D-76 -v- XTOL

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Bruce Osgood, Jan 23, 2008.

  1. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I'm presently using HP5+ in home brewed D-76 with rotary processing and would like to investigate TMAX 100 as an additional, slower film.

    What I find in my research is XTOL is a very popular developer for Tmax 100 and D-76 just about as popular.

    While there must be a difference I wonder if anyone here has bothered to compare them one on one?

    Thanks,
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I understand Sexton uses TMAX 100 souped in D-76. I could be wrong but there was an audio clip I listened to a month ago and I'm sure that's what he said.
     
  3. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I have used XTOL and D-76/ID-11 a lot and the results from both are great. I have moved to ID-11 for 2 reasons. One we won't talk about. The second is because ID-11/D-76 has a longer shelf life. I would notice that my negs were a little thin when I used XTOL that was stored in a Vac-Seal for a month of so, when using ID-11/D-76 I have used 2 month old soup with great results. But I would say try them both and make your own opinion----thats half the fun of photography trying new different stuff
     
  4. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    I've used TMX and Xtol for quite a few years now. I use it 1+1, one shot. Love it!
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Bruce,

    While I use Xtol almost exclusively, by changing to it you will essentially be picking the fly poop out of the pepper. TMX will work very well in D-76.

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Interestingly, I noticed that Brian Kosoff uses some sort of D-76 + Xtol mixture.... Might be worth asking him about it. Good luck, Bruce. Shawn
     
  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Curve shape might be of interest to you. XTOL often creates an S-shaped, midtones-optimized curve. I don't know about D-76 exactly, but other developers like HC-110 create an upswept curve, enhanced for the highlights. For that, XTOL is just amazing for portraits.

    In terms of grain, sharpness you might find D-76 1+1 v. XTOL 1+1 to be very close. I find that XTOL is a little smoother in terms of grain than metol developers, which I appreciate in 35mm.
     
  8. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I've never heard more sage advice, nor a better metaphor! A comparison of identical images made on the same film and shot under the same conditions, but developed separately in the two developers, will reveal very little difference. You can nitpick all you want. Any differences are likely to be swamped by other variables introduced during the processing workflow.
     
  9. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    X-tol is a bit friendlier to the environs, but if someone were to take an X-Tol neg, make and 8x10 and then have you compare to a D-76 neg/print, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. IMHO, that's the way it is with most devs.
     
  10. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Based on my own tests with a number of films find that D-76 is slightly sharper than Xtol, but Xtol gives about 1/3 stop increase in real film speed, and has slightly finer grain.

    I find that the pyro staining developers PMK and Pyrocat-HD/MC are sharper than both D76 1:1 and Xtol 1:3, with about the same grain as Xtol, but about 1/3 less real film speed than Xtol.

    Any of these developers may show an increase or decrease in sharpness depending on dilution and type of agitation.


    Sandy King
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2008
  11. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Curves and their sources

    I'm not a "curve drawer" (what an awful phrase) but I'm pretty sure I've read, both recently and in past, that the basic curve one gets is generally somewhat more a property of the film than the developer, though both contribute.

    Can anyone source something more credible than this one person's dim faculty for recall?

    C
     
  12. Dave Krueger

    Dave Krueger Member

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    This about sums up my experience as well. In fact, TMX and Xtol has become my standard when I want nice smooth toned 16x20s from 35mm. I can't get grain that small (or the appearence thereof) even from Pan F+.

    To the OP, if you search the web, you'll find a lot of references to Xtol's tendency toward soft edges. I am not convinced that Xtol necessarily yields the best sharpness (at least as I'm using it), but I am convinced that in all other regards, Xtol and TMX are an incredible combination that seems to best everything else I've tried.

    I use it 1:1 and have never had the failure mode that has been reported, even in half-full bottles after months. Maybe I've just been lucky.
     
  13. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    God I love these forums. I'm gonna use this one. :smile:

    As far as the topic of this post: Xtol is Kodak's recommended developer (IIRC) for T-grain films, and they look great in it. I've used it in a Jobo at 1+0 or 1+1 for just about any roll film you can name.

    However, I too am switching "back" to D76 as my standard developer, because due to life's press I am shooting film less frequently and thus developing sessions are intermittent. I can mix D76H (HQ-less variant, bit more metol) cheap as sand from dry chemicals to get a fresh liter at a time.

    I think that TMY looks better in D76 than in any other developer--but I'm just one guy.
     
  14. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    In short, yes. Both film and developer contribute. Film has an inherent curve, and developer will bend it a little more this way or that way.

    I heard about that difference first on this HC-110 page:
    http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/

    And my latest experiences seem to confirm the difference, at least with Tri-X.
     
  15. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    You answered your own question in the post Bruce. Start with what you know the best - D76. I strongly recommend only changing one variable in ones photography at a time as this keeps things from getting away from you. After you see what this produces then take it to the next step with the experience in your back pocket. My money is that you stay the course with D76 as it is easy to mix and cheap and is foolproof. But you already know that.

    Cheers!