Tri-X is 61!


A Wired Article points out that Tri-X is 61 years old this year.

I was a little slow on the uptake of Tri-X. My very first experience with black and white film in High School was with the brand new (then) Tmax. I distinctly remember my Photography Club proctor saying “I hope this works with regular developer because we don’t have any Tmax developer.” It did. Almost a decade later when I picked up photography again in 2001 Tmax was about all the local Ritz had.

I eventually switched to Ilford Delta which is still a “T” grain film but I thought it looked more “organic.” Over time I meandered out of “T” grain films with Efke and then budget Chinese films and Foma. Which brought me to Tri-X. Freestyle sold some Tri-X as it’s Arista Premium and I started shooting it.

I like it. It was actually quite a jolt going from 120 Fuji Neopan Acros developed in Xtol, to 35mm Tri-X developed in Rodinol. The Acros would have grain so tight it was hard to see with a grain focuser on 8×10 prints. The Tri-X formulation had golfball size grain by comparison. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! 🙂 Now I like Tri-X, I think I like Kodak XX a bit more but I’d rather shoot Tri-X than Shanghai or Lucky SHD. Neopan Acros still rules the iso 100 category though. That stuff is Magic!

This abandoned pier was shot in a brief crossover period when I was processing Tri-X in Xtol:
Old Pier Pano

Like the article mentions, this is an old, probably the oldest black and white film in continuous production, it’s been there and proven itself in the hands of innumerable photographers.

Shooting Tri-X is like time traveling. It’s fun, a timeless look, and those of us still shooting film should consider adding it to our repertoire.