View Full Version : How do I find out if my developer is bad?

Ed Richards
29-Dec-2005, 08:27
Just mixed up a new batch of Xtol and developed six sheets. They came out hopelessly thin. The sheets I did with the last of the old batch were fine. Any quick test to figure out what is going on before I shot some test shots and try developing them?

Dan Jolicoeur
29-Dec-2005, 08:35
You say you just mixed up a new batch? Are you saying with old stock solution or from the package?

Ed Richards
29-Dec-2005, 08:46
Mixing new stock solution from the dry package, 5 liter pack.

Ed Richards
29-Dec-2005, 09:50
Solved the problem - shot 2 sheets in the camera, developed two more that were unexposed and two that I exposed to light. The developer is fine, must be me.

In general, I assume you could just develop a exposed and unexposed sheet as a test.

29-Dec-2005, 09:57
Some people keep a roll of 35mm B&W film on hand for testing questionable developers. To test, just snip off a piece of film with the light to expose it, and place it in the developer. It should turn dark very quickly. An unexposed film would not tell you much about develope action since all you will get back is B+F.

Dan Jolicoeur
29-Dec-2005, 10:00
Unless you messed up when mixing part A and part B; and this is a freshly mixed batch? Before you do some test, look back at your notes. Is this your standard developer? Did you recently change from another developer, and either get you times mixed up or did you mix up the batch wrong? I have out of date developer that is years over the expiration, in the package that is, and I have never had problems with it. If this has been your standard developer for awhile is it cheaper to remix another batch or test film?

Dan Jolicoeur
29-Dec-2005, 10:04
Well I must have been writing while you posted. Glad to see you figured it out!

Jim Noel
29-Dec-2005, 11:02
I quit using XTOL when I mixed a batch from a freshly bought package, and it was absolutely dead. Since this happened to me I have found a few others who experienced the same results.
Apparently, XTOL will lose potency in the dry state in the package.

Ed Richards
29-Dec-2005, 17:59
And the problem was:

My best guess is that the shutter speed was set too high. My normal lens is a Linhof Symmar in a Linhof Compur shutter. You view the shutter speeds through a notch in a bezel, so you can only see one speed at a time. The speed is a tiny engraving on a chrome ring, which is nearly impossible to see in bright sun light. This makes it very easy to set the wrong speed - 50 instead of 50, 250 rather than 2. When you change by clicking up or down from where you thought you were, you carry over the error. As I got further into the set of shots with this lens I found several that were properly exposed, which corresponded to the times I could get enough shade to see the setting clearly. I got a number of good images on the shoot, but this is the second time I have had weird problems trying to photograph this particular area.

Dan Jolicoeur
30-Dec-2005, 08:18
Jim Noel, I would like to hear more about this problem with Xtol. I have found this to be my favorite developer with Fuji Acros. I have done a lot of testing, and all of my shots this summer where developed in multiple batches of Xtol. I love this stuff anf have never had a problem. Are you sure the problem was with the developer? There was some kind of problem with the old packaging ,but I can't remember? The new; 2 package, 5 litre mix, has never given me a problem and this is the 1st I have heard of it. Can you elaborate on what you and what you have heard is the problem? Are you sure you did not have the old packaging? Has anyone else had a problem? I guess it doesn't matter anyhow, because like I said I have commited to this combination with Acros with great results. I have not found another film /developer combination that beats it!