tmax 400 and xtol

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by david b, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. david b

    david b Member

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    I was in chicago this weekend and I shot some tmax 400.

    I exposed it at 400 and when I got home, I developed it in xtol 1+1 at 68 for 8 minutes.

    It is super grainy. What happened? Is this normal?

    Examples to come soon.
     
  2. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    David,

    I shoot this combination all the time and love it. Never had any problems with it being "Super Grainy".

    I'm not sure what caused it.

    Both my 120 & 35mm are developed 1:1 @ 75d for 5:30 in a SuperSidekick (Like Jobo) processor.

    I DO NOT "Pre Wet" the film using TMAX 400 @ XTOL. I read on Jobo's web site that you should not do so.

    Those who have seen my prints from the exchanges can tell you they exibit virtually no grain.

    Jim
     
  3. david b

    david b Member

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    are you using xtol 1+1 ? great shot, btw.

    also, i shot 6x7.
     
  4. david b

    david b Member

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    Jim, I did pre-wet. I did use a jobo 1540 tank. I did 2 rolls at the same time.

    500 ml xtol + 500 ml water.

    I wonder if my thermometer died?
     
  5. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    David,

    Here's a link to the JOBO web site information.

    It does say "A prewet is NOT RECOMMENDED with Xtol Developer."

    http://www.jobo-usa.com/bulletins/xtol.htm

    I'm not sure if that would have caused your problems though.

    Jim
     
  6. david b

    david b Member

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    Well, I have been pre-wetting all along but will try it without it next time.

    Also, I shot some very expired TMY at 1600 and developed 1+1 and those negs have finer grain than what I just developed.

    I don't get it.

    Thanks for all the consideration.
     
  7. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    How careful are you about the temperature of the subsequent stages? Could there have been a dramatic temperature change during washing, for example?

    Best,
    Helen
     
  8. david b

    david b Member

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    I am very careful with the process. Does the final wash have anything to do with grain? The water is coming out of my tap at 60 degrees now.
     
  9. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    I've found that the temperature of the water has an effect on the graininess (appearance of grain), most definitely. Washing in untempered water can cause problems - if not obvious, classic reticulation then mealy graininess.

    Do you use running water? If so, you might consider switching to five or six changes of tempered water.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  10. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    If your stop bath, assuming you use stop, was too hot it might have caused reticulation...? Sounds like an awkward problem. -Grant
     
  11. david b

    david b Member

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    Reticulation from water at 60 degrees?

    The next few rolls will be done with bottled distilled water to see what happens. I will make sure it is all at 68 degrees.
     
  12. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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    good point, I missed that you said it was at 60 degrees. I have no clue then... -Grant
     
  13. david b

    david b Member

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    Grant,
    I have no clue either.
     
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  15. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I had been using Xtol in a hand tank with 120 size T Max 400. In June I bought a used Jobo CPP-2 and read the Xtol link. I needed to call about other service issues so I asked about the Xtol link.

    If you go beyond the Jobo link and talk to the people at Jobo Service about Xtol you get a different message by innuendo. They don't want to bad mouth the Kodak product for use with the Jobo, but they say they have seen it break down erratically and give "bad" results. They weren't willing to be too specific. I have since talked to several people who have changed from Xtol in a Jobo.

    I switched to TMax RS and got good consistent results. Then I took an introductory five day platinum printing course in August using T Max 400 4x5 film, an Expert drum and tried Bostick & Sullivan's Rollo Pyro. I liked it much better for platinum and silver. B&S say the staining makes it much more forgiving. For a novice making errors at a fast pace that has covered a lot of the errors I later recognized.

    Just bought an 8x10 camera and Expert tank. At age 64 I got a lot of catching up to do.

    John Powers
    Downtown Bath, Ohio.
     
  16. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I've used Xtol in a Jobo processor since the year it came out. I've never had any problems. The reason that Jobo doesn't recommend a pre-wet with Xtol has nothing to do with quality issues. Jobo found that the manufacturer's times for inversion processing would be pretty close to what you should use with a rotary processor if you ad a 5 minute pre-wet when you develop in a Jobo. The pre-wet is nothing more than a technique to simplify finding out the correct development time. In the case of Xtol, Kodak did publish times for rotary development, and so Jobo says that there's no reason to use the pre-wet. That's what they say on their site, and that's what Ken Owen (former Jobo technical rep) told be a few years ago when I discussed it with him.

