Kodak Tri-X (or Kodak TX) has been a tough film for me to develop. It is a contrasty film, so I have come to learn that it doesn’t just automatically look that way. It needs to be developed and agitated a certain way to introduce that contrast.
If you go to the Kodak Alaris site for instructions on developing this film, they don’t explain it very clearly. I am the type that needs the instructions to be step by step and very clear. One thing that was off in these instructions is the suggested developing times. For HC-110 it says to develop for only 3 minutes. I know you’re not supposed to use times lower than 5 minutes, so I wasn’t going to do that.
I normally use the Massive Dev Chart app for my times, and on there it gives two times for HC110 and TX, 6min or 6:45. I decided to go with 6 minutes. I agitated for 10 sec every 30sec. The Kodak instructions only said agitate every 30 seconds. It didn’t say how long.
As you can see above, the highlights on my fiancé’s face look blown while everything else stays dark. I am not sure what exactly is the cause for that. I have also gotten it in many shots of Delta 3200 in the past. Maybe someone can help me out in the comments. The pictures came gritty and dark. They almost look dirty. I am guessing it is from not developing long enough.
Let’s Try That Again
After that debacle, I decided to try two different processes. I wanted to try one roll in Kodak D-76 because that is usually my preferred developer, and I would try a second roll in HC-110 Dilution B (1+31) because I found some good instructions on YouTube.
First, I shot a roll of Tri-X with the Nikon S2 that Mike Eckman lent me. I developed that using the recommended times on the Massive Dev Chart app. I proceeded as follows: rinse the film, develop for 6:45 minutes agitating the 1st minute and then for 10 seconds every minute after that. Next, rinse, Ilford Rapid Fix 4 minutes (same agitation pattern), rinse for 6 min under the faucet, and finally PhotoFlo for 30 seconds.
Next, I shot a roll of Tri-x 400 in my Hasselblad 500 C/M on a tripod with a cable release and one soft box light. I developed it with HC-110 dilution B as follows: rinse, develop for 6:50 minutes agitating the first minute and then 5 seconds every 30 seconds after that. Next, stop bath for 30 seconds, fix for 4 minutes (same agitations), Ilford Washaid for 2 min, rinse for 4 minutes and then photo Flo for 30 seconds.
As you can see from the results the D-76 roll has a little less contrast. While the HC-110 roll has a nice amount of contrast, but the D-76 roll looks a little cleaner/softer. Personally I really like the results I got with the HC-110 for Tri-X and I think I will use the two together in the future.
I hope this helps anyone who is learning to develop their own black and white film along with me. If you enjoy this series, I will try to post one every Thursday. Be sure to sign up to follow me through email so that you can be notified.
Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.