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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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Old 04-15-2011   #81
Tom A
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I have done 100+ rolls in D76 now and switched to one of the 'derivatives" of it. Adox MQ - contains less Sodium Sulphite (80gr/1000 ml rather than the D76 100gr/1000 ml). A bit "harsher" grain - but sharper edges. I have been using it with a replenisher and it works well, though I have to replace my filtration system - lots of little spots! One batch of Adox MQ (2000 ml) and 1000 ml of replenisher will give you 45-50 rolls capacity.
Some stuff is up on the "Back to Basics" set on our Flickr.
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Old 04-15-2011   #82
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Do you do 5 rolls at a time in a 1.5L tank? If so, what dilution and times do you use?
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Old 04-15-2011   #83
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The best most simple film/developer combo in the history of photography. Its how many people who started in the 35mm film era started with. Its also the most versatile combo as well...you can push it pull it, over under expose it...It has so much room for error its crazy. I've used many other films and developers....which have been good. My tastes have changed though the years in terms how I want an image to look, it doesn't have to be the sharpest, the film with the least amount of grain. Its all about tone and feel for me. At the end of the day when there are fewer films out there these days you really appreciate how good this film/developer combo really is.
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Old 04-15-2011   #84
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Tom, good to see this post, timely for me as I just made a decision to go back to film Leicas for personal work and digital for jobs only. I left TX for Neopan some years ago and souped in DDX. I like liquid developers. Is there a liquid D76? DDX gets pricey. Have you scanned TX/D76 negs? Wonder if that's a scanner friendly combo? Tom, be well, and hope to visit one day. Is Cradoc around I wonder?
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Old 04-15-2011   #85
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How well (and how long) do you find D76 keeps after you open the packet and initially mix it?

I haven't done any developing myself, but i have a feeling that's going to change after my upcoming move (where I'll both have the space for a darkroom, and where I'll be in a small coastal town without much in the way of a film-processing infrastructure).

I've been researching film/developer combinations and had pretty much settled on HC110 because the undiluted syrup has a reputation for a long (as in years) shelf life, and I'm not sure how often I'll be having the time to soup my own film. It would be a pity (both economically and ecologically) to end up having to pour nearly a liter of undiluted D76 down the drain just because too much time has elapsed since I mixed it.
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Old 04-15-2011   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n5jrn View Post
I've been researching film/developer combinations and had pretty much settled on HC110...
With Tri-X, of course. My research indicates it has a reputation for being forgiving of both minor exposure and developing errors, and the cost is quite reasonable if one orders a bunch of it from B&H or Freestyle.
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Old 04-15-2011   #87
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Great post, great photographs. Well done!
I recently have decided to go back to shooting mainly Tri-X and developing myself the same way (but in the bathroom).. makes me really miss the darkrom from college.. *sigh*
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Old 04-16-2011   #88
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[quote=n5jrn;1598777]How well (and how long) do you find D76 keeps after you open the packet and initially mix it?

I haven't done any developing myself, but i have a feeling that's going to change after my upcoming move (where I'll both have the space for a darkroom, and where I'll be in a small coastal town without much in the way of a film-processing infrastructure).

I've been researching film/developer combinations and had pretty much settled on HC110 because the undiluted syrup has a reputation for a long (as in years) shelf life, and I'm not sure how often I'll be having the time to soup my own film. It would be a pity (both economically and ecologically) to end up having to pour nearly a liter of undiluted D76 down the drain just because too much time has elapsed since I mixed it.[/QUOTE).

The solution is very simple - shoot more film!. I set myself a task almost every day to shoot at least 1 roll or frequently 2 rolls/day. Sometimes it works and other days it doesn't which means a day like today, I have to finish 3 rolls that have racked up in three Nikon Rf's. Oh well, tough job but someone got to do it!
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Old 04-17-2011   #89
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While this is undoubtedly a cracking combo, I can't help but feel that Xtol 1+1 is even better. Cheaper, longer lasting, easier to mix, more stable on the shelf, less grain and more speed. D76 is cracking, but for those out there who have not used many devs, don't go thinking that classic inherently means better. TriX allows for great negs every time form a whole range of bog standard developers, like DDX, Xtol, D76 etc and you'd be really hard pressed to get excited about the differences once prints are up on the wall. One of the reasons I have come back to TriX is because you can run it through so many devs and get either very similar results (as earlier, aside form speed) or very different results (pyro, rodinal etc).
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Old 04-19-2011   #90
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I'm a neophyte developer. I bought D76 because it was the cheapest in the store. I'm fixin to do a year of B&W in D76. I got a lot of help from peeps here. I bought a roll of every film Ilford makes, a roll of Trixie, some T-max, some Neopan and Acros. I've only developed the rolls of Tri-X, Acros, and T-max 400 so far.

