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Thread: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

  1. #1
    lazy retired bum
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    Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    I just got a used Jobo CPA-2 and am reviewing my basic development procedures. I have used 4x5 TMX in Xtol for many years in the 2500 series drum in a CPE-2 and for the last year in a 3010 drum on a Beseler motor base.

    Based on recommendations from trusted experts whose work is superb, I have used the Xtol at 1:2 (with at least 100ml stock per 8x10 sheet equivalent). I believe that developer is cheaper than film (and the time and money used to go places to expose the film). I would like to be kind to the motor in my CPA-2 so wonder if switching to 1:1 dilution would work as well. It would use a bit lower total volume of liquid in the drum albeit more stock solution. I have tested with a densitometer and rate the TMX at 100 with the Xtol 1:2.

    Also, I have read, I cannot recall where, that Xtol in a Jobo should not be used with a pre rinse. I have not done so in the past. I have no desire to spend more time developing film in the darkroom, but do want maximum quality. Do any of you who use xtol in a jobo do a pre rinse with distilled water and if so why and if not, why not?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    Eric

  2. #2

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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    I tested XTOL 1:1, 1:2 and 1:3 with TMX in a Jobo Expert, and I could not see any difference in image quality with a 6x loupe and Epson flatbed scans.

    I don't use a presoak. I have tested and found no benefit.

  3. #3

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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    I use a Jobo to develop 5x7 HP5+. I started using Xtol shortly after it’s introduction and had always used a pre-rinse when using HC-110 so I used a pre-rinse with the Xtol. At that time I hadn’t read anything that said not to. I have always gotten good results and all of my testing has been with a pre-rinse so I don’t really want to change anything. A couple of minutes added to the process isn’t much trouble really. But if you’re just starting with a new set-up I would try it without the pre-rinse step.

    I’m not sure why you are worried about the load on the Jobo motor. I don’t think it’s that fragile.

    Jerome

  4. #4
    lazy retired bum
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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    Hi Jerome,

    The reason for the concern re the motor is that Jobo, over the years, has upgraded the motors in the CPxx processors, presumably to reflect the stresses of rotating an Expert drum. I have a list of the serial numbers and the various upgrades. Mine is neither the newest nor the oldest.

    Eric

  5. #5
    Cooke, Heliar, Petzval...yeah
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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Brody View Post
    Based on recommendations from trusted experts whose work is superb, I have used the Xtol at 1:2 (with at least 100ml stock per 8x10 sheet equivalent). I believe that developer is cheaper than film (and the time and money used to go places to expose the film).
    So, if I understand you're using Xtol as one shot developer?
    Wow, expensive.
    Peter Hruby
    www.peterhruby.ca

  6. #6
    lazy retired bum
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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    Hi Peter,
    I do not consider it expensive. I pay $11.50 locally for a 5 liter pack of Xtol. Using 250ml of stock for a 10 sheet run in the Jobo 3010, I can get 20 runs, or 200 sheets for my $11.50 (not counting the cost of the electricity to run my Sears Water Purifier still to make my own distilled water), it costs me less than $0.06 per 4x5 sheet (if I did the math correctly). Compared to the cost of travelling to and attending John Sexton & Ray McSavanay's fabulous Southwest Workshop (worth every penny) a couple of weeks ago, and the costs of printing, it is trivial.

    Eric

  7. #7
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    I've been using XTOL with a 3010 tank and a Jobo CPP-2 for years. I've been processing 5x4 Tri-X, soon to change over to TMY-2 if I can ever get my ducks in a row.

    What I found years ago when I did the experiments is that the differences between 1:1, 1:2, and 1:3 are small. With 1:1 the grain is slightly smaller and not quite as crisp. With 1:3 it's slightly larger and slightly crisper. There is also a slight increase in sharpness in moving to 1:3. But really I wouldn't give you a quarter for the difference. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that there is also a slight real speed increase in moving from 1:1 to 1:3, which for me is worth more than the slight increase in sharpness.

    I'm using 1:3 because I'm drum scanning the film and optimized my processing to match what my scanner seems to want, which is a somewhat thinner negative. So even at 20C indicated (it may be half a degree off) and the CPP-2 turned down to just 30 rpm my time in 1:3 is just 6.5 minutes. The resulting film drum scans like a dream.

    I'm not using a pre-rinse because I read in the literature that Kodak didn't recommend it. I also exchanged some email with XTOL's creators Silvia Zawadski and Dick Dickerson (both are retired from Kodak) and they confirmed that a pre-rinse isn't needed or desirable with XTOL.

    Bruce Watson

  8. #8
    Cooke, Heliar, Petzval...yeah
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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Brody View Post
    Hi Peter,
    I do not consider it expensive. I pay $11.50 locally for a 5 liter pack of Xtol. Using 250ml of stock for a 10 sheet run in the Jobo 3010, I can get 20 runs, or 200 sheets for my $11.50 (not counting the cost of the electricity to run my Sears Water Purifier still to make my own distilled water), it costs me less than $0.06 per 4x5 sheet (if I did the math correctly). Compared to the cost of travelling to and attending John Sexton & Ray McSavanay's fabulous Southwest Workshop (worth every penny) a couple of weeks ago, and the costs of printing, it is trivial.

    Eric

    In this case, it sounds good. I constantly use 0.5 liter of Xtol 1+1. Every time after negative development, there is a natural loss of volume from JOBO. I fill it to a 0.5 liter again with new Xtol 1+1, to prevent from exhausting the solution.

    I'm puzzled by people using 3010 so often, I assume you use 3010 only if you have 10 sheets from one photoshoot, correct? I have 3010 too, but I couldn't use it yet so far. I didn't do a photoshoot yet.
    Peter Hruby
    www.peterhruby.ca

  9. #9
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    I have a CPA2 and 3010 drum but decided to process all my B&W by hand to eliminate the constant agitation. I think one of the advantages of using Xtol 1:3 is that you can leave it sit a minute or two between agitations. Any thoughts or input on this?

  10. #10

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    Re: Xtol dilution and pre-rinse?

    I use 1:3 so that I get reasonable development times for N- development. I use a Jobo expert drum with continuous agitation on a Bessler base. I did not use a pre-rinse at first, but found some streaks in the skies. I went to a pre-rinse and that vanished. Perhaps with a proper jobo system it would not matter, but with hand filling an expert drum and continuous unidirectional agitation, it does for me. It also helps clear the antihalation dye.

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