View Full Version : Tri-X, Tri-X Pan, or TMY?

25-Jun-2007, 10:18
Hi everybody. I'm almost afraid to post this but I really need some friendly advice, so here I go.

I really like Ilford FP4+ in 8x10. BUT the customs officers in my country keep opening the film and exposing it. I can't stop them no matter what I try!! This is not a problem with Kodak (and Fuji colour) film as the film comes sealed in a packet that they don't open. Ilford's film pouch is not sealed. So I'm going to switch to a Kodak film for 8x10, but I don't know which one to choose and I'm not rich enough presently to try all. I love the mid-tones in FP4+. I do a lot of long-exposure stuff, so reciprocity failure is an issue, but I suppose anything will be better than FP4+ in that regard! I read that some people are not too happy with TriX Pan, but some people love it. I have also heard that TMY is a great film. I would prefer not to use TMX, as I'm uh not all THAT meticulous when developing.

I guess I'm just hoping for a bit of a consensus on which one I should go with for starters. Thank you everybody.

Ron Marshall
25-Jun-2007, 10:33
If reciprocity is a concern then TXP is similar to FP4. TMY is a wonderful film, same grain as FP4, but two stops faster. It is wonderful with XTOL 1:1.

I hand roll a Jobo Expert drum and I have not had any problems with process control. I make sure that my developer is exactly at room temp and do a presoak with the same temp water to bring the drum to that temp. You do have to be more careful with TMX and TMY to achieve the desired contrast, but it is only a matter of a little preparation and care.

I like FP4 very much but I am just as happy with TMY.

If you use a Jobo then Paul Butzi has times posted on his site for TMX and TMY:


David A. Goldfarb
25-Jun-2007, 10:35
Maybe you can try them in a smaller format before purchasing in 8x10".

I like TXP and think that TMY is dreadful, but some people take the opposite view. TX (Tri-X 400) is not available in sheet sizes. It is really a matter of taste.

Gene McCluney
25-Jun-2007, 13:41
Hi everybody. I'm almost afraid to post this but I really need some friendly advice, so here I go.

I really like Ilford FP4+ in 8x10. BUT the customs officers in my country keep opening the film and exposing it. I can't stop them no matter what I try!! This is not a problem with Kodak (and Fuji colour) film as the film comes sealed in a packet that they don't open. Ilford's film pouch is not sealed.

Are you saying that every box of sheet film you order and have shipped into your country is opened, and if the film is not in a sealed pouch inside, that too is opened up? This is absurd. What country do you live in? If I were you, I would consider contacting Ilford about this problem. I wonder how hard it would be for them to seal their pouches? After all, even Forte (now defunct) had sealed light-tight pouches for its sheet film. I understand that some small film manufacturers can't afford the sealing technology, but Ilford? I think they might respond.

How do you suppose the importer gets their stock? Perhaps there is not an official importer for Ilford, but still, it is ignorance on the part of customs to open light sensitive materials. I wonder how X-ray film is shipped?

25-Jun-2007, 13:57
Oh sorry about the Tri-X mistake. Gene, I live in Trinidad, West Indies. We're aspiring to attain First World status by the year 2020, which is turning out to be more of a running joke than anything else. I have lost 2 boxes so far. The customs people here are of the opinion that they know it all, and I am sure you can imagine how difficult it is to reason with those types.

I said I wasn't too interested in TMX, but I'm looking at Ken Lee's stuff now on his website, and gee it looks good.

John Kasaian
25-Jun-2007, 14:26
FWIW I find that both TMY and TXP are fine emulsions and Badger Graphic is where I get mine these days, but they aren't anything like FP-4+. IMHO Fomapan 100 would come closer if you are looking for a replacement. I have no idea what a Trinidad customs inspector would do with a box of Fomapan however (much less a box of Arista.edu Ultra!) :(

MIke Sherck
25-Jun-2007, 20:05
Tri-X is more tolerant of processing variations; TMY is faster and has better reciprocity characteristics. I guess there isn't an easy answer! My experience says that the processing difficulties others have with TMX and TMY are not universal: either I'm some sort of robot when it comes to processing (in trays,) or there are other variables not yet generally acknowledged. I seem to have no problems with it but then I've always been thought of as strange. ;)

I agree that contact with Ilford may help solve your problem: they seem pretty responsive to customer feedback. And, while I have no experience with the authorities in your country, isn't there some postal office you could contact for help with importing your film undamaged? How about public pressure, such as letters to legislatures with copies to the public opinion pages of newspapers, etc. (if they have that sort of thing there.) A well-managed publicity campaign costs little more than time and can achieve results out of all proportion to the effort!


Ken Lee
26-Jun-2007, 02:07
"I said I wasn't too interested in TMX, but I'm looking at Ken Lee's stuff now on his website, and gee it looks good".

