View Full Version : Old Tri-X...reduced ASA?

08-10-2006, 12:26
Hi all,
As some of you know, I've begun my developing journey with diafine and a lot of expired black and white film. Included in that lot was Delta 100 and 400 (not yet tried), some Neopan 400 and a lot of Tri-X.

The Neopan tests I ran came out great at the box recommended speed for diafine. The Tri-X seems to be a different story, however. It's dated 1990 or 1992, and was possibly cold-stored (since it's not been mine for long, I can't know for sure.)

I ran three ASA test strips yesterday and developed the first two of them today. I set the camera up on a tripod and shot the same indoor (LV8) and overcast outdoor scene (LV12) with three frames for each ASA setting (using a range of equal shutter/aperture combinations to control for a possibly unreliable shutter, though it tested well itself). Just looking at the negatives on the hanger, it appears the 400-800 range came out far better than the higher range, which on the indoor roll are seriously underexposed. So I think my Tri-X is only getting a one-stop push at the most, and might be best shot at box in low-contrast lighting.

Does this jive with what age might do to black and white film? I've heard some folks shoot Tri-X at 1000 for diafine (in medium format), which isn't far off from 800. On the other hand, I'm not getting the 1250 or 1600 that seems like the more common choice for folks.

I'll develop the third test roll, which was done outside in high-contrast light (sunny 16) tomorrow. Thanks!

I've got about 60 more rolls of this Tri-X, so I really hope to figure out how to shoot it!

08-10-2006, 18:10
It jives with age for that speed and that time, yes. TXT is about 1 stop per decade. So you've lost a stop. There you go :-)

Pan F, in contrast, would still be 40 (which is what I shoot it at fresh) after 10 years.


08-10-2006, 18:54
Thanks for that bit of "common knowledge" that escaped me. How do you know this? What's the loss rate for Neopan? Delta?


08-10-2006, 19:05
Well, I have never heard of the "one stop per decade" rule. I have never seen any experiments on it either. Expired film is expired film. You need to test it.

Over time, film looses contrast and gains fog. By "push processing" it, you are over developing which increases contrast. That seems to be compensating for the loss of contrast. But it also increases fog.

Have you scanned or printed the results? How does it compare to unexpired Tri-X?

08-11-2006, 01:24
The 1 stop per decade is something I've heard specifically for TXT. I would think, however, that most 400 speed films would gain base fog from cosmic radiation at about the same rate. So Delta 400 is probably similar to TXT, sure.

However, as Finder says, always do your own testing first. But it is useful to start off your testing centered at 200, rather than 400, that's all.

Mileage always varies. I never said it didn't.

08-11-2006, 01:40
Hello, I've been shooting tri-X from 1999 (frozen since then) and developing in Diafine. I get best results at ASA 1000, which is in agreement with everything said so far.

I agree also, that it's a bit disappointing, as I was hoping to have a 1600 ASA film with reasonable grain and not too expensive to develope. I'm sticking to Neopan 1600 for that.

Good luck with your pictures.

08-11-2006, 02:16
I still say Neopan 1600 @ 1600 is far more contrasty than TXT @ 1600 in the right developer. But perhaps I should stop saying that for fear that I'll get banned or something :-).

TXT in Microphen at 1600. Nice stuff. Nice, tight grain.


08-11-2006, 02:45
Sorry that this thread is morphing into a Neopan 1600 thread, but...

Thanks for the developer suggestion for TX at 1600. I would like to try it some time. Can you upload a sample pic or two?

Attached are a few pics with Neopan 1600 at 1600, developed in Kodak TMAX developer as recommended. I think they're quite good tonally, i.e., not too contrasty. It seems to me that Neopan 1600, unlike most films I've used, and definately unlike TX, is quite sensitive to OVEREXPOSURE. If the highlights and midtones get too dense, then the results suffer.

