DiXactol ©or DiXactol Ultra© are unique developers of special interest to artists and photographers producing monochrome fine prints, yet it is also uniquely tolerant and easy to use. It has four main distinguishing characteristics. It produces the fullest palette of richly graduated tones, especially in the holding of translucent and delicately drawn highlights particularly resistant to 'blocking up' at high exposure levels. At the same time, shadow detail and separation is nursed up to unusual levels.
Tech Info 01-5030 DiXactol
Tech Info 01-5035 DiXactol Ultra
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Posted by Don H on 23rd Mar 2017
I've been using this developer on and off for many years, with Ilford HP5, Deltas 100 & 400, Pan 400, Kodax Tmx 100 and 400 and a few others (Adox, Foma)in 135, 120 and 5x4" for conventional darkroom printing.
I've also tried many other developers- rodinal, the FX series and various 2-baths such as Resofine and Emofin. All have their virtues and uses, and long may they thrive.
But if you're looking for a developer which gives wonderful tonalities and accutance, doesn't block highlights and shadows and works with all slow and medium speed films (that I've tried) then go for DiXactol. It was designed for landscape work which specifically needs tonality and accutance, but use it anytime you need these qualities. It has the further advantage that you can develop different films together in the same tank. The price you pay for this (at least using the single bath technique)is that you don't have a deal of control over contrast (as in N+ and N-) But it can be used 2-bath. But since it gives control over a wide range of contrasts I've found I don't really need to do this except to use up a stock of grade 4 paper.
It's a fairly forgiving devloper, though it's possible to go very badly wrong. My only advice is: don't shake it around too much (a couple of gentle inversions a minute) and don't forget the swirl afterwards to clear the air bubbles from the edge of the film (esp with rollfilm!)use the postsoak in the used developer, as in the instructions, use water as a stop and it really help if your water is hard, not soft and acid.