are you a tri-X man?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by vuk_vuksanovic, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. my friend maya dropped by last week for some boring head shots, but i was able to sneak in a few slightly more interesting "test" captures in preparation for a proper shoot we'll be doing in the next few days. given the circumstances, the pictures are OK, but the really interesting thing (for me, at least) is the aesthetic quandary the film choice created. one set is on the fast, low-grain ilford pan F, the other on tri-x. the results have created a substantial aesthetic dilemma for me. have a look:

    i'd be interested in your perceptions of which film seems more convincing/artistic/lyrical/polished/bland/etc.

    all pics shot through leica (the pan F on r4 through summicron 50, the tri-x on m6 through tele-emarit 90, jupiter 8 (50mm) and summicron 40).
  2. Well, I'm becoming a Neopan 400 man. Both sets of images are great. I would also have
    difficulty choosing.
  3. How well do they hold up to enlargements?
  4. I still like Delta 3200 pulled back 2 stops and Delta 100. Today I bought T-Max 100 to give it a try. Tri-X seems to be okay indoors with a flash, otherwise it's too grainy, or not enough contrast or something. Maybe it's my lab.
  5. r s

    r s

    90% of my b&w usage is now either on Fuji Acros 100 or Fuji Neopan 400. Great films with wonderful fine grain and excellent tonal range.
  6. I have been an HP5+ man, but I am dabbling/sampling in some Tri-X for comparative purposes. Especially for that extra kick it has over HP5+ in Diafine.
  7. [​IMG]

    trix in diafine
  8. I use a lot of tri-x mainly because I can walk over to walgreens to buy it. I have been leaning towards acros 100 and neopan 400 lately because I like the look better. Here are a few recent tri-x shots. I agree that in broad daylight the look is less than desireable, but I think that's true with all film. These were all from the same roll of tri-x with a DR 'cron. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. Vuc, I find the first series marginally better suited to the subject. On screen they appear finer in grain, obviously because of film differnces. The TriX series is very acceptable though. There appears to be a bit of variation in the definition of the background. The TriX I think is more distraction, presumably because the faster film gave smaller aperture and therefore sharper b'ground.

    Maybe I would even 'underprint' a little, just to clear up skin tones, but that is personal preference.

    Consider shooting your PanF in the R to utilise more accurate framing + better grained film. I would use Ilford Delta100, but you have already stated your preferences, so stick with what you know.

    We will be interested in the final result.
  10. Well Vuk, they are different lenses used so its difficult to say exactly what effect the film, but the first set I think sets her off much better. Skin tones are more lumounous and the hair isn't as blocked up as it is on some of the 2nd set. Also the sharp background doesn't suit as well on the triX shots as to me, it competes with the subject and they are headshots. BTW you are needlessly modest about these. But after all that, Tri-X is still my favorite film of general shooting.
  11. Hi Vuk -

    First of all it's hard to judge, your friend is lovely and you're a fine photographer: with this
    combination you could take nice pictures of her with a cell phone.

    That said I think that for this type of shot the Pan F seems to be a better match. Most
    people will appreciate the fine grain and the smooth transitions. I prefer the Tri-X
    because it's edgier, "shinier", and it's what I shoot all the time (although I'm growing
    fonder of Ilford's 400 FP5+ (?) film).

  12. I used Tri-X for a few years, but then switched over to Delta Pro 100. I just did not care
    much for the grain of Tri-X. So, that might explain why I like the first set of images better,
    even though there is just a slight difference. I also find the Delta Pro to be more lumious
    than other films (though I am sure others will disagree). Anyway, great work with both
    films, I just like the Pan F stuff better.
  13. Vuk,

    It really depends on the light your going to be shooting in. I'm a 100% Tri-x man myself
    and from your pan F shots the ones that I prefer have really shallow DOF. Given the
    circumstances that might not have been feaseble on the Tri-X. On screen the difference
    between Pan F and Tri-x is really hard to see. Tri-X pulled to 200 or 100 is sufficiently low
    grain for me.

