XTOL question

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by robert_boyer, Aug 28, 2000.

  1. I have been trying to standardize my development on XTOL since I experimented with it last year. I have really liked the results on the films that I use and am using a dillution of 1+2. While I was still playing with it and finding my development times I ruined a couple of rolls of film during different processing sessions, they were really underdeveloped. It only happened with one batch of developer on 3 different rolls so I thought that somehow I may have mixeded incorrectly or contaminated it somehow and continued getting my times down with a fresh batch. Everything was going fine for a couple of months and now it happend again in two different processing sessions with the same batch of developer. I have never had this happen with my TMAX, HC110, or sprint (D76) in years of using them.

    <p>

    Has anyone else experinced getting underdeveloped results on certain batches of XTOL every once in a while? Does Kodak have anything to say, is it easy to contaminate compared to other developers? I am rethinking my decision of standarizing on XTOL if it means I end up with super flat/under developed film every couple of months.

    <p>

    thanks
    rwb
     
  2. Yes, I have. It was with Tri-X each time. Like your experience, it
    was not all the time, occasionally. It has happened both with diluted
    1:1 and with undiluted developer.

    <p>

    Also, with XTOL, I've experimented with storing (as recommended) the
    straight, undiluted developer for multiple use. A couple of times
    I've had heavy deposits of "silver" in the bottom of the container, a
    clear plastic bottle. All this was with Tri-X Pan.

    <p>

    Now I read that TX is the only Kodak film that is not improved by
    XTOL. Since I don't use the T-grain films ordinarily, I just stopped
    using XTOL. I figure one of these days I'll shoot a roll of P3200 and
    give the XTOL another try.

    <p>

    Until then, it's D-76 (Tri-X and Verichrome Pan) and Rodinal for APX
    100.

    <p>

    I'm sorry to hear you are having this problem of inconsistency and
    unreliability, but still there is satisfaction in knowing I'm not
    alone out here.

    <p>

    So many people like XTOL that I'm still not totally convinced that I
    didn't somehow cause these problems.
     
  3. I seem to remember that someone mentioned that Kodak was having problems with the packaging of XTOL, but that the problem had been solved. I don't recall how long ago the "good" XTOL replaced the "bad" XTOL. Does anyone else recall that thread about the packaging problem?
     
  4. How old was the XTOL? I've had this problem with developer that is over one month old, XTOL is very prone to oxidation. My solution is to mix in small bathches as needed. (One litre at a time). The packaging problem has aparently been solved, I haven't gotten a bad batch since April.
    This stuff works really well with T-grain films, especially my personal favorite Delta 400 with 1:1 dilution. Haven't used it with Tri-X but perhaps as mentioned above this is not a good match. In addition Tri-X is a traditional film and will most likely work well with a traditional developer like D-76.
    Even better, rate your TRI-X at 250 EI and develop it in Microdol-X 1:3. Before I switched to Delta 400 in XTOL 1:1, Tri-X in Microdol-X 1:3 was my favorite combination.
     
  5. As I understand it Kodak had a packaging problem mainly with the 1L
    sized packages. They are supposed to have gotten it fixed as of date
    code 0025.

    <p>

    If either of the packages is caked (not free flowing powder) don't use
    it, it will give you odd results. Kodak will replace it and may even
    throw in a couple extra packages.

    <p>

    I have not heard of people having trouble with storage of Xtol once
    mixed.
     
  6. In my experience, the high dilutions of Xtol starts to
    produce thin negatives when the stock-solution gets
    old but 1:1 dilution have worked well even with Xtol
    mixed one year ago (NOT kept in a refrigerator!). I store Xtol in
    full, dark, glass-
    bottles.

    <p>

    Kodak states that a minimum amount of 100 ml stock solution
    should be used for each film, with fresh developer. This
    means that a tank for 35 mm film that contains 250 ml
    of developer, cannot be used for the 1:2 dilution. I suspect
    that it will be even more critical if the stock solution
    is aging, although I have seen nothing in writing on this
    subject. A good habit would be to mix the stock solution
    in distilled water, since that water will not contain any
    oxidants (who would make the solution age faster).

