Pushing TX to 1600
Old 01-31-2017   #1
Graybeard
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Pushing TX to 1600

I find that I'm shooting indoors (artificial light) quite a bit these days with film Leicas.

Clearly a fast film is called for. Tri-X rated at 1600ASA/DIN/(whatever standard one chooses) would be useful here. I use HC110 to obtain this speed, but not surprisingly, my negatives are dense and of high contrast.

I can remedy much of this in the darkroom, but-

The objective would be to avoid the extreme contrast ("chalk and charcoal") that can occur in push processing; featureless shadows, blown out highlights.

Based on experience, which developer (and processing conditions, of course) do other contributors to this forum prefer? Among developers, which one and at what dilution? - HC110, Tmax, Ilford's offerings, Xtol (and of course, Xtol homebrew clones).

For that matter, which lens? Would a "so called" low-contrast lens from the 1950's (read nikkor/ltm 50mm/f) be the best choice?

For that matter (again), what film? Is TRI-X) my best choice here?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-31-2017   #2
Jake Mongey
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If you want to minimize contrast a better solution would be a T grain emulsion which is designed to push with less contrast and blown shadows and highlights such as Delta 400 or Tmax400

As for developer I would recommend Ilford percepetol for this use as ive had consistently pleasant results with it at 166 in Tmax and other 400 films. I usually would run it stock with reccomended times from the massive dev chart. I have had to pionner extreme times for Tri x and HP5 at 6400 and its performed quite well in those circumstances
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Old 01-31-2017   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake Mongey View Post
If you want to minimize contrast a better solution would be a T grain emulsion which is designed to push with less contrast and blown shadows and highlights such as Delta 400 or Tmax400

As for developer I would recommend Ilford percepetol for this use as ive had consistently pleasant results with it at 166 in Tmax and other 400 films. I usually would run it stock with reccomended times from the massive dev chart. I have had to pionner extreme times for Tri x and HP5 at 6400 and its performed quite well in those circumstances
No. Monosize crystal emulsions (Delta, T-Grain) are NOT designed to push better.

A traditional cubic emulsion (Tri-X, HP5 Plus) in a speed increasing developer such as DD-X will work better. Perceptol is about the worst possible choice as it reduces true ISO. ISO of HP5 Plus in Perceptol, maybe 250. ISO ion DD-X, maybe 640. At this point 1600 is only 1.5 stops under, which is close to the limit for underexposure anyway. Give it another 15-50% in the developer (as compared with the standard time) and it'll be OK.

Unless film is developed to ISO contrast levels, the working speed is EI (Exposure Index) not ISO.

An argument from experience or worse still authority is never attractive, but I do have about a 50 year head start on you.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-31-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
No. Monosize crystal emulsions (Delta, T-Grain) are NOT designed to push better.

A traditional cubic emulsion (Tri-X, HP5 Plus) in a speed increasing developer such as DD-X will work better. Perceptol is about the worst possible choice as it reduces true ISO. ISO of HP5 Plus in Perceptol, maybe 250. ISO ion DD-X, maybe 640. At this point 1600 is only 1.5 stops under, which is close to the limit for underexposure anyway. Give it another 15-50% in the developer (as compared with the standard time) and it'll be OK.

Unless film is developed to ISO contrast levels, the working speed is EI (Exposure Index) not ISO.

An argument from experience or worse still authority is never attractive, but I do have about a 50 year head start on you.

Cheers,

R.
Perceptol - oops I meant microphen
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Old 01-31-2017   #5
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For my high speed low light I've been shooting Delta 3200 @ 1600 in xtol.

Gives adequate grain and a nice flat neg for scanning.

I recall that xtol is a better candidate for pushing. I've cranked Delta 3200 to 12500 with great results. Granted, medium format. Never tried a push like that with 35mm.
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Old 01-31-2017   #6
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I've tried all of the obvious films and have had best luck @1600 with Tri-X. TMax developer, D-76, or even Rodinal have worked OK. I like the f2-f2.8 range as below that focus becomes difficult.
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Old 01-31-2017   #7
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hp5 @ 1600 in DDX, tri-x @ 1600 in XTOL. you really can't go wrong with these two combos.
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Old 01-31-2017   #8
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Microphen would be the best option. Pity that developer does not last long once mixed.
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Old 01-31-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graybeard View Post
I find that I'm shooting indoors (artificial light) quite a bit these days with film Leicas.