    Given this subject matter though I might prefer the Pan F if the light allows.
  14. The film the first lot was photographed on. More polished and artistic to use two of the adjective from the list you supply.

    I thought I never thought I'd call Tri-X bland (and its look is definitely not), but it may have become somewhat so, simply because of its ubiquity in black and white people shots over the decades.

    Thus, the first film look is convincing, if only for its lesser grain, and less commonplace (and thus more authoritative) look, and the second is more conventional, and more casual, somehow.

    To the extent one can tell on a web-browser, of course.
  15. I would go for the slow Ilford, although I must say, I like both Ilford Pan and Tri-X, and Plus-X too. Because you seem to be in a studio setting with controlled lighting (am I wrong?), why use fast film? Go for the smaller grain. I think it is more flattering for your attractive subject. Also, I don't think you are going for a "gritty" look, again with an attractive subject, but that's up to you.
  16. I grew up on Plus-X and Tri-X, but I've moved almost entirely to Ilford these days, mostly Delta 100, XP2 Super, and HP5. I use Delta 100 mostly in 120 in the studio, XP2 Super for "everyday", and HP5 to push in 35mm.

    The only Kodak B&W film I still use regularly is TMAX 3200, because Delta 3200 gives me thinner negatives & feels flat to me.
  17. Vuk, I can't view your images for some reason at the moment. I use Tri-X most of the time for convenience. I'd usually rather put on a filter than step down in film speed. But I'd also admit that when there are large relatively featureless areas of tone (like areas of a face that are just outside the focus plane), then Tri-X can be a bit unaesthetic because of the grain. Give it some texture, or ask it to produce rich shadow areas, and it's just terrific.
  18. Love Tri-X in the dark room. Don't love it for scanning.
  19. Love Tri-X in the dark room. Don't love it for scanning.
    I got a similar experience the other day. Tri-X does not scan well for me with annoying grain (aliasing?) behavior. Neopan 400 scanned much better with an end result that I like. Maybe this is related to my Minolta Scan multi pro not liking Tri-X, I do not know.
    In the darkroom I have found both to be excellent. But since I want to work in the digital darkroom too, it will be Neopan in the future for me.
  20. I'm a TX guy. I like grain too and I get no complaints about it either. The Minolta 5400 does a great job with TX using Vuescan software, not so great with the Minolta software.

    Here's a weird combo that is very good and I'd never had thought of. TX at 3200 in Rodinal. Yes Rodinal. Go for 30 minutes, 68F, 1:50 and agitate for 5 secs every 5 minutes.
  21. "TX at 3200 in Rodinal. Yes Rodinal. Go for 30 minutes, 68F, 1:50 and agitate for 5 secs every 5 minutes."
    Do you have a sample image by chance? As I happen to have a new bottle of Rodinal and roll of Tri-x that I pushed 3-stops. I was just trying to figure out what to do with it.
  22. I slap a yellow (sometimes even an orange) filter on my 50 DR Summicron & TriX comes out fine.
  23. "The borders make it hard for me to really see" - Peter A

    you're really a broken record with this. one also must wonder about your eyesight if you find these pictures difficult to see. what's most annoying, however, is your ignorance: if you look at the html source code, you'll see that they are not borders. also, is the frame around your computer monitor another border? how about whatever background colour one uses on a web page? how about the inch of white i leave on my prints? perhaps i could also suggest a clinical psychologist for you?

    everyone else.

    thanks for the replies. first off, i meant to say the very "slow" pan F (not fast--obviously). there is something nice about the smoothness and lack of grain, but there's something robust and 3-dimensional about tri-x that is hard to give up. then of course there are the 3 extra stops, which come in handy for someone who never uses flash ;-)
  24. Vuk,

    Nice shots - quite a few keepers, for sure.

    It's so hard to tell film qualities on the web; you can never get a feel for grain or tones to a lesser extent. In my head I *know* panF is 'smoother' than trix, and I find myself almost automatically assigning this quality to the images. Problem is, when I split the screen and look at both sets, the main difference in quality seem to stem from lighting and composition.

