Xtol

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by chiller, Feb 4, 2006.

  1. chiller

    chiller Member

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    Has anyone mixed the 5 litre Xtol packet as per instructions and then bottle the 5 litres in many smaller bottle with no air?

    If so how has it stored and what shelf life have you achieved?

    Does it still suffer from the sudden unexpected Xtol death syndrome?
     
  2. Gim

    Gim Subscriber

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    I bottle the stock in 22oz beer bottles and smaller booze bottles and have used it for a year with no problems.
    Jim
     
  3. Rolfe Tessem

    Rolfe Tessem Subscriber

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    I do exactly that with five 1 liter glass bottles and it lasts for over a year. How much longer I don't know, since I toss any left over at the one year mark.

    AFAIK, the sudden death syndrome was related to the now-discontinued 1 liter packages.
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I do it all the time. I use 5 x 1L plastic soda pop bottles. Four are filled to the very brim with only a very small bubble of air left inside. After that there is not enough to completely fill the fifth bottle, so I top that off with some gas to displace the air from the bottle and use that one first. I've just finished a batch that I mixed up at the end of June '05 on two rolls of very outdated TMX 135-36 and it worked as expected.
     
  5. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hi Steve

    I do it exatly as you describe it but in adition its also in a dark cool room and it holds easy up to a year and a half. But it has to be in glass bottles totaly fill up and not more then 15° celcius!
     
  6. chiller

    chiller Member

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    Thanks guys for the excellent conformation.

    Steve
     
  7. ekjt

    ekjt Member

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    I have stored it in 500 ml (appox. 600ml when filled to the top) plastic cell culture media bottles. No problems with shelf life. Worked perfectly after 13 months in ambient temp (24 C).
     
  8. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    I store my stock XTOL solution in 750ml wine bottles. I use the VacuVin stopper system - a rubber stopper and a hand vacuum pump that lets you pull the air out of the wine bottle. Works quite well.

    I've never had XTOL go bad. The longest I've had stock solution in the bottles is about eight months. When I run out, I make another batch.

    Part of why I like this method is that I use 250ml of stock at a time, diluting it 1:3 to make 1 liter of working solution. Bottles in multiples of 250ml therefore work nicely for me.
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've also put XTOL in 1-liter bottles. The longest I've stored it to date is a bit over 6 months. You might be interested in reading this page on developer (including XTOL and various others) storage:

    http://www.udmercy.edu/crna/agm/phenvitc.htm

    As to XTOL sudden death, I've seen claims that the problem has persisted beyond the elimination of the 1-liter packaging, but AFAIK nobody in the general public has hard data on this topic. Everything I've seen is anecdotal reports and hearsay. The problem is rare enough that it's hard to pin down based on such scant information, and IMHO it's not 100% safe to assume that any given bottle of XTOL will work. OTOH, given the rarity of the problem, any given bottle of XTOL is likely to be fine, at least assuming it's not ridiculously old. Still, before entrusting important film, I'd recommend doing a snip test, or better yet, developing a less important roll of film using developer from the same bottle.
     
  10. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    I'm sure you guys all know this, but Kodak claims the problem was mostly (entirely) related to using XTOL in 1:2 and 1:3 dilutions, which is why they no longer provide development times for any dilutions over 1:1.

    I've really just started using XTOL, so I don't have any storage experiences to share...
     
  11. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    I've read that the main problem was iron in the mixing water. Then again, I've only used the 5 liter package.

    All I know for sure is that I mix and dilute with steam distilled water, and I've processed about 1000 sheets of 5x4 Tri-X in XTOL 1:3 without any problems whatsoever. Never had a failure. Never seen the "sudden death" problem. Used XTOL stock that was 8 months old to process at 1:3 and never had a failure.

    Maybe I'm just lucky ;-)
     
  12. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    I'm not saying that the problem is caused by the dilution, rather that, according to Kodak, it only presents itself when using higher-than-normal dilutions.

    I always mix developer with distilled water. Why take a chance? :smile:
     
  13. Rolfe Tessem

    Rolfe Tessem Subscriber

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    Actually, I think Kodak said that the problem with high dilutions occurred, or at least was reported to occur, primarily (exclusively?) with the Tmax films, especially TMX.

    FWIW, I mix my Xtol with my filtered well water, which has a high mineral content and I've never had a problem. But then again, I use it 1:1.
     
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  15. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    This is directly from Kodak's technical data guide for XTOL (publication J-109, September 2004):

     
  16. cao

    cao Member

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    No-one, to the best of my knowledge, is disputing that Kodak published this statement, but those of us who have succeeded consistently despite this warning are disputing its validity and motivation. For what it's worth, I've processed TMY and TMX 135(36) and 120 rolls in XTOL 1:2 with good results. I mix my stock with distilled water, I dilute with Traverse City tap water, I keep headroom in the bottles as small as practicible in storing the stock, and I use no less than 100ml stock per roll.
     
  17. seadrive

    seadrive Member

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    "If you have been consistently obtaining satisfactory results with diluted developer and you use the mixed developer before keeping characteristics become a concern, you may want to continue your current procedures."

    Can't you just feel the "wink-wink" that's clearly implied by that statement?
     
  18. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    My experience with Xtol (always used 1+3) has been that stock stored in FULL-to-the-brim glass 500ml bottles and capped with a plastic wrap under the lid and refrigerated is good for at least two years. I did a test with the same film as when the batch was fresh and saw no difference with the two year old stock. (test was a sanity check). It may have lasted longer but I ran out and the new batch is still fairly young.

    I always mix with distilled water, stock and working solution, to avoid the vagaries of the Vancouver water supply (fairly nice to awfully muddy - depending on mud slides into the mountain lakes serving as reservoirs). I have never personally experienced the dreaded Xtol failure either in the earlier 1 litre packets nor the current 5 litre ones.

