I shot 8 rolls of tri-x 400 on an olympus xa-2. I set the asa on the xa-2 to 800, 1 stop over.

Should I develop at 800? ie push 1 stop?

I would like to develop at maybe 1200, ie push 1.5 stops.

Would developing at 1200 asa work?


If you exposed at 800, then you should develop at 800. Pushing film with special developing isn't free. It usually makes the grain worse and reduces contrast. You don't want to do it more than necessary.

Developing to 1200 after exposing at 800 will give the the drawbacks of pushing the extra 0.6 f-stops without the benefits. In fact, if the pictures were really properly exposed at 800, then the highlights will be a bit into saturation. On the flip side, you will get a little more shadow detail. Is this what you want?

If in doubt, it's better to overexpose negative film a little than to underexpose it a little. This is because the saturation of the highlights is a little "soft", which can actually be useful in some high contrast cases. On the flip side, with underexposure, dark areas will simply be blank, meaning the information is totally lost.

  • 1
    Thanks for the info. To clarify, developing at 1200 will increase grain, but reduce contrast? I thought pushing increased contrast?
    – plyck
    Jun 1 '15 at 13:01
  • @plyck: A pushed-processed frame exposed to the pushed sensitivity will have decreased contrast relative to the same picture with normal processing and exposed for the normal sensitivity. Jun 2 '15 at 15:11
  • I thought you pushed film to increase contrast? Have I done it wrong?
    – plyck
    Jun 2 '15 at 23:30
  • @plyck you push film to use it at a higher ISO than it is intended to be used.
    – null
    Jun 4 '15 at 15:26

You should research/test for your film stock. Note that TriX is about the most versatile film ever. I've pushed it to 1600 successfully, and the net has plenty of examples of it pushed to 3200. Look/ask around for what that will do to the contrast and resolution.

Pushing TriX a stop will arguably have little effect if processed right. More importantly than pushing/pulling is the developer used as well as your developing style. Agitation during development can add contrast. High/low contrast developers will also (hopefully) do what their names suggest they do.

I'm a recent convert to TriX now that I'm in the states and it can be had for an affordable price. I love Rodinal with slower films, but with TriX, the grain is too much for my liking (even at 200) and the contrast not as pronounced as my liking. I switched to DD-X and got what I wanted out of both. Very different developers for very different results. As you push more than a stop, you'll need to perfect your method to keep attributes in check.

You can get development times from The Massive Dev Chart. There are other sites out there with examples of ISO/Film/Developer combinations. I would also recommend a film-central photography forum to get feedback from others. Ultimately though, it's a trial and error process.


Tri-X has excellent latitude and is actually closer to ISO 320 than 400. Did you shoot high contrast scenes or low contrast? Portraits or buildings. If you shot softer contrast scenes develop at 640. If you shot higher contrast scenes develop at 800. This is assuming you are using d-76 or similar. If you shot both, use 640. This is old school practice. Keep that temp at 68. Tri-X will reticulate if you are not careful to maintain even temps.

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