View Full Version : film for pushing?

6-Feb-2007, 10:37

So I have a choice of Tri-X 320, HP5+ and TMax 400.

I need to push the film (probably 2 stops). I'm not so concerned with grain (enlargements won't be that big) but I am concerned with increased contrast.

What do I choose?

Somewhere in my head I have a little voice saying Tmax 400 is the most flexible. Is this the truth?

Btw. I'm using xtol 1:1 as a dev. right now. If there's a better dev. for this, then I'd like to hear about it.


David A. Goldfarb
6-Feb-2007, 10:48
You can reliably get about one stop with shadow detail and normal contrast with most films using a speed developer like Acufine or Microphen. Beyond that and you're usually just pushing up the highlights to make the midtones printable at the expense of shadow detail--not a real speed increase.

I experimented a bit with XR-1 (see unblinkingeye.com for an article with formulas) and found I could get two stops with Tri-X, but sort of low contrast. This could make it a good developer for things like urban night photography, where the lighting conditions are generally contrasty, but I just wanted more speed under normal lighting conditions, so it wasn't what I needed.

What is your goal here?

6-Feb-2007, 10:54
I remember getting 2 stops from HP5 using Microphen in the old days, but that was 35mm in available light and it was a bit contrasty. Like David said, it tends to eat up the shadows if you're not really careful. It all depends on your purpose, what is the subject under what kind of lighting, that sort of thing.

7-Feb-2007, 07:14
I'm shooting a funeral/wake.

1) can't use flash. "too disturbing"
2) shutter sound of RZ is "too loud"
3) my RZ is on loan anways.
4) not looking for prints over 16x20.

I thought about using hot lights of some sort but that just sounds like a bad idea.


Ralph Barker
7-Feb-2007, 07:28
I'm unclear on what you plan to shoot with - a 4x5 or a smaller camera. A 4x5 field or monorail would be OK for stills of the deceased, but a smaller format might be more convenient for general attendee candids. Plus, with 35mm, you'd have faster lenses available, so pushing the film would be less of an issue.

Gordon Moat
7-Feb-2007, 10:23
I have used TMX 400 at ISO 1600, though only in 35mm and 120 roll films. I felt the results were better than shooting Ilford Delta 3200 at ISO 1600, and (with 35mm) better than pushing TriX. I was shooting jazz musicians at the time, so the contrast range worked for me.


Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

8-Feb-2007, 16:45

W/out going into detail about why, I've gotta shoot 4x5--this is a time when I'm picking my battle.

The largest I'll be enlarging is 16x20 which makes me think grain won't be that big of an issue. However, I'm afraid of having crazy contrast.

I dunno, does that help?

Gordon could I see some picts of your jazz work?


Ralph Barker
8-Feb-2007, 17:14
Would it be possible to do some test shots prior to the funeral? If so, that's probably the best way to see what you're going to be dealing with. A two-stop push of HP5+ is certainly feasible, but only you can tell if you'll like the results.

8-Feb-2007, 17:20
Ralph I agree.

I was hoping to avoid buying packs of film to do tests.

Could I do tests on 120 and have them directly relate to 4x5 or are the 2 formats too different (dev. time, base, formula etc)

Ralph Barker
8-Feb-2007, 17:32
Testing with 120 would give a reasonable representation of the film response, but wouldn't reflect the differences in processing technique between how you process roll film vs. how you process sheets. For this purpose, a 120 test might be sufficent. On the other hand, it would only require a few bracketed sheets of 4x5 - not a full EI and contrast series.

8-Feb-2007, 17:36
I find HP5 actually looks better pushed a stop or two in many situations. Tri X and TMax would be "only if nothing else is available" choices for me.

Andrew O'Neill
8-Feb-2007, 19:21
All the films you mentioned will be fine...their look will be different, though.

Brian C. Miller
12-Feb-2007, 21:55

So I have a choice of Tri-X 320, HP5+ and TMax 400.

I need to push the film (probably 2 stops). I'm not so concerned with grain (enlargements won't be that big) but I am concerned with increased contrast.
I have pushed TMax 3 stops (http://www.photo.net/photodb/photo?photo_id=688330) with reasonable success.

I used Xtol at 1:3, for 30 minutes. You have to watch out for the minimum amount of Xtol necessary for film development. This particular piece of film was done on my Jobo, but I've also used hand agitation. Sure, the shadows fall off, just expect it. I think that I have also tried PMK, but I don't remember that the results were worth it.