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Thread: Tri-X at 1600

  1. #1

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    Tri-X at 1600

    I shot a concert last week using Tri-X at 1600. It was indoors with typical stage lighting. I spot metered off the performers' faces (for most shots). I normally soup my negs in XTOL, but I also don't normally push Tri-X to 1600. You guys think XTOL or Diafine (which is the other dev I have around) would be better?

    Normally, when I plan on using Diafine, I expose at 1250, so film exposed at 1600 might not be the best.

    However, there are two things of note:
    1 - Concert lighting is pretty contrasty lighting - Diafine might do better at 1600 in this situation? or no?

    2 - Some shots might be over exposed - when I entered the pit and didn't have time to meter before each shot for changing light, I put my camera on manual and preset the exposure for the largest exposure (slowest shutter, largest aperture) that I remembered using before hand - to err on the side of over exposure. Not sure if this makes a huge difference, but how overexposed would a frame have to be to have blocked up highlights due to pushing in XTOL?

    Just curious to see what you guys think. Thanks!

  2. #2

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    I would use the Diafine.

  3. #3
    mrtoml's Avatar
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    I would also use Diafine.

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    Sweet. Diafine it is.

  5. #5
    nicolai's Avatar
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    Late to the game, but I second that, particularly since the exposure may be wonky.

    I don't know if this is a concern for you, but I hear people raving fairly consistently about how well Tri-X at 1600 in Diafine scans.

  6. #6
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    I'm too am late to this party but I have observations to share. I've pushed Tri-X using XTOL and used Diafine, both at EI 1600. The results in Diafine were better (e.g. grain, definition, etc...) IMHO.
    Last edited by Snapshot; 09-25-2007 at 02:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  7. #7
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    And here's why Diafine works: you can't push in Diafine. You will get the same 'great results' in Xtol if you develop normally. And results in Xtol will probably be a whole lot better -- there isn't much that boosts shadow speed as well as Xtol, and shadow speed is the name of the game in stage and concert photography.

    Pushing adds nothing to the negative, it just increases contrast. Pushing was de riguer in the old days when high contrast papers weren't as available or the negs were destined for newsprint. The increase in contrast is needed because the image was on the toe of the films response curve.

    For concerts the best strategy is to pull, not push.

    With stage lighting the bugaboo is high contrast, so getting the image off the toe of the curve isn't an issue; but getting any shadow detail is. I meter the shadows to determine the exposure - close down 2 stops from the shadow reading. Then I read highlights and pull development 25-50% to control contrast, anything above a 5 stop/zone spread and it's time to reduce development.

    You'll get the best concert photos you ever had.

    But now the problem is holding the camera steady. Fast prime lenses are the only way to go: 85mm f1.4 & 135mm f1.8/2.0. Tripods aren't normally allowed, but if you can, use one. Bean bags draped over the seat in front work almost as well. Use a cable release, lock the mirror up, and look at the performer to judge the moment to trip the shutter.
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  8. #8
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lindan View Post
    But now the problem is holding the camera steady. Fast prime lenses are the only way to go: 85mm f1.4 & 135mm f1.8/2.0. Tripods aren't normally allowed, but if you can, use one. Bean bags draped over the seat in front work almost as well. Use a cable release, lock the mirror up, and look at the performer to judge the moment to trip the shutter.
    Therein lies the rub. If you can't steady the camera, which at times isn't feasible, then you won't have a useable shot. Ostensibly, you are going to get better results if you develop normally, however, low shutter speeds may prevent you from obtaining the desired photograph.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  9. #9
    David R Munson's Avatar
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    FWIW, TX at 1600 in HC110 looks quite nice.

  10. #10
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    Stage photos.

    Many years ago when I was first oboist of the Norfolk Symphony, I took photos of guest artists in rehearsal. The attached was of Alicia De La Rocha. My standard exposure with Tri-X was 1/60 at f/2.8. If I had use an automatic camera, my exposures would have been off because of white music in the foreground and very dark background. I was seldom able to leave my chair long enough to get on the audience side of the performer. I/60 at 2.8 will do it for most situations because the lighting person will see to it that there is that much light on the performer's face. I did not use push processing.
    I tried Acufine and Diafine but wound up using my own blend of Phenidone, hydroquinone and sulfite. It was a sort of kin to D-23, but with a little Phenidone and a lot of hydroquinone. You cannot really put too much Q in because activity is limited when the ratio to Phenidone gets above a certain point. Anyway, let me see if I can show a result.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DeLarocha-Stanger.jpg  
    Gadget Gainer

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