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Why I love Tri-X and some things I have learned.
Old 02-08-2009   #1
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Why I love Tri-X and some things I have learned.

Say what you will about the internet, but thanks to it I have learned almost as much about photography than going out and doing it

I remember vividly ten years ago, my first SLR, my first negative scanner, my first tries with Photoshop. And of course the photography related newsgroups on usenet. About a year and half ago my interest in Leicas led me to this forum. On the whole nice knowledgable people with a true love for photography. I learned a lot of things from this site as well, and I thank everyone that has contributed a lot.

BUT, if you gain your own experience about certain subjects there comes a time when you see that some people don't know sh*t, but are ever so eloquent. Others still amaze me by the depth of their knowledge.

Why this rant? I once read someone here comment on Tri-X as an 'old and mediocre film'. That my friends, may be the single most stupid remark I have ever heard in 10 years of photography. Of course there are sharper films, and less grainy ones. Cheaper ones as well. But after dunking a critical roll in fresh Diafine I know again why I love it to death.



Alas, not shot with a RF. I don't have a fast 90 for my M2 (yet). This is from a Nikon FM with a 85mm f1.8. Kodak Tri-X in Diafine @ 1250ISO.
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Old 02-08-2009   #2
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very nice shot. Thanks.
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Old 02-08-2009   #3
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I certainly wouldn't call it mediocre. It may be old, but that's not a criticism.

I've had better results with HP5+ lately, and I'm not sure why. For some reason, my past attempts at Tri-X turned out with too much contrast. Possibly it's a flaw in my development process. And maybe that's why I have better luck with the less contrasty HP5+.

But I have too much respect for Tri-X (and I see other people getting such excellent results with it) to ignore it. So, I'm giving it another try.

Nice photo, Ronald.
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Old 02-08-2009   #4
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TriX is a great film! I use it 95% of the time. I do find it very contrasy when pushed though... even a single stop. Perhaps that is my choice of developer. I used to use D76 and HC110. These days I use XTOL 1+1 for all my development.
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Old 02-08-2009   #5
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Yes, D76 1+1 is my developer of choice. Perhaps XTOL would be less contrasty?

And what about Rodinal?
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Old 02-08-2009   #6
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Whatever Tri-X's other weaknesses may be, nothing works quite as well in Diafine, except for maybe Neopan 1600. Nice shot, btw.
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Old 02-08-2009   #7
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Nothing wrong with XXX or XX 'cept operator error.
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Old 02-08-2009   #8
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I've been sticking almost exclusively to Tri-X and D-76 for both 135 and 120. Hear all the time that you can get better results with other developers, but being so new to the process I've stuck with the book combo. No complaints rated at 400 or pushed to 800 so far.


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Old 02-08-2009   #9
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These are a couple of shots I developed yesterday. Both are TriX EI800, developed in XTOL 1+1 10.5 minutes at 20C.

My wife at Christmas. Hexar AF 35mm f2.0 1/30.



My son at his birthday. 28mm f1.9 1/15.

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Old 02-08-2009   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crawdiddy View Post
And maybe that's why I have better luck with the less contrasty HP5+.
Except it's the opposite...
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Old 02-08-2009   #11
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Is that a ferry boat? A very nice photo, I like it a lot.

And yes, Tri-X and D76 would easily keep me happy indefinitely.
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Old 02-08-2009   #12
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Tri-X, Chinese New Year (M2, 90/f2):
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File Type: jpg chineseNY922 copy.jpg (150.8 KB, 44 views)
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Old 02-08-2009   #13
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Tri-X at 1250 ISO in Diafine ? That looks very good !!

I have only tried Neopan Presto400 at 1250ISO in Diafine so far:

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Old 02-08-2009   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoc View Post
Tri-X at 1250 ISO in Diafine ? That looks very good !!

I have only tried Neopan Presto400 at 1250ISO in Diafine so far:

Great photo Gabor ... I too am a bit of a Fuji fan! Tri-x hasn't quite mesmerised me the way Neopan 400 did yet.

I think Tri-X's strength is it's versatility.
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Old 02-08-2009   #15
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Keith, thank you !

If Fuji wouldn't have stopped making bulk rolls, Neopan 400PR would be my first choice. On the other hand, as you mentioned, Tri-X is the most versatile BW film, IMHO.
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Old 02-08-2009   #16
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Quote:
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Keith, thank you !

