I purchased Ilford’s Ilfotec DD-X on a recommendation to use when I was pushing film, such as the time I pushed Fomapan 400 to 800. I’ve also purchased Kodak’s HC-110 to develop Kodak films such as Kodak Tri-x and TMax. I just like the look these pairings give me. However, I wanted to see if there was a difference in using the two developers. In this article, I will compare my results of Kodak Tri-X with Kodak HC-110 and Ilford DD-X.
Kodak Tri-X with Kodak HC-110
First, I processed a roll of Kodak Tri-X in the usual manner I do, with Kodak HC-110B (1+31) for 6 minutes 50 seconds.
This gives me the clean look that I love about Tri-X. With moderate contrast and, especially in medium format, fine grain, HC-110B diluted this way is beautiful to me.
This pairing gives a nice tonal range and the highlights aren’t blown.
Kodak Tri-X with Ilfotec DD-X
For the Ilford Ilfotec DD-X developer, I used the dilution of 1+4, developing for 8 minutes.
DD-X seems to have given the film a bit more contrast than HC-110.
The tonal range also isn’t as wide as HC-110B, but in some settings that isn’t a bad thing. Really, it depends on what look you are going for.
While the grain structure doesn’t seem to be anymore prominent between the two diluted developers, I feel the HC-110B dilution added a little more grain making the photos sharper. I am not sure exactly how developers work, but it is my understanding that the more you dilute it, the more grain you get.
Like I said though, I am not versed in the particulars of how developers work, if you are, please let me know in the comments if dilution does make a difference in the amount of grain you get in your images.
All that being said, I think personally I will stick to HC-110B for my rolls of Tri-X. It just matches my style a bit better. It is nice to know though that DD-X is another good option that can give me similar results. I may be interested in trying DD-X again, this time maybe with Ilford HP5 400.
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