Experiences with Dixactol

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Does anyone have any experience with this developer? I have found a website for its inventor, Barry Thornton, but the site is out of order. I would like to know how people use it and what kind of results they have achieved. Is it similar to Pyro?



-- Phil Glass (Phi_glass@yahoo.com), January 14, 2002



I have used DiXactol, but not extensively. In case you didn't know, you can get Barry Thornton's DiXactol from Photographer's Formulary in Montana (http://www.photoformulary.com/ or (800) 922-5255.)

Dixactol is a staining developer, but different than the ABC+ Pyro I'm use to. It produces a tawny brown stain unlike the yellow green stain of Pyro. For that reason, it will not have the same effect as a Pyro neg. on VC paper. The results I got were good, but not as good as ABC+ Pyro - my few trials were in a rotary processor. To be fair, I'd need to test it in trays or drums, not a rotary processor with continuous agitation.

I wish I could give you more specific info, but I haven't used it enough. I suggest getting some from Photographer's Formulary and giving it a try; they do provide a good reference sheet. Good luck!


-- Pete Caluori (pcaluori@hotmail.com), January 14, 2002.

You can use DiXactol as either a single bath or a two bath developer. I would not recommend its use as a two bath developer, as I would regularly get uneven development, and in a discussion on the B&W film and developing Lusenet forum a few months ago, Barry Thornton seemed to be backing off two bath usage. As a single bath staining developer, it is OK, but there is a high base fog level. I personally think that either Delta 100 / PMK Pyro or TMax100 / Rodinal offer a better and more consistent result, and also more N+/N- flexibility.

-- fw (finneganswake@altavista.net), January 15, 2002.

Phil, Dixactol is probably a catechol based developer. I use a different catechol developer called Pyrocat-HD (see unblinkingeye.com for the formula) which also gives a brownish stain and gives me absolutely no problems with uneven staining and base fog I would sometimes get with some films and PMK or ABC+ pyro. Pyrocat-HD can be used in a tray or rotary (I use both methods depending on format). The negatives are "pyro like" as far as print qualities, but print times are shorter. You might want to give Pyrocat-HD a try as an economical alternative.

I print Pd/Pt and lately Azo, and my experience is with these UV/blue sensitive materials only. I don't have any experience with conventional VC paper and Pyrocat-HD.

-- Linas Kudzma (lkudzma@compuserve.com), January 15, 2002.

Dixactol is a catechol-glycin developer - to the best of my knowledge, the formula has never been published. As stated above, catechol based developers are staining developers like pyro but they tend to produce a brownish stain rather than the yellow green stain associated with pyro. This means that it will produce similar results with graded and VC papers (unlike pyro negs, where the greenish stain acts as a variable mask with VC papers - VC papers are sensitive to the green light passed by the green stain).

The Pyrocat-HD formula referred to above is an excellent developer. Cheers, DJ.

-- N Dhananjay (dhananjay-nayakankuppam@uiowa.edu), January 15, 2002.

Phil, I've been using Dixactol, in place of Pyro, for a while now and I'm very pleased with the results. I use it single bath with FP4+ and find the negs print easily. Worth a try!!

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), January 15, 2002.

Phil, While I like DiXactol, which I've used exclusively with Delta 100 in both 54 sheet and 120 roll. I prefer Pyro developers simply because I find they produce finer grained negs. especially in the smaller formats.


-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), January 15, 2002.

I have used Dixactol (from Silverprint in the UK) with good success as a single bath developer for 120 and 35mm (FP4+, Tech Pan, HP5+) but it just is too expensive to contemplate for 5X4 tank development. You need a minimum of 300ml(according to instructions) so that rules out my orbital processor. I wouldnt recommend use with Tri-X as I have had inconsistent results from both 1 and particularly 2 bath development. Summary - I like it, the negatives print easily and the grain is a non issue on 120 film certainly up to 16x12. I havent tried pyro and use perceptol for all my 5X4 negatives.

-- David Tolcher (davidjt@btinternet.com), January 15, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