If Fuji wouldn't have stopped making bulk rolls, Neopan 400PR would be my first choice. On the other hand, as you mentioned, Tri-X is the most versatile BW film, IMHO.

Same same ... but isn't Freestyles Legacy Pro supposedly Neopan 400 ... or can't we confirm that it's even Fuji yet. I'm so close to buying some for a look see as they are selling it in 100ft rolls!
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Old 02-08-2009   #17
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" ... Freestyles Legacy Pro supposedly Neopan 400 ... " ?? That would be indeed good news ! Has someone tried this stuff already ??
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Old 02-08-2009   #18
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Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Tri X, I must admit I have never pushed it as I usually turn to Neopan 1600 when I need something faster.

That said, it does have a wonderful quality that I even like in landscapes -- even in 35mm! I won't regugitate pictures here but I wrote a blog entry yesterday which has some photos (I think 1-2 have been taken using Tri X):

Link to photos: South Downs National Park

I found it really came into its own when I was able to develop it myself, since then even though I do occassionally use a finer emulsion like Delta 100/400 or Pan F, I still find myself loading up with it. I also really like the results I get with it loaded into my M2 and Voigtlander Ultron 35mm lens.

I will have to try pushing it and try out Diafine as well some time, I've been meaning to for too long!
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Old 02-08-2009   #19
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Quote:
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Is that a ferry boat? A very nice photo, I like it a lot.

And yes, Tri-X and D76 would easily keep me happy indefinitely.
Thanks! And yes, that's a ferry. I live in Western Washington on one of the islands, so it's part of mundane life for me to go anywhere.
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Old 02-09-2009   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddoc View Post
Tri-X at 1250 ISO in Diafine ? That looks very good !!

I have only tried Neopan Presto400 at 1250ISO in Diafine so far:

Ooh great shot!!!

Sorry for 'regurgitating' my shots, but sometimes 'in your face' works best

I also like Neopan 1600 in Diafine btw, just ordered some rolls again. Just a bit more speed. But Tri-X in Diafine does exactly what I always wanted and it also scans very well. For those who shot concerts, you know that your 'hit rate' is desperately low, no matter how good the photographer and his or hers equipment.

HP5+, although similar to Tri-X, just works a bit less for me. But it might even be more forgiving than Tri-X. Ah well, so much fun with film!
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Old 02-09-2009   #21
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Oddly I only like HP5 pushed to 1600 ... at box speed I find it too low on contrast. I like contrast!

It's all film which means it's all good!


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Old 02-09-2009   #22
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Quote:
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Tri-X at 1250 ISO in Diafine ? That looks very good !!

I have only tried Neopan Presto400 at 1250ISO in Diafine so far:

Ahh that photo's great. The little guy's expression is priceless.
Out of curiosity does anyone in the UK buy tri-x in bulk?
I'm currently getting my stuff from 7dayshop, but if there are places where I can get it cheaper if I buy more I'd like to know!
Oh, and I pushed some tri-x to 3200 last week.
The film's stunning.
I'd post some but at the moment all my negs have been submitted for assessment.
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Old 02-09-2009   #23
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Here's Tri-X @ 3200 in Rodinal 50:1.


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Old 02-09-2009   #24
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Tri-X (Arista Premium 400) @ 1600 in Diafine. From second roll out of my new M2, still working on scanning skills.
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Old 02-09-2009   #25
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It's really good to see trix getting all this love. It deserves it!
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Old 02-09-2009   #26
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I can't imagine anybody bad-mouthing Tri-X. Like saying Olivia de Havilland or Susan Hayward were not pretty. I suppose it's possible to hold that opinion; seems so unlikey though.
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Old 02-09-2009   #27
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Quote:
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Here's Tri-X @ 3200 in Rodinal 50:1.

