Xtol or Microphen?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by brian steinberger, Aug 11, 2012.

  1. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Just trying to understand the similarities and differences between the two. I've never used Microphen before. I'm planning on using one with 120 HP5, mainly pushing to EI 800 in flat light but sometimes shooting at 400 as well. I have heard Microphen pushes slightly better. Though Xtol is available in 5L packets which I like and also much cheaper than Micropen.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
     
  2. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    They are not all that similar in image characteristics. To be honest I would say that once you are into pushing territory the speed differences between XTOL and Microphen are probably trivial. Having said that, they do look different (although again when pushing, all bets are off in terms of image characteristics). What I mean is, XTOL is significantly finer grained than Microphen under normal circumstances, but since I don't push film I can't tell you what happens in that scenario. One thing that can make XTOL good for pushing in general is that it compensates more than more typical Phenidone-based formulas like Microphen. But a semi-traditional film like HP5+ might just look better in Microphen than XTOL. Just some thoughts.
     
  3. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Thanks Michael. Why do you believe HP5 would look better in Microphen rather than Xtol?
     
  4. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    You'd have to do your own test to decide (since 10 people will tell you to do 10 different things - all crappy in the end compared to plain old ID11 1+1). I think Microphen might give you a little more "bite" to HP5's grain. I don't have a lot of experience with HP5, but I've used a lot of XTOL at various dilutions and find it to be a better match for the fine grained 100 speed (and slower) films. XTOL does favour shadow contrast though, so it could be useful depending on the look you are after.
     
  5. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Having used both Ive always loved xtol but not microphen so much, think microphen produces rougher grain.

    Last time I used tri-x in xtol replenished it had a pleasent creamy look to it, while hp5+ was contrasty with "snap" to it in xtol replenished. Both were pleasing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2012
  6. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Thanks guys! I think I will try Xtol again. I used it years ago to great success with 120 Neopan 400. Unfortunately, Neopan is no longer with us and since then I switched to FP4 and HP5 with ID-11. Wanted to give Xtol a try again to see if I can gain a little more speed and better tonality with HP5.