Tri-X + Diafine = posterization?

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kwmullet

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I've been spending some time today looking around at examples of Tri-X shot at 1200+ and processed in Diafine. My hopes are/were that Tri-X + Diafine could end up being my high ISO film/developer choice. I think I've settled in on FP4 + Pyrocat as my low ISO choice.

Anyway... check out this detail view of a 35mm frame of Tri-X shot at 1250 and processed in Diafine. (not my image, but an example I found):

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It looks like the hand/arm and some of the background are speckled with posterization. That's one of the reasons I stopped doing digital capture.

Does that look like posterization to you? Is that an inevitable price I must pay for processing Tri-X in Diafine, or are there techniques to retain continuous tonality throughout the image, like maybe pre-soaking or alternate agitation regimes?

-KwM-
 

Eric Jones

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Do you plan on scanning the negatives or printing traditionally? If printing traditionally one thing you will notice is highlight compression compared to other "normal" developers. But the grain from Diafine is much smoother IMO than using other developers and extending development aka "pushing". It may be that this particular example is extreme and who knows how it was scanned. I often use Diafine and get some great tonality out of shots that could not be taking most other ways. And I have always found Diafine easy to scan due to the low contrast (CI of .75)
 
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kwmullet

kwmullet

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Eric Jones said:
Do you plan on scanning the negatives or printing traditionally? [...]

Hi Eric,

Definitely traditional wet printing. Specifically, I'd print on VC paper using split filtration, so I'd guess I could make use of a higher CI than with single-filter or single-grade printing. No intent to scan the neg. Any scanning would likely be of a print.

-KwM-
 

lee

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I know Lex and he uses Diafine for everything. I think it is an artifact from the jpg compression I could be wrong. I have never felt Diafine did anything for my film. Why shoot trix at 1200 or so when the 3200 stuff is really good at 1200?

lee\c
 

fingel

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lee said:
Why shoot trix at 1200 or so when the 3200 stuff is really good at 1200?

lee\c

Well,I use it because I've never seen iso 3200 film in 4x5 or 8x10, but I can use Tri-x @ 1200 with diafine if I'm hand holding my speed graphic. I don't see where he states what format he is planning on using, but if he is shooting a smaller format I agree he should probably go with a 3200 speed film.:smile:
 
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kwmullet

kwmullet

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fingel said:
Well,I use it because I've never seen iso 3200 film in 4x5 or 8x10, but I can use Tri-x @ 1200 with diafine if I'm hand holding my speed graphic. I don't see where he states what format he is planning on using, but if he is shooting a smaller format I agree he should probably go with a 3200 speed film.:smile:

yeah. what he said. :smile: (4x5, handheld crown)

Seriously, though, for 35 & MF, you find the tonality of delta3200 superior to stuff processed in Diafine? What developer? (or alternate version, how is your experience with Delta3200 and pyrocat or Ansco130?)

-KwM-
 

a0667318

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This is Mark down in Irving. I think I'm the only one at North Lake college who uses Diafine. I use it for pan f fp4 and tri-x 35mm & MF. I haven't seen anything unnormal. Skies will have a pronounced grain in 11x14prints. I'll be processing tri-x night shots after lunch tomorrow, I can scan one if you want a look.
 
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kwmullet

kwmullet

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a0667318 said:
This is Mark down in Irving. I think I'm the only one at North Lake college who uses Diafine. I use it for pan f fp4 and tri-x 35mm & MF. I haven't seen anything unnormal. Skies will have a pronounced grain in 11x14prints. I'll be processing tri-x night shots after lunch tomorrow, I can scan one if you want a look.

you bet! If you've got a place to put them where I can either HTTP or anon-FTP them, either PM me or post here, if you don't mind other apuggers pulling them down.
 

Eric Jones

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I agree with everyone above in that if you are using MF or 35mm and plan on shooting a full roll under low light then a 3200 film @ 1200 to 1600 is a good way to go. The way I use Diafine is when I am expecting random shooting situations, I can rate the film from anywhere from 200 to 2000 and get good looking prints from the negs. I almost always end up on a 4 or 5 filter for VC paper depending on how I rated it. Rating it slower (ie: overexposure) naturally tends to open up the shadows with little affect on the highlights. I also use it for those fun handheld 4x5 shots as well. It is in no way a magic bullet but yet another tool to chose from.
 

Donald Qualls

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I've used Diafine for Tri-X in 35 mm a fair amount, and also with diluted Bath A for Copex Rapid microfilm in 16 mm. I've never seen "posterization" in my scans with Tri-X, though I have seen it with microfilm that was underexposed. The image you point to is one Lex posted as an example of Diafine's effect at the grain clump level -- comparing Tri-X at 1250 in Diafine against (IIRC) Delta 3200 shot at 1600 in DDX (Tri-X in Diafine wins, IMO). He was using an older 35 mm scanner that didn't really like B&W, also, so it's very possible the effect you're seeing is due to the scanner.

Here are a couple examples of my own shots done in Diafine (Tri-X, 35 mm, shot at EI 1600):

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I don't see any indication of posterization in these -- and I'd be happy to send you a 1:1 crop from the full 2400 ppi scan of any one for examination. If you look in my portfolio over there, you'll see a number of other shots done on Tri-X in Diafine -- I challenge you to pick them, via tonality, from TMY in HC-110 or Tri-X in Caffenol.

What might have happened with Lex's image is that, shot in bright daylight, all the image information would have been compressed into the contracted shoulder, and a histogram stretch after scanning to get good contrast could lead to an artifact from using only, say, 4 bits of the 8-bit gray scale available. This doesn't happen in printing; nor does it happen with a scanner that has a longer native sensitivity range than the antique Lex was using when that image was posted. My Arcus 1200 uses 12 bits per channel internally and has only exhibited this effect with microfilm negatives showing a very, very narrow dynamic range.
 
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