    This assigning of film qualities is something photographers do almost automatically, whereas the normal viewing audience don't pick up on unless really pressed. I reckon it's similar to the way a musician listens to a record; 'listen to the [insert esoteric comment here] on those drums!'. To which my response is invariably, 'just sounds like effin drums to me, mate.'

    But I'm blathering. The main quality I like about the panf shots is the lack of DOF, which would go hand in hand with the film speed. I think it conveys all the right signals, and draws me to her eyes. Skin tones on the tri-x seem slightly shinier in some shots.

    Again - nice work.
  25. This shots show a woman, and with respect to physical features face and skin are very important aspects of a woman. The skin tones are much smoother with the PanF, which does not only look better, but also enables you to show more skin imperfections (if you want to, e.g. last picture in the PanF set) which adds character.

    Without taking the different lenses in to accounf :^) the PanF se looks therefore more convincing and the TriX comes out more vanilla, polished and bland, at least in the online JPEGs.
  26. Tri-X is nice, but I recently switched to Delta 400. The problem with Tri-X, I think, is that it loses a lot of accutance in some solvent developer. For a really sharp look, it wants an accutance developer, and that bumps up the grain. Delta 400 stays sharper in fine-grain developer, while being slightly finer. There are some shots, though, where I miss Tri-X tonality a bit. Delta 400 is much more sensitive to red, which can make skin tones a little blah.
  27. Hi Vuk. I too just finished my first roll of Pan F+ and I'm quite pleased with the results. I'm having good luck with Delta 100 Pro also. In fact I prefer the 100 over TriX. Also trying out the Acros this week.
  28. The tri-x shots are more flattering to the model, and they have the more romanticized look people often want to see in a b&w photo. The spectral response of TX gives skin tones a trademark luminosity.

    The problem with fine-grain films on portraits is that the skin can look sort of oily or waxy. Obviously you can overcome this by paying a lot of attention to the makeup, lighting, etc.

    So I'd say if you're doing more spontaneous shooting, stick with Tri-x - there's a little more grain but there's also that famous radiant look to the skin.
  29. jtk


    "beautiful girl, beautiful skin!" : immediate strong response to your Pan F... Tri X response was weak by comparison...THEN I wondered if I just preferred the composition/poses in the Pan F shots...then I reviewed and realized that wasn't it: this girl's glory is especially her dark, velvety, moist, youthful skin (YUM!)...unfortunately lost by the Tri X.

    However, you didn't fairly compare the two films...the Tri X wasn't processed to its best advantage...we shouldn't see that much grain in a tiny image...better Tri X processing would have made the competition more fair.

    That very first head shot is a knockout!
  30. I am most of the time now and I agree with Anthony that it is sure nice that Wallgreens sells it. I develop mine with tmax devolper seems to work better with tmax devolper compared to rodinal. I also like shooting with xp2 super now.
  31. Vuk, I've seen the images now, and I go for the Pan-F in this comparison on the grounds of their being smoother and more polished. The Tri-X images are bolder but too stark and much too grainy to be flattering. For my taste, you either need to beef up the lighting and use Pan-F with more DOF, or achieve a more subtle handling (development, scanning) of Tri-X. I don't know about scanners, but have you tried Emofin for Tri-X? I love it.

    BTW, what's wrong with a medium-speed film like Delta 100?
  32. I use Pan F+ in medium format. Lovely can bring a tear to your eye it's so pretty.

    But I use HP5+ a lot more often simply because its speed makes it more flexible.
  33. They make other film besides Tri-X?

  34. Hi Vuc, without doing a lot of analyzing, I prefer the look of the second set of photos. I
    just almost always prefer the way Tri-X handles light, regardless of the grain. When I want
    less grain I just load up the old Rollei, or switch to APX 100 or Fp4.
  35. Nice photos. I prefer the PanF. A lady like that doesn't deserve to be grainy. ;-)
  36. i prefer the 1st run, looks much slicker on this model/setting.

    even if you seem to detest comments on your presentation (which of course is subjective) i personally find, like Peter A, the emposes dark frames a distraction. looks weird and unappealing.

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