Newbie -Xtol with Ilford Delta 400 dilutions

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by 10speeduk, May 13, 2012.

  1. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Hi all, first up apologies for posting yet another Xtol post, I have read through the back log of posts but am more confused rather than enlightened! I am not looking to replenish my chemicals just chuck them away after each use.

    I have bought an Xtol sachet that makes 5L of developer. My paterson tank takes 600ml for my 120 film.

    If I use Xtol neat (full strength) then it will go down at the same rate as my ilfosol-3 (500ml bottle, 60ml +540ml water; 1:9) I have read that each 120 roll needs a minimum of 100ml of Xtol to dev properly.

    Does this mean that I can use 100ml of Xtol + 500ml of Water (1:5)??

    What are the usual dilutions people use for this? and what dev times would you recommend for Ilford Delta 400 and Kodak TMAX 100?

    I also have bought Kodak professional fixer sachet that makes 3.8 litres. What dilutions and fixer times would work well for me?

    Thanks in advance,

    Paul :smile:
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Paul:

    I would suggest using X-Tol in a replenishment regime.

    You separate your developer into something like 3 one liter bottles and one 2 liter bottle.

    You use your 2 liter bottle as your "working" solution.

    Each time you develop a film, you put 70ml of unused X-Tol from the smaller bottles into the 2 liter bottle. When the developing stage of the process is complete, you pour as much of the developer as you can from the developing tank back into the 2 liter bottle. You discard the excess (about 70 ml).

    That way you end up using about 70 ml X-Tol per roll - its quite economical.

    I use the manufacturers' recommended developing times as my starting point when it comes to film and developer combinations. When the manufacturers don't agree, I split the difference.

    As for the fixer, that packaging indicates standard rather than rapid fixer. Kodak recommends up to 10 minutes of fixing time for that combination. I use two baths, of 5 minutes each.

    Here is Kodak's chemistry matrix: http://wwwcaen.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e103cf/e103cf.pdf

    And their documentation for X-Tol: http://wwwcaen.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j109/j109.pdf

    And their documentation for T-Max 100: http://wwwcaen.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/f4016/f4016.pdf

    And Ilford's documentation for Delta 400: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2010628953322222.pdf

    Welcome, and have fun!

    PS: I would strongly recommend wandering through both the Ilford and Kodak websites - they are chock full of useful info!
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you're looking to use Xtol as a single shot developer, follow Kodak's recommendations to begin with. There simply are no better recommendations out there. You may use it as a stock solution or 1+1. Some like to dilute it more, which is something Kodak does not recommend anymore.
    The 100ml is, I believe, more for those doing rotary development on a motor base, insuring they have enough chemistry so the developer doesn't exhaust.

    Also follow the directions for your fixer that Kodak prints on the dry chemical packets you bought. Or download them at their web site.
     
  4. agfarapid

    agfarapid Subscriber

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    I just recently mixed up fresh batch of X-Tol and this is may procedure: I previously purchased a dozen amber 16 oz bottles (roughly equivalent to 500 ml) for about $20 USD. I mix my Xtol according to the directions in a large bucket. I then decant that solution into 10 of those 16oz bottles which I use 1:1 for a working solution in which I develop either 2 rolls of 120 or 4 rolls of 35mm. The cost of the bottles are your biggest expense, but I've been re-using them now for about 3 years. I've kept my mixed solutions for over 6 months with no problems. I prefer one shot developers over replenishment because I don't have to concern myself with replenishment rates, contamination, etc.
    Good luck!
     
  5. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    I don't shoot Delta 400, but I use a lot of Xtol and would recommend you use it at 1+1. You'll probably also find the tank needs 500mL; the 600mL is for 2 of 135 spirals. That means you're using 2.5x as much as you strictly need to (exhaustion-wise), unless you can spool two rolls into the spiral end-to-end.

    Diluting at 1+4 is not recommended; at higher dilutions Xtol seems to have a habit of just not working at all and the higher published dilutions (now deprecated) never went past 1+3. Go with 1+1 and read the Xtol instructions in the FAQ in my signature.

    For the fixer, follow the instructions on the packet or get the PDF from Kodak's website.
     
  6. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    The nicest looking results I've had with Delta 400 is shooting it at 100, and processing in Xtol Replenished @ 24 celsius, it's around 5-6 minutes, it's on Kodak's chart. It looks like a completely different film like this, very 'shiny' to put it.

    Gentle agitation a few seconds every minute.
     
