TriX@800 in Microdol X needs help

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by djkloss, Jul 9, 2005.

  1. djkloss

    djkloss Subscriber

    Oct 17, 2004
    Erie, Pa
    Multi Format
    Help from a frustrated wannabe.
    My plastic tank says you can develop one roll of 135/36 film (it holds two) in 12 ozs of developer (375 cc’s). So I mixed up the developer (Microdol X) in the morning, then developed that night. According to the Kodak instructions for Tri-X, you can develop Tri-X 400 (TriX400Professional) in Microdol –X at 72° for 8 ¼ minutes. They also say that you can rate it at ISO 800.

    So, I thought I’d experiment and try all the above. My little experiment failed. Very flat…no shadow detail…underexposed… To add more info (may be of some help figuring this mess out), I used a hand held meter with my F3. I was also experimenting with the waist level finder (that’s why the hand held meter) & a non-AI 28mm lens. I wanted a different perspective for my people pictures. I got the perspective, but the results were a disaster! I’d like to try Microdol & get good results. I’m wondering if it’s the quantity per tank that I screwed up or shooting at 800 or what. If anyone can help……please……..(p.s. I already downloaded all the tech pubs.)

    Thanks! a very frustrated dorothy
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Sep 7, 2002
    Honolulu, Ha
    Large Format
    Microdol-X wouldn't be my choice of developer for push processing. Generally, Microdol-X will give you less speed and finer grain than a developer like D-76. Increasing development time and temperature doesn't usually increase film speed significantly, only contrast, and Microdol-X is kind of a low-contrast developer to begin with.

    If you want to get an honest EI of 800 from Tri-X, use a developer like Acufine, Diafine, or Microphen. These will give you more grain than Microdol-X, but will give you a good sharp negative with shadow detail and reasonable contrast for printing on paper of about grade 3 (by developing for grade 3 instead of grade 2, you get a thinner, less grainy neg, which is desirable for push processing, particularly with 35mm film). My own preference is Acufine.
  3. Grunthos

    Grunthos Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Out West
    35mm RF
    Hi Dorothy,

    I think that what went wrong is that you rated the film at 800. Microdol-X is not the best choice for increasing film speed, since it tends to reduce actual film speed a bit. If I read your post correctly, you used full strength Mic-X at the correct developing time for the temperature used. If so, the correct film speed would have been somewhere in the range of 160 to 250. D-76 or Acufine would be a much better choice for pushing TRI-X. Most films will not give true box speed when exposed and developed under real world conditions.

    If you need the high speed, I would recommend Kodak TMZ developed in XTOL (at EI 1600) or Fuji Neopan 1600 in D-76 at EI 800. I haven't tried Delta 3200 So I can not recommend it or not. Just remember that shadow detail needs to be exposed onto the film. You can not get it by developing it in.

  4. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

    Sep 20, 2002
    The only way I could see TriX at 800 in Microdol X with an average or incident reading is for a scene with brightness range of about 3 stops. You would then be metering at something like Zone 3 or 4 by comparison with a more normal brightness range.

    If you can scan the negative and make a reasonable digital print, the required detail is there and can be brought out for real printing by one of several inrensifying processes.