Why I love Tri-X

It’s Thanksgiving, so what am I most thankful for?  Tri-X, of course.

I suppose it’s all about the mood.  There’s a lot of darkness in these photos, perhaps because I tend to use Tri-X where there isn’t a whole lot of light, and it always gets the image.  You can push it, pull it, overexpose or underexpose it and still get results.  It’s the most versatile film I know of, the best damn black and white film ever made.

You will notice that most of what I have here are people.  I suppose that with larger formats it would work great for landscape photography (which I don’t do a whole lot of in black and white), and I was experimenting a bit with caffenol back in the day, pulling film a stop and using a semi-stand development to reduce grain.  Fuji Acros 100 seems to be the king of black & white landscape photography these days, but I’ve always said it’s Kodak for black & white and Fuji for color (and I’ve always said that I’ve always said).  One of these days I’ll mix it up.

I’m not the only person in the world to love Tri-X, it does happen to be the best-selling black and white film in the world.  Because of its latitude and forgiving latitude in not only exposure but also development, it’s used in a lot of photography programs (including mine).  It was used by newspaper photographers from the 1950s to the 1980s, used by combat photographers in Vietnam, and countless street photographers to this day.  Think of a famous black and white photo and chances are it was shot on Tri-X.  Classic Americana.

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I know that guy!

I love seeing locals in the news!  My friend Jeff Cloutier is featured on Japan Camera Hunter, it was a pretty cool treat to run across that (and evidently it’s not the first time he’s been featured).  I met Jeff my first semester at UCCS when he taught the intro to sound recording class (he’s also a sound engineer, a man of many talents), and then ran into him one day when I stopped by Godec’s Photo.  He later bought the business and changed the name to Cloutier Photographic, one of the three camera stores in Colorado Springs.

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Check out the Reflex, a new 35mm camera

This is everything I love: manual focus lenses, solid metal body, and some impressive new features like interchangeable film backs (like a medium format SLR) and interchangeable lens boards: M42, Pentax K, Canon FD, Nikon F, Olympus OM.  I suppose that these are all in the public domain now and this idea really intrigues me.  I do run across Zuiko glass from time to time and it might be time for me to start investing in some.  Also, it will have a 1/4000sec top shutter speed, plus aperture priority (though how they’ll do that on the M42 mount I don’t know yet).

 

Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

So the downsides?  Price, for one.  I think if it were $400 I would be more interested, but £375 shipped is about $100 past that.  I don’t like that the electronic system would be powered by an internal rechargeable battery (same problem I have with the Kodak super 8 camera), it seems to me that if you’re doing a lot of shooting it should be possible to drop in new batteries as needed instead of having to find a USB charging slot.  Besides those two things I’m pretty excited about this camera.  The extra features it would give over every other SLR I own is extremely tempting and I’m trying to justify the expense…

edit: they were funded by the beginning of the third day.  Unfortunately I don’t think I can justify the expense right now, but I’ll be following their progress closely and definitely want to grab one of their cameras later on down the road!