10 months old Xtol, testing, hama bottle

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Domin, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Domin

    Domin Member

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    I have mixed 5l xtol in 2,5l of water about 10 months ago. I haven't used it in last 6 months, when it was ok. Now I need it. The roll is waiting and I really do not want to risk it.

    From what I searched in older posts concentrated xtol is probably all right if kept in right conditions. Hovever, im not quite sure if its so in my case. I have two bottles of it. One about half full, PVC (black tetenal bottle), filled with lighter gas, and other is full, hama photo bottle. But its HDPE bottle which, as I've read recently is bad for storing developer.

    I'm also not entirely sure if the xtol in the PVC bottle is concetrated. But its unlikely its just stock.

    It seems that I have to do some testing.

    I read about xtol sudden death, but its rather anecdotal and I do not know if assumption that it either works or not is right. Is it? I would make testing very simple.

    Unfortunately I do not have any unexposed films I used to develop in xtol in the past. I think I could make test it against rodinal or id11 (thats what i have) and see if it produces similar density when it should. However I'm not sure if manufacturers dev times are to be trusted as I have rather mixed experience, particularly with ilford data. It would be most convenient to test it with tmax400 expired in 95.
     
  2. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Domin,

    First, dump the half full bottle if you think there is any chance you diluted it from stock. Second, I don't know how much it would cost for you to replace the remaining developer, but the time and effort you put into the roll of film in question is probably greater.

    When I first started using Xtol, as it was not my main developer, I kept it in one of those collapsible bottles for around a year. I had no problem. Now I use it almost exclusively so storage time is no longer a problem. Unfortunately, this is also only anecdotal. In any case, I would discard any developer that you had further diluted from stock. In fact, I would not save it in the first place. Developer is a lot cheaper than film. :>)

    Assuming there is stock developer left and testing is the route you wish to follow, I would use the times in the Xtol data sheet. I find them to be quite good when developing in a Jobo system. Follow the timing instructions exactly as the times given include time for filling and emptying the tank. If you are going to agitate by hand I would follow the agitation instructions on the sheet so that the times would be most valid.

    Good luck to you.

    Neal Wydra
     
  3. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Neal is right: don't chance it and possibly ruin your roll of film. I recently had an under developing problem with a roll of tri-x film. Was it the 2-month old x-tol which I diluted 1:1 or was it me? Whatever the case, the film was completely unusable.
     
  4. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    Domin

    One of the reasons I stopped using XTOL in it's poor keeping qualities. I found that my negs were thin after 2 months, let alone 10 months. I would store the stock in airvac bottles with all the air squeezed out as I could. So I would toss it.
     
  5. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Be careful with collapsible storage bottles (especially those with accordion folds). They can develop leaks in the folds (developer leaks out and air leaks in). I store XTOL Stock Solution in fully filled Amber Glass Boston Rounds.
     
  6. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    My experience with XTOL, mixed with distilled water, then distributed into (full!) half-litre glass bottles, and stored in the refrigerator, is that it lasts for more than a year. I specifically tested this a couple of years ago.

    I used all but one bottle of a single batch and after 13 months (or so...) I ran a test roll using the (old) stock and compared it with a previously developed (same batch) test roll of the same subject. No discernible difference.

    Dave
     
  7. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    One thing to note here is that many people have theorized that the quality of the water affects longevity. Using distilled water is crucial if you are going to keep XTOL stock solution for extended periods.

    I can't recall for certain, but believe the question was about iron salts. If your water has a higher iron content, the stock solution will last a shorter time than if it has less or no iron.
     
  8. Domin

    Domin Member

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    The xtol I have is not diluted, its almost surely twice as concetrated as stock (5l package diluted in 2,5l water, probably distiled). Unfortunately kodak does not list dev times for non-kodak developers and I have only rodinal and id11. I don't think that comparison against dev times from different sources is a good idea.

    I've just exposed in same conditions two 4x5 sheets of tmax400 (old one, actually very old). From kodak its 6min@20C in xtol stock. The massive dev chart gives 5@20C in rodinal 1+25. The times might target different densities but that's what I have.
     
  9. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Imagine that there are constant rumours in web forums, people are complaining:

    "In my fridge, I found a bottle with milk, best before '4 months ago'. I drank it and feel sick now. That dairy-farm/that supermarket is bad."

    What would you say about that? Is that clever?

    Just discard old chemistry, I say. Your films don't like indigestion, just like you and me.

    One thing about XTol in general: it is CHEAP. Look at some of those miracle super-developers ("no grain at 3200 ASA, high acutance, smells like teen spirit") that are marketed as if they were sent from heaven. Then compare the prices that you pay for the chemistry and the money you pay PER FILM. Xtol is really cheap, even if you only get it in 5 liter bags.

    Now, if you have stored Xtol too long, why not tell yourself: stupid me, 10 months is longer than the 6 months it is supposed to last - and discard that cheap stuff and make 5 new liters?
     
  10. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I wouldn't even risk it. While I've found that XTOL has good keeping properties if stored in completely full and well sealed glass or PETE plastic bottles (the kind that soda pop and bottled water are sold in), you are 4 months over the recommended shelf life of the developer according to Kodak's recommendation. Since you are using HDPE bottles, which are not nearly as good as PETE or glass, and because the bottle is only half full, I doubt seriously that the developer is as active as it was when new. If it isn't completely dead, it might not be potent enough to do the job to your satisfaction. Of course, the fact that XTOL does not change color when it goes bad, doesn't help. Just chuck it and make up a new batch. Ditch the HDPE bottles too. 1L soda bottles seal well and work fine. Been using them as an alternative for glass for years without problems. I do go through a lot more XTOL than you do though, and I rarely have any sitting more than 6 months.

