Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/08/01

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Subject: [Leica] Film snobs and Tri-X
From: locke at (Greg Locke)
Date: Sun Aug 1 14:29:31 2004

The fact is Adam, I have not shot black and white film in many, many years.

My experience with B&W film begin with Tri-X and Pan-X in the early 70's and
that was as good as it got.
I did not know it sucked until I was introduced to Ilford HP5 and FP4 (a
very nice film)  which, by comparison to Tri-X was less grainy, lower
contrast hence better tonal graduation.  It's downfall was, at times it was
too flat and required some creative chemistry to get some "punch" or
contrast out of it.

Then, in the same vein as "you don't know how bad you have it until....",
Fuji gave us Neopan 100, 400 and 1600 and THIS was stunning. Wide tonal
graduation, very fine grain, very pushable and could be processed in just
about anything.
The only drawback was it was a little fragile and needed very careful
handling when loading on reels.

...and then the commercial and professional demand (or need) for Black and
white ended.

So, for me, the definition of a great black and white film is , fine grain
and a full tonal range ...not to contrasty and not too flat.

Fuji pulled it off by developing a new "T-grain" structure and a thin
emulsion base. They started with finer grain on a thin emulsion which
required less developing time, thus less time in the wet which meant less
"swelling" of the emulsion and inherent and contrastyness that comes with

Of course, your choice of developers, temperatures and developing times are
what gives you variations.
When I worked at UPI last going off with B&W film we used to push HP5 to
1600 and develop it in HOT HC110 for less than 3 minutes... Something NOT
recommended by manufacturers but we discovered it cut down on out developing
times (ever important with daily deadlines) and produced a less grainy neg
from pushed film.

...and that is the end of THAT story.

Greg Locke
St. John's, Newfoundland

--TRINITY Photographic Workshops--
     September 3 -5, 2004
  at The Artisan Inn, Trinity 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
> [] On 
> Behalf Of Adam Bridge
> Sent: Sunday, August 01, 2004 4:41 PM
> To: Leica Users Group
> Subject: Re: [Leica] Film snobs and Tri-X
> I suppose I'm unsophisticated but your response was useless 
> for understanding WHY you don't like Tri-X and why you feel 
> other films are worthy of investigation.
> I haven't shot enough film of any kind to really know it - 
> although of the films I've experimented with I'm finding that 
> I do like the look of Tri-X as a silver emulsion film.
> Your thoughts about why you dislike Tri-X and what you look 
> for in other films that are better would be instructive and 
> I'd enjoy reading
> them: what you want to exploit in Tri-X that you can't, how 
> other films solve that problem for you. That's really useful.
> Thanks
> Adam

In reply to: Message from abridge at (Adam Bridge) ([Leica] Film snobs and Tri-X)