Almost all of the photos on my site, were done with 400 TMax, shot at 200.

If I had to live with one film only, TMY (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/portraits/jrw.htm) would be it - thanks to Christopher Perez. Developed in PyroCat HD - thanks to Sandy King.

Lately I have been using some 100 TMax because of its slower film speed - in order to test some older lenses, when shot wide open. In full sunlight, the old 1920's shutters just can't shoot fast enough at f/4.5, so I had to use slower film. I shoot it at a speed of 50.

Unless you plan to make really big enlargements, TMY is generally fine-grained enough. I recently made 11x14's from 6x7 Mamiya 7 negatives, via darkroom, and see virtually no grain.

My suspicion is that artistically, different films are better for different subjects, like truck tires, nudes, and white churches. Simple testing would probably reveal the wise choice.

Matus Kalisky
26-Jun-2007, 06:36
Hi Ken,

could you maybe put out a few details on your developement of TMAX 400 in Pyrocat HD ? I mean technique, times, temeprature , EI of the film (you already mentioned you shoot TMAX at 200) but also the solutions themselves. Are you mixing your own stuff or buying premixed powders/solutions? I am also considering developing my own stuff (120 adn 4x5) and like the combinations of fast film with low grain and nice higlight behaviour (that's what people say about this combination).


Ken Lee
26-Jun-2007, 07:17
I got 99% of my info online (from members of this forum), and then ran some tests to account for my own thermometer, water, light meter, etc. I don't use distilled water.

Also: I scan my negatives, so the times I use may differ for you.

I also perform development by inspection, using an InfraRed viewing monocular, so I don't always adhere to my standard N development time. I learned about the IR device here on this forum.

I buy PyroCat HD concentrate in Glycol from Photographer's Formulary, and use it at 1:1:100 - even though Sandy King has suggested that shorter times are workable at higher concentrations.

Those extra few minutes in the soup gives me more time, which I often need, since I often develop 10 or more negatives at a time in the little "trays" that I use. (Thanks to Carl Weese for introducing me to the world of inexpensive plastic containers).

For N development, I use 13 minutes at 70 degrees Farenheit. You can use that as a starting point, but it's best to find out what works for you, considering your end-to-end process.

You can also see this page (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/tech.html) on my own site, for some additional info about technique. All I have done is digested and compiled what I have learned here.

2-Jul-2007, 09:20
I have not had any bad experiences with TMY - I use it for pin hole photography because of its reciprocity characteristics but it works well with most applications. It pushes well and has very tight grain.

I use TX mostly - 90% of my MF is with TX. It can be ASA200 in one film pack and ASA1600 in another film pack. With the two like this I can standardize on two development techniques - one for pyrocat and one for PC-TEA(like XTOL) and get consistent results for various lighting and contrast situations. One film that stains well, puts up with a lot of abuse and still gives me great negatives in a great variance of environments. I also use TXP exclusively in 8x10 due to its staining characteristics for use in AZO or Kalitype/Cyanotye printing. All things that TXP does really well. I find it to be the most versatile film I have used. I no longer use it much for 4x5 though. Only in huge contrast situations - like - shooting into the sun or backlit clouds. Most all of my 4x5 shooting has converted over to FP4 due to its ability to expand contrast, which it does more easily than TXP. I know that Plus X has similar contrast behaviors.

2-Jul-2007, 17:49
Very helpful, fhovie, and everyone else! I have ordered Tri-X Pan (8x10). I'll try it out with my present developer, Pyrocat MC, and see how it looks. I have also ordered some HC-110 to try out also. Thank you everybody!

20-Feb-2008, 10:45
Uh, does anybody out there develop TXP (320) in HC-110? I tried the unofficial dilution H at the recommend time (Covington), but I got some really low contrast negatives, which scan fine BTW, but, you know. I shot the film at ISO 200, and drum developed. I'm thinking maybe that I should try dilution B at 7 minutes (20 deg. C) next, even though that specified time is recommended for Tri-X and not Tri-X Pan, or increase the development time of dil H, of course.

Also, I think I got the reciprocity corrections wrong too. From Kodak, I thought the reciprocity compensation may be similar to FP4+. Someone published on this forum (sorry, I forget who) a really cool compensation aid for FP4+, which works great. Unfortunately, I think it's a bit too much for TXP.

Okay, now don't beat me over the head for trying to cut corners here in order to zone in on the right developing times, reciprocity etc. I know. Forgive me: it's 8x10 film, and it's expensive. I have ordered some medium format TXP to get a handle on things, but that won't arrive for awhile. Anyway, I'd be happy to know about what you do with your TXP and HC-110, with the understanding of all the caveats, of course!