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  1. #1

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    I want finer grain than DDX gives with rotary processing. Reccs?

    I have been lazy and using DDX for rotary processing. I have not been making big prints but I now want a developer that will give substantially finer grain and smoother tonality than DDX does. DDX seems to produce rather coarse negs when used with constant agitation compared to intermittent agitation in small tanks.

    Xtol 1+1 is a good bet and I am familiar with this developer in small tanks, but have never used it with constant agitation. Comments?

    What other options might there be that would be compatible with a Paterson orbital, i.e. I will be using only about 300ml of dev in total for 2 x 5x7 sheets so concentrations and total amount of concentrate in the 300ml could be relevant. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    MaximusM3's Avatar
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    I've used DDX with TMY, and TMX with BTZS tubes and 4x5. Finer grain? How don't know if that's possible. A properly exposed and processed 4x5 or 5x7 negative in DDX should be as flawless at it could possibly get. I personally don't think you'd gain anything with XTOL doing large format.

  3. #3

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    I'd definitely agree that trying to get finer grain than DDX with 5x7 film is a bad idea. With sheet film, anything up to say 400, you have virtually no grain to begin with, so the best thing to do is take advantage of that and go for the best tonality you can get, and also sharpness (though as a secondary consideration since there is not much that can make a print from a 5x7 negative unsharp). XTOL 1+1 or even 1+3 (depending on contrast) is slightly finer grained than DDX, but when I say that I'm talking about the differences you'd see in say an 8x10 print made from a 35mm negative. With sheet film the difference would be trivial.

    DDX produces a relatively straight lined curve, similar to XTOL, D76 etc. It is slightly grainier but tends to give a well defined grain that has a bit more edge. DDX is also the "fastest" general purpose developer I've ever used (giving essentially box speed with Delta 100, for example).

    It is quite a powerful PQ developer though, so development time and agitation can make significant differences in both tonality and graininess. This can make it "harsh" if not handled carefully. This could be compounded by continuous agitation, as is the case with rotary processes. I've found most published times for DDX too long, in some cases far too long. Experimentation is required.

    Consider resistance to streaking too, as this can become a problem with some developers when rotary-processed.

  4. #4

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    Thanks. I might persevere, but I'm not sure the tonality is to my liking with Fp4+ but I will see what some tinkering or a change of film does. I should add that my expectations relate to prints that will likely go up to 40-60". I generally don't like Fp4+ and DDX as a combo in other formats and due to the limited number of emulsions available in 5x7 it made more sense to try another developer than change film. I will try Xtol, changes in DDX concentration and dev time and if all else fails, try another film. I agree that the grain has a bit more crispness with DDX than Xtol (with my smaller formats this is noticeable) but for scenes with very smooth and creamy tonality I was not that pleased with the DDX FP4+ look. I guess I will need to experiment.

    I would ideally like to try to find Foma 100 in 5x7 as this film, IMO, has more pleasing tonality than Fp4+. I've only seen it in 5x4 and 10x8.

  5. #5

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    TMY-2 has very noticeably finer grain than Fp4+! It is actually smoother than Delta 100 in the tests I have done with 120 films and Xtol 1+2. D100 has appreciably more bite and sharper grain but it is more visible than TMY-2... D400 also beats FP4 in terms of fine grain in the devs I use. TMY-2 is a remarkable film, but does not have a look overall that I care for. Will see if Foma 100 can be found, or ordered in 5x7, Beautiful stuff....

  6. #6

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    Dear Tom,

    I would actually suggest trying Xtol stock. The tones are really smooth that way. With 5x7 you have no issues with resolution.

    Good luck,

    Neal Wydra

  7. #7

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    Tom, my grain findings are the same regarding TMX/TMY2. They are exceedingly fine grained, but many people find them almost too fine grained, giving a lower subjective sense of sharpness than their Delta counterparts and more traditional emulsions like FP4+. To some extent this can be remedied by using higher acutance developers such as TFX2 or diluting solvent developers.

    FP4+ is definitely a little grainier than Delta, and quite a bit grainier than the TMX films, but typically this doesn't matter in large format, and it is wonderfully sharp with excellent tonality. Probably my favourite film ever for large format. I'd recommend sticking to it, and trying XTOL if you want something a little smoother than DDX.

    I should add the contrast you develop for makes a very big difference. If you are going for soft negatives, XTOL can produce the finest grain I have ever seen at 1+1 and even at 1+3 for substantial contractions. But once you get to normal contrast, graininess increases very quickly, even at stock strength and under those conditions I prefer the look of DDX.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post

    I should add the contrast you develop for makes a very big difference.
    +1

  9. #9

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    Try Prescysol EF.
    Leica M6,
    Bessa R4A,
    Rolleiflex(s) 2.8/80, 4/135, 4/55.
    Nikkormat FTn
    Fuji X10

  10. #10
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    Not sure why you need finer grain from 5x7, but I would suggest trying a finer film. TMX, Acros and PL-25 are all available at least in 4x5 and are exceedingly fine-grained. If you want an even smoother look at the cost of resolution, use a more-concentrated solvent developer, e.g. Xtol or D76 stock, i.e. no dilution. Or go for TMY2 if you need speed; it's finer than most traditional ISO-100 emulsions like FP4 and Fomapan.



 

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