I've gotten nice, easy to print 35mm negs lately when using my camera in 'idiot mode' by rating Tri-X at 200, and using N-1 development. (For me, rollo pyro at 1:2:75 for 7 minutes) Loads of shadow detail, highlights are still printable, and low contrast subject matter can be 'encouraged' with the #4 or #5 VC filters. If the scene is really high contrast, I will overexpose an additonal stop. With variable contrast papers and roll film, I think over-analyzing the exposure and development is not as necessary as the days when my darkroom had only #2 and #3 Kodabromide F paper in it.

That said, my main cameras are ULF, and I take a lot more care when exposing and developing a $6 piece of film! But you can't carry those beasts everywhere.


Attached is a jpeg from a 35mm neg shot and developed using this technique. I estimate the subject brightness range on this one was about 8 (indicating a n-1 development, which I was going to do in any case)