    <p>

    From what I have read regarding the packaging, if there is
    no cake formed of the powder, it should be alright. If
    the powder have caked, don't even bother to mix it with water.
     
  7. I most often use D-76/ID-11 for Tri-X at "normal" speed. For
    pushing to 1600 I have had great success with Xtol 1+1, using
    the times that Kodak recommends. For a thorough discussion of
    the quantity of developer needed, check Anchell and Troop's
    _The Film Development Cookbook_. I must admit to not being
    as rigourous as they are, but I still like the results. I just
    got through shooting 2 rolls of Tri-X at 1600, developed in
    Xtol, and 2 rolls of Delta 3200 at 1600-2000, developed in
    DD-X, and the Tri-X came out well ahead in terms of grain and
    sharpness. I have been a fan of Delta 3200, but I think I will
    use it mainly for extreme cases.

    <p>

    I had heard about some of the problems with quality control. I
    have used only the 5-liter packages lately, and store the stock
    solution in collapsible bottles. I also do a single roll first
    to check, and so far all has been fine.
     
  8. sorry Kodak. over half of my Xtol attempts have resulted in
    underdeveloped negatives caused by exhaustion of one or more
    components in Xtol. the caked part A, the inconsistent results. no
    thanks .. I hold my work too precious to continue to play these odds.
     
  9. I have been using XTOL for the past 2 years and this has happened to
    me too many times. I have used it straight, 1:1, 1:2, 1:3. I thought
    because this had happened randomly, I had mad mistakes in measuring,
    or some where else. I have since been very careful with
    measurements and fresh developer and still had the problem, a few
    rolls or sheets fine, then a few way underdeveloped. I like the stuff
    when it works for me, but since I have ruined about a dozen rolls with
    it that I wanted, I went back to Rodinal. Rodinal never fails for me
    even when it looks like oil. I usually use Agfa 25 or 100.
     
  10. I had a problem with the 5 liter size earlier this year. Some batches
    gave negs underdeveloped by about three f stops. Talked to Kodak.
    They gave me new packs. But here is the answer to predicting if the
    batch you are mixing is going to be "good" or not. When you mix
    package A it should turn slightly yellow cloudy. If it makes a clear
    solution, there will be a problem. Don't use it.

    <p>

    I tried to get Kodak to verify my observation and prediction, but they
    became unresponsive after simply replacing my developer.
     
  11. I have been using XTOL diluted 1:2 and 1:3 for some time with good
    results developing both T-MAX 100 120 and HP5+ 5x7. A few days ago I
    went to the Kodak web site to load publication j-109 (XTOL). There is
    a new version dated 9/00 that replaces the old of 4/00. The major
    change is the deletion of dilutions 1:2 and 1:3. Dilution 1:1 is still
    present. I e-mailed kodak and this is the response (I hope you find
    this information useful):

    <p>

    "Luis,

    <p>

    Kodak has tested XTOL Developer for long-term keeping by using typical
    equipment and procedures. Results indicate that mixed XTOL Developer
    stored for one year at room temperature (70°F [21°C]) in a
    full-stoppered bottle provides satisfactory results with Kodak
    black-and-white films when used at full strength. Some customers,
    however, have reported problems with developer stored for periods
    between six months and one year. Most often the problems related to
    loss
    of developer activity when customers were using a 1:3 or 1:2 dilution
    of
    the developer to process KODAK T-MAX 100 Professional Film.

    <p>

    To help ensure best results, we have changed our recommended shelf
    life
    and dilutions for XTOL Developer. The new recommendations are the same
    as those for KODAK Developer D-76 (full strength and 1:1). The change
    in recommendations does not indicate any change in the formulation of
    the developer. If you have been consistently obtaining satisfactory
    results with diluted developer and you use the mixed developer before
    keeping characteristics can become a concern, you may want to continue
    your current procedures. However, Kodak publications will no longer
    include development recommendations for the 1:2 and 1:3 dilutions of
    the
    developer.

    <p>

    Thank you for visiting our Kodak web site. If you should have any
    questions on Kodak products or services, please be sure to revisit our
    site as we are continually adding information to enhance our service.