With a squinty eye up to the light in the living room, the roll of Tri-X looks better--or more compelling to me. I have a few rolls left to shoot, then I will scan them all and make a choice, but so far Tri-X looks to be the one. Maybe after I scan I will think differently--I dunno. I have some time off from work this week. More time to shoot. Fun stuff.

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Old 04-19-2011   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dfoo View Post
Do you do 5 rolls at a time in a 1.5L tank? If so, what dilution and times do you use?
I standardized my TriX/D76 a long time ago. Five reel Pateron tanks (1500 ml of developer). Time is 10 to 10 min 30 sec - somewhat depending on the light condition. Agitation every 60 sec (three inversion, shake and tap against the edge of the sink). My TriX is mostly shot as "Sunny f16" - i.e. guessing the exposure. Pretty well bullet proof combination.
I rarely push film - though TriX is good for that too. You can get away with 800 iso or even 1200 iso - some loss of shadow detail, but still printable.
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Old 04-19-2011   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n5jrn View Post
How well (and how long) do you find D76 keeps after you open the packet and initially mix it?

I haven't done any developing myself, but i have a feeling that's going to change after my upcoming move (where I'll both have the space for a darkroom, and where I'll be in a small coastal town without much in the way of a film-processing infrastructure).

I've been researching film/developer combinations and had pretty much settled on HC110 because the undiluted syrup has a reputation for a long (as in years) shelf life, and I'm not sure how often I'll be having the time to soup my own film. It would be a pity (both economically and ecologically) to end up having to pour nearly a liter of undiluted D76 down the drain just because too much time has elapsed since I mixed it.
I usually dump left over D76 after three weeks. I might last longer, but I rather err on the side of caution. The PH goes up and you get some rather ugly contrast with "stale" D76. I mix 1 gallon batches of it (about 25 rolls) and I can excuse shooting some more film to avoid having to dump it!
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Old 04-21-2011   #93
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Tom, Your protocols, 30-second initial agitation, ten seconds (3 tiwsts and turns?) every minute thereafter -- or is it five seconds every thirty thereafter? -- anyway it reminded me that Ansel Adams says in The Negative that whatever time you are using shouldn't "begin" until AFTER that first 30 seconds -- since, he says, the film hasn't been sufficiently in contact with the developer until then. Is that how you do it? Ie Ten minutes after that initial half minute? I can't bring myself to do it that way so have been splitting the diff -- figuring 15 seconds can't be that big a deal in either direction.

Also, such times are recommended at a given temperature. How do you keep the developer in the tank at the same cool temperature for ten minutes while it's working?

Thanks!

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Old 04-22-2011   #94
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Vince,Adams used mainly large format cameras - huge surfaces to cover with developer. With 35m you have more reels and stuff.
I do some active agitation initially, 30 sec "shake, rattle and roll" - let the tank sit for 20-25 sec and then do regular agitation.
Timing starts, once the developer is in the tank and ends once I start poring it out. I have and add'l procedure that gives 20-30 sec. longer time. Start timing after initial agitation and end once the tank is drained - usually marked as 10+ min in my tags.
A lot depends n your exposure - shooting mostly Sunny F16 and rating the film @ around 320 - it seems to work.
As for temperature - my darkroom is pretty consistently @ 20+C and my water supply is controlled to give me that for wash too (220v/3 phase flow-heater).
TriX and D76 is pretty sturdy - small shifts in temperature. agitation etc doesn't make much of a difference.
It is mostly critical with slow, thin emulsion films, where even 15-30 sec difference can show up. TriX was (and is) still a very "robust" film and can take some abuse. It was initially designed as a "press film" - with rather sloppy exposures (in the 50's handheld meters were far and few between).
To each his own of course - some like nice thin negatives, others, like me, like some meat in the shadows and reasonable highlights and go for "denser" negatives.
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Old 04-22-2011   #95
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Tom,

