Ilford DD-X vs Ilfosol S : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I do small batch processing of my black and white and therefore prefer liquid one shot chemistry. I've been using using Ilfosol at 1+14 for a long time with my workhorse films, 100 and 400 Delta in 120 format. I recently took a look around the Ilford line to see what else was there and bought a bottle of DD-X. According to my local camera shop guy DD-X is quite popular. I did a tank of DD-X on Delta 100 from a controlled lighting portrait shoot. I had rolls developed in Ilfosol to compare to from the same shoot.

Prints from a smilar neg for each developer looked pretty much the same to me. The DD-X negs themselves look a little denser overall, but the tonal range seems pretty much the same as does grain. So the question is: what do you guys prefer? And have you had experience comparing these two developers? Differences between the two might be more obvious in another type of lighting conditions and subject matter. What are the strengths of Ilfosol and DD-X? And finially, if there are any advantages to DD-X are they worth the extra cost? ($1 a roll compared to $.30 a roll? Thanks!

-- John Pyles (, November 05, 2001


Based on my experience with Microphen (which is allegedly a powder form of DD-X) and Xtol (very similar to Ilfosol-S) you won't see a difference between the developers with slow film. I normally develop TMX in Xtol diluted 1+2. I tested TMX in Microphen to see if I would get a speed increase as I do with TMY (~2/3 stop). I got no discernable speed increase with TMX in Microphen and no difference in grain (very slight increase of grain with TMY vs Xtol in Microphen). In fact I got the same development time for TMX in Xtol or Microphen, both diluted 1+2 (11 min, 75F). I've considered dropping Xtol and sticking with Microphen. I haven't worked out the costs since it's such a small factor to me.

-- Tim Brown (, November 06, 2001.

Just out of interest, I had a look at the MSDS sheet for Ilfotec DDX. It appears to be a fairly straightforward buffered borax P-Q developer, similar to D-76b. It's a liquid concentrate spinoff from Ilford's earlier ID-68, no doubt.
The negatives I've had from Ilfosol-S, ID-68, and D-76 are superficially quite similar in gradation, but Ilfosol gives a slightly sharper image, and handles highlight separation better, especially with T-max and Delta films.

-- Pete Andrews (, November 06, 2001.

In my experience DD-X generally gives about 1/3 stop higher real speed, somewhat more graininess and a little lower acutance. It's a very good "speed" developer but isn't my choice for "normal" usage.

-- John Hicks (, November 07, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