View Full Version : Xtol failure?

2-Jun-2009, 02:25
I know this has come up in the past and for the most part there is no longer any problems but is anyone still having any unexpected things happen with Xtol.

What water are you using to mix the powder into? And how are you storing it. I store D76 in 250ml bottles and get 9 months out of an unopened bottle [glass] without any sign of change. Is Xtol anything like that for storage life?

I have yet to test Foma 200 in the Xtol but I imagine 1:3 would be a good compromise as the film is reasonably contrasty.


Mark Sampson
2-Jun-2009, 04:49
1) It was the 1-liter packaging that caused the trouble.
2) Distilled water is always best.
3) I use 10 500ml brown glass bottles for one 5-liter package. That lasts quite a while.
4) Xtol will still go bad over time. If the older stock looks yellow, it's oxidized; dump and mix fresh. I noticed this when the bottle in question was over 6 months old.

Bruce Watson
2-Jun-2009, 04:58
I always mix XTOL in steam distilled water. Then I store it in old wine bottles using the VacuVin stopper system to pull a vacuum over the developer. I also dilute with distilled water which keeps any junk out of it. I've never had an XTOL failure, and I've been using it as my only B&W developer for around five years now.

I just used some XTOL stock that's a year old. Worked perfectly. But I'm just about out so it's unlikely it'll make it more than a year ;)

Eric Brody
2-Jun-2009, 07:02
I mix with distilled water, dilute with distilled water, and like the others have not had a problem since the one liter package was eliminated. Mine is stored in a large container with a spigot on the bottom, and a floating lid. I try not to keep it longer than six months.


2-Jun-2009, 07:07
I have used Xtol for several years. I mix from the 5 L. pakage using standard Toronto, Ontario, tap water, and usually store it in a couple of containers, to extend its' life. It seems to keep for several months in partly filled container, and I haven't gone to the trouble of evacuating the container, although that would certainly be good practice.
The failures of Xtol I've heard of is that it will go bad quickly, and my experience is that, unlike other developers I use, it doesn't change colour when it is exhausted, so you might have bad developer, and not know it just by looking at it.
This VERY non-scientific, (Please don't flame me!) but if it has been sitting for a while, I will use a piece of film leader, or a piece of fogged paper and see if it develops to a good black in a minute or two. Exhausted dev won't.
Otherwise, if I have any doubts at all, I toss it and mix fresh.
Using these cautions, I have never had it fail on me, in nearly ten years of use.

2-Jun-2009, 08:50
I don't use gas or a floating lid since I go through xtol pretty quickly. But I've had failures with xtol stored over 2 months.

Ron Marshall
2-Jun-2009, 08:55
Never had a failure with XTOL. Mix and dilute with distilled water.

2-Jun-2009, 11:17
I had a problem with a 1 liter pack once- shoulda' known better than to mix it as it was sticky rather than powdery. Never have used distilled water, and ours has lots of calcium, albeit "softened" to sodium. I use it 1:3, based on the original Kodak instructions. Due to the odd [for the US] package to make 5 liters, I don't, but mix it in a juice jug that is a little larger than 1 gal but less than 5 liters. Since I listened in my math class in high school, I dilute that more highly concentrated stock to end up with 1:3, as in 1 mystock: 3.+ water and do 4 or 6 rolls of 120 in stainless tanks. And because the water is full of dissolved minerals, I rinse in distilled water/photoflow for a minute before hanging to dry .
Haven't tried it with tray development,yet. After a session I transfer the remaining stock to smaller full glass bottles. Since it doesn't discolor I toss the partial small bottle contents if I think I'll not develope for several weeks.

Ed Richards
2-Jun-2009, 12:54
Floating lid tanks are cheap, less than $20, and distilled water is also cheap. For that matter, Xtol is cheap, at least cheap enough to throw out if you have not used it up in 6 months. (If you cannot afford $20 a year for developer, you probably should not be doing LF)

So, if you want to avoid trouble, get a floating lid tank from BH, use distilled water, and toss it after 6 months or if it looks yellow, or if it is nasty when you open the pack.

That said, I NEVER develop irreplacable shots in the first batch of a newly mixed developer. Made that mistake once, then repeated it just to be sure.:-)

Kevin Crisp
2-Jun-2009, 13:16
I never use distilled water. I put it in full glass bottles after I mix it up. I've used 12 months after mixing date with no issues.

2-Jun-2009, 17:27
Never had a problem, and I keep batches of mixed Xtol sitting around for several months. After I mix it, I divide the stock solution into several old wine bottles and stopper them with wine vacuum sealers you can get at the grocery store.

Andrew O'Neill
2-Jun-2009, 17:46
I've never had a problem, even when the 1 litre packages were available. I have some that I mixed up in October. I just used some of it last week. Still going strong.

Peter De Smidt
2-Jun-2009, 18:03
I had one failure. Don't know what the deal was. I use the 5L packets and store in a tank with a floating lid. I use distilled water to mix the developer. It's cheap. With most subjects, I expose two sheets of film. That way if something happens to the first sheet, I'm not completely screwed. Of course that won't work for all subjects, but that's what other formats are for ;)

Armin Seeholzer
3-Jun-2009, 09:20
No failed XTOL dev. so far and I use it since it came out.
Use just normal water and put it in 1 Liter dark glass bottles filled to the top. In the cool basement it last at least a year!
I did also use it replenished during a period of much developments, this soup was at the end 1 1/2 years old. When I used it for 24 8x10 I was just taking 2 liters out of the soup and put 2 liters fresh soup in it. About 10% longer development time.
For replenished use it has to be undilutted, works just perfect.

