I keep on hearing about how much Tri-X curls and how people don’t like it for that. I never noticed that issue myself and was always wondering what people are talking about. It turns out I didn’t notice the issue because I don’t use anything that requires flat film I stopped scanning my negatives a while ago and make contact prints instead now. I then just scan my prints if I want or need a digital version. Even before that I was using a Pakon and Frontier scanner which pretty much didn’t care about flatness. These scanner take curly film just as well as flat film. In the enlarger it’s obviously also not an issue since you sandwich the film in the negative holder anyhow.
So i don’t need flat negatives but my Tri-X negatives are still flat as a pancake. I believe this is due to the way I process my film. A while back I got really fed up with purple negatives (see my rants on the blog). I eventually figured out how to get rid of that damn purple/pink stain and in the process I’m also getting flatter negatives. Developer might play a role too but I’m not sure about that.
They key to flat negatives seems to be the hour long soak in plain water I do before I dry my film.
In anycase this is my process step by step.
- Develop in xtol 1:1
- stop bath
- neutral fixer
- quick rinse
- Hypo clearing agent 2 mins no agitation
- 1 hour soak in water. No agitation.
- Hang to dry
- flat negatives.