Film Washi S – Development with Ilford’s Ilfotec DD-X

This article is about my experience in experimenting with Film Washi “S” developed in Ilfotec DD-X. This experiment started one night when I was thinking about the 30 rolls of film that I used on my honeymoon. I’m not made of money, so I decided that it’d be a good idea to start to develop these rolls myself. It’s not something I had done before, but it’d be a good laugh finding out how to develop film. The only problem is, with film development, if you cock it up there’s no going back. If I did something wrong to the 30 rolls of honeymoon photos, well it’d be an early divorce! So what better way to jump in the deep end than to buy a roll of Film Washi “S”, and develop it myself with Ilford’s Ilfotec DD-X?
Instead of jumping in at the deep end, I decided to try developing other rolls of film first. I’ve been taking any opportunity I could to use a roll of film so I could practice. In that time though, while buying film for a trip to London’s Winter Wonderland, I came across Film Washi’s ‘S’ film. It’s photographic film using sound recording film. As I had already tried CineStill film and loved it, I thought it was a good idea to give this stuff a try.
Full disclosure: I never intended to write a post about this film. So please excuse the fact I’ve no photo of the roll itself before development. But what I can tell you is that it will come to you in a recycled canister. My film used a Fujifilm C200 canister. It’s not exactly my favourite film in the world but that’s another story. The film itself is a light lilac colour, and it seems a bit thin to me when loading it in to the camera. Compared to the CineStill which is quite stiff, Film Washi’s ‘S’ film is very flexible and thin feeling. But compared to the Fomapan 400 I developed the other week for the first time, this film feels about right. I know from watching a few videos on YouTube that other Film Washi films can be quite delicate. But this Washi “S” film is quite robust in that regard.
It wasn’t until I used up the roll and got home did I realise I may have been a little bit hasty in buying this film. This would be the second roll of film I had ever developed and I don’t have a great selection of developers. The only developer I have is Ilfotec DD-X made by Ilford. I know that films can react better with specific developers, but I don’t have the space or finances to have them all. So I settled on the Ilfotec DD-X as, to me, it seems like a good all rounder. This created an issue for me. The Massive Dev Chart app I use doesn’t contain a recipe for this Film Washi S film.
I decided I turn to the internet, and to my surprise there is no guide to developing this Washi “S” film with Ilfotec DD-! I am now in a situation where this is my second roll of film and I’m developing blind. The film was already sitting in the tank at this point, so I couldn’t back out now.
But hey, I like the challenge – and the misery – of attempting something I haven’t attempted before. I decided to follow the Ilfotec 3 recipe and use it’s timings for the film.
After the development I noticed the negative turned out like this:
Film Washi "S" developed in Ilfotec DD-X turns transparent

After developing the Film Washi “S” film in Ilfotec DD-X, I noticed the negative was transparent.

I did not expect the negative to turn out to be this transparent. But it’s specialist film, not your run of the mill everyday photo stock that you’d use to take photos on a daily basis. But, for the most part, the rest of the negatives you could see had some photos on there. So I thought to myself that I hadn’t ruined the film! The next part of the process is to get these things printed.
Usually I nip down to my local-ish Jessops and ask them to print the film. Their machine on this occasion wasn’t able to recognise the Washi S film. They weren’t sure why, but it might have something to do with the transparent nature of the film. So the person helping me tried it on their flatbed scanner and that recognised it. So here we are, the first attempt at developing this Washi S film with Ilfotec DD-X!
Under-exposed image of German Village at Winter Wonderland, Shot on Film Washi "S", developed with Ilfotec DD-X

Highly under-exposed image of the German Village at London’s Winter Wonderland. Shot on Film Washi “S”, developed with Ilford’s Ilfotec DD-X

Ah, er, yeah. Well under exposed, which is completely my fault. You can see lines and some dust on these photos, which I would assume have come from the scanner. Although, some of the dust could’ve come from when it was drying in my bathroom overnight. We had gale force winds that night, and it turns out my bathroom has a draft! Another issue is that I’m not sure the CD that contains the photos has been created properly. But that’s by the by. This is direct from the negative which I gave to Jessops.
Apart from me not using the correct exposure, for the most part this is very minimal grain, as far as I can tell. This film only comes as ISO 50, which I didn’t consider when I was taking the photographs. But I would imagine the film would give great results IF exposed at the correct settings. I also think the results Ilfotec DD-X has given are quite pleasing. The measurements and times I used are based on what Ilford’s Ilfotec 3 requires. My knowledge is limited with film development. So I don’t know if a minute extra or a stronger dilution would bring out the best in this film.
Film Washi "S" has a very fine grain

While under-exposed, the Washi “S” film has a very fine grain which I don’t think the Ilfotec DD-X developer affected.

Would I use this film again? Yes, but with a different camera that would give me better exposure options. I will definitely use Ilfotec DD-X again with this film, as it’s proving to be a good all-round developer for my needs.

Recipe for using Ilford’s Ilfotec DD-X with Film Washi “S”

So here is the recipe that I used for developing this roll of Washi “S” film. It goes without saying that you use this at your own risk. If you’ve read the rest of the article you know I’m a total beginner at this and I risked it all for a biscuit. I would be interested to know what results you find with this developer and film combination. I plan to do a Part 2 shortly – only with better exposure!

Chemicals Used & Their Measurements

  • Ilford Ilfotec DD-X – (1+9) // For 500ml: 50ml of DD-X for 450ml of water @ 20ºC
  • Ilford IlfostopAs instructed on the pack  @ 20ºC
  • Ilford Rapid FixerAs instructed on the pack
  • Ilford Ilfotol Wetting AgentAs instructed on the pack

Times & Method

  1. Load your development tank like you would with any normal film
  2. Pour in the Ilfotec DD-X and agitate the film continuously for the 1st minute. Then roll the tank around for 10 seconds at the end of each minute thereafter.
  3. Development with the Ilfotec DD-X will take 7:30 minutes. At the end of this time, roll the tank then discard the developer fluid.
  4. Pour the stop bath (Ilfostop) in to the tank and agitate the film continuously for 1 minute. Then discard the stop bath.
  5. Pour the fixer (Ilford Rapid Fixer) in to the tank agitate for the 1st minute continuously. Then roll the tank around for 10 seconds at the end of each minute thereafter. The total time for the fixer will be 5:00 minutes. After that remove the fixer from the tank.
  6. The film should be then washed thoroughly for 5 minutes. After this time, leave the tank full of water.
  7. The wetting agent should be applied to the water in the tank, and vigorously agitated around the film. The film can then be removed and hung to dry.
  • Developer: 7:30 minutes
  • Stop Bath: 1:00 minute
  • Fixing: 5:00 minutes
  • Final Wash: 5:00 minutes

Notes On Development

I noticed that while the film was drying my squeegee didn’t glide across the film like it would with other film. This is with the wetting agent applied. It would be an idea to use a sponge instead to soak up the excess water. I couldn’t do this as I didn’t have a sponge available. I have noticed on some of the negatives that some water marks remain from my inability to remove the water.


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