Dektol versus HC-110 for Ortho Litho

At the beginning of my One Project, I decided to use Dektol as my developer because most of what I read suggested it was the best choice. I feel like I’ve gotten to a point where I am comfortable with Dektol. And as I come to the end of this project, I think it’s time to explore other options. I noticed on the Massive Development Chart a recipe for HC-110 at 1:200 dilution for 14 minutes. HC-110 appeals to me since I happen to have a bottle. So, I decided to run a little test to see if this recipe could get me similar results to the Dektol.

I set up a quick scene in my backyard with some blacks and whites and midtones to test. Here is a screen grab from my iPhone.


A box of Arista Ortho Litho included for some black


I took 2 shots of this at f4.5, 2 seconds. The first I developed in my usual Dektol 1:30 for 2:07 minutes @24°C. The second in HC-110 1:200 for 10:07 minutes@24°C.

As you can see from the negatives, the Dektol version had more detail in the shadows, though both were pretty thin. I think I should have added more time for reciprocity, but I can’t find anything online about reciprocity failure with this film.


Dektol gave decent shadow detail
HC-110 blocked up the shadows


Just to be complete, I did contact prints of both negatives. Both printed at 10 seconds at F32 (they were thin!) with a number 2 filter on Ilford Multigrade Fiber, glossy. As expected, the Dektol negative gave good shadow detail but also blown highlights


Dektol had good shadow detail

The HC-110 negative had much less shadow detail, but I did like the blacks better. Of course, a higher filter on the Dektol negative would probably get the blacks right.


HC-110 less detail, nicer black



While I was doing this experiment, Load Film in Subdued Light was also dipping his toe into Ortho Litho using HC-110. His recipe is 1+200 for 18 minutes. I am going to try that to see if the extra time helps with the shadow detail. If not, I will stick to Dektol.

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