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Pushing film

Forums Forums Get Technical In the darkroom Pushing film

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    Well, some of what you want to know depends on what film you are using. First the easy stuff. Pushing your film will give you faster shutter speed, will increase the contrast and will also increase the grain. How extreme these changes are depends on the film type, the chemicals you are using to develop it, and the developing times.

    As far as developing times, you should check the data and usage sheets that are probably available from your film company’s homepage. Kodak and Fuji (and probably others) have really nice PDFs for download.

    I have never pushed slow film before, so I don’t know what kind of results you can expect. My experience with pushing is from using Kodak T-Max p3200 film which I have pushed to ISO6400 with good results. If you are shooting in low light or want fast shutter speeds in low or medium low light but don’t mind the grain (which IMHO adds nice atmosphere to night shots), then p3200 is great film.


    I’ve done lots of pushing of 400 to 800 using Kodak Tri-X B&W. I found that an increase in development time of 20-25% worked excellent for me. You might consider doing some test rolls to nail your times down. You can expect some increase in graininess, but it’s really not too bad.

    There are tons of variables (film speed, development chemicals…etc.)…when in doubt, test, test, test.

    Good luck!


    Well, it’s been almost a year since this thread was last added to. How did your experiments go? What film were you using? How far did you push it? What developer and times did you use?


    Are you pushing for stylistic purposes (grain, contrast) or to overcome low-light situations?

    Tri-X can be pushed a single stop without changing development times or at the most boosting times by 15%. I’ve done this with Microdol-X and Xtol, both work well but have different characteristics. The Microdol-X developed negatives had the finest grain, but the Xtol was incredible sharp with slightly larger grain. If you’re looking to get a little bit more speed for low light without changing the negative characteristics too much, this is a nice combination.

    If you’re looking for maximum speed for low light, try Ilford Delta 3200 pushed to 12,500. Develop for 16.5 minutes at 20 degrees C in Ilford Microphen (stock solution).

    If you just want a little more grain, you can shoot as normal at the printed ISO, and then use higher developer dilutions to get more grain. Microdol-X (stock) will give less grain than Microdol-X (1+3), for example.

    You can also pull film by 1/2 a stop, and use stock or higher dilutions to get interesting looks. And for the coolest grain (like sandpaper) of all, try Delta 3200 at 800, develop in Ilfosol-S (1+9) for 8 minutes at 20 degrees C. Delta 3200 has enormously wide exposure latitude; it is actually rated at around 1250, but it is designed to be pushed. So ISO 800 is about 1/2 stop pull from the rated speed.

    There’s a thousand combinations of film and developers, have you see the Massive Dev Chart at


    So…much…information! This is why I never got into film/developing…lol

    /totally confused by 90% of what all ya’ll are talking about


    Actually that analogy probably makes the most sense to me. All this time I’ve been frightened and confused, but maybe developing isn’t so scary after all 😆


    Pentax ME

    hope it worked better than windows ME.

    although after you dropped it there are similarities. the leaking part

    All this time I’ve been frightened and confused, but maybe developing isn’t so scary after all.

    it’s not scary but it is boring. and if you leave it in too long the results are worse than what an overcooked meatloaf looks like. also note the mention of temp. temp can be real critical too. getting consistent negs is like anything else. know what you’re doing and practice, practice, practice. but, again like cooking, once mastered the rewards are great too.


    standing with a developing can full of film and solution and gently turning it over for ten minutes is boring. sorry but it is.

    yes the results are magical but still …

    and Elsinore if you do start doing your own developing make sure the agitation is gentle. too much vigor will make for streaks next to the sprocket holes. and correcting those in the prints is a huge pain.


    developing is SO FUN. when mr. bort and i finally build a house a darkroom is definitely a requirement.

    hey, he gets a workshop, i get a darkroom. pretty fair, i think. 😛

    renko – i second the brain picking. as soon as i get back into film a bit i will also be doing some brain picking (if you don’t mind, of course).


    yum .. brains

    ok, it’s now pretty obvious i’m the odd man out here. and not just because it’s me against the women. while i would be the first to say that printing from film is great fun the act of developing a roll of film from the raw state to a usable negative is not one of life’s major joys. necessary yes, fun, not so much.

    having said that i’ll fade into the background and leave you all to your enjoyment 🙂


    Your kitchen’s dark enough for that? Or are we talking closed containers that you just load in the dark room and can agitate elsewhere?

    Honestly, if I dip my toe in developing (which won’t be anytime soon due to other commitments, but maybe someday…), I’m intrigued most by diafine which seems much less complicated in general, but we’ll see 😉


    and once you’ve opened the tank only to find that the negatives were touching you try the practice thing with a roll of bad film and the reel in the light. first with your eyes open and then closed. over and over until you can do it in the dark 🙂

    35 is easy because it’s fairly stiff and you can actually feel both the curvature you need and the wire that makes up the reel. 2 1/4 is a bit tricker.

    oh and 4 x 5 is a snap. well unless you’re using a film pack. that stuff is really thin.

    but once on the reel and in the can comes the fun part. agitating.

    ok, i’ll quit agitating you all.


    haha agitating



    What lenses were you using?


    What does that have to do with push processing film? I’m noticing you posting on a lot of ancient threads with only semi-relevant messages at best. In this case, it isn’t relevant at all. Several have suspected this for awhile, but I’m also starting to think you’re simply posting to push your photography course link in your sig line. If you can’t actually dialogue with other folks here, as opposed to posting irrelevant stuff on long-dead threads, then we may need to show you the door.

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