Clearly a fast film is called for. Tri-X rated at 1600ASA/DIN/(whatever standard one chooses) would be useful here. I use HC110 to obtain this speed, but not surprisingly, my negatives are dense and of high contrast.

I can remedy much of this in the darkroom, but-

The objective would be to avoid the extreme contrast ("chalk and charcoal") that can occur in push processing; featureless shadows, blown out highlights.

Based on experience, which developer (and processing conditions, of course) do other contributors to this forum prefer? Among developers, which one and at what dilution? - HC110, Tmax, Ilford's offerings, Xtol (and of course, Xtol homebrew clones).

For that matter, which lens? Would a "so called" low-contrast lens from the 1950's (read nikkor/ltm 50mm/f) be the best choice?

For that matter (again), what film? Is TRI-X) my best choice here?

Thanks in advance.
Kodak used to have a comparison chart online that rated four of their developers for fine grain, image sharpness, and effective speed. HC110 wasn't the best choice for any of these purposes. They rated XTOL best for all of them. My top choices for pushing are DD-X and Microphen. Nothing against T-Max, but I never seem to use it. I always go for one of the other two.
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Old 02-01-2017   #10
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Thank you all for the replies.

For those suggesting xtol, which dilution do you recommend?
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Old 02-01-2017   #11
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stock

I never push diluted. I don't think its recommended. I believe delta 3200 doesn't even have a time for 1:1.
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Old 02-01-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hatchetman View Post
I've tried all of the obvious films and have had best luck @1600 with Tri-X. TMax developer, D-76, or even Rodinal have worked OK. I like the f2-f2.8 range as below that focus becomes difficult.
It's been probably 20 years since I tried pushing film with anything but Rodinal and stand development. My first attempts at pushing film were in Korea in the early mid-70s. All I had was Tri-X and HP5 for film, and D76 for developer. I found that D76 worked very well at 1600 and Tri-X. I did not really like what I got with HP5. In the late 70s early 80s, there was a product sold called Factor 8. It worked pretty well too. I don't know what was in it.
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Old 02-01-2017   #13
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I pushed TXT to 1600 in stock Microphen, 16 minutes, all the time. Most of the 35mm stuff here are applicable. I love the combination. I, too, wish Microphen would last a bit longer, especially now that I don't shoot nearly as much as I used to.
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Old 02-01-2017   #14
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People have been shooting Tri-X at 1600 and developing in Diafine for ages, so there's that. You may not get that ultra high contrast, but you get a lot of grey. I don't think you're going to get optimal negs in any film/developer combination if you're shooting any 400 ISO film at 1600 indoors. You will get shots that are "good enough", and develop a protocal in the darkroom by testing w/ different exposures and papers. That's usually the way it's done.

What I've always done indoors is use a fast lens at 400 to 800 ISO w/ Tri-X. A faster lens than 2.0 is going to be a better solution in my mind. Or just leave things be w/ your combination. I expect shots to look like you described in those conditions. It's part of the appeal.
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Old 02-01-2017   #15
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I remember back when I did a lot of film developing finding information about extreme pushing of Tri-X in HC110. I can't find the exact resource now but this is a place to start:

http://120studio.com/film-dev/pushing-tri-x.htm

Wait, found it in old Rangefinderforum thread (note all info names etc, cut from old threads in various places on the internet circa early 2000s):

To process Tri-X at ISO 5000, you use not HC-110 Developer, but rather,
HC-110 REPLENISHER. You can buy a 16-ounce container of the stuff at a
good camera store, although they may need to order it from Kodak, so you
may have to wait a while to get your hands on it.

