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Thread: Xtol Problems Anyone?

  1. #1
    Eric Biggerstaff
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Denver, Colorado

    Xtol Problems Anyone?


    Has anyone experienced problems using Xtol as of late?

    I know that a few years ago there seemed to be issues with the 1 litre packages and that these packages were discontinued.

    Recently however, I have had a couple of friends tell me that they have experienced under development problems with new packages of Xtol. One tray develops his film and reports that what used to be a "normal" development time recently gave him a Minus-2 development. He dilutes 1+1.

    Another friend also dilutes 1+1 but uses a Jobo. He too reports very poor results using new 5 litre packages of Xtol, he also has very under developed negs. He then used T-Max RS for the remaining development and all was OK. Same image, just the backup negative.

    I have used Xtol often ( but not in the last year) and always had good results. I switched to DDX 1+4 about a year ago only because I like the liquid concentrate developers. So I am asking about this more for my information than anything esle.

    Has anyone be having Xtol issues lately?

    Eric Biggerstaff

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 1998
    Fairfield County, CT (near NYC)

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    I use XTOL 1+1 all the time with 400TX film in 120 size. I use the 5 liter packages and never have any problems. I mix it in a dedicated bucket that's never used for anything else, and store the stock in 250ml glass bottles filled to the brim. I love the stuff. I think one must also be careful to make sure all the powder is would be easy to get in a hurry and leave some on the bottom of the bucket. Also, the entire 5 liters must be mixed at once. You can't divide it into 1 liter packages. The stock in the glass bottles lasts for months.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    X-Tol problems experienced:
    1) sudden failure after 6 weeks closed storage of solution.
    2) weak response of fresh developer.
    I like X-Tol but do not trust it. The problem with DDX is that it is about 4 times more expensive per use than competing developers. Currently I am looking for a good developer for faster films. Maybe I will go back to Perceptol 1:3.

  4. #4

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    I had a problem just last night that I can't explain. I had some negs come up very underdeveloped, approx. n-2+ at my normal time. One possible cause for me is developer exhastion. I had done my xtol testing w/ a single sheet of 4x5 and developed two 4x10 sheets last night. I used 100ml of stock solution diluted 1+2 for a total of 300ml in a unicolor drum. According to kodak the 100ml of stock solution should be ok for the 80 sq. in of film so I'm confused(as well as upset). The developer was maybe 3 months old, and from a 500ml bottle of stock I just opened and started using last week(succesfully).

  5. #5

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    Of all of the developer problems I have heard about, X tol seems to be the dominate the problem category.

    The only way I would use this developer is if I were to take my sheet film for commercial development and that is what they were using. Yes, when it works it is a marvelous developer, but it has a problematic shelf life and I do not see the risks as being proportional to the reward. Any of the concentrate developers such as Rodinal, DD-X, T Max or T Max RS are very user friendly particularly when you are not developing film in massive quantities.

    5 lites of developer even at 1:1 is a heck of a volume to use in 3 months - what I consider a safe window of opportunity for this developer.

    Just my $0.02.


  6. #6

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    I've been using PMK for some time, primarily because of shelf life problems with other developers. PMK apparently has an unlimited shelf life, good film speed and grain and fairly short times (N=8'). I don't return the film to the used developer following fixing, and wash for fairly brief/normal times. In over 35 years I've never had a problem from too little negative wash. With this processing I get minimal stain which, with VC papers, I'd just as soon not have anyway. This seems the only developer I am aware of with this kind of shelf life. Toxicity I think is exaggerated. I use a slosher, many/most of you seem to use Jobo, and tanks for roll film. Skin expsure is minimal. For what it's worth.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    5 Years, no problems due to Xtol (of course, plenty due to me). Keep in mind that I normally use it full strength or 1:1 (possibly due to the small volume in Jobo tanks), always as a "one shot", and since going to Xtol almost exclusively, 3 months is now a long storage time.

  8. #8

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    The part A ages inthe original package without the tell-tale clumping. Broken package seals promote clumping and you know it is bad.

    Beyond shelf like packs will work initially, but you get way underdeveloped negs as soon as a week after mixing.

    later kits have date stamps so you know the shelf life left.

  9. #9
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    USA, North Carolina

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    I've been using XTOL for years without a single problem - at least 1000 sheets of Tri-X. I'm using a Jobo, 3010 tank, about 30 rpm, 20C, and at the 1:3 dilution. I mix five liters of stock solution with distilled water, and store it in wine bottles using VacuVin vacuum stoppers.

    This last batch is four months old. I used it successfully just a few days ago. And I'm not using any excess developer - 250ml of stock and 750ml of water to make 1000ml of working solution. That's 25ml of stock per 5x4 sheet, which is Kodak's minimum.

    Maybe I'm leading a charmed life (hardly the case, let me tell you). What can I say? XTOL works for me and gives me 2/3 stop more real film speed than HC-110H used to.

    Bruce Watson

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Blue Jay, CA

    Xtol Problems Anyone?

    I have been using it and at 1:1 have never had a problem. I mix it and keep in in airtight full glass bottles. (And I mean full.) I have used it as long as 10 months after mixing it up and storing it in this manner and the storage doesn't seem to affect the results. Several times I was mixing it up from bags stored on the shelf in the darkroom for a year or more.

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