Cheers Armin

Lynn Jones
6-Jun-2009, 14:21
My view of Xtol is that at its best it is a failure.


6-Jun-2009, 19:31
i have had failed xtol and i have had good xtol.
just don't dilute it too much ... like kodak used to recommend

i don't use it anymore...

Andrew O'Neill
6-Jun-2009, 20:15
My view of Xtol is that at its best it is a failure.

In what way??

Bruce Watson
7-Jun-2009, 06:28
In what way??

Please don't feed the trolls. ;)

Joseph O'Neil
7-Jun-2009, 07:03
Municipal water supplies vary a lot from one city to another. For example, in my hometown, at least in the past, the water was/is very hard. You mileage will vary, your water may be softer. Also, if you are on a well, you will see great variations there too.

This is why some people can use tap water, others cannot. for me, I must use either distilled water or filtered water when using Xtol.


7-Jun-2009, 08:15
Have never had a problem with Xtol, I've been using it since it's release, always with tap water, and that's quite ghard. I've always used it replenished, I no longer use deep tanks but split a 5 litre pack after making it up into 2.5 litre working solution and store the rest in litre or 500ml containers. Used this way it keeps well for over a year.

I've done the same over the years, with Microphen/ID-68 - bottles, ID-11(D76) - deep tanks, then Adox Borax MQ both in deep tanks and then 2.5litre bottles before switching to Xtol.

Xtol is an excellent developer, I found it better with Tmax than ID-11/D76 for my work, but developer choice is very personal and not always rational.


7-Jun-2009, 10:49
I use it for custom processing mixed in Portland water. 10 liters at a time and I keep it going till I have done 150 rolls. It is great. The only failure problem I find is that some films don't follow the Kodak recommendation for time extension as the developer ages. Especially for me Acros and FP4 start needing much more time than they should to be processed properly when the developer is about at it's half life. I just extend the times further and the film comes up fine. All the Kodak films do follow the chart till the end.
Oh and I use a floating lid in my 10 liter tank.

7-Jun-2009, 11:15
So you're not replenishing ?

That's to do with the Bromide and particularly Iodide build up in the developer. It would happen with ID-11/D76 under similar circumstances.


Kirk Keyes
7-Jun-2009, 11:58
I just this morning noticed my bottle of Xtol had gone bad that I mixed last summer. It was easy to tell as it was amber in color instead of being clear. I dropped a little strip of exposed film in to check it and the film did not darken within a couple minutes. So I'm in the process of mixing a new batch.

Andrew O'Neill
7-Jun-2009, 21:35
lease don't feed the trolls.

Hey, you shouldn't call anyone a troll! ;)

8-Jun-2009, 06:41
So you're not replenishing ?

That's to do with the Bromide and particularly Iodide build up in the developer. It would happen with ID-11/D76 under similar circumstances.


Kodak doesn't actually have a replenisher for Xtol. They recommend either extending the times as the developer gets used, or replacing some of your working batch with fresh Xtol after each film run. I have always used the time extension and it works very well except some films don't seem to follow the schedule very well. I keep running notes.

At the bottom of the second page of this PDF file is Kodak's recommendation for extension:

8-Jun-2009, 09:40
When I was still at school I used that system with Microphen (ID-68) it was OK but not as good as replenishment.

Xtol is unique amongst the powder developers as the Replenisher is fresh developer as you noted, but of course this is more common with liquid developers used for automated processing of B&W & colour.

Replenishment would probably eliminate the problems your finding with certain films.


emo supremo
9-Jun-2009, 05:16
I am not reading this correct: you store Xtol for six months in a Kodak tank with a floating lid?
More to the point, any recommendations based on experience as to how long the Xtol working solution can be left in the Kodak tank with a floating lid?

emo supremo
9-Jun-2009, 05:24
with regard to my previous post about tank beyond use dates Kodak's info maintains that: "In Partially Filled, Tightly Closed Container the beyond use date is two months" whereas in tanks with floating lids: "Indefinitely if new solution is added to replaced that used by the processor." That was a gray answer if I ever heard the sound of a nebula falling in the forest.

Vlad Soare
10-Jun-2009, 03:46
"In Partially Filled, Tightly Closed Container the beyond use date is two months" whereas in tanks with floating lids: "Indefinitely if new solution is added to replaced that used by the processor." That was a gray answer if I ever heard the sound of a nebula falling in the forest.
I think the second statement assumes that the processor runs on a regular basis, in which case the developer's replenishment rate would probably be fast enough to keep it from dying of old age.
I don't think it was meant to sound like you could store X-Tol in a floating lid tank forever.

Lynn, you made the same statement on Photo.net not long ago. Would you please care to elaborate? Apart from its sensitivity to water impurities, and apart from its sudden and warningless death, is there anything else you don't like about it? Is there anything else we should be aware of?
I've always valued your contributions on Photo.net, and I'm sure you wouldn't make such assertions unless you had a good reason. Could you please tell us more about this?