What does it mean to "rate the film @ 320"? In sunny 16 terms , if I'm using a 125/250/500 camera, or a 200/500 camera like the IIIf, or a 100/250 camera like the Contax IIa, you're shooting at f16/500 in full sunlight, yes?
So does that mean you develop at 320, which would be to cut the box time by 20 percent, which certainly you don't do -- box time on Trix is 9-3/4 mins. So I'm baffled by what rating it at 320 means.

As far as Adams and his conviction, I think he just worked out all his own times based on the principle that no matter what the film or the developer the first 30 seconds didn't count. After all, he put the sheet into the full tray of developer, according to his methodology, and pressed it down so it was "covered" about as quickly or more quickly than our pot of multiple film reels would be; I think he just experimented and came up with times that worked for him and never included the first 30 secs agitation.

Many thanks as always for sharing your sage advice.
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Old 04-22-2011   #96
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PS I have to look this up, I'm not positive, but I think also that Adams didn't stop the clock until the film was in the stop bath -- under the belief, similar to the first, that nothing was stopping the developing process on the well coated sheet until that stop bath hit it. Which means he could do five rolls of Tri X counting from after the first 30 seconds' agitation until the stop bath fills the tank; and you could count as you do; and you both could call it ten minutes and have processed the film for the exact same amount of time. Although 30 seconds to empty the five-roll tank and fill it with stop bath is a bit tight. generally it takes me about 45.
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Old 04-22-2011   #97
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Vince, I use 1/250 as my "standard" speed - rating it at 320 just means that I "crack" the aperture down 1/3 -1/2 stop from "Sunny f16". Films like TriX and XX has enough latitude to handle that. All my cameras are set at 1/250, f8 and at infinity when they are idle - this way I know which directions to turn everything to adjust or compensate. Makes life a bit simpler and I dont have to look at the lens or shutter speed dial.
Adams was a perfectionist and shooting large format you dont really bracket to much! With 35 you have the advantage that you can shoot a 2nd frame at a slightly different exposure - at least in most cases.
As for timing and procedure when you process film - it is based on experience more than anything else. I find that a TriX negative shot at around 320 (Sunny F16) and processed the way I do it - gives me a slightly "meaty" negative - to many they look over developed by about 1/2 stop - but I can pull details in the shadows easily.
The stop bath as a "Timing sequence" end would work with a large 8x10" negative - I dont use stop bath, just a quick wash. Most likely over the years I have incorporated the slight additional developing that would happen. I once tested this and could not see any difference between stop-bath or plain water - even went so far as to run it through my old McBeth Densitometer - no significant difference.
If you ask black and white shooters about their processing - everybody is different, at least with 35 and 120 film.
It is a good idea to start with the spec-sheet recommendations and establish a base-line. After that you just work it until it fits your style.
Also depends on where you live - Pacific Northwest is slightly "softer" light than a desert or equatorial area, so you compensate for that. Most of the year the true Sunny f16 here is closer to 1/250 @ f16 with 400 iso film. Only in the midsummer does the 1/500 rule apply!
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Old 04-25-2011   #98
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Many thanks, Tom. This has all been enormously helpful.
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Old 05-02-2011   #99
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Now down to my last five rolls of Arista/TriX in "home brewed" Adox MQ. Back to Basics continuing with other D76 clone "soups".
The Adox gives a bit of an edge to the negatives, the lesser amount of Sodium Sulphite (80 gr/1000 ml versus 100 gr/1000 ml) makes a difference. The 320 iso rating is pretty close to the speed of the film - and allows me to shoot XX and XXX intermixed.
Next up is mixing a 5 ltr pack of ID 11 (old enough to vote in today's Federal Election!). I dont expect a major difference between the ID 11 and the D76 - they are basically the same - but it gives me an excuse for using it up.
So far, after 150+ rolls - there is really no reason for using any other soup than D76 - it is very smooth, tolerant of "missed" guesses as to exposure etc. However, trying them all out gives me a reason for shooting more!
During, what we all hope will be a bright, warm and sunny summer, I will start playing with the various divided D76 formulas - and there are a lot of variations of these.
The Flickr set "Back to Basics" now has some 475 shots on it - I will probably limit it to 1000 shots in the end.
If you want more information on the various soups that work with TriX - go to the RFf set "Shooting with Eastman Kodak's Double X" - there is a site there with information galore on developers. TriX and XX is close enough that you can easily extrapolate times and dilutions for TriX from the XX information.
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Old 05-02-2011   #100
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I've been using triX in D76 for the last months and I'm not particularly happy with it - but I want to learn it well since so many people seem to get great results with this combination! My problem is that if I compare my negs to some older ones developed by labs, mine look thinner, with less punchy contrast.
I've been developing 2 rolls in a 4-reel tank in D76 1:1 @ 20C. I started with the suggested 9 min but the results were quite disappointing, so I increased progressively the time and now I'm down to 11 min, still not comparable to the results from the labs, so I'm really tempted to go a little longer than that, to see if I get better results... Anyone developing for around 12 min? Is there something else I could be doing wrong?
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Old 05-02-2011   #101
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What are you rating the film at? Try a couple of rolls and bracket the exposures from 250/320/400 and see which one works best.
As for developing, you might want to try different agitation too. 30-40 sec. initially and then 3 flips/taps every 60 sec.
It is worthwhile shooting yourself in with a film. Set aside 5-6 rolls and try different versions of film speed and agitation. Once you got it nailed - life gets much easier.
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Old 05-02-2011   #102
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Tom, thanks for the quick response! Of course I forgot to mention it, I rate the film at 400, agitate initially about 1 min, then 4-5 inversions each minute. 1 min stop with water and 10 min in fixer from powder.
I must say the results are not bad, and I got better extending the time from the original 9 min. Just not at the same level as some labs results. I really got used to shoot at 400, so I would prefer to avoid changing that. also I checked the camera exposure against other cameras, and it seems fine. I'll try develop my last rolls for 11:30 minutes (or maybe 12?), and see if there is some further improvement. I'd really like to stick to triX+d76 combo. It would be nice to master it, as many people here do!


