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Developing Kodak Tri-X 400, Pushed to 6400

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I just developed a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 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 Tri-X 400 is one of them. Many photographers I know are even shooting by default at 1600 ISO but I wanted to push its limits 2 stops further.

For this little experimentation, I was accompanied by my trusted Leica M6 and a recently acquired Voigtlander 35mm Nokton f/1.4 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:

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, and 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 ones.

Now let’s look at some examples of Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 6400.

I hope you enjoyed this little experimentation. You’ll make your own opinion of the results, but I think we have pushed this poor Kodak TX a little too far. The pictures still look good to me, but we have lost a lot of shadow details along the way.


About the author: Vincent Moschetti is an Ireland-based photographer who is in the middle of a year-long experiment where he’s shooting only film photography. You can find more of his work or follow along on this adventure by visiting his website or following him on Facebook and Instagram. This post was also published here.

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