|Eastman Double-X film in 16mm (7222) and 35mm (5222)|
With the discontinuation of Plus-X, Eastman Double-X is Eastman Kodak's last surviving black and white motion picture film in 35mm (Tri-X Reversal is available in 16mm and super-8 cartridges). The film is often referred to online in full as Eastman Double-X 5222, but this explicitly refers to the 35mm film stock; I have also been using the 16mm version in various subminiature cameras, which is given the 7222 suffix: this post is titled Eastman Double-X to include both formats. As mentioned under my post for Ilford Mark V, motion picture negative film has a different perforation shape to standard 35mm camera film, but this is not significant enough to cause any problems when using it for still photography. Double-X's speed is half way between Plus-X at 125 ISO and Tri-X, originally 320, but rated 400 ISO in all but sheet film now. Kodak also made a fast 4-X film which was 500 ISO, although this film was discontinued around 1990.
|Eastman Double-X latitude test|
For an initial test with the 35mm film, I made a series of exposures to test Double-X for latitude, using my Canon A-1. In the contact sheet above, I shot the top two rows at ratings of 64, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 2000 and developed the film in Ilfotec LC29 at a dilution of 1+29 for 8 minutes at 20ºC (the two shots on the end of the film were rated 250). Although the contact sheet above shows a steep drop off at the higher end of underexposure, in scanning the negatives I was able to pull out some detail, although at two to three stops under, there wasn't much shadow detail (it's instructive to compare the test above to that of Adox Silvermax, which has excellent latitude). The exposures at 64 appear to have very little highlight detail in the contact sheet, but this was generally present and could be preserved in scanning, although the highlights in some of my tests do appear to block out easily. Notably, of the two subjects shot for the test, the second (an outdoor table-tennis net) had lower contrast, and the results were better.
|Double-X at EI 64 (two stops overexposed)|
|Double-X at EI 2000 (three stops underexposed)|
|Eastman Double-X, Canon A-1 with yellow filter|
|Eastman Double-X rated 3200, Kiev-4, Ilfotec DD-X 1+4|
Having used the film for around a year, testing it with a few different developers, shooting it at a good range of exposure indexes, as well as printing a few 16mm negatives, I still feel undecided about Double-X: some of the results feel quite mixed to me, and I don't think that the film is necessarily distinct enough to be sought out as a film for regular use. On reflection, in the course of writing up this post, I realise that I neglected to explore shooting the film below its nominal speed and adjusting development accordingly, which may have modified how I feel about the film; having now shot all the 100ft roll of 35mm that I bought a year ago, I may try this in 16mm, but it wouldn't be a good comparison. Although Double-X has many fans, I can't help thinking that it is a shame for Kodak not to have kept Plus-X as a motion picture stock, as I found this a much more sympathetic film to work with as a still photographer.
Edit 10/05/20 - see also: Eastman Double-X Part Two, in which I reappraise Double-X with D96 developer.
|Canon A-1 with Double-X. rated 200, Ilfotec LC29, 1+29|
|Kodak Retina IIa with Double-X, rated 200, Ilfotec LC29, 1+29|
|Agat 18K (half frame) with Double-X, rated 200, Ilfotec LC29, 1+29|
|Mamiya-16 Automatic with Double-X (16mm), rated 200, Ilfotec LC29. 1+29|
|Kiev-30M with Double-X (16mm), rated 200, Ilfotec LC29, 1+29|
|Rollei 16 with Double-X (16mm), rated 200, RO9 One Shot, 1+25|
|Agat 18K (half-frame) with Double-X, rated 250, developed in RO9 One Shot 1+25|
|Agat 18K (half frame) with Double-X, rated 250, Ilfotec LC29, 1+29|
|Voigtländer Vito CL with Double-X, rated 250, Ilfotec LC29, 1+29|
|Mamiya-16 Automatic with Double-X (16mm), rated 400, RO9 One Shot, 1+50|
|Kiev-4 with Double-X, rated 400, RO9 One Shot 1+50|
|Canon FTb-N with Double-X, rated 800, RO9 One Shot 1+50|
|Canon A-1 with Double-X, rated 1600, RO9 One Shot 1+20|
|Kiev-4 with Double-X, rated 3200, Ilfotec DD-X 1+4|
Eastman Double-X data sheet
Project Double-X (archived)
Eastman Double-X on Down The Road
Eastman Double-X on Alex Luyckx Blog