Quote:
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What are you rating the film at? Try a couple of rolls and bracket the exposures from 250/320/400 and see which one works best.
As for developing, you might want to try different agitation too. 30-40 sec. initially and then 3 flips/taps every 60 sec.
It is worthwhile shooting yourself in with a film. Set aside 5-6 rolls and try different versions of film speed and agitation. Once you got it nailed - life gets much easier.
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Old 05-02-2011   #103
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I would go for 12 min in that case. "waste" some rolls and bracket in the developer instead. Maybe 12 min and one roll at 13 min and see what it looks like.
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Old 05-13-2011   #104
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Started doing some rolls in ID11. So far running it at 11 min - looks pretty good - 5 rolls hanging up to dry at the moment.
The package of ID11 was from the early 90's or late 80's. One of those things that has been cluttering up a shelf in the darkroom for a long, long time. I should try to use up the equally aged Perceptol in the cabinet under the sink!!!!
Some people have wine cellars and cabinets - I seem to have developer cabinets!!!!!
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Old 05-13-2011   #105
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I don't think current Tri-X is what it was 20 years ago. It doesn't seem to have the same speed - seems more like an ISO 200 film in Aculux (a fine grain developer not dissimilar to D76 in properties). Having said that, Aculux itself has also been reformulated (twice) and maybe whatever used to make it good has been banned for health and safety reasons!

There's a lot to be said for Kodak BW400CN (C41 film) instead of Tri-X unless you specifically want grain. BW400CN works best at ISO 200 but it's so forgiving that you don't really need a meter.
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Old 05-14-2011   #106
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Tom, D76 last 6 months perfectly if you keep air away from it. I have done very careful tests. Weekly at first for two months, then monthly on the same batch. Main subject was a step wedge and textured black wool and some white linen fabric, studio strobes, same bath of film, paper, camera lens throughout. Partially full bottles are worthless after 24/48 hours and I don`t care what Kodak says.

Small bottles are my answer, mix a gallon or a liter, cap loosely and allow to cool. Decant into smaller one time use size glass bottles.

