Silver Efex Tri-X Emulations: Nikon D200, Sigma SD15, and M9 CCD Monochrom

Nikon D200
Sigma SD15
M9 Monochrom

Above are three digital files that have been run through the Tri-X emulation in Silver Efex. They are RAW files from 1) a 10 MP D200; 2) a 4/14 MP Sigma SD15 Foveon; and 3) an 18 MP M9 CCD Monochrom. (Click to enlarge.)

IMO, The D200 is the closest to a Tri-X film negative. ( Read more here).

The 4 MP Sigma SD15 renders the best to my eye and can pass for carefully developed Tri-X (pulled at 200 maybe) although it looks less like Tri-X than does the D200; compare it to the 10 MP D200 file and you can see the clear superiority of the 4 MP Foveon sensor in terms of tonality and sharpness. It’s a stunning B&W rendering from such a modest MP sensor. IMO, it’s also preferable to the Monochrom’s output.

The Monochrome is the least like film Tri-X; blown highlights that you’d never see on a Tri-X negative (even though the RAW file was shot at -.3 EV), tonality and an odd clarity more like Panatomic-X than Tri-X. The Monochrom just doesn’t work well with Silver Efex emulations..

Winner for “The Tri-X Look:” The Nikon D200. Winner for the best look: The Sigma SD15.

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10 thoughts on “Silver Efex Tri-X Emulations: Nikon D200, Sigma SD15, and M9 CCD Monochrom

  1. Lee Rust

    I wonder if my old D70 would have a similar look with this B&W processing? It’s the same vintage as the D200.

  2. Bill B

    Hmm. I have a D40x so 10 Mpx and an AIS 35mm so I might give it a try. The easy part would be the JPEG, the hard part would be the silver FX as I don’t have a copy. Also not sure if a 30 minute shower afterwards would be enough to wash away the guilt.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      That would work. Plus, Silver Efex will change your life. Shoot the D40x in RAW at ISO 400, convert to TIFF in LR, then apply the Tri-X emulation, or any other film emulation you prefer, in Silver Efex.

  3. Leicaphila Post author

    Everyone interested in kick-ass digital B&W should just sell their M or Monochrome and buy a $300 brand new Sigma DP2 (same sensor as the SD15) that’s been sitting on a shelf in Japan and be done with it. That’s less than you’d pay for a Leica lens hood for your Mono:

    To that end, I’m selling my rare Black M9 CCD Monochrom, great shape, new non-corrosive sensor replaced in 2018, just serviced fully by Leica USA with clean bill of health, 2 OEM batteries and OEM charger for $3295.

    When it comes to B&W the SD15 or DP2 with it’s cute little 4MP Foveon sensor blows the Monchrom out of the water. Plus, it’s so pedestrian looking and under the radar that no one will take you seriously when you pull it out and start pointing it around. Hell, I’m thinking of taking a T[von]O seminar with my SD15 just to show mine off.

    And don’t even get me talking about the sublime 20MP sd Quattro:

    Of course, none of you knuckleheads will, why, I don’t know. I just know that there seems to be massive resistance among Leicaphiles to admitting the glory of Foveon capture. It’s a shame.

    1. Hank

      Now you’ve done it…I have rented a SD Quattro for the week. I had a DP2 Merrill a while back, had a love/hate relationship with it, which I attribute now to just not being “ready” for it. Curious to see how the later generation of Foveon works for me.
      I may need to sell some cameras.

      1. Leicaphila Post author

        Welcome to the brotherhood, Hank. Some advice: forget what I said about shooting the sdQ in DNG mode and processing in LR. Shoot the native X3F Sigma RAW files and develop in Sigma Pro Photo 6.8. Use the monochrome feature and then convert to TIFF. The results in B&W are stunning.

  4. Dan Newell

    Got the D200 in and slapped on a 28MM AIS and went on the dog walk on the river.
    Gotta say at 800 it certainly looks joie de Tri-X. I took it into DXO and used their Tri-X emulation and brought their grain-applied down…pretty trick. That’s pretty crazy for 175 bucks.
    Thanks for the work…..

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