.

    Is this a bad combo? Have I overlooked some developing variable that can accentuate grain? Or is this what I should expect from Tri X and I just haven't noticed it yet?

    Any other film developer combos to recommend for 4x5 landscapes using tube development. Latitude and tonality had been my big considerations - but maybe grain is also a real issue even in this format. I've only been working w/ 4X5 for under a year now - but I'm still amazed at how good a $150 camera lens combo from ebay can perform!

    Thanks!
    Do you have any idea what the density of the negative is in this area that you see so much grain? Maybe you're printing thru too much grain and it's showing up in the print. Try laying the negative on top of newsprint in a well-lit room - can you see the print easily, just barely or not at all?

    I've not used Tmax developer with Tri-X, but I would not recommend it. Others have made good recommendations and you might consider Rodinal, too. It is coarse grain but sharp. Another option is D76.

    -Mike

  10. #10

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    Dear mtnjunkie,

    This may have no value but Kodak specifically recommends against using T-Max developer on sheet film. I have had no problue using it on TMX, TMY or Delta100 sheets, but I have never tried it on Tri-X. They suggest T-Max RS for sheet film.

    Neal Wydra

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