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Old 05-14-2011   #107
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I still like the ADOX Borax MQ, specifically for the reasons TomA mentions. I can intermix XX and XXX in the same tank. That's particularly convenient and good.

Also it seems to last forever. I know six months is supposed to be it, but I have a 2-litre soda bottle of ADOX Borax that I mixed up over a year ago, and I'm still using it. Does need to be periodically filtered, to get rid of the grey crud in the bottom of the bottle.
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Old 05-14-2011   #108
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As a rule I dump D76/ID11 after 4 weeks - unless I have used it up. I rather mix fresh soup than take a chance. The 1 gallon kit gives me 2 gallons @ 1:1 - enough to do 25 + rolls anyway. That is usually 2-3 weeks of shooting.
The Adox does last a long time - though I find it slows down after about 35 rolls (I use it with the replenisher and pull 50 rolls from a 2 liter mix). I usually add about 30 sec. to a minute with the last 10-15 rolls.
Developers are cheap to mix - and I prefer to be safe and sound - and use as fresh developer as I can. Screwing up a print is one thing - can be redone - screwing up a film is usually "fatal".
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Old 05-14-2011   #109
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Hi Tom,
You are right, of couse. Time to dump the ADOX, and mix fresh. The raw chemicals are cheap enough, and summer shooting season is ahead. Time to change the bottle too, a two-litre soda bottle gets the "grey crud" deposited on the inside. Soda bottles are free and perfect receptacles for this stuff.
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Old 05-15-2011   #110
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Any differences between ID-11 and D-76 ?
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Old 05-15-2011   #111
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There is slightly different composition chemically between the D76 and ID11. Not enough to make a big difference. My ID11 package was about 20 years old, so in deference to its age I gave it 1 minute extra (11 rather than my usual 10-10.30 with D76). No change in density of the negatives.
As with any developer and recommendations - you always test it to accommodate your own style and light measuring technique. Most of my shooting for the Back to Basics has been "Sunny f16" style. I do carry a meter (a small Gossen Digisix) but unless I feel it is needed - I just guess. TriX/Arista is surprisingly flexible when it comes to slight over/under exposure anyway.
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Old 05-15-2011   #112
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Glad to read that all seems OK on the health front ,apart from those unpleasant side effects. You have a terrific positive outlook which can only help. Oh, yes, I have been a Tri-x addict for a very long time.
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Old 05-27-2011   #113
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Almost getting to the end of my "Back to Basics" project. About 160 rolls so far, mostly done in variations of D76 and with either Arista Premium 400 or triX.
The last 5 rolls were done with Tmax2-400 and HC110 as a comparison with the older style emulsions. the Tmax2-400 is probably the finest grain 400 iso film made. Not as flexible as the TriX and does require better metering skills as it doesn't like over/under exposure by more than 3/4 stop.
The last 5 rolls also were done with more "modern glass". I just picked the 4 lenses in my arsenal that I think are among the best today (with one exception - the 90f2.8 M-Elmarit).
There is no real conclusion, and I did not think that there would be. Even lenses from the 60's are more than good enough for TriX/D76 and probably 95% of everything you want to do. Yes, lenses like the 21f4.5 C Biogon, the 35f2.8 C Biogon, Elmar 50f2.8 vII are marginally better in most cases, but not enough to make a big difference in the end result.
The only lens that I always had problem with is the 90f2.8 M-Elmarit. I have had a couple of them over the years and for some reason, never warmed to it. It is a bit smaller and lighter than a pre-Asph 90f2 - but not significantly so - so why not get that extra stop of the Summicron. It is also, in my opinion, a very "bland" lens - sharp enough, good enough contrast - but about as exciting as stale bread!
I will add some more stuff to the Back to Basics set as I go along - but not stay wedded to the slow 21's and f2.8 35/50/90. Need to try out a couple of Divided D76 formulas etc and TriX/XX in them. Might even shoot some +X for that.
Not many surprises, the 21f3.4 SA is still a great lens with its own look. The Summaron 35f2.8 can hold its own against any Summicron, the v1 Elmar 50f2.8 is nice, but not spectacular and the Elmarit v1 90f2.8 I find more pleasing than the M-Elmarit 90f2.8. The C-Biogon 35f2.8 is probably one of the best, if not the best 35 lens I have ever used. Amazing quality in bl/w. The 21f4.5 again, one of the best, if not the best 21 available. The Elmar 50f2.8 vII is superb - prefer it to a Summicron on any reasonably bright day and compact too.
All of this is of course highly subjective - and many will disagree with me, which is fine. My point was simply that one can live with a f2.8 set of lenses quite comfortably - and still get the shots. the benefit is small size, light weight, better prices - but no real problems - and it is easy to handhold a M at 1/15 sec.
Once we get better weather - I might even attempt a full f3.5 kit (21f3.5 Ricoh, Summaron 35f3.5, Elmar 50f3.5 M-mount and the Apo-Lanthar 90f3.5) probably on M2's.
Last Saturday I went to the All British Field Meet here in Vancouver (6-700 british cars gathered on a big lawn). The weather was abysmal, pouring rain and grey. Only shot a couple of rolls before I decided that I was wet enough - but most of it at 1/60 and 1/30 and f2.8-f4. Yeh, I would have liked sun and f11 - but all the shots worked, sharp and nice contrast etc. The benefit was that I could easily walk around in the rain, 2 M's and 2 lenses (35f2.8 and 50f2.8) and I really did not miss any f2's and f1.4's settings at all.
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Old 06-04-2011   #114
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Brings back memories

