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Tom Abrahamsson of RapidWinder.com It is almost never that an inventor improves on a Leica product so that it is better than the original Leica product. Tom holds that distinction with his RapidWinder for Leica M rangefinders -- a bottom mounting baseplate trigger advance. In addition Tom manufacturers other Leica accessories such as his very popular Soft Release and MiniSoftRelease shutter releases. Tom is well known as one of the true Leica rangefinder experts, even by Leica. IMPORTANT READ THIS: CWE Forum hosts have moderation powers within their forum. Please observe copyright laws by not copying and posting their material elsewhere without permission.

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Back to basics D76 & TriX
Old 01-19-2011   #1
Tom A
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Back to basics D76 & TriX

Due to some medical problem and the ensuing medication I have been laid up for the last couple of month. So it was a good time to start sorting out some old negative files. Most dating back to the mid-80's and earlier.
For decades my developer of choice was the D76, diluted 1:1 and 10 minutes with TriX, usually shot as "sunny f16". I either used the store bought version in cans or pouches - or made my own.
Going back over, so far, 150 rolls, it amazed me how good that combination is. Not the sharpest edge as the Sodium Sulphite volume kind of "mushes" up the grain a bit, but those midtones are great and it is a combination that has a great exposure latitude - i.e. you can screw up quite a bit and still get decent prints (or, today, scan)
Over the decades I have probably processed TriX in just about any known mix, it has been pulled and pushed more than the salt water taffy at a beach concession - anything from 6 iso to 3200 iso. In the end I usually have come back to D76, 1:1, 10 minutes and the film at something like 320-400 iso. Seems to be an international message too - any lab ( with a couple of notable exceptions) will recognize it "Ah, TriX. D76/1;1/10 min?"
Just put up about 170 shots on our Flickr "Back to Basics TriX/D76" - going from 1970 until yesterday. The early stuff (1970) was developed in Perth, Western Australia and I suspect that they used Vegemite in the D76. Kind of strange looking negatives.
But once I could do my own processing - it improved the quality.
I just loaded up some 38 reloadable cassettes (Nikon Rf) with TriX and the Arista Premium 400 (same thing - except that the Arista is 1/2 the cost).
So for the next couple of month I will do some more of this "magical" combination (still a couple of 1000 ft of Arista/TriX in the freezer).
So give your input on your own experience with the Classic Combo - It was the press photographers standard soup, it was Salgados choice for his venture to Sahel, it was Magnum's "drink" of choice. Kodak got it right in 1954 and though they have fiddled a bit with the base and the emulsion - you can still rely on D76, 1:1 for 10 min.

All you really need is that M2, a 35 and a bag of "uncanned" TriX and the phrase "D76/10 min? 1:1" and you are all set.

I will probably incorporate some of the variations on D76 (E76, Divided D76, Buffered D76 etc) in the next while too.

So smell that Sodium Sulphite, shake the metol can and chip out some Potassium Carbonate and go and get a box of 20 mule team Borax too.

Should have a lead in picture to this - but I still cant figure out how to do it - so take my words for it and check the Flickr instead.

My first TriX was shot in 1957 and though I have no idea how many rolls of it I have shot - it probably ranges in the 20 000 roll range.

The world of Photography is divided in 2 camps - The TriX group and the HP5 clan - some upstarts from japan and China lately - and the contrast lovers of Agfapan 400.
But this is all about TriX and D76 - so let it rip.
Tom
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Last edited by Tom A : 01-19-2011 at 20:49.
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Old 01-19-2011   #2
wlewisiii
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Excellent post, Tom.

I use either Diafine or D-76 & Plus-X has it's joys as well

William
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Old 01-19-2011   #3
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looks to me like a fine goal. i'm only about 19,950 rolls behind you on the d-76 1:1 bandwagon, but i do like what i get ...
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Old 01-19-2011   #4
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I had to stop the slide show! Damn! Tom, you are one very fine photographer! That's quite a body of work you have there. I think that one film, one developer is a much better project than one camera, one lens. I love all my cameras in two formats, but I'd be happy with D76, 1:1, Tri-x, 10 minutes, 68 deg. forever! That's mostly what's in my flickr, too! Thanks for sharing all those pictures in one place! Be well,
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Old 01-19-2011   #5
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Kodak currently recommends only 9.75 minutes for Tri-X in D76 1+1, a change they made in processing directions after they reformulated Tri-X a few yrs ago when production of it and Kodak's other BW films was moved to a new plant. I use the new time and it works gorgeously. 15 seconds isn't much difference, but I wonder if you've noticed the newer film looking any different than the older version?
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Old 01-19-2011   #6
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Hope you're OK Tom.


