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Thread: DiXactol

  1. #11
    roy
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    [quote="glewis"] you could end up with ...

    Not surprising as the people commissioning the developers are often looking for similar characteristics and tweak formulae with various amounts of chemicals, the properties of which are well known.

  2. #12
    Loose Gravel's Avatar
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    glewis

    Didn't you find the PhotoTech article to be a disappointment? I read that story, all this info about creating a new improved developer and then no formula. I'm suppose to buy it from him? Seems like advertising to me. Or am I suppose to take his example and create my own developer? Either way, I thought it was BOGUS.
    Watch for Loose Gravel

  3. #13
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    I have used DiXactol quite a bit. It works well on larger formats with fine grain films. In 2 bath it is about N-2 and with Tri-X it is very grainy even in 6x6. It seems a little finer grain than PMK and has very good accutance and highlight separation. - Split D23 also seems to do this with finer grain though. I think I'll stick with PMK and TRI-X for 4x5 and am still experimenting for 6x6. I find that film speed is important and FP4 in Dixactol needs to be about ISO 64.
    Frank
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  4. #14
    Jorge Oliveira's Avatar
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    I've never used this stuff, but I found it very intriguing that in Barry's site, with lots of two bath articles and Dixactol beeing a two baths, many of the times for Dixactol are for single bath usage.

    Interesting...

    Jorge O

  5. #15
    roy
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    [quote="Jorge Oliveira"] and Dixactol beeing a two baths......

    Although he markets more than one version of a two bath developer, Dixactol, or its 'tweaked' name, is, to my knowledge, single bath but can be used with lesser agitation as a compensating developer. The two bath aspect is the re-soak as with other developers of its type. That is, as I understand it !

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lee
    I thought that Les posted once that he tried the developer and it was a diaster. Could be wrong.

    lee\c
    You are right Lee, I was asked by Barry to review Dixactol but after using it on several films including FP4 and Neopan 400 and following the instructions very carefully I produced the worst negatives and resultant prints ever to come out of my darkroom. The first test produced seriously under developed and very grainy negatives so I repeated the test thinking that I had done something wrong, the second set of negs were no better. I did not write the review. To be fair though, I have talked to photographers who swear by this developer and have seen good prints made from Dixactol negatives.

    I don't understand why it is reckoned to be a two bath developer but most people use it as a single bath based on Barry's recommendation.

  7. #17
    roy
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    [quote="roy"][quote="Jorge Oliveira"] and Dixactol beeing a two baths......
    Dixactol, or its 'tweaked' name, is, to my knowledge, single bath

    Jorge, I must apologise to you as you are correct. This can be used as a two bath dev. but it is said that users have reported the best results as a single bath, with or without the re-soak. I have used this dev. in the past and have to say that I did not experience any problems with it.

    Reading the reviews about this type of dev. it seems that with variable contrast papers there is a possible drop in contrast and it brings home more so, the dictum of 'horses for courses'- that is, using the right materials for the type of effect you want to achieve. I can see the benefit when making negatives for large format ultra-violet printing but do members feel there is a distinct advantage with pyro/cat. type developers over, say, two bath which can give good highlight control with small format ?

  8. #18
    Adrian Twiss's Avatar
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    The original data sheets that came with Dixactol gave instructions primarily for two bath development with an after bath to enhance the stain. I tried this method using approx 3.5 minutes per bath and thought the negatives lacked density. About a year later I read Barry's "Supplementary notes" on his web site and, following experimentation he, quite openly, said that the recommended use was single bath with "partial stand development" i.e. continuous agitation for 30 seconds then one inversion every two minutes. Further researches showed development times of between 7 and 9 minutes (if memory serves). I also downrated my films by 1/2 a stop and using the single bath method got far better negatives as a result.

    One poster asked why Barry did not publish the formula. My answer would be - why should he? He was trying to make a living. You can only earn so much doing bespoke hand printing and giving workshops. There are many developers on the market whose formulae have never been published.

    I also suspect that further iterations of Dixactol show that he was continuously evolving and improving his product.

    Personally I don't think he was a "snake oil salesman". My brief correspondence with him led me to think of him as a genuinely helpful man who was passionate about his art. There was certainly no mystique in his writings. As a supplier of photochemistry he was relatively new to the market and I think still refining his products. Sadly due to his untimely death we will never know what he could have achieved.

  9. #19
    Leon's Avatar
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    i had real problems with Dixactol and would end up with terribly streaked negs with the 2 bath, and way too much "mushy" grain from the single bath - i did have some correspondence with Barry about the probs - his reply insisting that the developer offers the sharpest grain possible - but mine was definately mushy!

    However, having recently tried out a pack of exactol lux, i am hooked. My main dev before this was perceptol, but exactol lux is much better in my book - It acts like dilute perceptol, the same sharp edge and grainless characteristics, with shorter times and the stain advantage.

    A test message was sent out today regarding the re-opening of Barry's shop, so for those who do like this stuff, it will be available again very soon. I cant wait.

  10. #20
    Adrian Twiss's Avatar
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    I never had problems with mushy grain but on reflection and bearing in mind I know more about staining developers now than I did when I first started using Dixactol I think I was getting quite a high level general stain with Ilford HP5 and Verichrome Pan. I may give Exactol Lux a try when it becomes available again but still intend to experiment with Pyrocat HD

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