FP4+ and Tri-X

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by max_barstow, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I started using MF (a Rollei 3.5F) in about September last year; unsurprisingly, the neg size makes for a huge step up in quality from 35mm. Up to now, I've been using Tri-X EI400 in Xtol 1:1 for 8 mins, with 5secs agitations every 30seconds; all very normal. What I'm wondering is how great an improvement in quality might I get if I used a slower film (I can use a tripod for a lot of things, and have just ordered a flashgun, so EI400 is not always mandatory for me)? FP4+ in Xtol 1:1 is sort of what I'm thinking, as it's convenient and (by the sounds of it) straightforward. Will this give me a noticeable increase in quality from Tri-X as I'm currently developing it, and if not, are there other film/dev combinations I should consider?
    Thanks, Max
  2. You don't have to go with a slower film just a different film. Try TMY-2.
  3. Ain't that the truth. TMY-2 has grain structure on par with old style films two stops slower. However, the spectral sensitivity and contrast curve shapes are different and these factors will deliver a different "look" if you use the standardized development given by the manufacturer for each film. Curve shape can be influenced to an extent by altering development of course; but that opens up another whole can of worms now doesn't it? Have fun, but I'll tell you what - DON'T GO CRAZY. Pick a couple of films and stick with them for a while until you learn how they behave under various conditions. Personally, I really like TMY-2. It's ability to hold detail over an extraordinarily wide contrast range makes it particularly suited for many of the types of things I like to photograph. The same can be said for TMX, which I happily use when I am guaranteed of having enough light to work with. Under more controlled lighting situations, I like Plus-X for that little extra snap that I like to see sometimes. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Tri-X, a film that I will happily use any time. But I've been at this for a while, and I've learned how all these films behave over the years.
  4. I'm with you fellas. TMY-2 is the bee's knees, no question about it, and Xtol replenished is as good as it gets with commercial developers. Enjoy!
  5. Could you give me an idea of how TMY-2's look is different to Tri-X's in more descriptive terms; I don't really have a clue what "spectral sensitivity and contrast curve shapes" are! What about developer for TMY-2? I like using a one-shot for convenience (I don't shoot that much), and I'd be happy if I could stick with Xtol 1:1, but if there's a better combo or that's a poor one, I'd change. Also, what about dev times? And isn't there something funny about fixing with T-Max films? I do occasionally find a slower film would be handy in bright light for shooting wider apertures, being limited to a shutter of 1/500, so what's T-Max 100 like? Also, I'd read before that T-Max is difficult to get good results with, as in exposure and development have to be bang on; I've never even successfully pushed or pulled a film, and just give the same development for everything (with only Tri-X), regardless of light etc., so please warn me if I'll have a hard time with T-Max (my technical knowledge is v. limited).
    Sorry for the inundation of questions, but I'm really in the dark here!
  6. Max,
    TMY-2 is finer grained and sharper than TX, and has a straighter curve. That means that tones reproduce more linearly, over a wider range. Many people rate TX at EI 200 to get the shadows up off the toe and into the straight line portion of the curve, for instance, to avoid compression in the shadows. Since TMY-2 has very little toe, it can be exposed at box speed without compressing the low values. I realize this might be difficult to visualize without some knowledge of characteristic curves, but if you want to process your own film you should really learn the basics of sensitometry. In the meantime, you can just try a roll of TMY-2 and compare your results to your results with TX. Xtol 1+1 is a good choice for developer with just about any film. Good luck!
  7. Max,
    Here's a concrete example of newer emulsions like TMYII may differ: with older emulsions, blue skies will come out lighter because of the extended blue sensitivity. With TMYII (and I've noticed with Acros and Neopan 400), blue skies are darker and less filtration may be needed to bring out clouds.
    TMY II is generally a full-speed film, at least in T-max and D-76 if 1:1. It's great to push. I generally add 2 minutes or so for each doubling of iso. However, see this recent post I did of shooting one roll of TMYII at speeds ranging from 250-3200:
    My only gripe is that TMYII can, with MF, look more like digital than like film. That's why I often prefer to use plus-x or FP-4 in many situations--I want a film photo to look like a film photo.
