View Full Version : DD-X compared to XTOL?

Ron Marshall
15-Feb-2007, 21:21
How is speed and image quality with Ilford DD-X compared to XTOL?

Ed K.
15-Feb-2007, 21:46

The film used matters - which film? DDX is especially good for getting more contrast, and generally good for both pushing and achieving the "on the box" film speed. DDX works well with Acros and TMax as well as Efke 25. Too grainy for my taste with Efke 100. DDX is very convenient and economical for occasional use, especially if used in a rotary processor. XTol ususally results in less speed and tighter grain, and in some cases, it is an idea developer for certain films. I use DDX a great deal for general purpose work. It keeps quite well too.

Try searching for comments on the film you are using, and the type of contrast range you need to acheive with your particular film too. Also, both are cheap enough to try some and see what you like.

Scott Rosenberg
15-Feb-2007, 21:48
...XTol ususally results in less speed and tighter grain, and in some cases, it is an idea developer for certain films....

Ed, care to elaborate on that? i'm about to start testing various emulsions in XTol (new lab, new chemistry to learn).

15-Feb-2007, 21:53
I've used lots of different films in xtol and have never experienced speed loss. With xtol, I always shoot at box speed and develop according to the kodak site.

As mentioned on another thread, FP4+ and HP5+ work great in xtol.

Ron Marshall
15-Feb-2007, 22:32

The film used matters - which film?

Ed, mostly I shoot FP4, HP5 and TMY.

I'm happy with XTOL, it gives me box speed or a bit better, I don't mind mixing the powder, and at 1:3 in a Jobo it is cheap, just curious how it compares.

Ed K.
15-Feb-2007, 22:48
I read an obscure Kodak sheet a few days ago, which I can't find now, where Kodak listed the best sharpness and finest grain for their TMax400 in Xtol, but that the recommended EI was 200. Oh well.

DDX is probably a bit more expensive than XTol, but trivial as you use a rotary processor. If you are happy with XTol, I doubt that DDX will make you happier in general, however one thing for sure - DDX is really good for pushing films, especially to gain more density for alt-process work. Generally, I have to develop for less than recommended times with DDX for "normal" negs. I like DDX for slower films though. Yes, that might sound odd - pushing slower films. DDX is not a very fine grain developer in general, whereas XTOL rivals some of the "fine grain" developers, while retaining a lot of sharpness. To print traditionally, DDX would be more favored for me (grade 2 AZO contact), but to scan, XTol is more like it, if that makes any sense. Times, temps and exposure make so much difference with either developer though.

Best thing to do is run a few test sheets. I personally like FP4+ in DDX over XTol, but then it could just be that I need to develop longer in Xtol, or rate it slower.

Ron Marshall
16-Feb-2007, 07:44
Thanks Ed, interesting. My favourite developer for FP4 is Rodinal, when I don't need the extra speed from XTOL.