To make a solution of this special developer, make a 1:15 solution of
HC-110 Replenisher. That means, one ounce of the replenisher to 15 ounces
of water. So, if you're processing 4 rolls of 35mm film, or 2 rolls of 120
film in a one-quart tank, mix 2 ounces of replenisher with 30 ounces of
water. Unlike many developers that use a 68-degree temperature, this
formula requires that you bring the working solution of HC-110 replenisher
to 75-degrees. The processing time is 5-3/4 minutes at 75-degrees, with
agitation for five seconds every thirty second.

That's all there is to it! Expect to see grain and heavy highlight
areas--that's part of the look. Send me a print if you try this formula.
I should note that this is a one-shot usage. When you're done, toss the
developer. Don't try to replenish the replenisher!

I'm sure this is a little more information than you expected, but I hope
you'll find it useful. If you're interested in learning more about
developing Tri-X and learning about some other developers, stay tuned to
B2B&W. NYI teacher Jerry Rice is about to offer his thoughts on processing
black-and-white film. I promise you'll learn a lot. In the meantime, feel
free to contact me with questions or comments.

Less Extreme:

Andrew, try pushing triX400 to 1600 with HC110. 1+100 29 Degress C for 14 mins with NO agitation to bring out the shadow details via compensating effect. Agitate only for the first 10 secs and that's all you do.

3200
1+100 hc110 19mins 30 degress Celcius. Minimal agitation.


Oh yes Ron, ei 400, 800, 1250, 1600 all in trix with Hc110.

at 29Degress C, 1+100 from stock: 7 mins, 8.5mins, 10.5mins, 14mins respectively, all without agitation except first 10 secs.
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Old 02-01-2017   #16
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Rodinal 1:25
+ .25 - .50 grams of borax to 520ml working solution
25 degrees F.
2 minute water pre-soak, some agitation, 68 degrees
Pour in dev.
SLOW 180 degree inversions in the first 30 seconds
2 slow (2 inversions in 10 seconds) every 60 seconds
Stop, Fix and wash as you do.

Can't remember the time and I'm not in my darkroom. It's either six or 12 minutes for my condenser enlarger and wet prints. (Bag the HCB yellow filter stuff until you figure out the contrast you want.) If you absolutely do not want grain at this just buy a digital box. I'll post the time when I get home.

hth,
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Old 02-01-2017   #17
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12 minutes.
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Old 02-01-2017   #18
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I don't know why Rodinal is used as a push developer. It's a speed losing developer, meaning you lose shadow speed rather than gaining it. Why not use a genuine speed increase developer like Microphen or DD-X, in order to pick up an extra 2/3 stop of shadow speed before cutting the exposure?
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Old 02-01-2017   #19
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Although on the topic of T-grain emulsions, Ilford's Delta 3200 is an ideal choice for you -- I've noticed it's a naturally lower contrast, perhaps to compensate for push-processing and its attendant increase in contrast.
For what it's worth, I've also had nothing but great results with their DD-X developer too, which is a great match not just for pushing but for that particular film, as well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
No. Monosize crystal emulsions (Delta, T-Grain) are NOT designed to push better.

A traditional cubic emulsion (Tri-X, HP5 Plus) in a speed increasing developer such as DD-X will work better. Perceptol is about the worst possible choice as it reduces true ISO. ISO of HP5 Plus in Perceptol, maybe 250. ISO ion DD-X, maybe 640. At this point 1600 is only 1.5 stops under, which is close to the limit for underexposure anyway. Give it another 15-50% in the developer (as compared with the standard time) and it'll be OK.

Unless film is developed to ISO contrast levels, the working speed is EI (Exposure Index) not ISO.

An argument from experience or worse still authority is never attractive, but I do have about a 50 year head start on you.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-02-2017   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
I don't know why Rodinal is used as a push developer. It's a speed losing developer, meaning you lose shadow speed rather than gaining it. Why not use a genuine speed increase developer like Microphen or DD-X, in order to pick up an extra 2/3 stop of shadow speed before cutting the exposure?
Because, in my case, I can use anything I want to develop film and I like the look I get. There has always been a sort of almost petty animosity directed towards Rodinal, possibly because of the stand development crowd, but I've seen some pretty amazing images from that method and those folks are happy with it. It's not for me but they like it. For example, Kodak themselves recommends no change in development for Tri-X when exposed at EI 800 rather than EI 400. In light of that does 2/3 of a stop actually mean anything at all outside of your own personal workflow?

