View Full Version : Considering XTOL for HP5+ & FP4+

John Kasaian
13-Mar-2012, 21:04
My D-76 has bought the farm, so to speak, so I thought this might be the time to experiment. Any suggestions or tips?

Greg Y
13-Mar-2012, 21:44
Pyrocat HD in glycol. Inexpensive & long-lasting. Great developer for both HP5 & FP4.

Mark Barendt
14-Mar-2012, 04:02
I'd suggest a staining developer too just for fun.

I picked up some WD2D+ it's easy to use and the negatives have been really easy to print in the enlarger.

neil poulsen
14-Mar-2012, 05:07
Just out of curiosity, what's the issue with your D76? Is this developer you mixed yourself? Is availability being affected with Kodak's bankruptsy?

14-Mar-2012, 07:06
Pyrocat HD in glycol. Inexpensive & long-lasting. Great developer for both HP5 & FP4.

A great choice for many films.

Peter De Smidt
14-Mar-2012, 07:48
I too am a fan of the Pyrocats. Xtol is also a very good developer.

John Kasaian
14-Mar-2012, 08:18
The batch I have is old and expired because its taken me so long to get back into my dark room for a printing session.Outside of that, D-76 is my developer of choice. Since TMY is out of my league I've been using HP-5+ as my fast film and I've heard XYTOL is good for wringing the last bit of speed out of film so that is the reaon for my question. I'd love to try pyro but that chem don't
jive with a certain health issue I've been blessed with.
Just out of curiosity, what's the issue with your D76? Is this developer you mixed yourself? Is availability being affected with Kodak's bankruptsy?

14-Mar-2012, 08:33
I used xtol for about a year and tried everything, I just could not get it to look the way that i wanted. The tones were not too good, way too much mid for me. The main killer was the mushy grain. I am now to hc-110 and d76. I like both of them much more.

Henry Ambrose
14-Mar-2012, 11:58
You'll love Xtol with both those films.
HP5 at 320, 16 minutes in Xtol 1:3
FP4 at 100, 12 minutes in Xtol 1:3
Mix the powder with distilled water, following the directions to dissolve part A completely before adding part B.
Don't rush it.

I also use distilled water to dilute the developer just before use.
Be sure to use at least 100ml of stock developer per 80 sq. in. of film.
I use 125ml because I have lots of little 125ml bottles that I keep full to the top with Xtol.
I consider each bottle a dose of developer for one roll of 35 or 120 or 4 sheets of 4X5.

Mark Sampson
14-Mar-2012, 13:48
Some years ago on the job we carefully tested XTOL 1:1 as a replacement for D-76 1:1 (in a particular technical application shooting TMX). We found that XTOL 1:1 was a little sharper and offered a lovely linear tonal scale. it was a small but worthwhile improvement. I started using it for my 35mm Tri-X as well, and have not looked back.

14-Mar-2012, 14:15
I love Xtol and think that with this developer and Pyrocat you have all you could ever need: fine grain, tremendous tonality and good speed with the former and great acutance, highlight rendering with the latter (but less speed).

In my experience Xtol 1+1 does not produce mushy grain and at 1+2 it is biting sharp. The speed gain over D76 is noticeable and of the general purpose non-staining devs this is my favourite all-rounder. It is great for pushing rollfilm and will give amazing overall quality with a wide range of films. When diluted it is also relatively soft working and will help tame hot highlights. I have developed the vast majority of my 35mm and 120 work in this developer. It does have some surprising qualities, however, such as making all grain vanish from Foma 100 (and APX 100) at 1+1 making it incredible for gentle portraits... and being perfectly mixable with Rodinal for negs with 'a bit of both.'

I prefer Pyrocat in LF, assuming I do not need the speed (which one generally does not) for the great acutance and tonal qualities.

Regarding D76 and Xtol, I moved over to the latter and never looked back. At 1+2 it gives really tight crisp grain in everything I have tried it with. I guess tastes vary, because I found it superior to HC110 in every way that mattered to me, but the papers we print on and the techniques we use, light we shoot in etc are all different! When I compared HC110 to pyrocat, the superior acutance, finer grain, better shadow separation and highlight retention were quite obvious. Speed was about the same as dil B.

Ian Gordon Bilson
14-Mar-2012, 21:07
I'll chip in here..Xtol has replaced D76 in my affections for the above stated reasons. Since this is a LF forum,may I suggest you try it in the stock strength,replenished method.
I replaced D76 diluted with Xtol diluted,and was impressed with the enhanced grain/sharpness ratio.
For the often-stated reasons -dilutions beyond stock reduce the solvency effect.."mushy grain" syndrome.
Then I was seduced by a discussion on APUG to try the Stock strength,replenished,seasoned Xtol approach.
Eureka! Better,sharper,well-graded negatives,compared to Xtol 1:1.
The secret being the seasoning..after a few sheets of film,possibly due to bromide release,the developer changes its nature. Replenish with stock at 80ml per 8x10in equiv.
An excellent grain/sharpness ratio,and very economical in use.