    Dave
     
  19. cao

    cao Member

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    Why the FUD and inuendo? The great yellow father is not an omniscient great yellow god. I suspect XSDS was a packaging or water quality problem. Their suggestions while perhaps prudent did not root out the problem. The dilution hypothesis hasn't been supported in runs by a fair number of darkroom workers, myself included, who routinely run XTOL in high dilution. I've used XTOL for the last three years, and outside of opening an unprocessed tank in light (ouch), I've not flubbed a roll. XTOL from the metalized plastic 5 liter packs has been an absolutly rock solid performer. Again I ask, why the FUD and inuendo? What do you mean to achieve with this snideness?
     
  20. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    flawless XTOL performance noted here too - Use without fear.
     
  21. Rolfe Tessem

    Rolfe Tessem Subscriber

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    My guess is that Kodak figured that users reporting failures at 1:2 and 1:3 were using less than the recommended 100ml per 35mm roll or equivalent so they simply withdrew the 1:2 and 1:3 times from their site. I'm aware that many users claim good results with less than 100ml per roll, but there are probably many inexperienced workers who simply mixed up dilute solution and filled the tank just enough to cover the reels, thus resulting in far less than the needed stock solution to achieve development. TMX apparently exhausts developer more quickly than other emulsions due to its greater activity and thus probably resulted in more failures.

    Just my guess, but it seems like a reasonable one. Of course, the 1 liter packaging problem was a different issue completely.
     
  22. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    My guess is about the same. I'm using XTOL 1+3 for many types of film, usually using 25% more than the minimum recommended amount, with good results as well.
     
  23. chiller

    chiller Member

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    An additional question on Xtol??

    Has anyone directly compared the results of a film in both D76 and Xtol at whatever dilution is the norm for you??

    What are the characteristics that make one "better" or more suited to your work style?
     
  24. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    If you're implying that Kodak wants you to use less-diluted XTOL to bolster their profits, I'm skeptical. If that were the case, Kodak would simply have never recommended 1+2 or higher dilutions, and/or they'd have quietly changed their recommendations for D-76, HC-110, etc., in addition to XTOL.

    It seems to me that most of us here on APUG are working from very limited data sets. Kodak is the only entity that's likely to have enough data to draw any conclusions about the cause of XTOL sudden failures. Of course, a certain amount of skepticism is in order when interpreting any corporate statements, but on balance, I'd rather trust Kodak on this point than assume there's no problem with higher dilutions.

    As to frequent reports of success with higher dilutions, consider this:

    1. The claim is that higher dilutions are most likely to cause problems with TMX and less likely to cause problems with other films. Thus, if you're using higher dilutions with non-TMX films, it's not really a contradition.
    2. The real issue seems to be the 100ml of stock developer per 35mm roll (or equivalent). If you're using a plastic tank with 1+2 dilution, you're probably meeting that requirement, and not missing it by far with 1+3 dilution.
    3. XTOL sudden failures seem to be pretty rare. Kodak isn't claiming that you're certain to run into them even when processing TMX with high dilutions, just that you're more likely to encounter problems under these circumstances. For instance, to apply completely fictitious numbers, suppose that XTOL has a 0.01% chance of failure (1 failure per 10,000 rolls) overall. Suppose further that the failure rate climbs to 0.5% (1 failure per 200 rolls) when processing TMX with 1+3 dilution in a 250ml stainless steel tank. That's still a pretty small chance of failure in absolute terms, so lots of people here would not encounter this problem, even after processing 100 rolls or more. From a corporate point of view, though, that's a huge jump in the failure rate, and something worth addressing in a CYA sort of way.
    4. Chances are the high dilution/less than required amount of developer problem isn't the only cause of failures. This issue probably interacts with others that Kodak may or may not have identified or be able to address, such as as-yet-unresolved packaging issues, the water used to mix the XTOL, storage conditions, etc. If (a big caveat) Kodak has conducted studies, they may have found a statistical correlation between failures and any number of factors (dilution, water impurities, etc.). If that correlation is strongest with dilution, then the safest way of addressing it is to change their dilution recommendations. That doesn't mean that the other factors aren't important or even necessary for a failure to occur, but they might be things Kodak can't or doesn't want to address. For instance, they can't exactly tell you to test your water for iron content, and they might be afraid of scaring off customers by telling them to use distilled water.
     
  25. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    I've used Xtol 1+3 and 1+2 for years in a Jobo processor for 4x5 TMX since the year Xtol came out. I've never had an 'xtol failure'. Some of my stock was up to 8 months old and stored in tanks with floating lids. It's odd that I didn't have a failure if there really is a problem with the developer.
     
  26. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Not necessarily. First, I have yet to see anybody claim that XTOL failures are likely in an absolute sense, although XTOL detractors like to imply it. I haven't seen any hard numbers, but I'd guess the odds of a failure on any given use, assuming correct mixing and reasonable storage, are less than 1%, and probably much less than this. Unless you shoot a lot of film, the odds of any given photographer encountering a failure are therefore far from 100%, even over the ten years it's been on the market.

    Second, odds are that there is no single cause of XTOL failures, but rather that a combination of factors is required to cause a failure. By this view, Kodak has addressed the dilution issue because it's easy. It could be, for instance, that a combination of (a) high dilution and (b) TMX film with either (c1) water high in iron content or (c2) sub-optimal storage is required to encounter problems. If neither c1 nor c2 applies to you, then you wouldn't encounter failures, but that doesn't mean there isn't a problem with the product. Of course, this is just an example; I am not trying to say that the specified conditions of a, b, c1, and c2 are actually the root of any XTOL problems.