Tmax-400/35mm with XTOL: Getting thinner negatives than before?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by albada, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. albada

    albada Subscriber

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    I'm experiencing what appears to be a problem with Tmax-400 (aka TMY2) in 35mm, and I'm wondering if others have seen this. Here's the problem:

    Developing Tmax-400/35mm bought 2-3 weeks ago in XTOL yields thinner negatives than it did five months ago. The edge-markings are thin. Even with fresh XTOL. Another symptom is that the used developer pours out of the tank yellow instead of clear as it did back then. Has this happened to you?

    My Tmax-400 was purchased a few weeks ago and kept in the freezer, and has the box code "04/2014 0166". The failure occurs with other ascorbate developers too, so it's not XTOL's fault. It also occurs with other graduates and tanks. It does not occur with other T-grain films like Neopan-400 and Delta-400. Here's the strange thing: pre-soaking the Tmax-400 fixes the problem. You can read the whole saga in this thread.

    Even if your results are fine, please reply if you're developing 35mm TMY2 in XTOL (or another ascorbate developer), and indicate when you purchased the film. If this actually is a batch-problem, then surely others are seeing it too.

    Thanks,

    Mark Overton
     
  2. sandermarijn

    sandermarijn Member

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    Reading the linked thread leaves me clueless. TMY-2 in Xtol 1+1 has never given weird results with me; I always presoak. My current TMY-2 is coded 09/2013, 0161.

    Hopefully Kodak can help you out. Good luck with this annoying issue.
     
  3. Pat Erson

    Pat Erson Member

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    "Developing Tmax-400/35mm bought 2-3 weeks ago in XTOL yields thinner negatives than it did five months ago. The edge-markings are thin. Even with fresh XTOL. Another symptom is that the used developer pours out of the tank yellow instead of clear as it did back then"

    Time to switch to a constant reliable developer like D-76...? :whistling:
     
  4. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I had used that particular combination for almost three years when I swapped for Tri-X, literally hundreds of rolls of film, and I never had this problem. Presoak or none, developer came out clear; no strange densities, and crisp edge markings. 35mm and 120 - no difference. they all printed the same.

    It seems, for now, that presoaking the film, with a couple of water changes, is the cure. I haven't presoaked a film in years, but this definitely calls for it.

    Let us know if you hear from Kodak.

    - Thomas
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I understand you're poking fun, but this is a severe problem. There are lots of people who have used TMY and Xtol for years and don't want to spend weeks or months recalibrating their system.
     
  6. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    When will people learn that even though Kodak says otherwise, XTOL will die in the unopened package. Death is much slower than it used to be,but it does die. The solution to the problem is to switch to any one of the dozens of other developers available.
     
  7. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    Tooooooo late now! I just mixed a 5L batch and was/still am going to try the replenished xtol regime. I have several rolls of Acros and TMY2 to test with, along with some ERA Chinese 4x5. From all I've read so far it seems that it might not be an Xtol problem, but could be a film problem. I've never used Xtol yet so I'm going to be starting from the ground up and that might be a plus for me since I'd have nothing to gauge my testing against. Maybe some P.O.'d Kodak employee spit in a batch of chemicals or pulled/pushed the wrong lever on purpose to get back at Kodak for getting his or her pink slip? I'll let you know how my testing goes in a couple of weeks. JohnW
     
  8. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Never had a problem like you describe. Never presoak either. I dump my XTOL only after it's 6 months old. The TMY is usually less than 6 months old, but sometimes a rogue roll slips through and is a year or so old by the time I shoot it. I want to say I've seen slightly yellowish developer pour out of the tank after development, but I really don't recall.

    I usually order a new pack of XTOL when I mix up a new batch, so that when the batch I'm mixing up runs out, I'll already have a packet on hand. This way it's also reasonably fresh. I order from B&H or Freestyle, so I trust they turn over their inventory frequently. My current reserve bag of XTOL expires in 6/2014. My current TMY is dated 4/2014, batch 0166.
     
  9. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    I tried the New Tmax with XTOL and it yields thin negs, I'd try Microphen.
     
  10. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Did you not read the original post? Go back and read it.

    Developer worked just fine with other films. It's not a developer issue.
     
  11. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    That's kinda what I was getting at Thomas, but I suppose it is possible there is something that we're missing. I'm not going to stick my neck out and say it's "operator error" until I have proof, but I'm not going to say it's not either. There are so many variables that come into play here that it's not funny. One little thing out of whack and the whole cake is ruined. JohnW
     
  12. oldfaithful58

    oldfaithful58 Member

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    Hi Mark,
    I found that my latest batch of TMY2 from Maco in Germany is from the same batch as yours.
    I processed as my normal regime: EI 320, processed in Jobo 2500, pre wash 5 mins and 9 mins with XTOL 1+1 and found no problem with density. The developer was mixed from powder 6 weeks ago. It went in clear and came out clear. I will try a roll later in the week processed with no pre wash. I don't have a calibrated time for this, but at least I will be able to see if the dev is orange when it comes out.
    Dave
     
  13. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    Are you using straight (stock) xtol, or diluting it? If you are diluting it, make sure that you have minimum required stock developer to develop the amount of film in the tank.
     
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  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If you had read through the whole string of discussion prior to this thread, you would know that it's safe to eliminate the Xtol from the picture. Delta 400 and Neopan 400 processed to exactly normal density, same as always, but not TMY-2.
    Only a pre-wash helped. After pre-washing the film, the developer came out with normal color, and the film had normal density.