With over 150 years of history do you really think Photography has or should have just a few ways of doing things? That's a little rigid, don't you think?

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Old 02-02-2017   #21
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Tri-X @1600 looks awesome with DDX. I think I saw someone mention that up there somewhere as well. XTOL is great as well but comes with it's own set of challenges.
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Old 02-02-2017   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semi-ambivalent View Post
Because, in my case, I can use anything I want to develop film and I like the look I get. There has always been a sort of almost petty animosity directed towards Rodinal, possibly because of the stand development crowd, but I've seen some pretty amazing images from that method and those folks are happy with it. It's not for me but they like it. For example, Kodak themselves recommends no change in development for Tri-X when exposed at EI 800 rather than EI 400. In light of that does 2/3 of a stop actually mean anything at all outside of your own personal workflow?

With over 150 years of history do you really think Photography has or should have just a few ways of doing things? That's a little rigid, don't you think?

Thanks!
s-a
Animosity? I don't think I was the one directing any animosity. In fact I have nothing against Rodinal; I admire it for its gritty sharpness and gorgeous midrange tones, and have always kept some on hand. I don't think anything you said has anything to do with my question. I think you are throwing in the kitchen sink, without addressing anything I said. Kodak's recommendation for Tri-X in one of their own developers has nothing to do with Rodinal. And why bring 150 years of history into it?

I'm being rigid? No, I'm saying I simply don't see why one would use Rodinal for pushing, since it reduces the effective speed, rather than enhancing it, and there are better develops for the purpose. Apparently I'll have to wait for someone else to explain it.

My question was about Rodinal, it was not a personal attack on you. I believe you took it that way, and responded defensively.
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Old 02-02-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
I don't know why Rodinal is used as a push developer. It's a speed losing developer, meaning you lose shadow speed rather than gaining it. Why not use a genuine speed increase developer like Microphen or DD-X, in order to pick up an extra 2/3 stop of shadow speed before cutting the exposure?
I've only pushed in rodinal with a stand method. I'm sure you are aware how it works as its not a huge secret.

I would never push with rodinal at conventional dilutions. Shadow detail would be the least of my worries, the golf ball sized grain would be my first concern.
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Old 02-02-2017   #24
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​I am a noobie at this but here are my two cents for what they're worth: Two cents.
I think that when you push film you ask of the film to do something that is not in its nature.
In a galaxy far far away I was a musician, so the best way for me to explan this, is that pushing film is similar to what playing loud is about.
Pushing film is like distorting your signal. You get the results that you want (loud music or in our case, an exposure that with some tweaking, can amount to a really nice image) but not without sacrifice. No matter what you do with pushing film, you will have to make sacrifices.
I have shot/pushed Tri-X, Double-X, Fomapan 400 to 1600 (daylight and at night/available light) and I have, and still am, enjoying the results I get with Rodinal. It speaks to me. I have shot Delta 3200 @1600 and I am not a fan.

Again, that's me and my two cents.
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Old 02-02-2017   #25
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Tri-X in DD-X at 800, and sometimes at 1600 works well (for me).
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Old 02-02-2017   #26
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Tri x and Diafine will give 1200 shadow detail. Follow instructions.

Other stuff may give you a boost to 600 shadow detail.

Anything else is just added contrast with empty shadows
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Old 02-02-2017   #27
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Quote:
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Animosity? I don't think I was the one directing any animosity. In fact I have nothing against Rodinal; I admire it for its gritty sharpness and gorgeous midrange tones, and have always kept some on hand. I don't think anything you said has anything to do with my question. I think you are throwing in the kitchen sink, without addressing anything I said. Kodak's recommendation for Tri-X in one of their own developers has nothing to do with Rodinal. And why bring 150 years of history into it?

