Kodak TriX: A classic black and white film
Film cameras, and film are ultimately tools for artistic expression of the photographer. Within film photography, the choice of film stock is a major determinant of the final “look” of the image. Previously, I discussed my thoughts on film photography in great length in a two-part post (part 1, part 2). In this post, I reviewed some of the main drivers for me to pursue film photography such as the analog experience, the limitation(s) and the simplicity of analog photography. Another limitation is to omit color and photograph in black and white. But instead of simplifying my analog photography, I experimented with many different black and white film stocks. These “choices” paradoxically did limit my creativity. Thus, I decided to limit myself further by only photographing with one film stock: Kodak TriX 400.
Kodak Tri-X is once the most popular film used by photojournalists. And to this date, it is probably the most popular film still amongst those who still use film like I do. Manufacturing by Eastman Kodak in the U.S., Kodak Canada, and Kodak Ltd in the UK. To this date, it remains popular in documentary journalism.
Tri-X has undergone only a few engineering changes since its release. But in 2007, Kodak did a major overhaul of the Tri-X emulsion. It became finer-grained and underwent other engineering changes including a reduction of silver.
So what makes it so special and why did I decide to use Kodak TriX as my major B&W film?
There are not too many, but perhaps a few that are worthwhile noting.
- Price: Kodak TriX is amongst the more expensive B&W film stocks. Kodak increased the prices in 2020 which did not help.
- Push-ability: TriX can be pushed. It might not be as “pushable” as HP5 for example. I successfully pushed it to 800, and also 1600. It gets very contrasty at 1600, although I like the look.
- The film stock dries not as flat as some of the film stocks (e.g. Delta 400). I use the Negative Supply scanner holders, so for me this is a non-issue.
- The grain looks very classic; if you prefer a more modern look, a film like Delta 400 might be more suitable. This is particularly important in 135 format where grain might be more prominent.
I am sharing some examples from a very recent road trip to the American West. I do think Kodak TriX black and white film is great for travel and also portraiture.
Lake McDonald, Glacier
Wild Goose Island, Glacier
Somewhere in Montana
Fence somewhere in Montana
Tree, Fence and Mountains in the Haze in Montana
Me, in North Dakota, captured by Amy Olson
Kodak TriX is a cool and iconic film stock. I hope you like the images. It’s fun to just limit yourself to one medium and film, and challenging at times, but also liberating.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]