    Oh, and just for your edifiation, ID-11 is functionally equivalent to Kodak's D-76. You can use it just like D-76 without concern. I've done it many times when ID-11 was a better value in my marketplace than D-76.
     
  11. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I have a roll of cheap 35mm film (Arista Edu Ultra) just for testing Xtol. Pull out an inch or two, put it in the Xtol, and see whether it turns black in a reasonable amount of time. It's really quite easy, and I've found that partially filled bottles are often fine for a relatively long time.
     
  12. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    XTOL now sold in 5L containers avoids the sudden death experience a few folks had with the 1L packaging years ago. If your stock solution was not mixed to 5L and is super-concentated, it is unlikely exhausted. I have developed Tri-X negatives to to normal contrast using 8 month old XTOL in a 1/2 filled PETE container. That said, I normally discard developer after 7/8 months to ensure quality.

    The best advice is to use a fresh mix. Developer is inexpensive. You could develop a strip of test negs to determine if the solution is OK. If circumstances are such that you can't mix new developer, you have a good chance the XTOL is OK.
     
  13. Domin

    Domin Member

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    I'm not complaining. Its just that expiry dates are usually made with "better safe than sorry" in mind. Milk box in my fridge says "use within 48 hours after opening". I find its good even after almost a week.

    Cheap, depends.
    In US its $10 and if you reuse or use 1+3 and its your main developer, it probably is dirt cheap.

    Here, I pay twice that. I have xtol tested only as extreme push developer, use it as one shot stock so its good for 10 rolls. I do not shoot as much of that as I used to, and if I mix next batch there's pretty good chance it will go bad before I use half of it. Just like it happened with this one.

    Talking cheap, for me, Rodinal is cheap. Seems to never go bad and way I use it, its 50 or a bit more rolls a bottle.

    Also, I found that the half used xtol stored in PVC bottle works, I'm only not sure if its full strength or somewhat weakened. The test came thin but I might be just matter of agitation.
     
  14. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    I used XTOL which was 1 1/2 years old und it worked like a champ.
    But I store it in the dark and at low tempratures in a dark green glass bottle filled up completely!

    So test it and use it, should be still fine, Armin
     
  15. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I have found it goes yellow-ish when it's bad. It's best in glass bottles and flooded. If you have a new roll of film and a manual camera, shoot off 6 frames and open the back of the camera in the darkroom. Pull out the film canister and cut the film far enough out to be able to pull out and cut a new leader. Then pull the exposed film off the take up reel (remember to push the button) and develop. For AF and cameras that rewind automatically you'd probably be better off rewinding the entire roll and customize the camera to leave the leader out. I can pull film out of my N80 when off but I don't guarantee no problems with any cameras so you take your chances. My N80 has lights that light up when in the on position and in re-wind so I went to a manual camera so I could develop short lengths when I'm not shooting alot or if I want to shoot at a different speed, customize developing or test a film or change to a different film.
     
  16. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Sure. But sniffing at a milk bottle will allow you to determine pretty well whether it has gone bad. But our noses are not good at detecting dead developer.

    In Poland it is expensive? You might buy it in Germany - it costs 6.49 Euros plus taxes for a 5 Liter package. The shipping costs will not be that bad if you order other things too.

    One alternative is made by Foma: Fomadon EXCEL. It's very similar but comes in 1 Liter packages. Adox alias Fotoimpex sells that stuff.

    One more alternative: mix it by yourself. Here is a recipe:

    http://www.jackspcs.com/mytol.htm
     
  17. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    I'm another one who votes for full glass bottles (I use amber bottles) of Xtol for longer storage. I've used 7-8 month old stock solution with no problems that way.

    S
     
  18. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Good thing I switched to Home-brew. Several years ago
    and after many years away from photography I waded in.
    Stocked up on this and that and some more ignoring the
    fact that many other matters needed attention. You
    get the idea, old chemistry, old paper and film.

    Now it's fresh fractional mixes of chemistry and
    fresher paper and film. Dan
     
  19. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I don't know what I was thinking. A few years ago
    I bought one of those accordion folds, gave it one
    look, then put it in the dispose of box. Besides
    being stiff and having folds it was OPAQUE.
    Never any knowing if it is clean or not.

    Amber Glass Boston Rounds are made of clear glass,
    inexpensive, rugged, look good, and extensively
    used. A variety of caps are available. They
    have for generations been a standard
    for chemical storage. Dan
     
  20. Domin

    Domin Member

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    End of my xtol story.

    I tested the old xtol enough to risk the roll. It came just ok. I cant be sure if xtol did not lose some strength, but the neg, judging from contact proof looks good.

    This makes me think that selling hdpe accordion bottles (just what hama does) as containers for photo chemistry is something of morbid joke. Tightly capping, filling up with lighter gas just doesn't help much. On the other hand PVC and lighter gas is quite ok.
     
  21. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    IIRC Xtol is used one-shot. For one-shot chemistry,
    IMO, the best method is splitting the stock into 2, 4,
    or more bottles each one of which when needed will
    fill 2 or 4 or more one-shot bottles.

    If you go for Boston Rounds, clear or amber, buy the
    Polycone or Polyseal caps. The bottles may come
    equipped so. Also, save for the 1oz the actual
    volumes are fractions of a litter. Dan