I'm being rigid? No, I'm saying I simply don't see why one would use Rodinal for pushing, since it reduces the effective speed, rather than enhancing it, and there are better develops for the purpose. Apparently I'll have to wait for someone else to explain it.

My question was about Rodinal, it was not a personal attack on you. I believe you took it that way, and responded defensively.
I did not take it as a personal attack. OP wanted suggestions so I gave what I used. Your response was to question Rodinal's use to push. I was saying, in more than a text bite, that there are lots of ways to do development other than 'the usuals'. That's all. The history is pertinent to this. People getting upset about the whole Rodinal stand thing happens. No kitchen sink. Nobody was targeting you. Relax, I am.

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Old 02-02-2017   #28
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Again, my thanks to everyone for the comments, suggestions, and observations.

Gentlemen can differ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by semi-ambivalent View Post
I did not take it as a personal attack. OP wanted suggestions so I gave what I used. Your response was to question Rodinal's use to push. I was saying, in more than a text bite, that there are lots of ways to do development other than 'the usuals'. That's all. The history is pertinent to this. People getting upset about the whole Rodinal stand thing happens. No kitchen sink. Nobody was targeting you. Relax, I am.

s-a
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Old 02-02-2017   #29
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Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Animosity? I don't think I was the one directing any animosity. In fact I have nothing against Rodinal; I admire it for its gritty sharpness and gorgeous midrange tones, and have always kept some on hand. I don't think anything you said has anything to do with my question. I think you are throwing in the kitchen sink, without addressing anything I said. Kodak's recommendation for Tri-X in one of their own developers has nothing to do with Rodinal. And why bring 150 years of history into it?

I'm being rigid? No, I'm saying I simply don't see why one would use Rodinal for pushing, since it reduces the effective speed, rather than enhancing it, and there are better develops for the purpose. Apparently I'll have to wait for someone else to explain it.

My question was about Rodinal, it was not a personal attack on you. I believe you took it that way, and responded defensively.
Same here. Lovely tonality; beautiful sharp grain; lousy speed.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-02-2017   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin Corneau View Post
Although on the topic of T-grain emulsions, Ilford's Delta 3200 is an ideal choice for you -- I've noticed it's a naturally lower contrast, perhaps to compensate for push-processing and its attendant increase in contrast.
For what it's worth, I've also had nothing but great results with their DD-X developer too, which is a great match not just for pushing but for that particular film, as well.
Dear Colin,

Very true. I was thinking of slower films. Delta 3200 is a long-toe film that is especially designed for push processing; and which is indeed a bit muddy at its true ISO speed. typically 800-1200.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-02-2017   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
No. Monosize crystal emulsions (Delta, T-Grain) are NOT designed to push better.

A traditional cubic emulsion (Tri-X, HP5 Plus) in a speed increasing developer such as DD-X will work better.

Cheers,

R.
This makes good intuitive sense. The cubic grains, having more volume, will have more sensitivity to light than the flatter tabular grains. There's more silver there to react to the light. So then cubic grain would have more speed than T-grain for the same reason that faster film is grainier than slow film. Still, T-grain or Delta film seems less grainy and sharper than conventional film of the same speed. Isn't there something contradictory about that? I suppose it is more complex than it appears on the surface!

Rob
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Old 02-02-2017   #32
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Dear Colin,

Very true. I was thinking of slower films. Delta 3200 is a long-toe film that is especially designed for push processing; and which is indeed a bit muddy at its true ISO speed. typically 800-1200.

