Which Developer for Tri-X, Cheapo Camera, Kiddie Project

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by andre_noble|3, May 18, 2004.

  1. I passed out 30 of the Freestyle Arista reusable cheapo 35mm film
    cameras to my 4th grade students. Cameras are loaded with Kodak Tri-X
    film and sent them out to document the various workers in their
    community. Camera had no flash and no exposure adjustments of any
    kind. Preliminary tests point to slight overexposure and slightly
    dense negs when photographing outdoors under sunny 16 (dense negs
    outdoors acceptable) with Arista film developer.

    Since many of student's important shots will also be taken indoors
    without flash, I'm looking for a developer for this film which will
    have effective ASA of 400 or more, but not render such outdoor photos
    wildly over contrasty. I will develop the film at home rather than in
    class. Grain nat a factor as prints will only be 4x6 or 5x7 maximum.

    Any suggestions?

    PS: I already have some D-76, Rodinal, and Arista film developer as
    well as Wimberly WD2D+ and Pyrocat HD, but willing to buy another
    kind of developer.
     
  2. P.S. Key point is that with 30 different cameras and the variable lighting conditions, exposures will be all over the place!
     
  3. I would think that Diafine should handle the exposure variations fairly well, and the speed
    boost would help with the slow lens. Should also help with controlling the contrast
    outdoors.
     
  4. XP2 Super would have been a better choice, but this requires C41 chemistry.

    Diafine will do well for the exposures that are properly exposed or underrexposed a couple of stops, but I'm worried that the overexposed images will block up quite a lot.

    I'd be inclined to use good old D-76/ID-11 developer with this situation. I'd dilute it 1:1.

    You could always run some tests on your own to see what developer seems to work best with overexposed Tri-X.
     
  5. db1

    db1

    XTOL....it works the best with tri-x
     
  6. It seems that a compensating developer is called for, of which there are many, but of the developers that you have on hand, I would imagine that Pyrocat would likely be the best, but the others might work as well. If you decide on D-76, I'd suggest the 1:1 dilution. Good luck. I don't envy you the printing job!
     
  7. NOT Diafine!

    At E.I. 1000, Tri-X negatives are already getting a bit dense, although it's an interesting look. If you take their 400 E.I. offerings, you're going to have overblown highlights and dense crowded shadows.

    I would start with Rodinal 1+50 for 11 minutes.

    And read this...

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Rodinal/rodinal.html

    tim in san jose
     
  8. A compensating development approach would be best for this. You could try either very dilute Rodinal with longer-than-normal intervals between agitations (around three minutes); or do the same with HC-110 at Dilution H.

    Since you already have Rodinal that's probably as good as anything. It's a tossup between the shorter development times and inferior economy of use at 1:50; or longer development times and greater economy. With so many rolls to develop it'd be easier on you to go with the less dilute solution and shorter times. Unless you have a four or five reel tank and want to try stand development with a 1:200 solution. Not much work involved there.
     
  9. I am with the Diafine crowd on this one. With Diafine & Tri-x, even in full sun, you'll get printable highlights. If you agitate very gently, as the box states, you’ll get the speed boost in the shadows & the compensating effect will hold the highlights down. Diafine is really easy to use too. I use this combo in my Holga with great results in all kinds of lighting. Where Diafine/Tri-x fails to impress is in really flat lighting.
     
  10. I'm kinda already ruled out the Pyro, because many of the 4th graders
    are telling me they took many of their pictures under indoor lighting
    (even though told to shoot in sun) - which means already under exposed
    negs.

    Jay, I decide to have A&I do the reprints at 4x6 size with slopy
    borders. Will have about 150 photos altogether.

    You'd be suprised at how good some students are at taking interesting
    phot
     
  11. I would recommend either Kodak Xtol or Ilford DD-X. In my (albeit limited) experience they both look great with Tri-X and give a bit more speed. Xtol would probably give better overall image quality, but I feel DD-X is more forgiving with sloppy exposure and/or developement times. I've gotten printable negatives from rolls of the old Tri-X that had frames exposed all over the place in both developers.

    Diafine I feel should be avoided since the rolls are being shot at about 400 speed, you'd probably get way too dense negatives.

    No matter what developer you use, I think low agitation would be key as it should prevent the overexposed shots from blocking up, but still let the others get a good amount of development.
     
  12. Andre, I have kids of my own, and I stopped being surprised at the quality and creativity of their work a long time ago. I'm still trying to catch up! Sounds like you've got a fun project on your hands. Good luck.
     
  13. "tim in san jose wrote" I would start with Rodinal 1+50 for 11 minutes.

    This would be a good starting point for EI 250-320. But if you suspect the proportion of indoor - and slightly underexposed - shots is bigger, I suggest you go for a longer dev time (13' for 400, 16' for 800). I second Tim's remark on Diafine, with an aproximate EI of 1250 they'll probably end up with blown highlights and pretty dense negs.
     
  14. The one advantage of Diafine I just learned after following some Diafine links is that Diafine is very unaffected by development times apparently. This brings back the possibility that we can develop the film in class.

    Otherwise it looks like I'll use the Rodinal.
     
  15. Other advantageous characteristics of Diafine for your particular situation are that you only have to mix it once & can use one batch for all rolls. Temperature control won’t be a serious issue. All you need is Diafine, fix, & water. Watching the kiddies faces when they’re pulling their film off the developing reels would be a special treat.
     
  16. "Andre Noble , may 19, 2004; 08:56 a.m.
    The one advantage of Diafine I just learned after following some Diafine links is that Diafine is very unaffected by development times apparently. This brings back the possibility that we can develop the film in class.

    Otherwise it looks like I'll use the Rodinal.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Matt Miller , may 19, 2004; 09:07 a.m.
    Other advantageous characteristics of Diafine for your particular situation are that you only have to mix it once & can use one batch for all rolls. Temperature control won’t be a serious issue. All you need is Diafine, fix, & water. Watching the kiddies faces when they’re pulling their film off the developing reels would be a special treat."

    You could develop those negatives in Karo Syrup and they would come out sweet. The kids would like that too. But... it's the wrong thing to develop these negatives in. Same with Diafine unless you told them to shoot above E.I. 1000. And you didn't.

    tim in san jose
     
  17. Diafine will do a fine job and I regularly shoot TXP (4x5) at 400 and soup in
    Diafine with beautiful shadows and easily printable highlights! It is a 2 bath,
    compensating developer and will only develop the highlights so far. It will be
    great because you will have different lighting situations and the negatives will
    come out fine!
     
  18. Thanks all for taking time to make a contribution. I went with Diafine for the Tri-x. In the end, it did exactly what some above said. Outdoor shots were thick but printable negatives, and also there was barely enough meat on indoors negs for RA-4 print to Fuji Crystal Archive Paper as seen here from scan one of my student's portraits.

    It was especially forgiving and appropriate as I processed first 10 and then 20 rolls at once in middle of the night. Not a good time to worry about exact times and temp. I ended up with about 80 usable portraits from appx. (28) 4th grade students.
     

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