D-76 or XTOL for Tri-X

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by dazey, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. dazey

    dazey Member

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    I am just starting to get back into film. It has been about 14 years since I last processed film and from memory, I used D-76 for Tri-X (which I used to push to 1600). From what I gather XTOL is a newer version? Should I be looking to this for developing Tri-x (from 400-3200) and Delta 3200 from 3200 up. Thoughts?
     
  2. Alessandro Serrao

    Alessandro Serrao Member

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    Either
     
  3. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Both are better
     
  4. dazey

    dazey Member

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    :smile: Just have to try both then! Will probably start off with the old trusted, so I at least restart from the same baseline. Cheers both
     
  5. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Xtol is a newer product, but from what I've read Kodak isn't making it any more, so you'd have to look for alternatives. D-76 is the old standby, the old standard, and lots of companies have similar products. You can develop film in things as bizarre as coffee and urine, so you certainly won't lack for options.
     
  6. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Perhaps higher accutance with xtol than with d-76----I hope to find out soon myself as I have an order of xtol on the way.
     
  7. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    If you're pushing film, why aren't you using Acu-1 or Acufine? Is 3200 really necessary?
     
  8. Alessandro Serrao

    Alessandro Serrao Member

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    Xtol is still manufactured by Kodak. It has NOT been discontinued.
    An alternative to both Xtol and D76 would be T-max developer, a very underrated developer imho.
     
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  9. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Both are excellent and the differences are small. XTOL is a little more of a pain to mix due to the minimum 5L packaging. Some people prefer replenished regimes. I prefer to use developers one-shot.

    XTOL will tend to give slightly higher film speed than D-76. But it is difficult to generalize as it depends on the film. Acutance is virtually the same, but again this could vary depending on the film. XTOL seems to give slightly finer grain, but my tests were all with tabular films so I don't have data for Tri-X specifically.

    With the tabular films I tested XTOL generally produced slightly higher contrast in the shadow area of the curve, with slightly flatter highlights, compared with D-76. I prefer either D-76 or XTOL at dilutions of 1+1 or 1+3. 1+1 is probably the most common dilution, at least for D-76.

    Again, the differences are small.

    TMax developer will tend to give a little more film speed with the tradeoff of slightly higher graininess.

    These characateristics apply to normal development procedures. When pushing, all bets are off as far as image characteristics go.
     
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  10. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Well, it's gone from two local stores here that used to carry it (they now only carry D-76) and I've read online that Kodak is discontinuing it. Not for any sane reason though, it still makes them money, even though it's a Kodak product in name only. Made by a 3rd party under more than just the Kodak banner. So in actuality, Kodak hasn't made it in years.
     
  11. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    D-76 and Tri-X is, of course, the classic combination. Although XTOL has been my favorite lately, I am currently working through a bag of D-76 that I found in the back of my shelf and am developing :whistling: a renewed fondness for D-76 1:1.

    You won't go wrong with either. Replenished XTOL is very nice. However, if you don't want to deal with the 5L quantity, than go with the D-76.

    (BTW, XTOL is NOT a new D-76. It's a totally different developer basic on ascobic acid and dimezone.)
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    XTOL is a newer product but it isn't a newer version of D-76. It's a different product.

    I normally use D-76. For Tri-X, Plus-X, Tmax 100, and 400, it works very well. I like the result.
    I used to use XTOL. Initially, I had trouble of getting excessive contrast so I had to reduce the dev time by 15% to dial it down.

    It seems (meaning I haven't done a scientific comparison test), for push applications and Delta-3200, XTOL appears to work better in producing smoother image. D-76 is also quite a bit more forgiving.... It gets me the result I like - every time.

    I've pushed Tmax-400 and Tri-X to 1600 and processed with XTOL with absolutely fine results. I haven't done the same with D-76.

    I'd say try both and see which one you like better.... they are both pretty cheap.

    Sorry, this is kind of random.
     
  13. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    I've used t-max developer for both tmax and the Ilford Delta 100 and Delta 400 films with no problems.
    Oh, it is not recommended for the Pan-F 50 film...I know that because I was about to develop that film and found out I shouldn't use it.
     
