Developing Adventures · film photography

Developing Adventures – My First Try with Ilfotec DD-X

Today in my developing adventures, I tried out Ilfotec DD-X developer for the first time. It has been recommended to me by a couple of you for my pushing experiments because, according to Ilford, it gives full speed to films. Now, keep in mind this is not a formal review of this developer. This series is just my developing journal and I wanted to share my results.

I shot a roll of Ilford HP-5 400 film at 800 and then developed it for 10 minutes at the 1+4 dilution. I chose this roll because it was just a test roll I used to test out a Yashica Electro 35 GSN my Uncle B recently sent me. It’s always a good idea, when trying out a new developer, to use a roll you won’t care to lose if anything goes wrong.

Yashica Electro GSN Ilford HP5 400 at 800

Ilford states that: Ilfotec DD_X is designed to complement the ILFORD black & white film range in-particular the DELTA PROFESSIONAL films. It ensures a good balance of fine grain, sharpness and tonal rendition producing negatives which are easy to print and allow a high degree of enlargement.

Ilford says it ensures fine grain, but this roll came out with a lot of it. I am not sure if thats normal. It will be hard for you to see here because it is so compressed, but there is a very big difference in the grain when comparing this film pushed to 800 in Kodak D-76 to pushing it with the DD-X.

Left Pic: D-76
Right Pic: DD-X

I did however notice that it gave it less contrast than it did with D-76. I added some in post. I like that. It’s almost like the DD-X made the HP5 look like a Delta film. I have also noticed that the grain seems to give the film a lot more shadow detail. I guess it makes it sharper.

Yashica Electro GSN Ilford HP5 400 at 800
Yashica Electro GSN Ilford HP5 400 at 800

For portraits, I don’t like the grain it adds to skin tones, but for these nature photos, I think it really lends to the texture.

Yashica Electro GSN Ilford HP5 400 at 800
Yashica Electro GSN Ilford HP5 400 at 800
Yashica Electro GSN Ilford HP5 400 at 800
Yashica Electro GSN Ilford HP5 400 at 800

Final Thoughts

Since this is the first time I have tried this developer, I can’t really make my judgement yet on whether I will continue to use it for pushing films. It is good to know now that it will add grain, but not as much contrast. If you’re experienced with this developer and have some kind pointers for me, feel free to leave them in the comments.

The adventures continue! Stay tuned and make sure to sign up to get my articles in your inbox.

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Until next time, stay motivated and keep shooting.

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