XTOL - How do you best mix and store it?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Nicole, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    XTOL - How do you best mix and store it?

    I do have limited instructions but wanted to know if you have your own better way of mixing and storing XTOL.

    I want to develop AGFA APX-400 and TriX-400 in XTOL. If you have any up-to-date info on developing times, temps. etc... I'd be very grateful for your help.

    Thanks and kind regards,
    Nicole
     
  2. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Nicole,

    In addition to following the instructions on the package, I mix Xtol by hand at room temperature. I use a Kalt plastic stirring rod and I stir it gently enough that I don't stir air into the solution. I keep a plastic bucket ($1.00 at the local home center) just for mixing Xtol.

    For storage, I have used those accordian bottles without incident. However, I now keep it in separate bottles (dark plastic for storing chemicals) of 250ml and 500ml sizes. I fill them to the very top and find that I get a bit more than 270ml in the smaller ones (I forget the amount in the larger bottles). This works out perfectly for my developing tanks). Bottles can be purchased cheaply from a chemical equipment supply house.

    Neal Wydra
     
  3. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I also mix in a bucket. I use a broken plastic tong as a stirrer. I use 4 1lt glass bottles (ex fruit juice, labels removed) as longer term storage, all filled to the brim. The remainder (less than a litre since the litre bottles hold more) goes into an old plastic developer bottle (happens to be 1.25lt) which I use as the working bottle. Once I need one of the glass bottles, I pour that into the plastic working bottle. I do this as the glass bottles don't pour very well (end up dribbling it always) and I use it quick enough to not worry about a half full plastic bottle.

    Also, try a roll of Delta 400 in XTOL...
     
  4. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I don't mean to jump on Nicole's thread but I am thinking of switching to Xtol also, as a replacement for D-76 (for Efke 50 & 100 and possibly Tri X) in my darkroom. Maybe we can both learn from the experienced Xtol users here. One thing that concerns me is the reported sudden, surprise loss of activity that I have read about. Should that be a worry to me? Has anyone experienced this?
    Also, I know that glass is always recommended for critical chem storage but I'm thinking that a plastic carbonated beverage bottle that is designed to contain gas under pressure indefinitely should probably be pretty danged airtight, they are even putting Beer in plastic these days (Sacrilege). Any thoughts?
     
  5. grezs

    grezs Member

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    I've had good luck keeping it in an empty 5L box wine bladder. Most have a valve that pops out when the wine's gone. Rinse well, dry and put the bladder back in the box and fill with the mixed Xtol. This storage method has also worked well with LPD.
     
  6. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    What about storing in wine bottles with the screw tops they often come with these days?

    For the Aussies, does Bunnings sell certain storage containers worth considering?
     
  7. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

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    Quick question on XTOL.. On the packet it says 1.25 gallons.. Do you guys actually mix to 1.25 gallon or do you mix to 1 gallon and compensate when making making your working solution (higher dilution)?
     
  8. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I always worry about the thin metal tops on screw-top glass wine and beer bottles.
     
  9. Nicole

    Nicole Member

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    For storing alcohol or XTOL? :tongue:
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i store my chemistry in 1gal amber bottles with screw tops and they work pretty well. only problem is sometimes it is really hard to unscrew the top!

    about the xtol sudden death symdrome - that happened to me years ago i used to use 1L packets and dilute ( i think i processed 1:3?) because kodak used to recommend processing in highly dilute solution. they don't recommend highly dilute xtol anymore ...

    i can't remember who turned me onto this, but someone mentioned a great way to see if xtol is dead or not ... since it is a binarly developer ( either works or it doesn't ) take a piece of film and put it in the developer ... kind of like the fixer test. lights on &C. if the developer does anything to the film, it is still good, otherwise don't use it.
     
  11. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    Neil, I tested Xtol with Efke 25 and had really bad luck with it. It did not come close to Delta 100 and Xtol. It may be my way of diluting is in appropriate but it was not close.
    Xtol, it does have a point of no return and is final. With 3 1/2 gallons mixed I get 36 rolls of 120. Any more it dies.

    Mixing the chemestry: I pour 1/3 of the tank with water at around 100 degrees, pour in the dilution A then B mixing with a paint mixer attached to a drill. Pouring the powder only at a speed that totaly dilutes/dissolves. If it settles on the bottom it hardens and is a pain to break up. I let the mixed portion cool and settle for about 1/2 hour then bring it to full volume and temperature stirring with a plastic kitchen spoon. I never store the mixed chemestry only process when I can use up then dispose.

    With 35mm and 4x5 my processing times are 10 minutes. With 120 they are 12 minutes. Why it worked out this way I have no idea.
    Fp4 seems to work about the same but I only use FP4 8x10 and don't want to mix smaller quantities so I end up using a mixture of rodinal and Hc110.

    Hope this helps!
     
  12. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I've used Xtol extensively since it came out, and I've never had "Xtol Failure." I used to mix it with distilled water, but now I just use tap water. I store it for up to a year (or so) in a 2.5 gallon plastic container with a floating lid. There's a spigot at the bottom for easy dispensing. I routinely use it at 1 + 2 and 1 + 3 in a Jobo processor. I've always used the 5 liter packets. Kodak did have problems with the 1 liter packets years ago. I don't think that they make these anymore.

