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Thread: X-TOL question

  1. #21

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    Question for Dennis. I have seen your prints and admire them. As I am just starting to use 120 film and searching for a film/developer combination, I was wondering if you had any favorites using the Xtol. You have seen all types of film I am sure. I am just starting with 120 as I memtioned, and would really appreciate any input. I mostly shoot landscape.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpurdy View Post
    I have never experienced the sudden death syndrom [sic] but I do find that not all films follow the extension guide line the same.
    I got hit with this for the first time a couple weeks ago. I mix up a 5L XTOL kit and put it into 5 1L datatainers. I dilute 1:1 and throw it away after the first use (this works fine for 6 4x5 negatives in 270mL of the dilute solution).

    When I got zapped I was switching to a new bottle of XTOL at the same time as I switched from TMAX-100 to TMAX-400. It took me about 3 batches of film (the second two being test exposures after the first 6 sheets were ruined) to realize that the problem was the developer not my developing time. The bottle was completely full and closed tightly (though apparently not as tightly as I thought) but was mixed 5 months earlier. The next bottle I grabbed (mixed at same time) works fine.

    I'm now entertaining thoughts of a switch in developers.

  3. #23
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    is there a possibility that one bottle was contaminated? I was of the impression that the sudden death syndrome was fixed when kodak went to non paper packaging for part A. Somehow it doesn't make sense to me that you mixed up the whole bag and then divided it into 5 parts and one of the parts died but the rest did not. Or did you divide the powders first into five parts and then mix? I am pretty sure you wouldn't do that.

  4. #24
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    I was an XTOL user and found that 1:1 dilution produced excellent results. I didn't reuse or replenish, as tracking how much extra time was needed for each roll was more hassle than it's worth. I generally didn't use XTOL enough to worry about economy. Since then, however, my processing requirements have risen dramatically but I've opted to use actuance developers. As a result, XTOL is no longer part of my arsenal.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpurdy View Post
    is there a possibility that one bottle was contaminated? I was of the impression that the sudden death syndrome was fixed when kodak went to non paper packaging for part A. Somehow it doesn't make sense to me that you mixed up the whole bag and then divided it into 5 parts and one of the parts died but the rest did not. Or did you divide the powders first into five parts and then mix? I am pretty sure you wouldn't do that.
    I mixed the entire 5L in a bucket at once, then portioned it into the 5 bottles, all of which had been used for developer at least 2 times previously and never for anything else. I can't for the life of me figure out how one would get contaminated, unless it was a matter of an imperfect seal on the bottle itself.

    The resulting negatives were almost completely clear, with only the brightest highlights (zone VIII and up) being visible.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snapshot View Post
    I was an XTOL user and found that 1:1 dilution produced excellent results. I didn't reuse or replenish, as tracking how much extra time was needed for each roll was more hassle than it's worth. I generally didn't use XTOL enough to worry about economy. Since then, however, my processing requirements have risen dramatically but I've opted to use actuance developers. As a result, XTOL is no longer part of my arsenal.

    X-Tol can be an accutance dev if you dilute 1+3.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim appleyard View Post
    X-Tol can be an accutance dev if you dilute 1+3.
    True, at 1+3 dilution XTOL is quite sharp and turns out great negatives. However, I'm finding that FX-37 and Rodinal are giving me my desired results without risk of sudden death and the extra consideration of having to mix up 5 litres of developer. Still, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  8. #28

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    I'm a big fan of Xtol. I tried it when it first came out and haven't even thought of switching since.

    I use it one shot 1:1 through 1:3, although have a client who exposes Delta 3200 at EI 12,800 and I use stock for that. Love the dev. Sharper and less grain than D-76 and, I think it gives me smoother tonality. It's a great all round developer.

    The only other one I use is Rodinal when I have images that just need that special Rodinal look.

    I can't explain what happened with edebill and the sudden death. I know it'll drive me nuts all weekend. But then I really do need to get a life!!

  9. #29
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    I only use straight when doing 'large' sheet film (8x10 or 11x14) because when I started, I was doing them tray, 1 at a time, and the longer times were killing me.
    Now I use a jobo, but having five 8x10 sheets in one tube make me worry about the dev dying on me if I don't use stock. When I used trays, I re-used it in the tray til I had finished at least 6 sheets of 11x14. Can't remember exactly how much chem I used though?

    I never re-use it when I'm doing roll film, as it's diluted, and I feel like it would exhaust sooner, though I can't really back that up.
    I will say I love this stuff more than almost anything.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by edebill View Post
    I got hit with this for the first time a couple weeks ago. I mix up a 5L XTOL kit and put it into 5 1L datatainers.
    First, if I'm not mistaken, Datatainer bottles are made from HDPE plastic. My understanding is that this isn't the best substance for a developer container. Ryuji Suzuki has a Web page that covers this topic. I'd therefore recommend you switch to PET plastic, or better yet, glass. This will provide a better seal against air. Of course, this doesn't really explain the pattern of your failure if you used identical bottles but only one went bad....

    Second, I use a hand vacuum pump to reduce the air pressure in my (glass) bottles. I've noticed that some lids simply don't produce good seals; I can pump away but I hear air leaking back in or, worse, the seal is so bad that the lid never gets "sucked down" at all. Something like this could account for your pattern, albeit without the vacuum pump; if your bottle and/or lid had some crud on it or if the seal was old, it might just not have sealed properly. This could have let enough air in to cause premature oxidation.

    More generally, although five months is within Kodak's stated XTOL lifetime (6 months) and well within the practical limits reported by others (a year or more), you might want to consider using Mytol or some other mix-it-yourself developer so that you can mix up smaller batches. Although I've never used Mytol myself, it's claimed to produce results that are very similar to those of XTOL, so switching to it shouldn't require much adjustment in your photographic practices. You will, though, need to buy a few raw ingredients and a suitable scale. OTOH, I don't know how Mytol's shelf life compares to that of XTOL; smaller batch size might not gain you anything if the shelf life is shorter.

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