View Full Version : Minimum amount of stock DD-X per sheet of 4x5

Dean Cookson
3-Apr-2004, 19:53
Hey folks, I'm about to develop a couple of the View Camera Store film tests in a Jobo 3006, using Ilford DD-X for the first time. I'm trying the DD-X on Fred's recommendation and the test specifies a 1:6 dilution which makes me nervous because I don't know what is the minimum amount of stock solution necessary per 4x5 sheet.

The Ilford tech pub for DD-X says at 1:4 1 litre of stock should be good for 16 rolls 35mm, 36 exp. I think 1 roll of 35mm is about the same area as one sheet of 8x10, so... It seems to say that 1 litre of stock should do 64 sheets of 4x5 or that I should need just about 16ml per sheet.

Do any of you have experience using DD-X at 1:6 in an expert drum and, if so, how much solution do you use per sheet?

tim atherton
3-Apr-2004, 20:25
a bit here on DD-X and minimum volumes (though not rotary processors) from the FAPS website - thouhg I can't find it on there now

FWIW I'm really getting to like DD-X - especially with HP5/FP4

QUOTE: "When used with Ilford HP-5 film, Ilfotec DD-X developer produces negatives of strong local contrast and low overall contrast (like Tri-X and HC-110). Ilford recommends a 1:4 dilution for this developer. I dilute DD-X at 1:9, and find a 15 minute time optimum (make your own tests to be sure). The longer development times obtained with this product are also nice for photographers uncomfortable with developing sheet film in trays – it’s easy to achieve sufficient agitation.

DD-X developer can process a lot of film before exhaustion: (10) 8x10's per 2 liters of working solution at 1:9 dilution (that's equivalent to (20) 5x7's, or (40) 4x5's; or 10 rolls of 35mm or 120 rollfilm.

HP-5 film is a true ISO 400 speed - a full stop faster than Tri-X.

HP-5 & DD-X

Ilford informs me that the capacity of 1 liter of DD-X developer (at 1:4 dilution) is (10) 8x10 films or equivalent (the equivalent is 10 36 exposure rolls, etc). That seemed like quite a bit of film for one liter- even at a 1:4 dilution, so I called David Carper of Ilford and we talked this over. It seems that 10 8x10 films per liter is a bit of an “averaged” estimate. If the 10 negatives (or rolls) contained bright snow scenes – high density, that estimate is a bit low; if the negatives are all “low key” (dark) subjects, that doesn’t require as much developer activity and so the estimate is more than enough. Ilford is expecting you to think! Very unusual for a film manufacturer.

The safest way to proceed with DD-X developer is to figure, at 1:9 dilution (which is what I’ve recommended), is 5 8x10 negatives per 2 liters of working solution. In other words, 200 milliliters of DD-X added to 1800 milliliters of water will process – will full activity: 5 8x10 films; 10 5x7 ’s, 20 4x5’s, 5 36 exposure rolls of 35mm film, or 5 rolls of 120 film. Ilford suggests replenishing the original working solution, but for sheet film, I think it’s best to use it as a “one shot.”

Two liters of DD-X, at 1:9, will develop 5 rolls of 120 or 36 exp 35mm film easily. It’s a good idea to store the working solution until it’s used up. No sense wasting it.

I did an interesting test comparing Kodak Tri-X/HC-110 and Ilford’s HP-5/DD-X. This was a proper test – both films tested for threshold low value detail and proper Zone VIII high value density; then identical photographs taken with each. The results – again – were interesting. Both have very similar low values – below Zone IV; and the upper high values from VII to VIII are similar. The HP-5/DD-X middle range is different, however.

The HP-5 middle range is more “buoyant”; it’s more luminous, brighter… not as heavy and dark. I have one negative of a branch hanging over some lake water. The Tri-X print shows the leaves dark. They seem to be a Zone III-1/2 print value, although this may be influenced by the light water behind. The “atmosphere” of the HP-5 is much nicer – the leaves on the branch show as a Zone V to VI -1/2, and the feeling of the print is more pleasing and “cleaner.”

With some of the pictures in the test, the difference isn’t that great – but it’s still there. After having used Tri-X and HC-110 for so many years, it seems that HP-5 and DD-X has a better ability to create more of that “other-world” quality to the prints. Tri-X/HC-110 is more “literal” in it’s tone representation, and it has a tendency to sink those very important middle tones into darkness. HP-5 is very different. With other developers (I haven’t tried Pyro) HP-5 can veer towards being too soft and dead looking.

But with DD-X developer, HP-5 achieves the crisp, definite tonal separation of Tri-X, and also has this more airy, brighter looking mid-tone quality. That, to me, is the impressiveness of Ilford HP-5 and DD-X developer. It has the capacity to deliver this kind of impact."

Dean Cookson
3-Apr-2004, 20:46
Thanks Tim! That's the info I needed.