..
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Old 01-19-2011   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
they reformulated Tri-X a few yrs ago when production of it and Kodak's other BW films was moved to a new plant.
and it has not been the same since. Since they reformulated it, HP5+ looks closer to the older Tri-X. The newer Tri-X is finer grain but I prefer HP5+ since the mid- 2000s. The newer Tri-X looks more like Tmax.
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Old 01-19-2011   #8
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I mix my D-76 with Mississippi river water (filtered through the St. Louis water supply, of course). It may be the water, but I find I get my best negatives at around 9 minutes rather than 10. If the subject is very contrasty, then I shoot the Tri-X at 250 and develop for only 7 to 8 minutes.

I think it may also have to do with my enlarger, which is a Durst condenser type. Do you use a diffusion enlarger, Tom?

Feel better, Tom, and be as well as possible.
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Old 01-19-2011   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
Kodak currently recommends only 9.75 minutes for Tri-X in D76 1+1, a change they made in processing directions after they reformulated Tri-X a few yrs ago when production of it and Kodak's other BW films was moved to a new plant. I use the new time and it works gorgeously. 15 seconds isn't much difference, but I wonder if you've noticed the newer film looking any different than the older version?

Chris, one has to assume that Kodak intends you to use a camera with a meter etc. I guess exposures - somewhat haphazardly and and 15 seconds ain't going to change much. This is probably why I have stuck with my 10 minutes, Hate to change it and probably subconciously correct the exposure. After almost 50 years of doing it my way - the film better take it.
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Old 01-19-2011   #10
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Hope you're OK Tom.


..
I have to take something called Revlimid. It is a drug used to suppress a bone-marrow cancer (Multiple Myeloma). Every couple of years it pops back and the Doctors look for something else to try (so far it has been Stemcell transplant, several years on Thalidomide and now this latest concoction.
It is mainly the side-effects that are brutal. Nerve damage to the legs which can make walking a bit difficult, a bit of "shake" - 1/250 can cure that.
Not fun, but sure beats the alternative!
I have so far survived for almost ten years and I plan to use up all the film in the freezer and even restock!
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Old 01-19-2011   #11
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i tried the 10 minutes instead of the 9:45 tonight. negs look great ...
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Old 01-19-2011   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
I mix my D-76 with Mississippi river water (filtered through the St. Louis water supply, of course). It may be the water, but I find I get my best negatives at around 9 minutes rather than 10. If the subject is very contrasty, then I shoot the Tri-X at 250 and develop for only 7 to 8 minutes.
I think it may also have to do with my enlarger, which is a Durst condenser type. Do you use a diffusion enlarger, Tom?

Feel better, Tom, and be as well as possible.
I use a couple of Focomat's (a 1c and a 2c). As with any film, you establish a routine and by standardizing on processing - you eliminate one "unknown".
It also depends on how you shoot, read light and what look you are after in the end. I think after a while you correct your exposures subconciously and hope that it worked out. Thats why it still a bit of "butterflies in the stomach" time when you pull the fllm off the reels!
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Old 01-20-2011   #13
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Tom, all the best and warm wishes that you are back down to 1/60s as soon as possible.

Thank you for the great post.
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Old 01-20-2011   #14
Juan Valdenebro
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Tom, I'm glad to hear you're fine, and to see you're doing all day what you do so very well... Enjoy and best wishes... We're enjoying your photographs deeply... Thanks!

Cheers,

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Old 01-20-2011   #15
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Nice coincidence in that I have just ordered some D76 to use with Tri-X instead of my usual Rodinal.

Take care Tom

Al
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Old 01-20-2011   #16
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I sure like the venerable Tri-x/D-76 combo. Whenever I use Tri-X I soup it in D-76 1:1 thanks to Tom's friendly advice. I've noticed that I like my negs with a bit less contrast and I tend to shoot Tri-x @ 200-250-320 (depends on the light conditions) and develop it a little less, like 8 to 9 mins. It works for me.

