XTOL - D76 - tonality
So, after spending some time reading about the differences (hey, if I'm going to spend time and mix another batch of something, I might as well look into alternatives), the general consensus is that XTOL gives finer grain, and a slight increase in shadow detail. Also, instead of an upswept curve, it gives more of a highlight preserving/compressing S curve. Lots of people have claimed that the midtones are flat in XTOL negs; is this due to poor processing, or a nature of XTOL?
Seems to me that the S curve would expand midtones a little bit
I heard a lot about the differences. But honestly, I don't see it, at least in normal processing.
When I pushed two stops using Tri-X and TMAX400, or when I processed Delta 3200, I saw XTOL results were far superior. Less grain and alot smoother transition. But other times, they look basically the same to me.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Take the idea of an upswept curve with a liberal amount of salt. All it means is not all of the Characteristic Curve has been plotted. In order to compare two curves they must be drawn to the same scale and cover the same exposure region.
Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 06-12-2014 at 06:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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I would suggest that most of the differences you describe are dependent on other factors such as exposure, lighting ratios, development time/temperature to name but a few.
Originally Posted by GarageBoy
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
OP if you have used D76 and want to compare it to Xtol then try Xtol. If you haven't as yet used either then get both and compare. In the long term and I assume you are into film photography for the long term the cost of two packs of both against all other costs will be tiny and even if you prefer one to the other you will probably have used most of each to make any comparison meaningful.
Neither will produce unprintable negs. Only you will know which of the two sets of negs you prefer.
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Bet you won't be able to see the differences in negatives exposed at box speed, unless you have a microscope and/or a densitometer.
But if the lower toxicity and ease of replenishment appeal to you, then you will notice a difference.
And X-Tol is cheap too, so if you haven't used up 5 litres in six months, it isn't a tragedy to discard the unused portion.
You will need a mixing container of at least 4 litres though (5 is better).
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
The film is an important variable. Regarding image structure characteristics, Kodak says generally XTOL produces slightly finer grain and slightly higher sharpness than D-76. Whether or not you can see the difference would depend on the film and enlargement factor - assuming all other variables are constant.
Regarding tonality and film speed, these are defined by the H&D curve of the film/developer combination. If it helps, attached is one example of comparative XTOL and D-76 curves for TMax 100. In this case the differences are very small.
Also note as Gerald pointed out, every curve is s-shaped if you plot the entire exposure scale. What differentiates films and developers is the relative lengths of the toe, "straight line" and shoulder. So the question about s-shapes really had more to do with the extent to which the s-shape exists within the exposure ranges one normally encounters.
Last edited by Michael R 1974; 06-13-2014 at 12:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I think so too. the s curveshould expand midtones(increase midtone contrast)at the expense of compressed shadows and highlights;I never was a big fan of pronounced film shoulders;it kills highlight contrastAnyway. to me, D76 is hard to beat as an overall compromise of speed, tonality,grain and sharpness.
Yes every film curve is S shaped when plotted long enough.
I use replenished XTOL for 135, 120 and 4"x5".
I prefer it over D76 and everything else I have tired.
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I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
I'm worried that I'd be losing something significantly with xtol