Teach Me About TriX / TMY , Please

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Hi I'm a beginner in B&W photography. Could Anyone tell me how good and bad of TriX / TMY (135 format) in comparision ? I apologize that I've to learn from your experience and thanks for your help.

-- Jan (Jan21@rocketmail.com), September 15, 1999


Jan - I'm hardly the ideal person to respond, as I've done hundreds of rolls of Tri-X and only one of T-Max 400, but I seem to be the first...

If you're a beginner, you should definitely start out with TX over TMY. Don't take this the wrong way, but TX is nearly idiot-proof. You can overexpose or underexpose by two stops, overdevelop or underdevelop by two minutes, overagitate or underagitate during development, get your developing solution temperatures a bit off from each other, rate the film at the wrong speed when shooting... And you will nearly always get beautiful (or at least, darn good) results.

TMY is much more tempermental than TX regarding details of exposure and development and - although this is a minority POV - I don't think that the (slightly) finer grain and higher sharpness/resolution it provides is worth the trouble. Good old Tri-X, developed in good old D-76 (1:1, 10 minutes at 68 degrees), is still a wonderful combination, producing prints that are acceptably sharp with reasonable grain up to 8x10 from 35mm negs. And TX has a wonderful, slightly old-fashioned look that's great for most subjects. It's great stuff.

Anyway, personally I don't bother with TMY. When I need finer grain/higher resolution, I go with Plus-X or T-Max 100, both of which work far better for me than TMY. (I also like Agfapan 100 A LOT.) Obviously, YOU have to find out for YOURSELF what works best for YOU, but if you're just starting out, Tri-X is a far better place to start than T-Max 400, IMHO...

-- Michael Goldfarb (mgoldfar@mobius-inc.com), September 15, 1999.

How many times have I heard people say that TMY is a difficult film to work with? That has simply not been my experience. I do hand held street photography and I want as much film speed as I can get without excessive grain. I used TRI-X (with D-76) for many years and got excellent results. However I found that I really couldn't rate the film at a higher EI than 250 without sacrificing good shadow detail; so, about two years ago, I began working with T-Max 400 and XTOL developer @ 1:1. I found that I could easily get an EI of 400 and finer grain than with TRI-X. As far as difficulty of use goes, all you need is to do is exercise reasonable care in exposing the film and developing it and you will get very consistent results. It really doesn't require anything that the average darkroom practicioner can't achieve with just reasonable attention to time, temperature and agitation. Try it. You will be delighted with the result.

-- Bill Osterman (boster33@aol.com), September 24, 1999.

Man that is one damn thin emulsion. With D-76 at least. I'll have to break down and try it with extol. I have to rate it at 200 to get decent shadow details and my meter jibes with most in camera meters around me. I shoot sheets though. With rotory processing. Gosh! I never thought I would be saying that. But the two tmax emulsions are thin every time I use them. A lot of people love the stuff. I shoot landscapes printing at 11x14 normally and tri X isn't any less grainy than either T-max emulsion. I just like the TMY because it gives me a higher speed than Tri X (ISO 200). I'll try Extol. Thanks. James

-- james the butcher (james_mickelson@hotmail.com), September 25, 1999.

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