Best Developer for Tri-X Expansion

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mobtown_4x5

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Guys-

I shot some scenes of a house that has been in my family since 1935, which is now emptied and sold. These undeveloped negs are now all I have.

The work was done on 4x5 Trix ("TXP" I think they call it now?) bought recently. I set the ASA at 200 and exposed shadows for zone III. I was not sure of the reciprocity (sp?) so I did bracket, dramatically increasing the exposures in some cases.

The indoor shots were done in the daytime, usually near a window, but the day outside was rainy and the light was very dim and flat. The metered range (when I was able to meter- see below) of most of the scenes was only 3-4 stops. Exposures were very long, I made some in the 5- 30 sec range, and remembering (I hope correctly) that reciprocity is huge with this film, I dramatically increased some of the exposures to 2-3 minutes (overkill?).

The whole thing was unfortunately ill-prepared and very rushed, people were literally dismanteling the furnishings around me as I tried to shoot. I think I made a lot of mistakes, as a matter of fact, I think the exposures are probably all over the map. I did however, try to err on the side of more exposure when I was not given time to meter, as I have yet to truely overexpose a sheet of Tri-X (there is a first time for everything though).

These will be done in trays, one at a time, so if one shot does not come out, I can vary development for it's mate (taking into account the additional exposure) in the filmholder. This will be very time consuming, but this is very important to me. Unfortunately the actual shooting was so rushed, but that's the way it is. If at all possible, I would like to get nice prints from these negs.

On the whole, I an extreme expansion development will be required, based on the very flat "SBR's". Which brings me to my question- (thanks for wading through this) which developer would you choose in this situation?

Matt
 

juan

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Tri-X with HC-110(b) it a long-tried combination that many people like. I've used it and gotten good negatives from N-2 to N+2. I've also liked the results I've gotten with Pyrocat HD, although I have not tried expansion with this combination.
juan
 

matt miller

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IMO, Developing by inspection is absolutely the way to go. You can use any developer you want, preferably one you are familiar with. You'll be able to develop more than one at a time this way as well. I would practice with a couple of test negs first. You can start checking at N- times and watch it until it's done. I've never DBI'd Tri-x, but I don't believe there is a problem seeing it, unlike TMY.
 
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mobtown_4x5

mobtown_4x5

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I was leaning towards HC-110, but the whole DBI thing might be a good idea, since the exposures are (probably) all over the map. I read Smith's article, but I've never done it before, and I don't have the light (B & H?).

I'm not sure I want to try something totally new to me with these negs, even if I have done some trial runs. I dunno.
I sometimes feel like I have a hard time evaluating negs with the lights on, and you can only look for an instant? at the base side? Sounds tricky, to say the least. Are you guys saying you have actually done this, and made decisions about the development time on the spot and been successful?

I trust the judgement of the members of this forum quite a bit, so I will have to mull this one over.

Matt
 
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c6h6o3

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mobtown_4x5 said:
I'm not sure I want to try something totally new to me with these negs, even if I have done some trial runs. I dunno.

I've done quite a bit of DBI with much success. I live in Gaithersburg. You want I should come up to B'more with my green light and do one?
 

Donald Miller

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I would not use HC 110 under these circumstances. My experience with Tri X and HC 110 indicate that this combination will not expand beyone N + 1 1/2. To gain the greatest expansion available I would use a staining developer like W2D2+ or Pyrocat HD. The proportional stain componant of these developers will provide an additional .15 to .30 density (depending on exposure and high value density) with this film over a non staining developer. I would not use ABC pyro since the grain would be excessive for enlarging.

If I were developing TriX in tray in Pyrocat (1-1-100), for instance, I would try development of 10 1/2 minutes at 70 degrees as a beginning and adjust from there as needed. However, considering the reciprocity effect you may not require as much expansion as first believed.

The additional benefit of a catechol developer is the compensating effect in the situations where you have a relatively bright window and dim interior.
 

matt miller

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mobtown_4x5 said:
I sometimes feel like I have a hard time evaluating negs with the lights on, and you can only look for an instant? at the base side? Sounds tricky, to say the least. Are you guys saying you have actaally done this, and made decisions about the development time on the spot and been sucessful?

I was apprehensive at first, but it is a lot easier than you think. With just a couple of test negs under your belt, you should be able to judge proper highlight development with a decent amount of accuracy. You can always use the time & temp method at the same time, just check to make sure they're "done" before you stop them.

mobtown_4x5 said:
I trust the judgement of the members of this forum quite a bit, so I will have to mull this one over.

Take Jim up on his offer to help. These are important negs to you & DBI is a good tool to be familiar with anyway.
 

c6h6o3

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Donald Miller said:
If I were developing TriX in tray in Pyrocat (1-1-100), for instance, I would try development of 10 1/2 minutes at 70 degrees as a beginning and adjust from there as needed. However, considering the reciprocity effect you may not require as much expansion as first believed.

When would you begin inspecting?
 

livemoa

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There is a lab in New York that does this sort of work using infra red. I think they used to advertise on the site, but cant remeber the name
 

livemoa

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livemoa said:
There is a lab in New York that does this sort of work using infra red. I think they used to advertise on the site, but cant remeber the name

Actually they still do, its MV labs
 
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mobtown_4x5

mobtown_4x5

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sorry guys

Update-

Man, I may have acted a little impulsively this weekend.... (I've said THAT too many times)-

I had been agonizing over developing these negs, and considering the DBI suggestion (which was probably the smartest idea)- but I just wasn't sure about it and needed to spend some time getting familiar with a new process- I also read about a million opinions about which developer is good for TXP320 (seems that for every person who advocates HC110 there is another who doesn't care for it)

Long story short- I got impatient and decided to use my own limited skills and experience to do the best I could and be done with it.
My favorite neg to date that has that "glow" was TX320 in FG-7. So I decided to go with that. Since the shots were bracketed, I did them one at a time, and worked out development times based on the previous neg. After a while, I found the time that was working the best (approx. 8 min, shuffle for 4, stand for 4) and did the remainder in quick succession.

The results? I don't deserve to be so lucky.
Turns out I nailed those repricocity(sp?) estimates pretty good (or it's pretty hard to blow out that good 'ol Tri-X)... these negs look great! They are a hair dense, but I can read a newspaper through most parts, ALL the shadow detail is good, and the highlights don't look blown out- I think the stand dev helps on that. Man, whatta relief!

(I'm really starting to like this FG-7, I wonder if it is chemically just a D76 variation, or another animal altogether, anyone know?)

Anyhow, I guess all that nail-biting was for nothing...
As always, thanks for the support (and putting up with my lack of experience which leads to these paranoid posts!)

Matt
 

Flotsam

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I really like FG-7. It has been my main dev. for so many years that I have forgotten what comparisons originally led me to adopting it. I use it mixed with 9% sodium sulfite for fast, small format films and with water for more accutance with slow films. Tri-X has always given me excellent results in FG-7, I've never used it in trays but I'm not surprised that you had such good results.
 
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