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Thread: XTOL compliants and problems?

  1. #1
    Meat Robot Jay Decker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Third Stone from the Sun

    XTOL compliants and problems?

    That's right, I want you to share your bad experience with XTOL. I want to hear all the problems with XTOL before I decide to settle down with XTOL as my regular developer. Oh, and, let's steer clear of the "what's the best developer?" argument and try to stick to the bad things about XTOL.

    Why am I asking this question? I returned to B&W film photography and processing after being out of it for about 30 years. Over the past couple years I've been accumulating the "pots and pans" to soup film again... and trying different film developers. Every developer that I have tried, see the list below, has resulted in MF and LF (and 35mm, arguably,) negatives that scan well and produce better B&W prints using an ink jet printer than I can achieve with my late model DSLR. Bottom line, I'm as joyous as a swine in fecal material.

    I recently tried XTOL at the incessant insistence of a friend, who told me to just try it without reading anything on the internet about it. So, I did, and while there was nothing magical about the results, there was good tonal separation in the negatives. Anyway, I'm thinking about settling down with XTOL as my regular developer, and possibly using one other developer for compensating development.

    Here's the list of Developers I've tried:
    Rollo Pyro

  2. #2

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    I've heard of two problems with Xtol. The first was a problem with sealing of the 1L size packaging in the early years of the product, which unpredictably resulted in the developer going bad before it was mixed. Kodak fixed that by discontinuing that package size. The other problem was that some users run into trouble by trying high dilutions without allowing for enough stock solution. That's easy enough to avoid, too.

    I got good results with Xtol when I tried it. I didn't see anything that made me want to switch from my standard, which is still D-76, but if I had to use Xtol I'd be happy with that too. If you tried it and like it, I can't think of any reason why you shouldn't use it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Forest Grove, Ore.

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    Search the archives. There's a lot of information on this developer.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2001

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    The worst thing about XTOL it is not the cheapest one, but the results are the best compromise of all developers which I know!
    I use it for 98% of my negs but in different dillutions!
    Jay will like it even if you knew it better then now!

    Cheers Armin

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    No problems at all; excellent image quality.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails f002_0072hc.gif  

  6. #6
    tgtaylor's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    San Francisco Bay Area

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    It's a great developer: Inexpensive ($2/liter), and a stock solution will last 6 months in a floating lid tank (I know because I've actually used it when it was that old).

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Northwest of Chicago

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    I use it replenished with no problems whatsoever. I like it a lot.

    Richard Wasserman

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    CA Central Coast

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    I had a bad 1L packet once- shoulda' known better than to mix it when i saw it was "gooey". I just tested a batch that i mixed up in June. I had made up the five liter stock in a 4 liter glass wine jug and used most of it. [ I used ALL of the wine some time back] The leftover filled an applejuice bottle about half way so it was well exposed to the air in the bottle. It worked just fine at the equivalent of 1:2 on 4x5 HP5-in-a-tray. After the test I diluted it 1:3 for 120 film in stainless tanks. As for too little stock etc, most tank loads were 96 oz in a tank for/and 6 stainless reels, or 64oz in a 4 reel tanks- that's NO extra at 1:3. Dunno what the rotary folks do. Sure glad I have the original Kodak T&T tables. One of the tank runs was to develope some odd rolls i'd had lying around. As i had forgotten the subject on a roll of Photowarehouse 400 I threw it in with a coupla HP5 rolls and was very pleasantly surprised that it came out very well [ probly the high dilution I'd guess, but that was the last 3 rolls in a 4 reel tank, 64 oz 1:3].

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2007
    New York City & Pontremoli, Italy

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    I have used and continue to use Rodinal, D76, Microdol-X, Diafine, Acufine for my 35mm work but switched from HC110 to XTOL for LF. What surprised me about XTOL is that I am getting twice+ the box speed. At first I didn't believe it, so I sent a second round of test negatives to a third party for testing and the results were the same.

    My only complaint so far is that I would like to use a higher than 1:1 dilution but my developing equipment does not allow it.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Re: XTOL compliants and problems?

    All I have had is good results from this developer. Like all developers, it is a compromise between grain/sharpness/speed, but it is the best compromise, in my humble opinion. I too have read about the problems with the 1L. packets, which I never used. The other issue I've read about is it dying quickly in the bottle, but I have used a part filled bottle after a few months storage in my cool, dark basement, with no troubles. It does stay quite clear even when dead, so this could also have contributed to some of the bad rap, as its' not obvious that it has gone bad.
    I almost always use it at 1:1 dilution.


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