Quote Originally Posted by pgomena View Post
If your shadows "look a little thin" when you push Tri-X to 800, it's because they are. Pushing film means you're intentionally underexposing it and trying to salvage detail in the shadows while propping up the midtones and highlights by overdeveloping a little.
Everything you said here is true, but isn't it a little overstated? The implication of what you say seems to be that there just ain't much more detail in the shadows in the latent image, i.e., that we normally come very close to developing "the shadows" (whatever that means; Zones I-III or so?) to completion in a typically-exposed-and-developed frame. I can't find a definitive answer, but my feeling from experience (based on things like experiments in ridiculous overdevelopment) is otherwise.

This seems like something that must be known, doesn't it? I guess I'm asking for a characteristic curve for the latent image, a mapping from amount of exposure to density of activated silver grains.