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Thread: DiXactol

  1. #21

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    Hi,

    I had just started experimenting with these devs in 5x4 when Barry sadly died, preventing me following initial experiments up, but my impressions are as follows:

    Dixactol Ultra single bath: Very sharp, but not the best choice for enlargements with tradiotional 400 films such as HP5 plus. High general stain and grain was quite large. Tremendous holding of hot highlights, almost too good with average scenes with my soft colour head. Longer development to increase neg density increases grain...BUT...I tried this with Fuji Acros Quickloads and it is amazing. The scenes were of bright scenes in rural Spain, with plenty of hot highlights which were well held. Sharpness is incredible. I dev'd identical negs in HC110 (1 pt DilB + 1 pt water - due to very short dev times with Dil B) and compared them. The Dixactol has produced infinitely better sharpness still with completely invisible grain at 20x16. The sharpness was so much better, I printed the HC110 neg several times to make sure I had not made a focusing error! Leaves looked like they had ben cut out with a scalpel. The DixactolAcros negs showed a clear base and very little non image stain. nice pale brown to the image area.

    Exactol Lux: Very much finer grain than Dixactol, otherwise similar points apply. I have used this with TMax 100, HP5 Plus, FP4 in 5x4, acros in 120. Reasonably fine but exceptionally sharp with HP5, but for some reason which I cannot understand, strange grain with TMax 100 5x4. The grain is visible as a speckle in a 16x12 (which I certainly had not expected) and not in a pleasant way. It is not obtrusive at 20x16, in fact still very fine, but not pleasant to the eye...cannot put my finger on it. It is perhaps speckly in an irregular way..? Very nice with FP4 Plus, Very, very sharp. I compared this to ID11 1+1 with FP4 and It is clearly much sharper and slightly finer grained. Miles sharper than perceptol 1+2.

    Follow the times recommended as a starting point and you will not be far out. DO USE DEIONISED WATER!!!! I used to use tap water, which was fine, then for some reason, it changed and completely wrecked 12 good negs with bizarre streaking (expletives omitted). I must have hit upon something with Forte Fortezo G3 and Acros in Dixactol, because it is lovely , especially after a slight selenium tone. I found that these negs do print about a grade softer on VC paper.

    As for film speed, it is fairly good. I had no problems with Tmax 100 in Exatol at ISO 100, having done a fim speed test showing 100 to be the true speed in this dev). Acros in Dixactol- I jumped in at ISO 64 after a brief trial in 120 in Exactol (ages ago) showing that it was very slow indeed (ISO 50). Strangely this time, ISO 64 appeared conservative in Dixactol. 80 would be about right (for me).

    Overall, very encouraging, but would not recomment them for flat scenes (certainly not Dixactol) as increased development causes grain and general stain probs. Exposing to hold Z3 shadows with highlight hot spots (sunlit white wall) falling on Z12, my dixactol negs required only short burns in these areas. Not bad eh? I have not tried 2 bath as there has been no need yet. I have tried the partial stand option (agitation every 2 mins) and it does increase compensation.

    I will try pyrocat HD if I find a way of getting round the expense of accurate chemical scales and compare them. Has anyone out there done a comparison?

  2. #22
    Leon's Avatar
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    I'm interested that you found 120 Acros to work well with exactol - i found it to be extremely temperamental, hardly stained at all, the emulsion became dangerously soft and my negs were full of pinholes. I emailed Barry about it and he advised not to use Acros with exactol at all because of similarly reported problems.

  3. #23
    roy
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    Barry's warning to me was "whatever you do, do not use dizactol with Acros"! He suggested diLuxol, a two bath non-stainer, which works fine, although I do not regard this combination as the ultimate for this film and myself.
    Roy Groombridge.

    Cogito, ergo sum.
    (Descartes)

  4. #24
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    I did use Dixactol with ACROS and the results look ok-possibly a little thin but perfectly printable. I think water quality may play a large part here.
    "He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.

  5. #25
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    The new generation of his formulas (Exactol and Lux, and DiXactol-ultra) now contain Phenidone along with Pyrocatchenol/Glycin.
    That bring up a idea/question. If you were to add Glycin to Pyrocat-HD,
    would you have the same developer? Sandy?
    Just curious.
    "Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."

  6. #26

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    That bring up a idea/question. If you were to add Glycin to Pyrocat-HD,
    would you have the same developer? Sandy?
    Just curious. [/quote]


    Since Barry Thornton's developers were proprietary formulas it is impossible to know exactly what they contained. However, based on Mr. Thornton's description in Photo Techniques of the evolution of his developers, and the recommended working dilutions, it appears to me that his latest formlas were very similar to Pyrocat-HD.

    I have in fact experimented with glycin in the Pyrocat-HD formula. Glycin is super-additive in the formula and if added at the rate of about 2 parts of glycin to 5 parts of pyrocatechin the developer is more energetic. However, I did not find any advantage to the addition of glyicin to the Pyrocat_HD formula in terms of either sharpness, grain size or apparent sharpness. If anything I had the impression that the glycin reduced apparent sharpness slightly, but this observation was not based on extensive testing and I could be mistaken.

    Sandy

  7. #27

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    About a year ago I tested Dixactol vesus Pyro Rollo, both with Efke 25, 35mm film, both of the same subject matter = glass.

    There was no contest! The Dixactol negs were grainy; the Pyro negs looked like they were etched in terms of sharpness; when printed to the same size the Pyro negs were far superior, no grain in the highlights, extremely sharp and with an incredible scale.

    I shot another scene thereafter on Efke 25, processed the film in Pyro Rollo and made an 8X10 print. At the same time I shot a 5X7 neg on Bergger 200, processed the film in Pyro Rollo and made an 8X10 print. To the untrained eye there was no difference... I have never touched Dixactol again!

  8. #28
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    About a year ago I tested Dixactol vesus Pyro Rollo, both with Efke 25, 35mm film, both of the same subject matter = glass.
    well your motives in doing those tests were transparent. :lol:

    Seriously- I'm thinkng Pyro Rollo is for Jobo like tanks. What would us "shake it ourselves" types use (35MM)?

    BTW= Thanks Sandy for answering my question. The only reason I shy away from Pycat=HD is that it seems a LF
    developer. I trying to max. out 35MM.
    "Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."

  9. #29
    lee
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    Garryl,
    have you concidered plain old PMK. I have used it for several years as both a roll film developer and large format developer. I don't make extream enlargements in any format but the grain it sharp.

    35 mm ain't ever gonna look like large format.

    lee\c

  10. #30
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    35 mm ain't ever gonna look like large format.
    NO it's not. But trying to handhold a 4x5 at a 1/60 with a telephoto lens is no fun neither!

    Thanks for the advice.
    "Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect."

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