    Regarding TMY, Photo Techniques recently ran an article that claimed that tri-x made at the new plant is finer grained than TMY.

    -Peter
     
  17. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hi

    If fine gray is your mean purpose then take Xtol at 1:3 should then get finer anyway but I never had your problem at 1:1!
     
  18. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Actually, my personal experience correlates with Kodak's prediction. Namely, diluting Xtol leads to _slightly_ larger grain, higher accutence and greater film speed. I routinely use Xtol in my Jobo at both 1+1, 1+2, and 1+3, depending on the film and format. I'd use it straight to get the finest grain possible with Xtol.

    -Peter
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It is usually recommended that all stages of B&W processing should be within 2° C (3°F). The differance between working at 20°C (68°F) and 60°F is too large.

    While conventional reticulation won't occur easily with most modern films a more subtle clumping of the silver grains takes place if the surface of the emulsion layer contracts or expands rapidly with a sudden temperature change. This is often the extra apparent grain.

    I remember testing Tmax 400 in an old Pentax just after it was released and being amazed at the quality. Tend to use it ocassionally in my 645, and it's a superb film.

    But I have seen the grain you describe - was from my film batch, my usual developer (I replenish on a strict basis), only differance was the photographer (he processed the films as well). As he used my dev time, I'd done the light meter readings & told him what exposure, all that differed was the temperature of the processing solutions which he controlled. His 6x7 negs were perfectly exposed and correct density but extremely grainy. (I should add I was the subject - and was being photographed making LF images in the landscape, hence the accurate exposures).

    So it does happen. It's easy to assume it's the film developer combination but it seems to be worse with higher speed films
     
  20. david b

    david b Member

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    I just did another roll at 1+3 for 15 minutes and the grain appears smaller under my 8x loupe but it looks like it is a bit over-developed. I might cut back 10% next time.

    Any additional thoughts?
     
  21. oboeaaron

    oboeaaron Member

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    Aha. Kodak went to a new manufacturing process/facility a couple of years ago (concurrent with the release of "New Improved" Tri-X) and the net result (as reported by former Kodak researchers, including the woman who developed XTOL) was that Tri-X got slightly finer grain, but TMY got slightly larger grain. In fact, current Tri-X is supposed to have finer grain than TMY at this point. I am late for work so I don't have time at the moment but later I will try to dig up the article where I read this.
    Regards,
    Aaron
     
  22. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Here's the article.

    Best,
    Helen
    PS I'll stick with the temperature change theory - it causes lateral stress, and thus lateral movement, in the emulsion. The effects are often subtle.
     
  23. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Silvia Zawadzki was the product tester for Xtol, and Dick Dickerson was the project director. It my understanding that TMY had been made at the new plant for years, whereas tri-x was just recently moved there. In any case you're right about their conclusion, namely that tri-x now has finer grain than TMY. (I'm unclear if both films have changed characteristics, or if only Tri-x did.)
     
  24. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Reticulation IS caused by a sudden temperature change between solutions in processing. It has the appearance of "alligator skin", or a dry, cracked, lake bed.

    It may happen between any two solutions ... the last I've seen was with *cold* fixer (approximately 5 degrees C below the developer). The greater the difference, either way, the more pronounced the effect.
     
  25. oboeaaron

    oboeaaron Member

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    Thanks for providing the names, Peter. I did manage to dig up the article where I read this:

    http://www.phototechmag.com/previous-articles/2003/ma-dikerson/dickerson.html

    Surprisingly, they found that the new TMY is not only grainier than old TMY and new Tri-X, it is grainier than old Tri-X! Still, it's a lovely film in XTOL.

    Cheers,
    Aaron
     
  26. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Where do I go wrong? Are my posts too short? (maybe rhetorical, maybe serious, but it's made me think).

    Best,
    Helen