tri-x history (and d76 history)
I was reading about Jean-Loup Sieff's bio, and it appears that he used tri-x developed in d76.
At some point (1975) Kodak changed the formula of d76 so he and a bunch of other photographers had to start making their own developers, according to the old d76's formula.
Then a friend pointed out to me that tri-x has also changed somewhere in 2004.
my (many) questions:
- how different is the new tri-x from the old one: maybe it just does more but the overall look of the pictures os the same, or not?
- can hp5 emulate the old one or maybe a rollei or maybe something else?
- how really different is the old d76 from the new one (this one is for old timers really) ?
- and even re-making the old d76, will it have the same effect on either new tri-x, or the equivalent of the old one...
The differences between the old and new Tri-X films are subtle.
I recently (2 years ago) developed a roll of 1981 Plus-X with a modern roll (which also changed). I used the same time in the same developer. Results were good with both rolls. (The old roll was well stored I suspect.)
As for D-76, the difference is agents that make D-76 mix more easily in varying water quality. Also, metol will not easily dissolve unless dissolved first. Ilford solves this problem in ID-11 (which is the closest commercial developer available to original D-76) by having the powder in two packages. Kodak solves it through chemical additives.
Both are good. I mix my D-76 from scratch, but when I bought it, I bought Ilford's ID-11 in preference because it is sold in Canada in metric measurements, and Kodak sells D-76 here in US quart and gallon packages.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
D-76 has been D-76 since the 1920s. There was no change. Kodak has changed Tri-X many times, generally improving it in subtle ways. It should be noted that for the past many years there have been two, quite different Tri-X films. The first is what is now known as 400TX, available in rolls and 35 mm. This film has a straight-line curve. The other film was called Tri-X Professional and is now known as 320-Tri-X. This film has a pronounced toe, and is recommended for controlled lighting conditions. The earliest record I have for a film called Kodak Tri-X comes from the late 1940s. That was a sheet film with a speed of ASA 160 (old system, near 400 in the current system). In the mid-1950s a new Tri-X became available in 35mm and rolls. It had an ANSI speed of 400 (current system) and was pretty grainy. It could be pushed reliably to 800. This is the precursor of the current 400TX, and had many of the same characteristics. Kodak has made changes to this film about every two or three years. Grain has been reduced until now it is very fine, and there have been subtle improvements to latitude and gradations.
Tri-X was changed to remove a number of heavy metal ingredients that were harmful to the environment. The heavy metals were replaced by organic compunds that served the same purpose. Actually, one of the chemicals removed was an organo-metallic ingredient.
D-76 is D-76 but with a different packaging method used to allow a single package mix. Sequestrant is also added to prevent scum and cloudiness.
My scratch mixes and the prepackaged version react identically towards all of the films I have tested them with.
The new 400TX looks very similar to the old TX, maybe a little smoother and finer grained. I don't have any experience with TXP versus the new 320-Tri-X. My experience is that HP5+ is that it is quite different from any of the Kodak Tri-X films, although it is very roughly similar to the Tri-X of about 10 - 15 years ago. (Not really the same look at all, but that is the closest, IMO) HP5+ is a fine film, and it is very consistent from batch to batch and format to format, but it is different from Tri-X. Although D-76 has not changed, the films may respond differently as they change. Considerable manipulation is possible with D-76, and small changes in technique can result in considerable changes to the look of the negatives.
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It is generally accepted, looking back, as "truth" that good ol/ ASA 200 Tri-X "made" black and white 35 mm reportage photography. IIRC, it came out in 35mm in 1954.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
Originally Posted by nworth
I think you have hit on something very important here.
Ages ago, we developed our film in a different manner, and of course modern films are very different than they were back then. This changes the whole flavor of photography.
I was an Aeronautical Research Engineer for NACA at Langley Research Center when that happened. We had a project that required some special photographic recording that our Photo branch couldn't do: not because they didn't know how, but because their 8x10 view cameras`were not right for the job, and someone had to be on call 24-7. It was just about the time when ANSCO SuperHypan came out rated at 250. That was the first film faster than Super XX I ever used. Very soon after, all films doubled in speed because the "safety factor" was dropped in the change from ASA to ISO, and Tri-X came out while we worked weird shifts while breaking up an airplane. The branch head told us it would be a confidential research project, so "don't tell anybody anything they can't read in Aviation Week." We had to read Aviation Week to find out what we were doing. Those were the days!
Originally Posted by Anscojohn
I remember that the films I used in the '50s were thicker, probably cellulose based, and the emulsions were thicker as well. I think you could use a strip of 35 for a clock spring. Put 'em in envelopes and the envelopes would curl.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Gainer writes: Very soon after, all films doubled in speed because the "safety factor" was dropped in the change from ASA to ISO
I would have bet money that the "great ASA shift" came before the ISO standard was introduced. Do you remember the ASA "degree" ratings and all that other folderal?
BTW, did people really use the expression 24/7 waaay back then? I don't remember it. Just like nowadays everyone says "tarmac" but that word came into American useage during the days of the live coverage of jetliner highjacking standoffs. Before that, it was always just plain ol' "asphalt." Remember? BTW, I think Tri-X is STILL an EI 200 emulsion!! (vbg)
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA