View Full Version : Semi-stand using XTOL

Ron Marshall
28-Jul-2006, 14:28
Has anyone tried semi-stand compensating development using highly dilute XTOL, to control an excessive contrast range, and if so what dilution did you use?

Henry Ambrose
29-Jul-2006, 04:16
Some time ago there was a fellow posting at photo.net who was using Xtol 1:5 for stand development with TMax 100. He claimed wonderful results and pretty high speed. I think I remember something about 30 minutes total time with agitation every 10 minutes. Anyway, I think that would be a reasonable place to start.

I'd like to hear what you find out iif you try this.

Wayne Crider
29-Jul-2006, 07:32
I seem to remember the 1:5 dilution as well.

I have Xtol and a sheet of film and a green filter for DBI. Want me to check it out for you?

jim kitchen
29-Jul-2006, 10:48
Dear Ron,

Do you happen to have Bruce Barbaum's, "The Art of Photography" book, Third Edition?

In that book, Chapter Nine, Page 9-14, Bruce discusses compensating development with HC-110, TMax RS, but not directly to XTOL. Although Bruce discusses XTOL with TMY, TMX, Delta 100 and Delta 400 later on in his text, one could interpret the information to be applied to XTOL, once you understand the properties of HC-110, and the technique that Bruce discusses regarding compensating development.

That said, Bruce also discusses a two solution compensating development, which Bruce believes to be far superior to his original compensating development method. His book also discusses hanger, tray and drum tank development procedures.

I would see if you could locate this excellent ring back book, from Bruce directly, if you do not have it.

The information, with Bruce's book, is copyright protected and since I know Bruce, I can not directly publish his data.

I would contact Bruce, through his web site, and ask him if he could supply a starting point for your development trials. His compensating development technique is outstanding and very brilliant.

Bruce's site is here: http://www.barnbaum.com/

Bruce travels considerably, and it might take a bit of time for Bruce to respond, but Bruce eventually does.

I hope this helps...

jim k

Ron Marshall
29-Jul-2006, 11:47
Henry, thanks, I saw the post you mention but was wondering if anyone had tried higher dilutions.

Wayne, thanks for the offer. I am in the process of testing HC-110, XTOL and Pyrocat-HD to use as a two bath compensating developer for a project I will do involving high brightness range subjects at night. I will post the results for anyone who is interested. But my tests will be subjective.

I am very interested in the results of the study to be done by Sandy King, Kirk Keyes and T. Hoskinson, comparing several staining developers.

Jim, thanks, I have Barnbaums book, a great resource. I tried his two bath HC-110 compensating developer with TMY and it held a 16 stop range beautifully. But I want to see if either XTOL or Pyrocat-HD will do a better job, in terms of tonal range, highlight detail, sharpness and grain.

I would rather photograph than test, but I want to be sure that I am getting the most out of the images that I shoot.

Sheldon N
8-Aug-2006, 14:09
I've just tried dilute stand development in Xtol to see what kind of results it gave. I was using Tri-X Pan 320 exposed at 320, placing the shadows at about Zone III or IV. The subject matter was pretty strongly backlit, with both shade and sunlit areas.

I developed in 1 1/2" tubes (emulsion facing inwards), with dilute Xtol 1+5 at 68 degrees for 15 minutes. I agitated (rolling) for 1 minute, then left the tubes standing vertically for the remaining 14 minutes.

The negatives look pretty good, low contrast with good shadow detail and highlights that aren't blocked up. I haven't scanned or printed them yet to really look at the grain structure, but that's less of a concern for me. I was mainly looking to see how well it could control a higher contrast ratio.

A totally unscientific test, but it seems to produce workable results.

Let us know what you find out, Ron.

Ron Marshall
8-Aug-2006, 16:18
Thanks for the info Sheldon.

My XTOL will arrive from B+H in two days.

I tried a modification of the two bath proceedure in Barnbaum's book in my Jobo with HC-110 and was very satisfied with the results. I imagine that XTOL will be very similar, but perhaps 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop faster.

My proceedure:

5 min presoak
70 sec slow rotation in HC-110 1:7 from stock
30 sec water rinse
12 min in HC-110 1:44, 10 sec rotation every 90 sec (2800 ml of developer in the Jobo, rolled on countertop)

I was able to capture a 17 stop range with TMY, at EI 400, with good local contrast and highlight separation. Better than I had hoped. I only need 14 stops for my intended subjects.

I plan to try the same proceedure with XTOL, using 1:1 for the first bath and 1:7 or 1:9 for the second.

Michael Rosenberg
8-Aug-2006, 18:38
I have used Bruce's technique for compensation development for a number of years with TMAX 100 and XTOL. The first bath is 1:2 for 2 min. agitating the whole time, then semi-stand in 1:5 for 10 min. at 75F in a 2.5L tank. No problem with getting a 16 stop range from printing well.

I would not do the second step with constant agitation - semi-stand is best. And the 1:5 x 2.5L is used one shot!


Ron Marshall
8-Aug-2006, 19:35
Michael, have you tried any greater dilutions than 1:5 for the second bath? From what you have said I will probably be happy with 1:5, but I would like to save on developer cost if I can do it without sacrificing image quality.

Michael Rosenberg
13-Aug-2006, 19:06

I have tried 1:7, but not with great luck. I think at that dilution there may not be enough developer and or chelator. I never went back and tried doing it using distilled water for the dilution.


Ron Marshall
13-Aug-2006, 19:23

I have tried 1:7, but not with great luck. I think at that dilution there may not be enough developer and or chelator. I never went back and tried doing it using distilled water for the dilution.


Thanks Mike.

I will maintain the minimum requirement of 100 ml of XTOL per 80 square inches of film, but since I will use 2850 ml of developer it is easy to achieve a high dilution.

I will test 1:5, 1:7 and 1:9. I'll post the results.

Andrew O'Neill
18-Aug-2006, 12:26
Xtol is quite feeble with higher dilutions. I've done up to 1+11 semi stand for 1 hour and 30 minutes (agitation 1 minute every 20 minutes in BTZS tube). The last negative I recall had a range of about 16 stops. I exposed it at EI of 200. Shadows are well defined but overall the negative is flat, flat, flat. Developing in 1+1 for a few minutes before 1+11 solves that. I don't see any improvements with sharpness though. I do see a slight increase in speed. Since I like to use unsharp masks xtol highly diluted is no good for me. I've settled on pyrocat-HD for the past few years and it is outstanding for stand or semi-stand (for stand, negative must be vertical) and captures extreme contrast ranges AND I can use unsharp masks.
Xtol is a lovely match for many films (I use HP5+ 4x5 and 8x10) and I still do use it occasionally.