  7. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Use a minimum of 100ml of stock XTOL per roll of film. 1+1 is an excellent dilution for standard use. 1+3 is slightly sharper (depending on how you develop) but in general is most useful when softer development is desired. Some people like 1+2, but I have found if you want a meaningful difference in working properties it is best to use half-strength increments (ie 1+0, 1+1, 1+3). Any more dilute than 1+3 and there are other developers that will do better with less fuss. In general I would recommend any developer be used 1 shot, but there are also those who advocate replenishment.

    I don't have any tests with Delta 400. I have data for TMax 100 at 1+1/1+3, but everyone's conditions are different (ie exposure index, temperature, tanks, reels, agitation scheme/technique, enlarger, paper, aesthetic preferences). Suggest starting with Kodak's guidelines and altering to suit your needs based on results.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2012
  8. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    Just in case it isn't clear enough from other comments regarding your question.... 1:1 would mean 300ml Xtol developer to 300ml water. Personally, I've settled into 1:2 (200ml to 400ml water) for getting the general combination of grain edge, film speed and tones. You will need to experiment and decide about the look that you prefer with your equipment and subjects. Keep good records and comments as you progress through this as you'll be surprised at how quickly the details disappear from memory if you aren't at it continuously.
     
  9. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    Very!

    Just did some calcs and you'd process 40+ films using this method (plus however many you were willing to do using the 2lt's after you run out of 'replenisher'). I use it 1:1 but one-shot and use 250ml (or thereabouts) per film so 5lt does 20 films.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    For clarity - when you have used up the first batch of X-Tol in a replenishment regime, you don't toss the 2 liters of working solution. It continues to do its job - you just need more X-Tol to continue replenishing. So you mix 5 liters more, and use it at 70 ml replenisher per roll.
     
  11. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    ahh, of course!
     
  12. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    I am little confused with the replenishment regime.

    After mixing to 5l pour into,

    1l + 1l +1l in small three seperate bottles.

    2l in one bottle.

    Very first roll: Developing tank(300ml)

    70ml from small 1l bottle + 230ml from 2l bottle = 300ml.

    After development, pour 230ml from developing tank back into 2l bottle and rest to drain.

    With this I can develop 42 rolls(35mm film) from 3l of Xtol.

    My question is,

    After I ran out of xtol in three small 1l bottles should I have to pour down the 2l solution to drain too or can I keep this and mix the fresh xtol and get one more 2l bottle and continue using the old(230ml) + new(70ml).
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I'm not saying you're doing it the wrong way, but it is your entire volume of working solution (2 liter) that should get replenished with fresh 70ml per roll.

    1. You take as much out of the 2L bottle as you need to develop, and use that to process your film.
    2. Pour X number of rolls multiplied by 70ml fresh Xtol stock back into the 2L bottle BEFORE you finish developing.
    3. Pour as much of what you extracted to develop your film back into the 2L bottle, and discard what doesn't fit.

    If you mix it the way you did, only part of the fresh 70ml you extract for developing gets poured back into the 2L bottle, which means you'll end up under-replenishing your system.

    - Thomas

     
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  15. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Meaning, initially I can start with 1+1 from 2l bottle for atleast 3 rolls of film and start to replinish the 2l bottle with say 3x70ml before the development of 4th roll. Then continue the development using the solution from 2l bottle and pour it back till it fits(after development).

    Further, how are development times considered for replinished XTOL?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2012
  16. phelger

    phelger Subscriber

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    interesting thread! I use Xtol as my main dev. but found it problematic combined with Delta400, the film never got sufficient contrast or highlights, and have experimented with allsorts of dilutions and dev times. but with Neopan 400 (only in 135 unfortunately) and Delta100 results are excellent. I now use Xtol stock in rotary tank, it takes 150 ml for 135 and 300ml for 120 film. very economical.
    Peter
     
  17. 10speeduk

    10speeduk Member

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    Thanks to everyone who took the time and effort to reply. I know consider myself learn-ed! I see I will have to use my fixer 'stock'. What is a safe number of times I can re-use the same stock kodak fixer?
     
  18. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    No. If you're replenishing, you must use stock and not dilute it 1+1. You either use 1+1 and discard, or you use stock and (hopefully) replenish.

