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Thread: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

  1. #1

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    HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    Does this chart from Kodak line up with your experience developing HP5+ (in sheets) in HC-110 and/or Xtol?

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    I'd like to standardize on one of these two developers when I'm processing HP5+ in 4x5 sheets. I'm actually quite pleased with how they are both doing. The thing I find strange is I'm not seeing much of a difference in shadow detail and grain. The chart suggests I should be seeing some (with Xtol having better shadow detail and finer grain).

    Importantly, I'm not comparing optical enlargements. Rather, I'm comparing 2,666 ppi camera scans of negatives developed in each developer. I'm guessing that Kodak's chart assumes optical enlargement. That could be the reason right there, in other words, the characteristics of the digital sensor used in the camera scanning process overwhelm any differences in shadow detail, grain and sharpness that might be evident with optical enlargement.

    This is not a bad thing by the way! I'm not going to complain that two developers give me excellent results... But it's a small mystery and I'd appreciate your thoughts.

  2. #2

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    HC-110 is an speed loss developer, in general it delivers more an S shape the curve, it's convenient because of liquid concentrate. It's popular for rotary processing because contrast is adjusted by concentration.

    Xtol is very low toxicity, it's full speed, even having 1/3 stop more in the shadows than D-76. Fine grain if you standarize also for lower formats, and kodak says it's sharper (better perhaps for small formats).

    With xtol you have to mix 5L, better with distilled water for long shelf life.

    Me, I use Xtol 1:1, I would use HC-110 only if wanting a more pronounced toe/shoulder.

  3. #3

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    Both are reliable and consistent developers -- no question. Both are economical. In CAD, it's about $0.66/tank (an SP 445) for HC-110 and $0.79/tank for Xtol. Can't beat that (easily anyway!)

    I made some test prints from the two negatives sized as for 16"x20" on my Epson 3880. Both are excellent to my eye, and both look about the same in terms of shadow detail, grain and sharpness. It's like where camera scanning erases most of the difference, inkjet printing on matte paper erases the rest. This is only a bad thing if you're trying to carry some distinctive characteristic you can see in your negative through to your digital scan and your print; I'm not actually sure that's possible though (with this film anyway).

    I should mention too that I compared Dilution B for HC-110 and used Xtol 1:1. And I rated the film at ISO 320 for HC-110 and ISO 400 for Xtol.

    So my provisional take-away is with HP5+ in 4x5, the developer (comparing HC-110 and Xtol -- not referring to any other developer) makes minimal difference if you're camera scanning and inkjet printing. Use whichever one you prefer. Does that match your experiences?

  4. #4

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    HC-110 is an speed loss developer, in general it delivers more an S shape the curve, it's convenient because of liquid concentrate. It's popular for rotary processing because contrast is adjusted by concentration.

    Xtol is very low toxicity, it's full speed, even having 1/3 stop more in the shadows than D-76. Fine grain if you standarize also for lower formats, and kodak says it's sharper (better perhaps for small formats).

    With xtol you have to mix 5L, better with distilled water for long shelf life.

    Me, I use Xtol 1:1, I would use HC-110 only if wanting a more pronounced toe/shoulder.
    Um, have you seen or plotted a curve from HC-110? Upswept, not s-shaped curve is generally the name of the game.

  5. #5

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    One thing is simply upswept, and another thing upswet+shoulder

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pere Casals View Post
    One thing is simply upswept, and another thing upswet+shoulder
    At a high CI, maybe. Otherwise often very little/ much later to no shouldering. Lots of available data & curves that show this. Xtol's design & solvency are what give it that balance of speed, fine grain & sharpness via its interaction with the placement of iodide in modern emulsion designs. HC-110 was designed to do the sort of things DK-50/ DK-60a etc did in larger format or lab uses with maximum packaging efficiency etc. One was designed for 1965 needs, the other for 1995.

  7. #7

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by interneg View Post
    At a high CI, maybe.
    You are right, this at crazy high Contrast Index...

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    So the HC-110 upswet shape is the important one...

  8. #8

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    I had unusable Tmax negs in HC110 that I later found had an upswept curve and a "shad belly". It was the film not the developer. TriX and HC110 are both history as far as I am concerned now due to cost and availability. I have discovereed that Ilford HP5+ and Ilfotec HC are virtual clones of TriX and HC110. My speeds for normal negs are EI 100 developed 1:31 for 5:00 and EI 400 developed 1:31 for 7:00. Ok, so maybe they are not exact clones of Kodak products, but close enough for me. I am reminded of an old blues tune that proclaimed "Ain't much difference between a real blonde and a fake, or between a Ferrari and a Z28."

  9. #9

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    I went from developing my HP5+ in HC110 dilution E to using Xtol 1:1. The main difference was a definite increase in film speed (2/3 stop I would guess) and a tonally better negative that was easier to scan. I haven't tested them side by side though so these are feelings rather than provable data.

  10. #10

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    Re: HP5+ in Xtol and HC-110: can you see a difference?

    So apparently a shadbelly is some kind of riding coat worn by fox hunters. I'm guessing it's not a good thing if you see it in your film's characteristic curve!

    Quote Originally Posted by Neal Chaves View Post
    I had unusable Tmax negs in HC110 that I later found had an upswept curve and a "shad belly". It was the film not the developer. TriX and HC110 are both history as far as I am concerned now due to cost and availability. I have discovereed that Ilford HP5+ and Ilfotec HC are virtual clones of TriX and HC110. My speeds for normal negs are EI 100 developed 1:31 for 5:00 and EI 400 developed 1:31 for 7:00. Ok, so maybe they are not exact clones of Kodak products, but close enough for me. I am reminded of an old blues tune that proclaimed "Ain't much difference between a real blonde and a fake, or between a Ferrari and a Z28."

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