  8. Scott I too have noticed that with TNY-2 in MF. Almost too smooth and it can have little traditional "Life". This is where Rodinal can help.
  9. FP4 is a great film. I like it in D76 1:1. APX100 is another film that I like the look of.
    Here's APX100 in rodinal. Sorry I don't have any FP4 scanned at the moment.
  10. I miss APX 100 but the new Ultrafine eXtreme 100 is pretty darn close.
  11. Wouldn't the Ultrafine actually be Foma 100? Who else is rebranding film these days?
  12. I am not sure as this stuff is acting much better than the Foma I used to use.
  13. I'm a big fan of FP4. I'd certainly recommend you try it.
  14. I think I'll try the TMY-2 for a 400 speed film; should I use Tmax Fixer for it, or will anything do?
    I quite like to have consistency in the look of my photos, so if I decide to stick with Tri-X after trying the Tmax, I think I'll use FP4+ for the slower film, but if not, is the Tmax 100 especially tricky to get good results with (like old Tmax 400 is said to be)?
    One final thing, am I going to find that TMY-2 is a lot less contrasty/flatter than Tri-X,
  15. Any Rapid fixer will work just remember T-grain films need a longer fixing time.
  16. I think I'll try the TMY-2 for a 400 speed film; should I use Tmax Fixer for it, or will anything do?​
    Good choice, IMO. Any old rapid fixer will do. Even a regular fixer will do in a pinch, but you'll get old with the long fixing times.
    I quite like to have consistency in the look of my photos, so if I decide to stick with Tri-X after trying the Tmax, I think I'll use FP4+ for the slower film, but if not, is the Tmax 100 especially tricky to get good results with (like old Tmax 400 is said to be)?​
    Not really once you get used to it. TMX is a bit more sensitive to variations in development than other more conventional film. Once you get time/temp/agitation under control, you're good to go.
    One final thing, am I going to find that TMY-2 is a lot less contrasty/flatter than Tri-X.​
    Again, not necessarily. TMY-2 has the ability to capture a very wide dynamic range and this can make the negatives look like they're flat, but so what? You have all his detail to work with when printing. It's there for you to use - or not - depending on how you want your final product to look. Negatives are NOT the finished product, and the real skill is in printing or other post processing techniques. Come on, do you have your friends over to look at your negatives or to show off your photographs?
  17. Don't forget,,, (imho), a MF is a much steadier product. C33 vs Nikon Ftn, I felt I could hold a whole stop slower with the C33. I know,,,, film size, enlargement factor,,, blabla, but the bottom line, except when I really needed wide open, I just took better looking negatives with the dumb bell stuck on my left arm
  18. Max; congratulations on using a Rollei TLR. I read the new T-Max 400 has sharpness similar to FP-4. With T-Max, you can avoid using a light yellow filter as T-Max 400 renders blue skies slightly darker. So if you need the speed of ISO 400, T-Max is a good choice over Tri-X.
    As others mentioned, you should de-rate Tri-X to ISO 200 in D-76 1:1 or 250 in XTOL 1:1 or 1:2. Shooting at a lower film speed avoids empty shadows. Your tones will separate better on the low (dark) end of the tonal scale.
    There is a subtle differences between FP-4 (80) and Tri-X (200) at enlargements below 8X. A Rollei TLR on a tripod using FP-4 is the best choice for landscape. Master FP-4 and Tri-X and then compare to T-Max 400. I recommend developing Tri-X (200) in D-76 1-1, 20c, at 10M. 4 agitation cycles each 60s. You may wish to agitate every 30s for the first 3 to 5 min to tweak contrast.
  19. Max, I just noticed your using XTOL, another good choice. Try Tri-X rated at 250 in XTOL 1:2, 20c, at 10.25 M. Sharpness will increase. When souping in dilute developer use no less than 250ml of stock developer. Add the additional two parts of water. 100ml of undiluted developer may be enough to develop you film but it may not be enough to its fullest potential.

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