    -Peter
    www.desmidt.net
     
  13. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I use the wine bottels with the screw top; work just fine. The glass quart/liter V-8 bottles work well too. I'm not sure about plastic. Some folks have no problems, but glass does not let air in for sure. Soda bottles are not good, they do let air in through the plastic. That's why soda is dated.

    If you get into pyro, the metal bottle tops are a no-no; the pyro eats the metal away. Glass bottles with a plastic lids is the way to go for pyro.
     
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  15. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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  16. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm going to hijack things here too, hope you don't mind. I'm almost out of D-76, so I've been thinking I might try a new developer. I shoot mostly Hp5 and Tri-X, and a little D3200 both 35mm and 120. What are the differences between XTOL and D-76 in terms of developing properties? Is XTOL more environmentally friendly? Any other thoughts...
    Thanks
     
  17. garryl

    garryl Member

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  18. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    I have never had XTOL failure and have been using it since it first came out.

    I would recommend not storing it for any longer then 3 months. There is some evidence that it can become inconsistent with age.

    When I mix it, I mix with one gallon water and then add the additional water at the end before decanting into 500ml bottles.

    I use distilled water for the original solution and dilluting, but have mixed it with my tap water and had no problems.
     
  19. Oldtimer Jay

    Oldtimer Jay Member

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    Hi All,

    I don't recommend what I do, and in fact see a potential reason not to do it. However, I like to experiment with lots of film and developer combinations and need to both save shelf space and have fresh chemicals in small amounts.

    The way I mix Xtol is to accurately weigh out 1/3 of packages A and B from the 5 L kit and mix them with 1670 ml of H2O. I am aware that theoretically this could result in a misproportionate distribution of the constituents the powders within each package. My experience over the past 4 years, however, is that I get consistant results and don't need to worry about the amount of air in my 2 L Rubbermaid storage container. I always use up this 1.7 L amount in about three months and so can not comment on the long term life. I use distilled water at room temperature and mix with an ancient Kodak ventilated stirring paddle.

    Again I am not recommending this method, just sharing my experience in the hope that it might be useful to someone with parallel needs.

    Cheers, Jay
     
  20. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    FYI, you can mix Xtol at double strength, but I think your water needs to be a little hot. In theory, the lower dilution should improve keeping quality.
     
  21. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Log onto Kodak's web site and find their B&W developer comparison page. Kodak rates XTOL as a high acutance, fine grain developer. Kodak rates D76 (undiluted) as a low acutance developer with slightly finer grain than XTOL.

    XTOL is basically a Ascorbic Acid/Phenidone developer and thus may be a bit more environmentally friendly than D76 (Metol/Hydroquinone).

    BTW, ascorbic acid/phenidone developers and ascorbic acid/metol developers mixed as concentrated stock solutions in Triethanolamine (TEA) keep for years.
     
  22. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Hmmm... I don't know. Come to think of it, whenever I take the top off of a bottle of wine or beer, it never seems to find it's way back on :smile:
     
  23. garryl

    garryl Member

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    You dog! :cool: Red Dog that is. :D
     
  24. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I've been using it since the 1 litre packages and never had a problem with them. There was tho some problems, and it was discovered that the packages that had the problems were the ones where the contents were caked. I also read over on p.net where one of the guys had failure but don't know if it was from a new package or while using a bottle. Personally I've kept the stuff up to one year without problems, but have been using nitrogen to top off the bottles. There have been no failure problems that I have read about in quite a long time so I believe it to be ok. If it turns yellow throw it out. Also remember it is it's own replenisher.

    Many guys have used it at higher working temps, up to 75deg in fact without problems. I like to use it at 70 deg, sometimes 72.


    I ususally use it 1:2 and 1:3 for MF and LF and just recently used it as a stand developer for 4x5 and it actually worked! I'll generally use it at 1:1 when shooting 35mm. I've always use it according to the time chart in the Film Developing Cookbook and never had a problem. Since it is a speed increasing developer, you can either test your film or use it at the normal speed rating on the box.
     
  25. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I have a bucket I've marked with the 5-liter size and mix to that (1.32 gallons as I recall). I pour a little over a gallon of that into a brown jug I bought at the photo store that I always use for Xtol, and then USE the rest on the spot (this means I'll sometimes let myself create a slight backlog when my regular supply of stock Xtol runs out). I jsut use round metric #'s for my measurements -- there may be a little waste, but I'd rather, say, do 1 liter of Rodinal 1+50 or even xtol 1+1 than 33 ounces -- so the liter-based size works best for me.
     
  26. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    I've been using 1:1 for several years now. I do 300mm of my dilution per 36 exposure role of either Tri-X or APX400. My results with fresh developer are beautiful but I have never experienced the purported 'binary' nature of the developer. What I have experienced is a drop off of contrast in my negatives if I let my stock solution age too long. It seems to me that I can be assured of quality for at least 6 months but after that I will see that contrast drop off. My films are exposed consistently under consistent lighting conditions. Either artificial light or typical overcast conditions. I have never seen my XTOL 1:1 fail to develop film no matter how old the developer is... without first seeing a steady decrease in developer activity over several films. In other words, I've never seen XTOL behave any differently than any other developer I've used in this respect.