Pushing Kodak Tri-X 400 to 6400
Today we are developing a roll of Kodak TX400 shot at 6400 ISO.
I’ve been wanting to try this little experience for a while now. Some films are known for handling push processing very well and Kodak TX400 is one of them. Lots of photographers I know are shooting by default at 1600 ISO but I wanted to push its limits 2 stops further.
Table of Contents
Benefit Of Pushing B&W Film
You may wonder already why would anyone push a film by 4 stops and what could be the benefit from it. The most obvious reason would be if you are stuck with a medium speed film in a dark environment like a concert or dark interior.
But appart from the extra speed, pushing black and white film will also boost the contrast and that’s what I was most interested in. We’ll see below with some samples that it didn’t fail on that!
For this little experimentation, I was accompanied by my trusted Leica M6 and a recently acquired Voigtlander 35mm Nokton f1.4 and shot the roll between Nice and Paris in different lighting situation.
To process the roll, I used the ILFORD DD-X developer and followed the instructions found on the Massive Dev Chart.
Let me break down for you all the steps I took and then we’ll look at the results right after:
Step 1 – Prepare The Developer
If you are using the Ilford DD-X, like I did, your developing solution must be diluted for 1 + 4. This means that you will need 60ml of DD-X for 240ml of water.
In total, you will get 300ml of solution, which is the minimum for developing a roll of 35mm film using a Patterson tank.
Step 2 – Time And Agitation
Set your timer for 25 minutes, start with one minute of agitation at the beginning and 4 inversions every minute. I’ve always followed this sequence of agitation and it gave me good results so far.
Don’t forget to tap the tank a few times after every agitation to remove the air bubbles from the film surface.
Step 3 – Stop, Fix, Wash & Wetting Agent
From here there nothing much to say about. It’s the classic sequence of Stop Bath, 3 minutes Fix, a good wash with clean water and the optional (but highly recommended) Wetting Agent that will help to avoid marks on the film surface while drying. The Kodak Photo-Flo is one of the most popular one.
Now let’s look at some samples of Tri-X 400 Pushed to 6400
You’ll make you’re own opinion of the results but I think we have push this poor Kodak TX a little too far. Pictures still look good to me but we have a lost a lot of shadow details along the way because of the increased contrat.
Nevertheless, it’s good to know that it can handle such an extreme processing and still produce usable images. Sure they may not be great negatives to print in the darkroom but we can definitely do something with those images.
Let me know what you think in the comment and if you had better results with other developers, I’d love to hear about it!