Processing Pan-F+ using DDX and controlling overall contrast
Having searched through the existing forum posts on Pan-F+ and reading the general advice on Pan-F+ I've a couple of questions for those developing in DDX. I'm also a relative newcomer to traditional photography so the answer to some of these questions may be down to general technique.
I started experimenting with 35mm film photography in the Winter time so I've been doing most of my photography indoor and in low light (energy saver bulbs in pubs etc). After some experimenting with Delta 3200 I'm now using Delta 400 (metered at 1600) and push processed for around 12 mins (short of the 13.5 mins recommended in the Ilford guides). This gives me a negative with a nice contrast which I can print around grade 2 using multigrade filters on 8" x 10" paper (image size approx 6.6" by 10") on either my LPL 6600 or C6700 enlargers.
Now we've got some good weather in the UK I've just run my first roll of Pan-F+ through my Spotmatic - metering for the main part at 50 ASA using a Pentax Digital Spotmeter and my limited experience of the Zone System. I've developed it in DDX at 22 deg for 6.30mins using a spiral tank and Ilford's recommendations for agitation and found the resulting negatives need printing using a grade 1/2 (half) filter on 8" x 10" paper.
For a first attempt I'm quite pleased with the results and overall image quality but I now need some advice to tame the contrast by a filter grade or so.
Solutions posted so far range from reducing agitation, shortening development time and/or metering at a different speed which is a quite a few variables to begin with.
So for those of you who use Pan-F+ and DD-X, how do I reduce the contrast so I can print at around grade 2 at 8" x 10"? What combinations of EI/development time/agitation work well for you?
There's a couple of flatbed scans of the 8x10's below (which haven't had any post-processing apart from minor tweeks to try and match the physical print's black/white points) to give an idea of where I'm at exposure wise.
On a more general point - how many of you tailor your exposure/development to give an expected amount of contrast at a predetermined final print size - ie expose/develop specifically for negative size, 6" x 4", 8" x 10", 16" x 12"?
Any comments or suggestions greatly appreciated.
Metered at 50 ASA (darkest foliage shadow details on Zone 3) - 1/15 sec at f9 (including one-stop added for Hoya HD circular polariser).
Print exposed for 64 seconds at grade 1/2 (half) on 8"x10".
Spotmatic meter - 1/60sec at f2.8.
Print exposed for 48 seconds at grade 1/2 (half) on 8"x10".