    Keep in mind that when you replenish, the activity of the stock will start out high (it is fresh stock! use the published 1+0 times initially) and then reduce over the course of a few rolls to a level similar to what you get from 1+1. It should then level off and give consistent performance while you're replenishing it, with the performance (and therefore development time) depending on your replenishment rate. You will need to find that development time yourself through a little experimentation.
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you use your fixer for papers:
    http://www.kodak.com:80/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e103cp/e103cp.pdf

    If you use your fixer for film:
    http://www.kodak.com:80/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e103cf/e103cf.pdf

    Lots of info on the Kodak web site. You really should be looking this sort of information up before you ask. It takes less time than waiting for an answer here, and you learn other things as you look.
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you don't get enough contrast with any film and developer combination, you extend the developing time until you do. Xtol will give more contrast than you need if you develop long enough.
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Polyglot answered your first question perfectly.

    Regarding developing time - start with Kodak's recommended times for stock solution before the 2 liter working solution is seasoned. After you put about 15 rolls through it will be seasoned, and you can pretty much go by Kodak's times for 1+1 dilution to start.

    But truly, you develop your negatives for as long as you need to get the contrast you want in them.
    Too much contrast? Reduce time.
    Too little contrast? Increase time.
    Practice until you see how this relates to contrast in the scenes you photograph, how you compensate for this by changing developing time, and most of all what your prints look like.
     
  22. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Baachitraka - Read Kodak's recommendations and procedures for replenishment here:

    http://wwwcaen.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/o3/o3.pdf

    The discussion concerning replenishment begins on page 15 and includes a lot of clear information on how to do it, seasoning (speed loss etc), and the characteristics of replenished developers. XTOL is included.

    In fact I'd recommend reading that entire tech pub. Good reading at any experience level.
     
  23. phelger

    phelger Subscriber

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    to you replenishing people, two questions:
    1. do you reckon the result is better than using stock or 1+1 solution?
    2. is it worth the while if one only develops say four or five films a month?
    Peter
     
  24. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    It really depends on the developer. A replenished developer contains some development by-products (eg bromides) and exhausted developing agents. It is therefore a little less active than a fresh developer. Typically with modern general purpose solvent developers (such as XTOL), compared with a fresh developer, a replenished developer will give slightly lower film speed, and slightly lower contrast. Depending on the developer formulation and sensitivity to bromide, there can also be a *slight* increase in acutance due to slightly enhanced edge effects. That effect would likely only be visible in large print sizes. Remember though, these properties would be in comparison to undiluted fresh developer. There is no advantage to replenishment from an image quality perspective versus 1+1. Replenishment is mostly for economy and convenience.

    Again, I'd recommend reading Kodak publication O3 (posted above) for a good background on replenishment.
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    What I notice with replenished Xtol compared to Xtol 1:1 is a less linear film curve, meaning a change in tonality. The highlights compress due to lesser activity (the byproducts act like restrainers), and the shadows also compress a little at the toe. The difference isn't huge, but it's there, and for things like portraiture I've come to really appreciate the qualities of the negatives I make with the replenished developer. I also notice a slightly finer grain and some added sharpness, and in themselves they are not great differences, but together it helps to make Xtol look a little less sterile while still maintaining really good shadow detail.

    Replenished Xtol is also very reliable. I've had the same 2liter working solution alive for about three years now, without having to start a new batch. Just mix fresh developer to replenish with. In addition I've also interchangeably used the Eco Pro powder from Freestyle, with Kodak Xtol, and the results are identical.

    If you don't develop any film for a couple of weeks, replenish 70-100ml anyway. Keep doing this in two week intervals until you start running film again, and your developer stays active and stable.

    And, then of course, as Michael points out, the economy of only using 70ml of concentrate per film is hard to beat, and it's nice to use less chemicals per roll, purely from an environmental perspective. Michael is also correct that the difference between replenished Xtol and Xtol 1:1 isn't large enough to sweat over. It's a preference thing. But one really nice aspect of Xtol is that if you don't like it replenished, you can just use it straight or diluted as you please, at will, since the replenisher and the developer is the same substance.

    - Thomas
     
  26. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    That is definitely a convenient feature of XTOL - ie that it functions as its own replenisher.

    One thing I'd just remind everyone thinking about trying a replenished regime (this was mentioned earlier in the thread), is be aware of the developer's changing properties as you move from the initial fresh batch to a fully seasoned, replished steady state. This is something to be aware of since as the fresh batch becomes increasingly seasoned you will need to adjust your working EI and/or development times as you go. Again I'd refer to the Kodak publication for some good info on this.