    That says a lot to me - not one, but TWO indications that it's a problem with the film.
     
  16. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    I did some searching before buying my Xtol and did see a few post similar to this. One on Flicker stating the same problem with TMY2(thin negs) and Xtol. I'm thinking it's a film problem also, but coming from Kodak it's hard to believe since their film line is so good. I do know there are hard times at Kodak right now so I suppose it could have been a breakdown in the film line somewhere. Hope it gets straightened out shortly. Thomas, I'm going to try and standardize my B&W work with Xtol replenished for film(Acros, TMY2, TMX in 120) and LPD replenished for paper. That's why I don't want any bug-a-boos while I'm trying to get this up and running or I'll just go back to WD2D+, Rodinal or DD-X. Of course your Edwal 12 developer combo shots looks darn nice also?
     
  17. albada

    albada Subscriber

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    Tim Gray:
    The date-and-batch codes of your latest TMY2 are the same as mine. Is this 35mm? And you've developed one of those rolls in XTOL with no pre-wash and it's okay? How much XTOL do you use per roll? If you use a lot, I suspect the problem won't be as bad.

    oldfaithful58:
    I'm very interested in what you get with no pre-wash. Please keep us posted, and thanks in advance for running this test.

    Thomas:
    Thanks for making it clear that this is not a problem with XTOL. I should have been more clear about that.

    John Weigerink and others:
    For a long time, I assumed this problem was my fault. At first, I thought my home-brews were faulty. But then XTOL failed the same way. Then I and others suspected contamination, so I scrubbed everything and tried different tanks and graduates. But other T-grain films perform fine, and a pre-wash makes TMY2 succeed also. It's narrowing down to the film, but none of us want to believe that. But if it's a problem with batch 0166, where are the other complaints? It's puzzling. I still want to believe it's my fault. Anyway, we'll soon have more feedback from other owners of batch 0166.

    Mark Overton
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2012
  18. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    Mark, I'm with you and hope it all gets cured rather quickly. Then we can all sleep a little easier and you can stop scratching your head. JohnW
     
  19. albada

    albada Subscriber

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    For those who will be running tests, I should add that:

    • The problem only occurs when developing an entire roll (I've only done 36 shots). A short test-strip is always fine when using Kodak's recommended times. So please test an entire roll, 36-shots if possible.
    • I've used only enough developer to cover the reel: 220 ml for SS, and 325 ml for Paterson. I suspect that using much more developer will alleviate the problem. So please don't use an excess of XTOL.
    Thanks,

    Mark Overton
     
  20. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Huh? Rather than solve the problem by using more developer, you would rather have the problem?
     
  21. albada

    albada Subscriber

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    The purpose of the testing is to see if bad film is the problem. For that, we don't want to try known work-arounds such as using more dev or a pre-wash.

    Mark Overton
     
  22. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    Mark, I'll be testing 120 so my results probably won't match yours. JohnW
     
  23. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I actually haven't shot this specific brick. Yes, it's 35mm. I don't know what the codes were on the most recent TMY I've shot; it's probably not safe to assume it's the same. I just got this one a couple weeks ago and have been shooting Tri-X in the meantime. Next roll of film I shoot, I load one of these in and try it out for you. I never do a prewash and always do 1:1 in SS tanks filled to the top. So 4 oz of XTOL and 4 oz of water per roll.
     
  24. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    If "use more developer" is a workaround, is not the conclusion to be made that someone is perhaps using insufficient developer? I haven't read the original thread, but is the OP using at least 100mL of XTOL stock per roll? If not, there will be trouble.

    Some films will exhaust a developer more than others; I've no idea if TMY2 is particularly rough on a developer but that might explain that "works with film X but not Y" if the OP is skimping on stock. FWIW, I use TMY2 in XTOL (300+300 for 3 rolls in a rotary tank) and it's fine. I don't seem to have any batch 0166 though.
     
  25. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Just brainstorming here...

    ... but, if pre-soaking the film does the job, then it seems logical that something being removed in the pre-soak is what is adversely affecting the Xtol.

    I know that the Tri-X I develop has lately got a new anti-halation coating, one that comes out dark blue in the pre-soak water. Perhaps Kodak has re-formulated the anti-halation coating for TMY as well, and that is killing Xtol somehow. I can't think of anything else that gets removed with the pre-soak.

    FWIW, I always presoak, but have had some low density problems with Tri-X sheet film (320-Tri-X) lately as well, and have commented on it in a thread or two. I need to run some step-wedge tests to really be sure of this, which I'll be doing this summer when I get back into the darkroom. I do not use Xtol, usually PMK or occasionally HC-110.

    It is fairly well-known that Kodak makes modifications to their products from time to time without publicizing them, usually to increase the profit margin. With Kodak's current state and lack of R&D personnel to do testing, perhaps they are making changes that have unexpected effects.

    We need to test and quantify these things if we want to know what's going on; we can't rely on the Kodak labs anymore :sad: . I'm interested in the with/without presoak test with the same developer batch and the same film batch (and, hopefully, the same amount of exposure, so the developer loads are similar as well).

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  26. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Bold face added by me.

    polyglot, please note that Mark Overton aka albada is not your average first time home developer, and if you did read his thread you would see that quite clearly.