Wow read the whole thread. It's been a long time since I've done any processing.Haven't rolled my own in at least 30 years,but i still have some gear for that.

The last time I was using Tri-x developed in C-76 ( D 76 + Glenn Fishback's Crone additive) Tri-X rated between 800-1600ASA I think

Gotta go look in the garage and find my stuff .I think i still have some D-76 mix too!

Glad to hear your still kicking Like Paulfish ,never give up
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Old 06-04-2011   #115
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Great article in the latest Viewfinder Tom.
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Old 06-04-2011   #116
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Thanks Travis. I am now working on a second installment "Back to Basic's II". Still using mainly TriX/D76 or variations thereof, but the lenses are all 60's f2.8's (35/50/90) and M2's.
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Old 06-09-2011   #117
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Tom, I haven't read the whole thread, but have dropped in now and then to see what was up. My question is this:
I live in California and I use a developer called Formula 76 by a guy named Lauder. It is a gallon of ready-to-use film developer that does Tri-x in 10 minutes 1:1 at 68 deg. I always assumed it was a real clone of D-76, until this week, when I tried a 1-gal packet of the real deal as a cost saver, and YUCK! My negs were thin and flat! I'll be going back to Lauder, but I wonder if you have tried it in your trials. Lauder Chemical Formula 76. Great stuff, and gets me ISO 400!
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Old 06-09-2011   #118
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Vic, I haven't tried the Lauder, mainly because I make my own "soup" from scratch most of the time. The Back to Basics project had me making up Kodak's (and Ilfords) version from store-bought packages. I did try the Clayton formula a while ago - works well, but way too short shelf life for me.
There is probably no film that has been developed in so many concoctions as TriX - and some work well. It is a film with great tolerance for experiments too.
Wonder why your trial with the D76 resulted in such bad negatives though, as D76 is pretty bullet proof.
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Old 06-09-2011   #119
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Thanks, Tom, for the reply. Well, I think that if I had exposed at 200 or 250, things would have turned out differently. I've been using the Lauder for maybe the last 15 years, and I guess I have just "dialed in" to it. I worry, though, because I hear that this is a one-man shop, tales of him driving the product around to the stores himself. He has all the colleges using his stuff. What if he retires? Guess I'd better go take a chemistry class!
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Old 06-09-2011   #120
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A quick note on the longevity of D-76: After much deliberation, I decided to chance doing a roll of Tri-X in some D-76 that I mixed last September. That was 9 months ago! I wanted to use the D-76 1:1, since that is my usual. To be on the safe side, I used 8oz D-76 to 8oz water, in a 16oz tank. The negatives look great! Not at all weak, pretty good shadows, highlights not blocked. Looking forward to printing some of these!

Oh, yeah: I had the D-76 stored in green bottles, and the bottle I used was only about 80% full!
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