My only wish is that Kodak would have some sense in their pricing in EU. Tri-x is $5 to $6 a roll here and bulk rolls cost even more. Unfortunately, Arista is not available here.
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Old 01-20-2011   #17
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same price for tri-x here, too, Mablo. but, arista premium still is available. gotta get an order in soon.
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Old 01-20-2011   #18
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You are the bee's knees, Tom.
I wish you a speedy and complete recovery!
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Old 01-21-2011   #19
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Amazing pictures! Im using tri-x and d76 now, hopefully i can get some nice pictures to use this combo well!
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Old 01-22-2011   #20
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Tom, can you comment on the difference between Xtol, D-76 and HC-110 as typically used on Tri-X? What would the differences in results be? I'm inclined toward the HC-110 though I haven't used it because it lasts so long. And Ansel Adams liked it.

And please be well, feel strong, and kick some Vancouver BC butt. Or Seattle if necessary.
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Old 01-22-2011   #21
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I find the HC 110 a bit "rough" with 35mm TriX. However it works very well with Neopan 400 and Tmax 2-400. I suspect that it needs an inherently finer grain film to work well. With TriX it has an edge, similar to Rodinal/Beutler.
The Xtol works well, but for some reason it is a developer that I use very little. I have tried it with the Xtol/Rodinal combination and it is OK. Quite smooth and with some edge to it. I do have several packages of the 5 liter Xtol and I should really try it some more.
The D76 just works, but then it could be 40 years of using it that makes it easy to handle. I can adjust exposures "on the fly" for it and if you limit the size of prints to 16x20 - it looks pretty good. Master printers can pull of magic with it - I have seen 24x36 inch prints that look spectacular - but that is more based on the skill of the printer than the developer/film combination.
The D76 grain is softer than either HC110 or Xtol - but if you print it big and remember to use the "rule of thumb" for viewing big prints. Use the diagonal dimension as the viewing distance - and it looks good.
It is just that combination, TriX and D76 - it was really made for each other.
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Old 01-22-2011   #22
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Tom. Are you using newly produced Tri-X or older stock from the freezer?
40 years ago my only developers were D76, and ocationally Rodinal. Today it seems I can not reproduce the same "D76-look" in my Tri-X negatives as I had back then. I feel that today's Tri-X and XTOL brings me closer to that look of the older negatives.

Last edited by f/1,4 : 01-22-2011 at 16:48.
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Old 01-22-2011   #23
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The TriX I use today is the "new" version - but my old negatives (some dating back to the early 60's is obviously the old style. I dont find the difference that big - but then i do shoot mostly Sunny F16 and I suspect that this affects it too. Usually I rate my TriX at around 320 iso. Time is kept at 10 min for the 1:1 dilution.
For me the TriX is the "all around" film and I am probably less critical with it than with any other film - it is a case where the picture counts more than the technical details. Films like Acros/Tmax 2-400 etc requires more care and even a slight misjudgement will affect the negative - with the TriX it is somehow absorbed into the films flexibility.
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Old 01-22-2011   #24
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Quote:
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For me the TriX is the "all around" film and I am probably less critical with it than with any other film - it is a case where the picture counts more than the technical details. Films like Acros/Tmax 2-400 etc requires more care and even a slight misjudgement will affect the negative - with the TriX it is somehow absorbed into the films flexibility.
For me, that "do anything you need to do" has always been Tri-X at somewhere from 320 - 1600 & dunked in Diafine. I can almost always get something I can use. If I know the light will be good, I dearly love Plus-X even more - smooth creamy tones that are simply lovely. That's also when I love using D76, more often straight, but 1:1 occasionally.

But if I have no clue whats going to happen, a roll of Tri-X, meter set initially to 800 or so, a yellow filter in my pocket & Diafine when I get done.



William
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Old 01-22-2011   #25
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What a Charming Street Shot Tom... A True Classic ...LOVE IT !
You are The Master Supreme

Best Wishes .. Speedy Recovery from those side effects
You are in My Thoughts & Prayers
xo-H
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