I'm doing the test for both Fuji Acros (gotta love them quickloads) and HP5+. Once I have speed and my N times down I'll be excited to see how both films perform in the developer with real images.

Thanks again.

Gem Singer
3-Apr-2004, 22:02

I wish I had your gift with words. I've been hooked in HP-5+, developed in DD-X, for a while now. I have urged others to give it a try. The only way I can describe the combination of HP-5+ film and DD-X developer, is that it results in a negative that sparkles. I previously developed HP-5+ in ID-11 (1:1) and Microphen (1:1). Neither of those developers produced that unique sparkle with HP-5+ film. I use DD-X at the 1:4 dilution, dip-and-dunk, intermittent agitation. I find that I can obtain a higher degree of acutance using the stronger dilution with a shorter developing time using that method.

As far as using DD-X with Fuji Acros 100 quickloads, my first trial with that combination was disappointing. Too much contrast. Highlights were blown out. I am now in the process of testing the Acros Quickloads in Paterson's new FX-50 developer. The results look promising, but the jury is still out on that one. At $3 a sheet, I'm reluctant to use a lot of Quickload film for testing.

Sal Santamaura
4-Apr-2004, 10:17
First, assuming we're talking about one-shot use in that Expert drum, Dean did the math correctly. For perfectly consistent results regardless of subject matter exposed, i.e. not attempting 'finger-in-the-wind' adjustments based on guesses, he needs approximately 16 ml of DD-X concentrate per 4x5 sheet according to Ilford's published documentation (which I trust more than alleged verbal comments of its employees). That's 312.5 ml working solution per 80 square inches of film at 1:4. I stretch this a little by using Anchell & Troop's recommendation of 250 ml per 80 square inches, which works out to 12.5 ml of concentrate per 4x5 sheet. Maintain the concentrate-per-sheet amount regardless of which dilution you use. Depending on which Jobo processor and which Expert drum are used, this will probably limit you to fewer sheets that can physically fit. CPA/CPP motors can rotate up to 1 liter; the larger Autolabs handle 1.5 liter.

Personal preferences vary. I find HP5+ in DD-X superb for 8x10, but too grainy even in 4x5; others like grain more than I do. I've tried Acros in DD-X with results that were also too grainy for my taste. The combination I've settled on with Acros is Perceptol 1:3. Not having an Autolab, I'm limited to 4 4x5 sheets in a 3006 drum per run. After being unable to make "new" TMX perform to my satisfaction despite trying many developers with it, I've settled on Acros/Perceptol 1:3 as a new standard. It's darn close to best "old" TMX grain/sharpness achievable, comes in a EI 125 and has incredible reciprocity performance as a bonus.

Tim contributes many valuable posts here, but the "gift with words" above belongs to Anthony Guidice. Tim, don't you think that quote is a bit long to be a quote? We frequently hear complaints about folks appropriating Web images without permission, but then see photographers stretching the limit of copyright law using text cuts-and-pastes. I believe it would be better to err on the conservative side by using links or references for all but the most brief quotes.

Gem Singer
4-Apr-2004, 13:18

I recognized Anthony's glowing description of the results with the combination of DD-X and HP-5+. It's interesting that Anthony now has his own liquid concentrate film developer, called FA-1027. In his product description on the Fine Art Photo Supply website, he mentions the things he didn't like about DD-X that motivated him to formulate his new, improved film developer. I was ready to order a bottle until I realized that FA-1027 is a PQ developer that uses two restrainers, benzotriazole and potassium bromide. It sounds like a close version of a Crawley formulation for Paterson (FX-37?, FX-39?).

I believe that Ilfotec DD-X was formulated by Ilford to exactly match up with the characteristics of HP-5+. I only use it with the 4X5 sheet film version and only make 16X20 enlargements. Anthony's description only served to verify the way I felt about that combination of film and developer for my purposes.

Walter Glover
4-Apr-2004, 17:26
I am a fan of Ilfotec DDX used with Expert Drums for 8x10 & 4x5. I have calibrated my exposure and developing regime in accordance with the BTZS system. I standardise on 25ml DDX stock per 8x10 and mix to 1+5 for HP5+ and 1+6 for most other emulsions. Just this last weekend I ran a comparison test on FP4+ in the Jobo with 1+6 DDX and in a tray with Rodinal 1+100. (I might add that in the tray I use 'intermittant' agitation for a compensating effect). I have found that 10ml of Rodinal concentrate per 8x10 is a safe bet also for what it's worth.

Edge density with the tray processing is a slight detraction from the tray approach whereas the Expert drums give as even a development as I could wish for.

Using DDX the way I do means 875ml total for 5 sheets of 8x10 in the Expert drum and this is comfortable with the motor on the CPP-2. For 1+5 with HP5+ I require only 750ml total which is even better.

Phil Davis and Fred Newman both rave about the qualities of DDX and I tend to agree. On the other hand I really tried and tried to get something out of FX-39 and just couldn't. Different strokes I guess.