View Full Version : HP5+ in HC-110 or XTOL?

Steve Feldman
27-Sep-2003, 17:37
Hi again, gang. I'm back with a new conundrum (sp?). I've used (for a few years now) 35mm, 120 and 4x5 HP5+ @ 320 dev in HC-110 dil. B. +1, N or -1 well under control and so far, pleased with the results. BTW, all my films dev in Uniroll tanks w/ motor base.

What advantages or disadvantages in making a switch to XTOL? Grain? Speed? Expansion/contraction control?

I know, I know, "If you're happy with what you've been doing, thus far, why change?" My ansewer, "I won't know until I try."

Opinions and experiences please.

Mark Farnsworth
27-Sep-2003, 17:51
<big>TRY IT</big>

Bruce Watson
27-Sep-2003, 18:46
I just went through a similar process myself. The difference is I'm using Tri-X. 4x5 only.

I did all the EI and normal development tests with both Xtol 1:3 and HC110H (aka twice B) so that I could compare apples to apples. I did all my development in Expert 3010 tanks on a Jobo, at the lowest speed setting (about 30 rpm) and 20C. Since I use 4x5 film, I did my evaluations at a paltry enlargement of 10x (which would be a 40x50 inch print, quite big enough for anything I'm doing these days).

My results:

1) I find that Xtol gives me a third to a half a stop more real film speed. Xtol lets me rate Tri-X at EI 400.

2) Grain is very comparible, with Xtol being a very tiny bit smaller if you hold your head right and squint.

3) The gradation that I get between the two is also similar. HC110 being just a touch (a small touch) nicer in the mid tones. Xtol seems to give slightly less toe, and I like that effect in the shadows. Xtol also gives a bit of a shoulder in the highlights, as opposed to HC110's incresing contrast in the highlights. All of these are slight differences in the final print, however.

In the end, even when I'm in my pickiest mood, I really wouldn't give you a quarter for the difference in how the print looks.

The extra film speed can't be ignored though, and that is why I'm using Xtol today.

28-Sep-2003, 02:13
Hi Steve,

I posted a similar question to the USENET LF group but didn't get much response. What are you using for your N-1 time? If you are using 5 min. for N, then your N-1 must be kinda short.

I'm doing 4x5 HP5+ in a Uniroller at 1:45, times:

N-1 = 5 min.

N = 7:30 min.

N+1 = 10:00 min.


James Phillips
28-Sep-2003, 07:28
Thanks Hogarth for such a complete answer. Every once in awhile I get tempted to move from HC-110 and Xtol has always been a thought. Even with the extra speed possibility (for myself) I am satisfied with your testing and experience as to not warrant any testing on my part at this time.

I'll just stay with HC-110. Thanks again.

Kind Regards,

Henry Ambrose
28-Sep-2003, 10:37
HP5+ at 320, Xtol 1:3 for 14 minutes at 70 degrees on roller base gives wonderful negatives. I use Xtol and HP5 in all formats. Very open shadows and nice controlled highlights. For inversion try 18 minutes. Both these times may seem long (compared to other combinations) but I like that it reduces variability of the process. It is a lot easier to accurately time 14 minutes than say 5 minutes especially when you start varying your process for expansion or contraction. I find Xtol 1:3 and HP5 super dependable partly because of the long process times.

Be sure to use at least 100ml of STOCK Xtol per 80 sq. in. of film (4 sheets 4X5, one roll 120 or 35mm) Typically I use 1 liter of working solution for 6 sheets of 4X5 in a Jobo 2500 drum - 250ml stock + 750ml water. I keep Xtol in 125ml bottles which gives me a premeasured dose for one run of 80 sq.in. of film - one roll 35 or 120, etc. My developer is pre-measured when I mix it so later on when its time to run film I just pour in the correct number of bottles to the water and go. I bought a case of these little brown glass bottles just for this purpose. They're cheap. I have totally fresh developer everytime as there is no airspace as there is when you leave a half filled bottle on the shelf. Mix your Xtol stock with distilled water for excellent repeatable results and longest life.

I think it is important to use plenty of developer so it does not exhaust and give unreliable results (same goes for any developer, IMO). Diluted 1:3 Xtol is very economical even when used very generously. I think you should try it, you'll like it.