Yellow X-tol still usable?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Erik Petersson, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    I´ve got a little x-tol left, and it turned dark yellow. Now, I would really like to develop a film (Neopan 1600) tomorrow, but I think that it is impossible to find developer in Stockholm on a Sunday. Can I still use this x-tol? What is you advice?

    thanks in ahead!
    Erik
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2009
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    That doesn't sound good. Xtol can oxidize and lose all it's activity, so save your film until you can mix up fresh developer.
     
  3. david b

    david b Member

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    How important are the photos? I would not chance it. How old is it?
     
  4. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    I mixed it before christmas, if I remember correctly. Too old, right?
     
  5. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I have never seen XTOL go yellow. Six months in completely full bottles, or one or two months in half full bottles is the recommended shelf life. I rarely have a 5L batch more than 3 or 4 months before it's all used up, though there have been stretches of time where I've had the developer mixed up for the full six months or more. Mine has always been good, but I'm careful to exclude as much air as possible from the storage container. Your's is probably not good. Best to get a fresh batch of XTOL before you waste the film and the images you've made.
     
  6. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Take a bit of film and expose it to the light, and then toss in it some of your Xtol. If it turns black by 3 minutes, it's probably good. If not, maybe not. If it looks like there is no darkening, then toss it. If it does darken, you may want to double check it and try a test roll first and confirm that it's still good.
     
  7. jja

    jja Member

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    Just two days ago I used the last of my Xtol, from a 5L batch I mixed 10 months ago, and it was definitely yellow. Reading the archives, there has been an ongoing debate about how long Xtol will last, and under what conditions. Users also argue that short shelf life was only a problem with early batches of the developer.

    My 5L batch was stored in two 96 oz. (2.84L) plastic juice bottles (white), under a bathroom sink in temperatures ranging from about 60-78 deg. F, depending on the time of year. I am looking at some of the negatives now, and they developed fine. My dilutions have ranged from stock to 1:2. This is my first batch of Xtol, and I'm really happy with its tonality and relatively low grain. I would do a test strip to be safe.
     
  8. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    XTOL is supposed to last for 6 months, according to Kodak. Their estimates are usually on the conservative side, so if you mixed it "before Christmas" (December 2008), then it's only four months old, and should theoretically be OK, if it was stored properly. That last is very important, though; if you put all your XTOL in one big bottle that you've been using, then there's presumably a lot of air in the bottle by now, which will speed the developer's deterioration. There could also be unknown factors doing the same (contaminants in the water, temperature issues, etc.).

    All in all, I'd advise caution. If you absolutely must develop this film before you can get ahold of more XTOL, you might consider mixing up some caffeinol. That's got its risks too, though, at least if you've never used it with the type of film you want to develop.
     
  9. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    So, the bottom line is not to take any chances. I thought about this a bit more and remembered that one of my neighbours is a photographer. Maybe he has some stored...
    Thanks for your advice
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Testing it involves no risk. My current batch of Xtol is older than that, and worked just fine on a roll I processed a few days ago. I did do a test, however.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2009
  11. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I don't think the age of the XTOL is the issue here - the colour, however, is. Healthy XTOL is nearly colourless. Yellow XTOL tells me that a chemical reaction has occurred, and that will have effects on your film development. Whether the effects will be important or not, I can't say for certain, but I highly suspect that they will.

    There are two issues here, time and money. Your time to test the developer has value. The film has value. The images have value. The developer has value too, if it works, and you want to make sure you get that value out of it, but the value of your time and your images is, in my opinion, higher. Pitch the XTOL and buy some more.

    Incidentally, powdered XTOL keeps a long time, so buy two packages so that you have another to use should you need it. Replace the second package as soon as (or soon before) you mix the last package you have in stock.
     
  12. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I'd say try it out. A slight yellow tint - I might use. Dark yellow - sounds oxidized to me. I'd hold off. But take a bit of exposed leader and throw it in a cup of XTOL. If it turns black, its still probably useable, but not necessarily as effective.
     
  13. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Throwing an exposed film leader into a quantity of XTOL proves nothing more than it is active enough to reduce the silver. It gives no more indication of the developers potency. It might behave normally, or it might not. There is no way to tell with any accuracy unless you can measure the results against a known result. Sorry fellas, too many years of analyzing computer performance metrics taught me that a long time ago.
     
  14. yardkat

    yardkat Member

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    I don't use X-tol if it's changed colors. It might be ok, but why take the chance? I mix and store in small(er) containers, but if it's hot in the house it seems to turn yellow sooner. (my house is a little hotbox in the summer.) But I always dump it if it's turned. I have no idea if the color change indicates anything, but I figure it's not worth it.
     
  15. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Throw it away. Chems are cheap and you're going to buy more anyway. Just wait a day until your store opens and get some new X-Tol.
     
  16. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    Thanks again. I managed to buy new XTol today, from another photographer in Stockholm. He also sold me 20 just expired films, all in all for the equivalent of 27 Euro or 36 USD, including the developer. A very good deal to my mind. (Plus-x 125, some kodak NC and VC in both 160 and 400, three Reala etc)
     
  17. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    Yep. Testing is the way to go. Why take the risk?

    But note that some films won't show you black even if the developer works. TMY-2 for example. You have to fix it so you can see the black. I found this out the hard way doing exactly this test. I was sure by XTOL was fine, but it seemed to have no effect on the little chunk of 5x4 TMY-2 I cut off and sloshed in a dish. Then I had that thought, rinsed out the disk and added a bit of fixer. Within a couple of minutes all the coatings and dye layers have dissolved away and I could see the black of fully processed film. I went ahead and ran 10 sheets of 5x4 right away, and it worked beautifully.

    I'm just sayin'... Test completely.
     
  18. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    DON'T DO IT. I speak from experience. I ran a test on an unimportant roll. Turned out fine. Ran my second important roll the same day. Completely blank. Yellow = Death!

    Take care,
    Tom
     
  19. Pat Erson

    Pat Erson Member

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    "DON'T DO IT. I speak from experience. I ran a test on an unimportant roll. Turned out fine. Ran my second important roll the same day. Completely blank. Yellow = Death!"
    What's amazing is why people STILL X-tol aka "Russian Roulette" developer. Just my 2 cents of course...
     
  20. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Because it is good stuff. In all the years I've been using it not once have I had a failure. Aside from the 1L packages, which did have a problem that was acknowledged by Kodak and are by now long gone, I think most of the supposed "failures" are more likely due to improper mixing or storage than anything else.
     
  21. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I wholeheartedly agree with Frank. Store the developer in bottles that are full. If they are partially full, use glass marbles or something to make up the lost volume.

    It's good that the OP bought fresh chemistry. When in doubt - mix fresh. Keep extra at hand.

    - Thomas