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  15. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I think Michael R 1974 said what pretty much what I think, but I'll reinforce that with my own experience.

    When Phil Davis tested Xtol for Photo Techniques magazine he ran a D76 control with each film and the curves were very nearly identical (except speed point). I recently did a quick test with D76 that confirmed this to my satisfaction. I finished one roll of TX in a camera and started the next roll with the same shots. Ran the two rolls in parallel, one in Xtol 1:1 and one in D76 1:1 for the appropriate times. I got the gamma of the two rolls very, very close and the prints were nearly a dead on match at the same contrast. The only real difference I could detect was a slight increase in shadow detail with the Xtol (maybe 1/3 stop), and just perhaps a bit finer grain and sharpness with the Xtol.

    I've used Xtol replenished for quite some time, but have recently gone to 1:3 one shot. This gives the same economy as replenishment, plus a slight boost in speed, sharpness, and grain. I plan to keep my replenished bottle going for now and will use it when I want the ultimate fine grain. The only disadvantage I can see to 1:3 is the longer time, but that is good in every way but convenience. The only other disadvantage I see to Xtol is the PIA of mixing the 5L size.

    D76 is great, but Xtol is a bit better for my needs. Nothing at all wrong with using either. Maximum film speed comes with dilute Xtol, but either will push the higher tones well.
     
  16. henry finley

    henry finley Member

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    I sorely miss Microdol 1:3. Great stuff. Panatomic X and Microdol 1:3 to turn your 35 into a 4x5, and with Tri-X with finer grain than Plus-X in D-76. Some day when they invent a time machine, I'm going to buy one, and go back 35 yeas and stay there. Might even buy some stocks.
     
  17. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Have you decided what quality (or qualities) you want to get from your Tri-X negatives?

    Right now I'm experimenting for tkamiya with Dektol 1:9 to see if I can emphasize the grain.

    It's exciting to turn the traditional quality standards on their ears.
     
  18. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Excellent answer!
     
  19. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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  20. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    "Have you heard, it's in the stars, next July we collide with Mars! Well did you ever, what a swell party this is." It used to be two singers with a comical song in a 1950s film and we all knew it was entertaining nonsense. Now it's online and must therefore be true :D

    pentaxuser
     
  21. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    Where did you read it? AFAIK, Xtol is a popular product.
     
  22. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I certainly haven't read that anywhere. I'm finding XTOL as easy to get as D-76 and ID-11.
     
  23. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    Over the Christmas break, I've been testing XTOL with FP4 and HP5 sheets and rolls. Using the Darkroom Automation enlarging meter to check the OD, it looks like XTOL in the 1:3 dilution gives true speeds with both of these films, at least with my cameras/shutters (brand new Copal and electronic shutter RZ).

    I've also dialed in a HP5 800 push with this same dilution and the negs have a sparkle and crispness that is really lovely to my eye. Now to see how they print!
     
  24. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Has anyone tired the Forma version? They sell in a liter size.
     
  25. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I use both developers with FP4 and Tri-X in small and medium format. I agree with the quote above with a few exceptions. The pain mixing XTOL at room temp is the amount. Its easy to mix but I don't use over 3L in 8 months. It keeps 2x longer in a 1/2 filled container vs D-76 (2 months shelf life). XTOLs 1/3 speed increase is real. I have original XTOL development charts for 1:2 and 1:3. 1:3 produces very sharp images with highlight compensation. XTOL gives a touch more micro contrast. But, negatives are only a tad better than D-76 and you may not notice in a 5x7 print.

    One last pitch for XTOL. It is more Eco friendly unless your pouring unused chemicals down a drain. The answer is to share with a friend.
     
  26. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    One more time here, you can buy a case of 500mL amber bottles from USplastic.com for about $25. Decant your 5L of XTOL into ten bottles and you will always have super fresh developer. My last batch stretched out over 1 year and was perfectly fine. It's a very worthwhile investment if you're into XTOL.