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Super XX & DK-20, modern equivalents??
Old 08-31-2015   #1
Timmyjoe
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Super XX & DK-20, modern equivalents??

Was reading about what photojournalists shot back in the 1940's and early 1950's and they seemed to use a lot of Kodak Super XX and process it in Kodak DK-20.

Does anyone know what the modern equivalents are to that film and that developer? Was wondering if Super XX is the motion picture film Double XX? And wondering if maybe DK-20 is an early version of D-76 or maybe HC-110.

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-Tim
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Old 08-31-2015   #2
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http://www.digitaltruth.com/data/for...?FormulaID=136
DK20 us a high contrast developer. Are you sure you don't mean DK50? I ran through a lot of DK50 in the studio I worked at in the 60s--it was his standard developer for everything.
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Old 08-31-2015   #3
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Thanks for the reply. The info I found on Dk-20 was from the late 1940's and early 1950's, so maybe by the time you were doing studio work in the 1960's they had moved on to another developer. It was the developer that supposedly many of the big houses like LIFE and LOOK used to process the black and white they were getting from the field (particularly the Super XX). I saw that site you referenced, but don't have any of the chemicals to mix up something like that.

Was hoping it was close to one of the commercially available developers now.
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Old 08-31-2015   #4
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I also found this on the auction site, somebody in the UK is selling it. The articles I read said that the DK-20 was a very fine grain developer, which matches what is on this packaging. The formula from the DigitalTruth web site talks about a High Contrast developer. Wonder if they are different formulas.

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Old 08-31-2015   #5
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From what I've been able to determine, it seems like most of the photojournalists were shooting this:



and having it processed in this:



Wondering what the equivalent is today that might give the same sharpness, tonality, grain, etc.
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Old 08-31-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Wondering what the equivalent is today that might give the same sharpness, tonality, grain, etc.
The formula for DK20 is here: http://www.digitaltruth.com/data/for...?FormulaID=136

With modern films the thiocyanate often causes fogging, and even when the film doesn't fog it interferes with incorporated developers causing a substantial loss of speed.

In some ways the materials are less important than the technique, but:
- avoid t grain, epitaxial and unisize emulsions
- develop gently in traditional developer - D76 works fine for this
- avoid under exposure and/or overdevelopment
- avoid modern high contrast lenses
- look at the light those guys capitalised on - the choice of light reflects the equipment, and it's this influence that is more important than the exact materials and equipment

My favourite for this look was Plus-X, yellow filter, D76 and an uncoated Elmar or Tessar in afternoon winter light.

When it works, Fomapan 400 is probably the closest to the films of that time than anything available now. This thread: http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=90772 shows(ed) a lot of the issues people faced with inconsistency with Foma 400, but, frustratingly, a lot of the photos have been deleted or moved from their original sources.

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Old 08-31-2015   #7
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Thanks Marty,

That's the formula we were talking about above. They have it listed as a High Contrast developer, and the original DK-20 is listed as a extra fine grain developer, so I'm not sure it's the same formula.

I like the tips you have listed and I have an early 1960's Nikkor that's pretty low contrast, so I think I'll start experimenting with that. I've also got some Double XX, which in the past I've not been too happy with, but I'm gonna try experimenting with HC-110 developer as I've read good things about that combination. We'll see.

Would love to be able to get some Plus-X in 135 size. Have a few rolls of it in 16mm (110) size, but it's not the same as I can't find a camera with the quality lenses in that size.

Don't think I'll try FomaPan at this time, maybe if I have no luck with the Double XX.
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Misnomer
Old 08-31-2015   #8
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Misnomer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
That's the formula we were talking about above. They have it listed as a High Contrast developer, and the original DK-20 is listed as a extra fine grain developer, so I'm not sure it's the same formula.
I have it in several photoformularies from the 40s and 50s and it is the same formula. I have also tried it and it is not a high contrast developer. The description at Digital Truth is incorrect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
I like the tips you have listed and I have an early 1960's Nikkor that's pretty low contrast, so I think I'll start experimenting with that. I've also got some Double XX, which in the past I've not been too happy with, but I'm gonna try experimenting with HC-110 developer as I've read good things about that combination. We'll see.
It's a good start. XX is not the same as Super XX, but it is good for the look you're aiming for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Would love to be able to get some Plus-X in 135 size. Have a few rolls of it in 16mm (110) size, but it's not the same as I can't find a camera with the quality lenses in that size.
Ultrafine Online still stock it, and there's some on various auction sites, but it's not really a sustainable solution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
Don't think I'll try FomaPan at this time, maybe if I have no luck with the Double XX.
They're just suggestions. XX is easier to work with in a number of ways.

Let us know how you go,

Marty
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Old 09-05-2015   #9
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DK-20 and DK-22 are fine grain developers.
Low contrast, very handy in high contrast light,
Johannesburg at 7000feet above sea level.
If access to chemicals, they are easy to mix, esp. DK-22!
One can use as 2 part developer, "A" and "B" that lasts almost forever..
Well worth investigating chemicals availability.
Bill Pierce once published an easy Paper developer.
One needed few chemicals., a teaspoon and dinner spoon for measuring!
I preferred it to D-163 almost gassing me!
Main reason going to Ilford, less toxic.
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Old 09-05-2015   #10
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5222 XX was originally formulated in 1959, and the emulsion hasn't changed since then.
I have found very little difference in results with various developers. Some difference but not all that much. D76 and HC-110 are excellent developers for XX.

I prefer Microdol-X so that is what I am using with XX right now. The film is gritty and grainy and I love it's retro qualities. Especially with older lenses. Midtones are particularly well rendered with XX.
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Old 09-05-2015   #11
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Also there are these two ORWO motion picture films.
Old formulations also, no doubt. No experience with them but I read good things.
Might be worth checking out for your uses.

http://www.filmotec.de/?cat=23&lang=en

http://www.orwona.com/brands/ORWO.html
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Old 10-06-2015   #12
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I have compared N74+ and Kodak 5222 XX and at iso 400 the Kodak has less grain. Pushing to iso 800 is possible without to many loss of quality. Then I can recommend Microphen or something equivalent (ID-68). With N74+ at iso 800 you have more loss of quality and especially tonality.
XX is working great in D-76/ID-11, HC-110 (B) and Microdol-X/Perceptol at lower iso rate (iso 200-250). Also N74+ in HC-110 (B) is OK.
For Fomapan 200 I can recommend Fomadon Excel W27/ Xtol 1+1 but at iso 160. It is a nice film but slower then N74+ / XX in fact an iso 100-160 film only and it has a mix of cubical and hexagonal Silver crystals which is unique and gives the film a special look too. FP200 you can get in 35mm, 120 roll film and sheet film format. XX and N74+ in 35mm only. Standard 122m/400ft.
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