Black and White Photography · Developing Adventures · How To · Kodak Film

Developing Adventures – Kodak Tri-X with Kodak HC-110 and Ilford DD-X

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.

Kodak Tri-X with HC-110

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.

Kodak Tri-X with HC-110
Kodak Tri-X with HC-110
Pentax 67
Kodak Tri-X with HC-110
Kodak Tri-X with HC-110

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.

Kodak Tri-X with Ilford DD-X
Fujifilm GF670

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.

Final Thoughts

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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6 thoughts on “Developing Adventures – Kodak Tri-X with Kodak HC-110 and Ilford DD-X

  1. Than you for this detailed post. HC110 appears to win hands down: One can always ramp up contrast in post (even wet darkroom post), but nobody can show shadow detail that the “wrong” developer hid.

  2. The look of HC110 is stunning! I’ve never, and I mean never gotten good results from TriX and HC110. Maybe I’ll try it again, and maybe I’ll try caffenol. Excellent results, Aly! Thanks for posting this!

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