looks suprisingly good at 3200
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Old 02-09-2009   #28
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this guy badmouthed Tri-X. said it's not the same as the stuff from before and he just seems to hate kodak.
i've just started so i have no clue.
http://www.insideanalogphoto.com/ins...eve-anchell/52
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Old 02-09-2009   #29
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The great advantage of Tri-X is its ability to deliver printable results in damned near any developer you care to soup it in. I love Neopan 400 equally but Tri X is more forgiving of less than perfect technique. Neopan Rocks if you can find its sweet spot, but Tri-X is the universal film par excellance.
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Old 02-09-2009   #30
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I have been using Tri X since 1957!!!! My first camera was a DS M3 with a rater ratty looking 50f2 collapsible Summicron. The camera came with a brown paper bag of "un-canned" Tri X and the comment from the press photographer who handed it to me "This some new kind of film from Kodak - they say shoot it at 200 asa. That cant be any good!". I was 14 at the time and took to Tri X like a fish to water. Never once wavered either. So there has been some changes t it over the years, they raised the speed to 400/27 DIN (remember that designation). I have no idea how many rolls of the stuff i have shot, most likely in the 10 000's and I cant really say that the film ever let me down. Any foul-ups were mine. It is about as tolerant an emulsion one can wish for. Soup it in anything and it still works, zap it in airport X rays and it just shrugs it off. Find some old TriX that has been sitting for for 20-25 years in an attic, throw in some benzo and process it.
Oh yes, we all wailed and wrung our hands every time Kodak"improved" it - but somehow, dunk it in D76 1:1 for 10-11 minutes and it still works.
It ranks right up there with other photographic icons like the Gralab 300 timers, Leica M2's, Focomat 1C, Nikon F as a product that was perfect for what it was designed to do.
It is not the finest grain or longest tonal range - but it does exactly what i want it to do (or possibly it taught me to use it in such way that I got the result I wanted). I still feel nervous if i don't have a stash of a couple of 100 rolls of it my freezer ( and 10 rolls in my bag or jacket pockets).
Long may it live.
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Old 02-09-2009   #31
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When I think of TriX
I feel inspired.
If I shoot B&W good old TriX I trust
Film grain is your friend with this emulation.

You can try so many different Developing and Exposing techniques.

These are some old Tx pics I have below





Last edited by myequation : 02-09-2009 at 15:48.
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Old 02-09-2009   #32
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Love that last shot!
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Old 02-09-2009   #33
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These photos taken at 1600 ISO and 3200ISO (and souped in Diafine and Rodinal) looked very good !! Something I have to try next !!

Thanks for sharing !!

Cheers,

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Old 02-09-2009   #34
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Yep, that's the good stuff!
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Old 02-09-2009   #35
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Ditto on those shots, Wesley - great stuff.
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Old 02-09-2009   #36
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These photos taken at 1600 ISO and 3200ISO (and souped in Diafine and Rodinal) looked very good !! Something I have to try next !!
Slightly off topic but as a noobie to development would I be correct to interpet this statement as that if I was using tri-x I expose based on EI 400 and then calculate the development time based on EI 1600 or 3200, essentially pushing it 2 or 3 stops??
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Old 02-09-2009   #37
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Slightly off topic but as a noobie to development would I be correct to interpet this statement as that if I was using tri-x I expose based on EI 400 and then calculate the development time based on EI 1600 or 3200, essentially pushing it 2 or 3 stops??
I could be wrong, but I think the film is being exposed as if it was a 3200 ISO film, and developed longer according to the specifics of the developer.
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Old 02-09-2009   #38
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Slightly off topic but as a noobie to development would I be correct to interpet this statement as that if I was using tri-x I expose based on EI 400 and then calculate the development time based on EI 1600 or 3200, essentially pushing it 2 or 3 stops??
Incorrect. If you did that, you'd just be overdeveloping your film.

Pushing film involves exposing it at a higher ISO than rated (effectively underexposing it), then compensating for that in the development phase by changing the time. If you're going to push film, you have to decide that when you're out shooting and expose the whole roll consistently.
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Old 02-09-2009   #39
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Exposure determines shadow density, development controls contrast and highlight density. Increasing the development time to get an effective film speed of 1200-1600 in the mid tones will give you a printable image in emergencies, but you'll have burned out highlights and only gain a teensy bit of shadow detail, and it will do nothing at all for the darkest parts of the shadows. Clear film is clear film.
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Old 02-10-2009   #40
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I learned to develop and print BW with Tri-X. I am relatively new to this passion, having started only two years ago, but I have tried all sorts of film. Somehow, I keep going back to Tri-X.

Tri-X @400, DD-X

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