Although I’m not a fan of Tri-X or other high-speed films I thought it would be educational to attempt a digital simulation, if only to me. The basics are pretty obvious: ISO 400 (or 320 if we want to try “old and better Tri-X”), higher than normal contrast, reduced gray scale range, and more (but not too much) grain. All fairly easy to achieve. In fact my Nikon has a “high contrast monochrome” setting. That’s pretty much describes Tri-X. In this case I’m using my “experimenter’s camera”, the Canon Rebel T100.
These first three were taken using the default monochrome setting @ ISO 400 and automatic exposure with a slight post-shoot contrast/brightness tweaking on a foggy day (a good time to use high-speed film).
(I think the little bird shot is quite good. It also employs a bit of post-shoot digital zooming, my main reason for shooting at full 18MP resolution.)
The next three are shot in colour @ ISO 400 and automatic exposure with a yellow filter to slightly enhance the contrast and reduce the effective ISO to approximately 320, which is what Tri-X had been before (and many people advocated shooting the 400 rated film at 320 still). Then desaturated in GIMP, with a slight tweak of contrast.
The results either way are nearly identical and wholly acceptable. The colour shots, however, produced a couple of images that also work well in colour – whether corrected for the yellow filter or not:
In the end the Tri-X simulation definitely works, but I don’t think I’ll bother with it even though it’s simple. I still prefer to shoot in colour, even if off-colour, and then desaturate if I think the shot would look better in black & white.