Tri-X – The Ultimate B&W

When I first was writing this, I thought, “oh, cool, I’ll use a bunch of Helmut Newton or maybe Avedon images”. But then I realized I have no idea which images of theirs are attributed to Kodak Tri-X film. Maybe they used Ilford, or Agfa.


Kodak Tri-X film
© Federico Mastrianni


However, with the exception of a couple I knew personally, such as the lighting director for Herb Ritts, or the few assistants I’ve known, I actually have no first hand knowledge. I suppose I can make educated guesses looking at the toe and contrast. But by the time it has been scanned so it’s digitally viewable, I have no idea. I knew this was going to be the most difficult category!


Kodak Tri-X film
Long Shutter Speeds


So, you’re stuck with images I actually took. As many are quite old, it is in no way self promotion. It’s just to show what’s typical in the ‘people realm’. I must confess that yellow and red filters were used in many. But, either way, it’s one of the films I’m happy are still available.

Kodak Tri-X Film – Very Malleable

The first shot is natural light, shot at 400iso. She’s putting on black lipstick, which is responsible for the “false” contrast.


Kodak Tri-X film
© Federico Mastrianni – Cameron Diaz look-a-like from Click Models, NYC. Rollei 6008, 80mm lens.


Again, no filter was used, and only daylight. I guess you can say this is a typical Kodak Tri-X film output in terms of contrast when shot at it’s native 400 iso. Probably 1999.


Kodak Tri-X film


Always Nice Contrast – High or Low

Contrast was increased with paper, not film. But I suppose you can call it a typical Tri-X output using strobes and red or yellow filter. I prefer to control contrast in the darkroom, but lenses used, filters used and the ambient scene will attribute to that contrast on the negative itself. All in all, Kodak Tri-X film has always come through in a pinch. Push it, pull it,…it always seems to behave well. I call it the “taffy of films”. Buying in bulk can save a lot of money. However, I’ve also used expired and have had no problems. But with that,…”you pays your money, and you takes your chances”.  Find Kodak Tri-X

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