Cheers,

R.
Roger, always a pleasure to read your expertise. It's good to be reminded that I always, always have a LOT to learn!
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Old 02-02-2017   #33
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Tri-X in DD-X at 800, and sometimes at 1600 works well (for me).
Yes, I forgot to add this myself. I just have the best luck with DD-X and pushing. My experience with Tri-X, both at 800 and 1600, is that it looks, prints, and scans really well with this developer.
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Old 02-02-2017   #34
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And I'll just chime in to say I've had very good luck with DD-X both as a push developer and for normal speed. I've also had great luck with Microphen for pushing, though haven't tried it as an all-around developer. I've read that DD-X is really Microphen in liquid form; but I don't know.
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Old 02-02-2017   #35
FrozenInTime
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Just wondering: has anyone had successfully combined pre-flashing Tri-X and push processing to give the shadows a nudge ?
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Old 02-03-2017   #36
Rob-F
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I've always been afraid to try pre-flashing. Afraid of ruining the roll and the pictures. That would be a good cottage industry for someone, selling rolls of TXpf. Maybe there could be TXpf 1600, TXpf 2000, or maybe even TXpf 3200. I wonder how much of a boost you get that way.
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Old 02-03-2017   #37
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Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
This makes good intuitive sense. The cubic grains, having more volume, will have more sensitivity to light than the flatter tabular grains. There's more silver there to react to the light. So then cubic grain would have more speed than T-grain for the same reason that faster film is grainier than slow film. Still, T-grain or Delta film seems less grainy and sharper than conventional film of the same speed. Isn't there something contradictory about that? I suppose it is more complex than it appears on the surface!

Rob
T-grains are flat and about .166 - .142 the size of a conventional grain - allowing the emulsion to be thinner. Thinner emulsions have less light diffraction. The thickness is also affected by the lower thermodynamic reaction of the grains under development. The emulsion stays cooler (therefore stiffer) and does not allow the grains themselves to move, clump, and stack onto each other as easily. These properties are what give it increased sharpness and decreased grain.
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Old 02-03-2017   #38
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Me again, the OP.

Has anyone tried any of the (homebrew) Diafine substitutes?

Your experience and comments on results, especially shadow detail, please.

What is a realistic estimate of the speed increase from these two bath developers? Anchell suggests one stop for TriX, others suggest two stops up to 1600ASA.

True 1600ASA is an interesting proposition. It enables a Barnack Leica equipped with a F3.5 Elmar to be useful in common indoor lighting and to be also useable, without an ND filter, outdoors in sunlight.

It also enables a Rollei fitted with an f3.5 Planar or Xenotar to be useful for indoor available light work. The ability to produce large (MF) negatives from handheld available shooting is something valuable (to me at least).
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Old 02-03-2017   #39
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Originally Posted by DrMcCoy View Post
T-grains are flat and about .166 - .142 the size of a conventional grain - allowing the emulsion to be thinner. Thinner emulsions have less light diffraction. The thickness is also affected by the lower thermodynamic reaction of the grains under development. The emulsion stays cooler (therefore stiffer) and does not allow the grains themselves to move, clump, and stack onto each other as easily. These properties are what give it increased sharpness and decreased grain.
That was very clear! Now, how is the far smaller T-grain able to achieve the high sensitivity of, say, T-Max 400, Delta 400, Delta 3200? Is it possible that the light sensitivity is proportional to the frontal surface area, not the cubic volume of the grain?

And am I being proper to call the Ilford Delta films T-grain? I think they are a little different, somehow.
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Old 02-04-2017   #40
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That was very clear! Now, how is the far smaller T-grain able to achieve the high sensitivity of, say, T-Max 400, Delta 400, Delta 3200? Is it possible that the light sensitivity is proportional to the frontal surface area, not the cubic volume of the grain?

And am I being proper to call the Ilford Delta films T-grain? I think they are a little different, somehow.
Dear Rob,

Second para: yes, you are absolutely right. Ilford's epitaxial Delta grains are a lot cleverer than plain tabular grains (T-grains), which Ilford's research department tried on the way to Delta.

First para: you're right there too. Not only is there a larger surface area: a large, flat crystal can support multiple development sites.

There is a clue to yet another factor in the word "monosize". In a conventional cubic-grain film film, the crystals are of widely varying sizes, meaning that there are a lot of small, slow crystals as well as the big, sensitive ones. This is how you can use less silver and still get greater sensitivity in T-grain and Delta: far fewer "wasted" small crystals.

In practice, there's a lot more convergence between cubic and tabular crystal films than most people realize. Controlling crystal habit is one of the underlying technologies in improving both kinds of film.

Cheers,

R.
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