Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
I don't think that the gods of exposure latitude are even involved. It is their cousins, the gods of exposure compromise .

Remember, pushing does almost nothing to add shadow detail. What it does do is increase density and therefore contrast in the near shadows, midtones and highlights and therefore improve the appearance of the near shadows and midtones. The increase in density and contrast in the highlights degrades (at least slightly) the quality of the highlight reproduction.

When Kodak is recommending no change in development time, they are essentially saying that with a one-stop "push" increase in development time, the benefit achieved in the near-shadow and midtone areas is of less value than the detriment experienced in the highlights. No doubt that turns mostly on the fact that the film does an excellent job capturing detail in those near-shadow and midtone regions, even when under-exposed by a stop.
I can't think of a time I ever disagreed with Matt and this is no exception. Exposure determines your shadow detail moreso than pushing your film. You can't get something from nothing. If you didn't expose for shadow detail, you're not going to get it by pushing your film -you'll get it by adjusting your exposure. Pushing your developing time simply adds contrast.

Now, I know this is a forum that promotes a vast array of knowledge from lots of people, but I'm always a little baffled at the lack of initiative in doing tests to get answers. Throwing out something like "what is the best developer to push Tri-x to retain shadow detail?" is going to bring an onslaught of subjective answers that are often untested against all the necessary variables. Rarely do I see anyone offer a well tested answer with examples like "This is a negative with tri-x in x-tol and then this with tri-x in hc-110 and then this with rodinal....etc. etc." to actually show the differences in the same shot with the same lighting conditions.

In short, your answer won't be on this thread. Spend a few bucks, get those developers you want to test, grab a roll of 35mm, a tripod, a camera, a scene and shoot a whole roll on the exact same settings in the same lighting conditions. Cut up the strip into as many sections as you want to test. Spend an hour or two developing and analyzing your results and you'll have YOUR answer, not someone elses. I'm not trying to be an a-hole and I'm sure if someone looked through my posts I have probably asked at one time or another, "what is the best........" so that I could have a quick and easy answer. But personal testing is the way to go. It takes more time, but it pays off in the end.

Now, all that being said, I've used x-tol, d-76, rodinal, pyrocat-hd and hc-110 extensively with Tri-x over the last 10 years and I've settled on hc-110 even though 4 years ago I swore it off. Often I push Tri-x to 800 and 1200 with great results, but I compensate and visualize my exposures and run tests based on my own conditions and workflow. I can't say it will work for you too. You'll have to test and see what works for you.