Stand development with Ilfotec DD-X

Since mentioning stand development in an earlier post last year (about devising a stand development time for some of the films I was testing for Ilford), I have had a few requests to share the information. Before I do so, I must just say that my results are limited to less than ten films, and I didn’t use the technique with all of the Ilford film types.

The developer I was provided with for the job was the excellent Ilfotec DD-X. This dilutes at 1+4 and produces excellent results with Delta 400,  Kentmere 100, Kentmere 400, HP5, FP4 and SFX. I found that Pan F was very good, but could do with perhaps 15% shaving off the recommended time though I’ve not properly tested this yet (more about Pan F in a later post).
The problem I had mainly, was that Delta 100 has a time given as 12 minutes, but I found it much too dense and contrasty, and I found it to be better at 8 minutes (all of these times are for 20ºC).

Delta 3200 though, was too thin at the time given of 9.5 minutes. With this film, I was getting nowhere near the shadow density I needed to get a decent print. This is when I thought I would experiment with a stand development and roughly estimated a 1 + 9 mix, one full minute of agitation and then leave it standing for the next 45 minutes. The results were excellent and I found that I had printable negatives rated at 800, 1600 and 3200 all on the same film. The best results were for a speed between 1600 and 3200, and I was very pleased with how it performed. The negatives are easy to print and have a very prominent, though pleasing grain with 35mm film. I will be trying this with the roll film version and I expect it will produce very good negatives. The emulsion is the same for both sizes, so the only possible problem I can foresee is perhaps some streaky, or unevenly developed areas in flat areas of tone.

Delta 3200, rated 3200 ISO. Stand development in Ilfotec DD-X developer.

Delta 3200, rated 3200 ISO. Stand development in Ilfotec DD-X developer.

The stand development technique is a useful method to employ for a few reasons; 1. The dilution is weaker, making the process cheaper per film. 2. The negatives have a better range of tones, and there is a bit more leeway for slight over or under exposure. 3. The process can be left to do it’s thing whilst you get on with other jobs, such as loading up other developing tanks, or making prints.

Delta 3200, rated 3200 ISO. Stand development in Ilfotec DD-X developer.

Delta 3200, rated 3200 ISO. Stand development in Ilfotec DD-X developer.

One of the reasons I got back into stand development was because I’d seen something online which claimed that all monochrome films, whatever speed, could be developed for the same time in Rodinal 1-100 for an hour. I tried it with a couple of different films and found it to be untrue. Whoever had been propagating the idea had not tried to print the negs in a darkroom, so had no real idea if the density was correct or not.

The dilution and time I gave my tests was as follows;

Dilute Ilfotec DD-X 1+9 and get temperature to 20ºC.  Pour in developer, agitate continuously, but not too vigorously for one minute, then leave to stand for 45 minutes. Stop and fix as usual.

This should give you a good tonal range and some speed increase, so alter your exposures a bit for your first film and make notes. Choose the negative frames which give you the look you prefer and adopt the film speed that the chosen images were shot at.

 

10 thoughts on “Stand development with Ilfotec DD-X

  1. Keith

    Hi Andrew,

    I found your article about stand developing with DDX of interest along with your mention of using it with normal agitation with other films.
    I have to ask though, how do you find DDX compared to an industry standard developer such as ID11?

    What you have written makes me want to try DDX, particularly with Delta 3200 and stand developed.

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    1. andrewsandersonphoto Post author

      Hi Keith, Ilford used to refer to it as ‘Liquid ID11’, so there must be some similarity. Of course, ID11 is used as a liquid, but you understand what they mean by that. I found it a great all rounder with many great features. The only thing I would warn against though, is to not use a part filled, old bottle, as it will have oxidised and lost most of it’s effectiveness. This is common amongst developer concentrates (except Rodinal which lasts for ever).
      Regards, Andrew.

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      1. Emir Shabashvili

        Andrew, do you keep the recommended amount of the stock/roll ratio (~62ml of stock solution/roll) or you just use say 300 ml of 1+9 per roll which translates to 30ml of stock solution or 6ml of concentrate?

        Thank you,
        Emir

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      2. andrewsandersonphoto Post author

        I’m afraid I didn’t keep any notes from when I did this a few years ago (something which I am quite bad at). I usually make up a larger quantity than the minimum to cover the spiral whenever I process, as this prevents uneven development due to frothing. My proportions would have been; 40+360. Regards, Andrew.

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      3. andrewsandersonphoto Post author

        Hi Emir, I usually make up the solution to make 50mil more than the recommended amount to cover a spiral, so that would be 350 to cover 35mm, and 550 to cover 120. I have not (to my knowledge) had a problem with minimum solution so far.

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  2. Michael McNeill

    Andrew I have been wading through your posts with great interest. Many thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences so generously. I have recently returned to analogue photography after a long break and am enjoying it immensely. I’m using DDX at the minute and like how it handles FP4 with normal development – better results (for me!) than Infosol-3. I’m interested now to try it with Delta 3200 and using stand development as your post above.

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    1. andrewsandersonphoto Post author

      Dear Michael, I’m glad you are returning to film with enthusiasm. Let me know how you get on with your combination of D3200 and DD-X.
      Andrew.

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    1. andrewsandersonphoto Post author

      Hi Keith, I’ve not been using it for a while and have none in stock. I will make a note to get some, thank you for reminding me.

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  3. keith

    Thanks Andrew. Pan F Plus is a film I rarely ever use, but one to consider for still-life and macro photography when fine grain is more important than speed. Perhaps in conjunction with Perceptol for the finest grain and resolution.

    Happy new year.

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