Developer failure tester

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Harry Lime, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Is it possible to concoct a tester for Kodak's XTOL developer that would indicate if the batch has gone bad by changing color or something?

    I'm thinking something along the lines of the tester we use for fixer, that turns milky white if it's bad.

    Anyone up for the challenge?


    Cheers,

    HL
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2007
  2. Fred Aspen

    Fred Aspen Member

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    Well, you can do a film clip each time before use or, do like I did, quit using the flaky stuff.
     
  3. j-fr

    j-fr Member

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    Enlarging paper as "test strip"

    You can use a small piece of enlarging paper as a test strip. Be sure to use a paper that does not contain any developing agent, or developing accelerating agent. For me Ilford Multigrade FB works fine. Place the paper in full light (but do not open the box in white light!), put a drop of the developer on the paper and start the timer. After 60 seconds you put another drop of developer on the paper. Wait for 3 minutes in all and fix the paper. If the developer is OK you should have two grey spots on the paper, the first one a little lighter than middle grey and the other very light grey. Wash and dry and use as standard for future tests.

    This is just a simple test to make sure that the XTOL is not "dead", as was the bad habit of this developer back in time. I have not had any such problem with XTOL for years now.

    j-fr

    www.j-fr.dk
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Test a small amount of developer in the light with a film strip when fresh and time the appearance of darkeining silver on the front and back. Develop until the strip is black and record all 3 times.

    Then, every time you use the 'old' developer, run the same test first and time it. If the times are more than 10% or so over the orignal, and/or the film cannot get to dmax at all, then it is totally bad. Intermediate times in the test indicate partial spoilage and a need to adjust development times if you even decide to use it.

    PE
     
  5. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Thanks guys.

    I tried XTOL a few years ago, but couldn't quite get it to work, so I gave up on it and switched to Ilford DD-X, which is phenominal stuff and in 5 years has never given me a single problem.

    I recently moved to London, which basically has doubled the cost of all of my materials. A bottle of DD-X is going for 12 pounds ($24 US) and I shoot a lot of Tri-X.

    So, I was looking at XTOL again, but there is a certain level of distrust left over from my past experience. Therefore I was wondering about a simple method for test it.

    HL
     
  6. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    xtol

    I've used xtol now for what?-almost 10 years and never had a failure. there are many threads on the subject. but by now everyone knows the drill. use once; keep in filled up bottles; never worry again. it's really a great all around developer-and you can make it in a bucket!!
    Best, Peter
     
  7. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Same here. About 6 years using XTol from the 5 litre packages and no problems. I believe some of the problems reported many years ago were with the 1 litre packaging. I store stock XTol in 5 litre wine bladders and have used solutions up to 12 months from mixing date with no problems. Have always used one-shot 1+1.
     
  8. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    I dug this up from an old thread...easier than typing it all over again!

    I've been playing with this idea in my own Neanderthal, knuckle dragging kind of way with a modified Ansco 120 formula to which Glycin is added. The thing that occured to me, having come up with a developer that keeps for a year in stock solution and for months as a working solution (both stored in mylar, or aluminized plastic wine bags) was how to get a print made on day one to match another print made several months later.

    To keep tabs on how it's behaving I came up with a simple test using the papers emergence time (E.T.) in the developer and multiplying that with a development factor (D.F.) of 4.5. This developer, at the dilution I use it, has a slow E.T. so I'm able to use the negatives clear edge as the emergence area. At the start of, and several times during a printing session, I'll place a small strip of paper on the edge of the easel and expose it at normal contrast for max black time. This gets popped into the developer and I watch for the black line of the negatives clear edge to appear.

    When the working solution is fresh the line appears at 40 seconds, multiplied by the D.F. of 4.5 = a 3 minute development time. When the E.T. gets to 48 seconds I toss that batch of working solution because the black line doesn't appear abruptly enough to get a good E.T.

    While VC paper might change slightly over time (if it's not refrigerated), or new paper of another emulsion number is being used, using this method will get me so close I can taste it. Anyways, it works for me :smile:

    Murray


    P.S. When I get the new darkroom built I'm going to give PE's method a try as it hints at being able to determine new times at any time during a printing session...
     
  9. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    Hi, Harry.

    Consider using HC-110 (dilution H) with Tri-X. Mix one shot direct from the syrup and it keeps for a long long time.... Or alternatively, Ilfotec HC, the equivalent product from Ilford. Great consistency, very versatile, and utterly dependable. Oh and very economical too !!!!

    http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/

    http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/product.asp?n=32&t=Film+Developers


    Regards,John.
     
  10. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    XTOL...D'OH!

    (Read to the sound of forehead being slapped). A good lesson in why you shouldn't carry on a conversation with a 'real-live-person' and respond to posts at the same time...

    Murray
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I've been using XTOL for about 10 years now myself and have never had a problem with the stuff that couldn't be traced to my own error. I would not worry at all about using it. I think you'll find it an excellent general purpose developer for just about any film out there. I don't use enough film to justify reusing stock or running a replenished system, so I simply dilute the stock anywhere from 1+1 to 1+3 and use it as a 1 shot developer.
     
  12. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    An issue of Camera & Darkroom describes that test.
    Emergence time is something to note as it is an indicator
    of the developer's activity. Test when fresh then as the
    developer is used. Hold paper and exposure constant as
    both are factors affecting emergence time. Dan
     
  13. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    I wouldn't attach too much meaning to the "emerging time" as it is a rather inaccurate measure of developer activity. It is still a useful practical test for dead developer. The best is to use a piece of film or bromide paper, rather than most other papers. If you want to measure the emergence time, use same film, same exposure (or same room light), same agitation and temperature, of course. Chloride and chlorobromide emulsions develop much faster and they are also more susceptible to the solvent effect of the film developer, which is adjusted for iodobromide emulsions typical of camera negative films.

    Personally, when I do testing of developer formulas and keeping properties, I measure the electrochemical reduction potential at a platinum electrode. (It looks kinda similar to a pH electrode but it has a platinum electrode tip instead of a glass bulb, and it measures millivolts rather than pH.) Otherwise, I put a bit of developer and a film strip in a flask and vigorously stir it on a magnetic stirrer, to shorten the test time before seeing darkening film.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2007