08-11-2006, 04:12
Twenty years ago, a friend gave me a can of old bulk Kodak Plus X (ISO 125). It was stored for about 15 years (or more) at -15 C in an Antarctic scientific base.
I tested it at ISO 100, 160 and 200, and results were good (good contrast and fine grain) if the developing times were consistent with the ISO rating selected for the exposure. I noted also that the best results were those of the film a little over exposed (ISO 100).
More or less at the same time, Ive done the same with AGFA ISS 21 (ISO 100) pushing it one stop. This film wasnt stored frozen. Results were also consistent with ISO rating, and again good contrast and almost no grain.
A bit later I shoot several rolls (new film) of old Tri X @ ISO 1600, and with the lesson well learnt, developed it extending developing time for the ISO chosen. Then came the disaster.
Negs were excessively contrasted, grain was coarse, and details were almost nonexistent.
Tested again at ISO 800, I found this was the max. setting usable to get decent negs.
Ive tried several developers, but I never got results which would encourage me to push film more than one stop. Then, as a rule, I never do it.


08-11-2006, 07:58
Well, I need to get myself some of this Neopan 1600: looks great!

Here are some results. It wasn't the best developing job ever: the plastic funnels that go on the patterson spools were upside down so the whole negative didn't get even coverage. Still, good enough I think as a test.

Looks like 400 wins inside at EV8. I should have tried 200--I think it would have been nicer.

08-11-2006, 08:00
I'd also say that 400 won outside at EV12. 200 might have been better, but really it's not too bad. 800 was usable, and there was even a scannable image at 1200 and 1600.

Let's see how the high-constrast outdoor tests went.

thanks everyone!

Ronald M
08-11-2006, 08:46
No matter what anybody says, your tests tell the story for your conditions and batch of film. Watch out for fog in addition to lower contrast and film speed

Freeze all you will not use in a month. Package so you can take small quantities.

08-11-2006, 10:08
Sleepyhead (got a name? cuz that's a hard one to use as a moniker :-),

First - very nice Neopan 1600 work. I was unfair - it's not that it's impossible to get good tonality, it's just that it gets awfully contrasty very quickly. I see too many shots on NP1600 where the contrast is out of control. Those were at 1600, eh? Very nice.

Obviously some people like the look. I'm not saying contrast doesn't have its place. But sometimes it's a bit much. It's like how HP5 blocks up real fast, too. At 1600 there is almost no shadow detail, even in speed-enhancing developers. A lot of people think HP5 is _good_ for pushing because it does that. But in the more traditional (perhaps by my standard) definition of which films are better or worse suited to pushing, HP5 is not very high on my list. TXT, on the other hand, is.

links to TXT @ 1600 in Microphen 1+0 for 16:00:

http://photos.kaiyen.com/coppermine/displayimage.php?album=11&pos=1 (possibly 3200)
http://photos.kaiyen.com/coppermine/displayimage.php?album=11&pos=15 (possibly 6400)

08-13-2006, 09:33
So I think my Tri-X is only getting a one-stop push at the most, and might be best shot at box in low-contrast lighting.

You are discovering two things here actually. One, film loses some of its speed when stored for long periods and two, Diafine gets 'punchier' when shot at lower than recommended speeds.

This has long been the trick to contrast control with Diafine and is why Diafine users are able to control contrast from frame to frame on the SAME roll of film by varying the ISO.

Diafine has far more nuance and control than most people realize.


08-15-2006, 08:53
When you say punchier, you mean less contrasty? So, to control contrast, shoot at lower ISO?

I developed a roll shot outside at 1000 ISO..and it looked a little OVER exposed. I checked the film boxes--and it was 1992 dated. The tests above were 1990 dated. I actually think Kodak may have tweaked the emulsion between those dates, or the two lots were stored quite differently. So this weekend, I shot several of the 1992 rolls at 1250, and the 1990 rolls at 320. We'll see how that experiment works.

I'll post again.