Xtol packaging...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Resoman, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. Resoman

    Resoman Member

    Messages:
    153
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Can anyone tell me the story behind Kodak's decision to only offer Xtol developer in five liter packages? I assume there's a reason for it, but I don't know what it is.

    As little film as I shoot, I'd be inclined to but several one liter packages and mix them as needed. The five liter volume is a lot more than I need, and I don't have a convenient means of storing it. I guess the best storage approach would be getting five one-liter bottles, but the developer would likely be several months old before I got to my last bottle.

    I just checked, and B&H currently lists D-76 and Microdol-X in both one liter and one gallon sizes. I've heard some horror stories from years past about Xtol mixed from the one liter packages having a very short life but, if they can package other developers in a one liter size, what's so tricky about Xtol?

    I liked Xtol as soon as I tried it, and was really pleased that Kodak made the investment necessary develop and market it. It would likely be the only developer I use, if it were packaged like Kodak's other b&w developers are.

    Thanks,

    Gary,
    East Snook, TX
     
  2. JonPorter

    JonPorter Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  3. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,351
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    Montréal (QC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    XTOL keeps well in bottles. Get some cheap glass bottles, tighten them up hermetically, and stop worrying about your developer being a few months old.
     
  4. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

    Messages:
    1,786
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    OH
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Use half liter bottles. It works great for many months.
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Short answer. It keeps as well as D-76 provided you keep air away from it, at least six months. Don't worry about the 5L size.
     
  6. Jordan

    Jordan Member

    Messages:
    590
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Can
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    IIRC there was a big quality-control problem with the 1 L packages (caking, sudden death of mixed developer) that led to Kodak removing them from the market entirely. Maybe Photo Engineer can provide more details.
     
  7. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,626
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Wes
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dear Gary,

    What all the others said. Several small bottles take up very little room in a reasonably small box and they seem (to me at least) to be more convenient that one large bottle.

    Neal Wydra
     
  8. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,376
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Use Foma EXCEL, available through Freestyle. It's reportedly an XTOL clone.
     
  9. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

    Messages:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Location:
    South Bend,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I thought that Kodak had resumed selling the one-liter packages a long time ago, using new packaging materials.
     
  10. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There's a current thread that touches on this subject at our good friends, photo.net. I did a search at Freestyle, Adorama and B&H for 1 liter X-Tol; no listing, but another poster thinks it might only be available in 1 liter sizes outside the US.
    http://photo.net/black-and-white-photo-film-processing-forum/00QfxH
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2008
  11. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Another option is to mix your own XTOL workalike, such as Mytol or Instant Mytol. Doing so will require you to buy about half a dozen ingredients and a scale capable of measuring small weights. You'll then be able to mix up as much or as little developer as you like (within the limits imposed by the precision of your scale). You might or might not want to go to the effort, but you should be aware that the option is available.
     
  12. Resoman

    Resoman Member

    Messages:
    153
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'm still curious about the reason to sell Xtol in 5 liter packages, when all the other Kodak developers are sold by the gallon. Is the 5 liter volume a perfect fit for some kind of processor, or something?

    Gary
     
  13. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Here's a thought. XTOL serves as its own replenisher. There is no separately formulated XTOL replenisher as there is with D-76 as in the form of D-76R. It was marketed to pro labs where replenished developers are the norm. The 5L size would give you enough to fill a large tank, with enough left over to serve as replenisher.
     
  14. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,107
    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It lasts longer, and is easier to store, if mixed double strength and then diluted appropriately before use.
     
  15. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

    Messages:
    2,950
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Location:
    South Bend,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I thought that I remembered seeing only the 1-liter packages at my local camera store a few weeks ago (I was looking for the 5-liter packages). I'll check to see whether they still have them. I guess there's a remote chance that they're old stock, but I thought that the problem packaging had long since been discarded.
     
  16. Double Negative

    Double Negative Member

    Messages:
    92
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Since we don't have the one liter bottles here in the states that our Canadian and European friends have, I found the next best thing... Good ol' (lousy) American beer bottles in 40oz. sizes! Much better than the plastic Delta1 "Datatainers" these brown glass bottles with metal caps are great for storing oxygen-sensitive solutions and work out to be cheaper than "photography containers." While you could drink the beer, honestly, I'd suggest dumping it down the drain... :wink:

    Turns out 5l of Xtol fit *perfectly* in four such bottles with about a 1/4" of an air gap each!
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,091
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is mainly because the US gallon isn't a valid internationally recognized standard size, no one outside of the US can use it. A US gallon is significantly smaller than the UK gallon it's derived from, probably due to early american traders selling short measure :D

    Litres are the International standard, scientists everywhere all use metric measures now. NASA used to make huge errors before they went metric !!!!

    When Xtol manufacture ceased outside the US (in the UK etc) we were told it would only be available in US gallons, that didn't happen because no other country has measuring jugs/cylinders etc calibrated for US measures, so it went metric like 99.9% of the world.

    Ian
     
  18. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That doesn't explain why D-76, Dektol, and Fixer are sold in packages that make 1 US gallon. Surely, they sell this stuff outside the US. So why, if they package these items differently for export, can they not do the same with XTOL? Don't get me wrong. I really don't care which unit of measure is used. I can measure it all the same. I just don't understand the lack of standardization.
     
  19. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    No, I think it is because the rest of the world uses the metric system! Its the gallon sized pack which is the oddity if anything. I find it incredible that the imperial system is still in use....

    FWIW, I find the constant fears Xtol failure silly. One hears about people wittering on about something that happened with a 1l pack 8 years ago when people know the history to the issue and its solution.

    My work space averages about 24-6 degs C. I keep my Xtol in brown plastic (detta) bottles and it lasts 6 months. It has even lasted 5 months in half full bottles. Just test some on a leader and if after a 3-5 mins or so the leader darkens nicely you know the dev is still nice and active. If you cannot get thru 5 litres in 6 months then you need to shoot more film!
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,091
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There's the anomaly of D76 sold in the UK in 3.8 litre packaging (1 US Gallon) and it's Replenisher in 5 litre packaging. D76 & Dektol (powder) are the only Kodak chemicals not sold in fully metric packaging. But neither are particularly big sellers in the UK where Ilford ID-11 etc are far more common.

    Across Europe & South America you're far more likely to find Ilford B&W films, papers & chemicals. Since dropping their B&W papers Kodak have lost much of their share of the B&W processing market.

    Ian
     
  21. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

    Messages:
    1,062
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Prospect (Lo
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Ian, I much prefer to measure my D-76 in drams and buy my bulk chemicals by the stone.