    <p>

    Thom Bell
    Kodak Information Center (USA)
    Kodak Professional
     
  12. I mix 5 liter batches of XTOL stock solution in distilled water or
    water filtered though a Brita type filter to avoid potential problems
    caused by metals, organics, and residual chlorine with prolonged
    storage. I then store the Stock solution in amber 8 oz. glass bottles
    with teflon lined caps filled to the brim (no air space). These
    bottles can be purchased through the scientific supply houses such as
    VWR or Fisher for about $10-12/dozen.

    <p>

    Each bottle is a one shot dose to make 16 ozs. of 1:1 dilution XTOL,
    enough for 2-35mm rolls or 1-120 roll in a small tank.
    I do not reuse or replentish developer stock solution.

    <p>

    With this technique, I have had absolutely consistent results even
    with storage >6 months. I've found that the 1:1 dilution provides me
    with the most convenient development times and finest grain at
    reasonable cost.

    <p>

    THis may sound like a lot of work, but it is convenient, consistent
    and predictable.
     
  13. Yep, "convenient, consistent and predictable", UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO
    YOU. Xtol can be a marvelous developer when it works. But the
    mysterious underdevelopment problem can crop up without warning.
    Then, the 5 litre packaging has had major problems with the sealing
    of the part A packet. Got a nice batch of them with powder leaking
    all over the place. This was AFTER The Yellow Peril assured me it had
    been fixed. Went to the nearby camera store & took the packaging off
    the shelf, set it on the store counter & watched the white powder of
    the A packet make little sandpiles. EK replaces two packs but haven't
    yet replaced the three others I had that were leaking.
    I was using Xtol heavily as the results were very nice. I mix it to a
    gallon container, not a 5 litre one, for stock. Tested my times & got
    them standardized. Then had three rolls processed in a new batch at
    1:1 come out so far underdeveloped they were unusable. NO change in
    developing habits and while using Distilled water. The fresh
    developer was less than a day old, my usual mixing procedures
    followed, and results for a client that were a total bust. EK tells
    me I did something wrong. They are probably right. So, I solved that
    problem in the darkroom by using Ilford ID11, and the problem has not
    returned.
    There is too much The Yellow Godfather is not telling us about Xtol.
    It should be one of the best products they have but somehow Quality
    Control isn't up to the task of producing the product so that it is
    reliable.
     
  14. Sorry to hear that Dan. I mix Xtol 5l at a time. I used to develop a
    strip of test exposures in each new batch. Now I just develop a piece
    of exposed leader in a beaker to verify each batch. I order my 5l
    packs from B&H and have never seen this underexposure problem. I
    dilute 1+2.
     
  15. too many photographers are reporting problems with underdevelopment.
    when Xtol behaves it is simply marvelous. however, it always feels
    hit-and-miss, and I recently lost some TMY work because of this
    unpredictability. I am on a roll however, 5 litres, and beautiful TMX
    and TMY negatives once again. next failure, and out it goes. Tmax RS
    or ID-11 and no worries.
     
  16. I replaced Rodinol with XTOL 2 years ago. I mix 1 liter XTOL batches
    with distilled water and throw out unused developer after 3 months.
    All development is one shot using Kodaks times for a CI of 0.52. I
    use 4oz of stock developer diluted 1:2 to develop 1 roll of small or
    medium format and 5oz of stock mixed 1:1 for 1 roll of 35mm. Films
    developed have been FP4, Verichrome, Tri-X, HP-5, APX 100 and 400 in
    both 120 and 35mm. Diluted 1:2, XTOL is wonderful with 120 film,
    (crisp with full tonal range). At 1:3 midtones are slightly
    compressed by compensation. Small format thrives in a 1:1 mix. I
    had one experience with thin negs using APX film in XTOL 1:3. Read
    Kodak's written reply concerning loss of developer activity in
    Luislopez 11/28/00 post and recall that Tmax Developer is very
    active. With Kodak's info I will avoid 1:3 dilution and believe I
    will continue to have consistent results. If not, I will miss the
    speed increase of XTOL as I switch to a D-76/ID-11
    developer.
     

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