Overexposing Tri-X?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by JDW22, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. JDW22

    JDW22 Subscriber

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    When taking my Hasselblad afield, I generally shoot Ilford FP4+ for my black and white work. Instead of the 125 box speed, I typically shoot it at 100 and pull the development by a half stop. If I do my part reading the exposure meter, I'm generally very happy with the negatives produced.

    I've been thinking of giving Kodak Tri-X 400 a try. I wanted to see what the mythic Tri-X "look" was really all about. Somewhat like my FP4 methodology, I intend to shoot the Tri-X at 200 and pull the processing by one stop. Since I don't intend to ever "push" Tri-X, I use a tripod 100% of the time, I'm wondering what I can expect compared to what I've been getting from FP4?

    As I'm mercifully free of the ravages of experience or wisdom, any helpful comments dispensed are sincerely appreciated.
     
  2. Kawaiithulhu

    Kawaiithulhu Subscriber

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    I may have this wrong: tri-x has a long toe and steeper curve that just keeps on going, this is what accounts for the "soot and chalk" contrasty look associated with it.
    Your +1 pull has been used in the past by well known photographers, don't expect sudden clarity in the shadows but you'll raise the main subject out of the background more readily.
    Be prepared to have to tame contrast and get some thoroughly enjoyable grain.

    Comparing Tri-x with HP5+ as an example, the tri-x shot will pop out of the dark background like an olympic diver surfacing for air after the jump and the hp5+ will drag itself out of the background like Martin Sheen's special ops character appearing out of the river when going after Marlon Brando :angel:
     
  3. Pentode

    Pentode Subscriber

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    Tri-X is shot at 200 by a lot of photographers. It’s got a lot of latitude for both exposure and processing.

    The overall look at 200 is not so very far off from the look it’s known for at 400.

    How you process it will, of course, have an effect upon your results.
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The latitude of exposure is so wide that there is really no advantage to shoot at ISO 200 rather than box speed. In high subject to brightness range I have gotten over ten stops without trying. Just shoot at box speed and enjoy decades of refining and improving.
     
  5. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    You could run a personal ISO test for Tri-x at box speed with the Kodak time for development, on the paper you intend to print on. This will take into consideration film fog and any differences in shutter speed your lens may actually have. Since each lens has a shutter you would have to test with each one. I use Delta 100, 400 and HP5 at box speed and with Ilford chemistry at their suggested times unless I want a change in film contrast and am quite pleased. When I started printing many years ago (with 35mm at that time) I found a very slight difference in my test results from Tri-x at 400 so I never bothered to retest when I started with medium and large format and Ilford films. I make my changes when printing with multigrade paper and an Aristo variable contrast light source. I've become too lazy to run so many tests each of five Hasselblad lenses and three large format lenses.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  6. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    See my comments on the adjacent Delta vs TMax thread. In relation to a lot of the moth-eaten hype about Tri-X, it's more mythological than mythical. One thing that is true is that it has very conspicuous gritty grain. Compared to FP4, you get less detail and so-so shadow separation unless you overexpose it at a slower rated speed. If you want your cake and eat it too, at full 400 speed, I'd recommend TMax TMY400. Roll film is cheap, so whatever. Some new guy at the camera store handed me a 5pk of 120 Tri-X instead of the TMY I asked for. I wasn't wearing reading glasses at the time, and didn't catch the error till I got home. So I said to myself, What the heck, and loaded a roll in my 6X9 RF. Then I printed a couple of nice shots and was amazed how off the detail looked in anything bigger than an 8X10 print. With FP4 or even TMY, I routinely make 16X20's that are only slightly embarrassing to put in the same portfolio as prints made from 4X5 or 8X10 format. But myths die hard. The grain is quite different from HP5 or Delta 3200, and some people like it.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The tabular grain films always looks off to me while the traditional grain films look great to me. You pay your money and make your choices. Neither is right nor wrong. At least we still have choices. In the early 2000's I was told not to buy even used film cameras because film would not be available by 2010.
     
  8. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    There were plenty of traditional grain films that didn't look like they came out of the barrel of a shotgun! If that's what you like, look no further; otherwise ...
     
  9. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Not sure why you would start off with a film you've never used by overexposing and under developing it. Why not shoot it at box speed and process it normally to see what it is supposed to look like before experimenting? No matter what you do, it will have considerably more grain than FP4+.
     
  10. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    I don't think I ever shot Tri-x at 400. 800 and beyond for me.
     
  11. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Roman Loranc does lovely Tri-X work with a 4X5 camera. It's conspicuously overexposed in order to get good shadow separation. The highlights are given interesting character by use of a second toning bath (sulfide). But this is a bit unpredictable; and when it doesn't go quite right, the highlights are indeed shouldered off and blank or bland. Tri-X actually has far less exposure range than classic "straight line" films like Super-XX.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    +1
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Most films have a latitude of from 4.5 stops over exposed to 1 stop underexposed. If you stay within that range you can get good prints by developing the film normally. Print time will be longer than normal but this is fine. Do not attempt to pull or push the film as this will result in contrast changes.
     
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