Discover X Films! Kodak 125PX in Diafine!

I just couldn’t help myself…I needed to test yet another film in Diafine! What I have discovered has made me very, very happy. If you have been following the progression of articles here on The Figital Revolution I have been posting on Diafine Developer and an array of different black and white films for scanning purposes it should by now be clear by now that I feel that this is a great combo when ease of process, sharpness and huge tonality are required. Yes, there are finer grain developers but this finer grain comes at a cost, namely film speed which is something Diafine has no problem with!

So here is what I have just found….Kodak 125PX in Diafine is a perfect match!!! I’ve never given 125PX much thought until I decided to try this test and the results have made me a convert. I love the look of the grain, it is REALLY sharp and has a beautiful tonal range with a working EI of 320-400. Marry 125PX with my other favorite “X” film TX (EI 1250-1600) and all bases for my needs are covered. Here are two sample pictures made recently on 125PX…the full size image is 16.5″ x 25″. (35mm negative, 6300 optical dpi wet mount scan.)

Please note that the second image was shot under very flat light and scanned at 3150 dpi.

Here is my processing Technique:

  • Diafine Developer at 72-75 F
  • Part A 3 minutes (two inversions every minute…gentle.)
  • Part B 3 minutes (two inversions every minute…gentle.)
  • Water Stop 1 minute Fill and Dump (72-75 F)
  • Fix Kodak Rapid (5 minutes)
  • Wash 1 minute running water (72-75 F)
  • Perma Wash 1 minute constant agitation
  • Wash 5 minutes (68-75 F)
  • LFN
  • Dry

The temperature for the Developer Part A and B is very important. I found that at 68-70 F my negs were a bit thin in the shadows and by increasing the temp just a few degrees (well within the usable range for Diafine of 70-85 F) everything fell right into place. I also now use this time and temp for TX as well – I often soup both films at the same time…very convenient! I no longer use a prewet for Diafine developer as over time it will dilute Part A to a point that could potentially cause problems.

So in conclusion… TX and 125PX are fantastic films and are now my personal films of choice for all of my black and white shooting. Every roll is run in Diafine as described above and the scans are easy and amazing! Give it a try you too may fall for the combo of “X” films and Diafine.

Final Note: I use in my workflow a bit of noise reduction on my images (Noise Ninja). These images are not at the default setting suggested by Noise Ninja but represent NN at about 1/4 strength.

Viva la Revolution!!

4 thoughts on “Discover X Films! Kodak 125PX in Diafine!

  1. Stephen, nice post.

    Is it possible to overdevelop with Diafine? In theory it would not seem so, but I’ve gotten results that looked overdeveloped.

    I also shot at box speed, as I’d been advised that doing so would improve shadow detail over that obtainable with film “pushed” in Diafine. You’d not think exposure would make much difference at the highlight end, as long as development is correct, but….

    Still searching for a developer that can make Delta 100 (at least the five rolls I have left) look good! I’m too cheap to toss it, but I’m buying only TMX, TMY, PX, and TX going forward.

  2. In my opinion it IS possible to overdeveloper in Diafine…but the results of the overdevelopment are different than with other developers. I had a roll of Fuji Acros that I ran at EI of 160 with A for 6 minutes and B for 11 minutes at 70F and the negs looked great but the highlights were blocked up and the shadows were VERY open…too open. The nice thing about Diafine is that a little over is just fine but too much is too much. I would not shoot at box speed as it will make your work in PS more and is really not necessary (for most films). I shoot TX at 1250/1600, Acros at 160, TMAX 100 at 160, 125PX at 320/400…this increase in speed is due to the extra long dev that the shadows receive due to the nature of Diafine. I have no info on Delta 100….I did Delta 400 in PMK and loved it.

    Stephen Schaub

  3. Hi Stephen,

    I already knew the Tri-X / Diafine combination was a good one. Some of the best 35mm portrait work I’ve done is with that combination. I’ve also had really good luck with my Holga cameras, shooting in low light with Tri-X and using Diafine as the developer to give a couple of stops extra.
    I do print optically in the darkroom, however, and am not very apt at scanning (frankly, I find it tedious, but that’s just me). But the same principles apply, but I give a little bit more exposure than you do for optimum results printing the way I do.

    It is nice to hear about your results with Plus-X. For some reason it seems to be an overlooked film by many. I did try some in Rodinal a few years back, but couldn’t find any real advantage over Ilford FP4+. FP4 did not work very well in Diafine, however. The same batch of developer churned out Tri-X like a champ, while the FP4 came out with really severe mottling and uneven development. It was a very disappointing experience. Maybe I’ll give Plus-X a try, thanks to your research.

    Thank you for posting your film developing results,

    – Thomas

  4. I shoot Delta 100 at ISO80 and develop in Diafine, and I’m pretty happy with the results. I don’t print though–I scan with a Nikon CoolScan 9000ED. No room in my apartment for a wet darkroom, but I can develop in a daylight tank in my kitchen. I go by the box instructions, and my chemical temperatures vary by season and the temperature under my sink, but my results are pretty consistent.

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