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  1. #21
    23mjm's Avatar
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    Well you know the bottom line here----that's why they make so many developers--so we can all find our orgasmic developer

  2. #22
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    I'd have to agree that while Xtol is good, maybe one of the best, and has worked for me, it isn't for everyone and you should use what works for you without apology. But since others have used Xtol in a scanning workflow (ie, me), it can be done with excellent results. That indicates that you have problems either with exposure/development, or with scanning.

    If you really want to make some further effort, and have access to a densitometer, it could help you eliminate film-exposure and -processing variables as the cause of the trouble. I'm not a full-on Zone System acolyte, but the principles are sound and I take from it what I need to get good results. Forgive me if you're already familiar with how to do this.

    Load up a roll of your favorite film and shoot a gray card, evenly lit, for zones I, V, and VIII, as well as a blank frame for filmbase + fog readings. In other words, spot meter just the card and give five stops less, indicated, and three stops more exposure, respectively, than the meter indicates. Process in Xtol (I think 1+1 is optimum mix for sharpness vs. grain, but I shoot a lot of Tmax--doesn't matter, pick a dilution) and process according to Kodak's recommendations.

    For scanning I have found that I like a bit more zone I density than the 0.10 nfbf The Gospel of Ansel calls for; somewhere around .13 to .15 net filmbase+fog looks good for me. This means you have adequate exposure (that is, EI) for your "system" of exposure and development. Development time has little effect on negative densities on the low end, once you've passed some threshold development time very early in the development process.

    For Zone VIII, the Gospel of Ansel calls for 1.15-1.25 for a condenser enlarger, and 1.25-1.35 (net film base + fog) for a diffusion enlarger. I figure that for optimum scanning you don't want highlight regions as dense as you might find with a condenser enlarger, if you are to have any detail there at all, so I'd aim for the lower end of density there; with my scanner, that's about 1.3 or so. Adjust your development times to get densities in these ranges, and you're at least in the ballpark. If you are seeing these density values, or something like them, rest assured the problem isn't your exposure/development, and therefore must be in the scanning.

    My usual procedure, when trying a new film and/or developer, is to sacrifice four frames for just the above testing; I can usually nail things down within 2 or 3 rolls without the tedium of formal zone-system testing. I find I do not need radical adjustments to the scanned images other than setting black and white points, and curve tweaks to get things looking right.

    On the other hand, if you have a developer/film combo that's already working for you, such as good ol' D76, why bother with all this? Just go with it. Xtol ain't so great that it should stress you.
    Michael Sebastian
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  3. #23

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    Kodachrome64,
    rodinal might be "orgasmic" for you, but it's certainly a matter of taste. Don't get me wrong, I like rodinal, but it's not an all around developer. Some say it's not very good with fast films and it's not good for pushing. I found this photo which is shot with TriX @3200 and developed in Xtol 1+1. Would you be able to do this with rodinal?

  4. #24
    kodachrome64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anon Ymous View Post
    Kodachrome64,
    rodinal might be "orgasmic" for you, but it's certainly a matter of taste. Don't get me wrong, I like rodinal, but it's not an all around developer. Some say it's not very good with fast films and it's not good for pushing. I found this photo which is shot with TriX @3200 and developed in Xtol 1+1. Would you be able to do this with rodinal?
    I routinely shoot Tri-X at 1600 and 3200 and develop in Rodinal using stand development. I get wonderful results. They have more grain than that image, but then again, I want the grain. Here is one I shot between 1600 and 3200 (no exposure meter):




    Developed in Rodinal 1+100 for 70 minutes with no agitation. Again, I like the look of Rodinal. Maybe that's why I don't like the look of XTOL.
    Kodachrome
    They give us those nice bright colors
    They give us the greens of summers
    Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah.
    -Paul Simon

  5. #25

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    I'm on my third 5L batch and I like the stuff. Good tones with Neopan 400 and Tri-X/HP5+. Not quite the results on pushing as with D76 but I didn't really experiment that much. Don't forget the room temperature mixing- another plus. Rodinal is still my choice for slower films, though.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodachrome64 View Post
    I routinely shoot Tri-X at 1600 and 3200 and develop in Rodinal using stand development. I get wonderful results. They have more grain than that image, but then again, I want the grain. Here is one I shot between 1600 and 3200 (no exposure meter):

    ...

    Developed in Rodinal 1+100 for 70 minutes with no agitation. Again, I like the look of Rodinal. Maybe that's why I don't like the look of XTOL.
    It certainly looks good to me, although these photographs are not necessarily comparable. I didn't have an opportunity to see an example like that.

    Finally, what is important is what you said about grain. You like grain and rodinal is more than good for you. Xtol is something different. Not something bad. Grainophobes love it.
    Last edited by Anon Ymous; 10-23-2008 at 03:19 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Spelling

  7. #27
    kodachrome64's Avatar
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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry 8300: BlackBerry8300/4.5.0.55 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102)

    Quote Originally Posted by Anon Ymous
    Quote Originally Posted by kodachrome64 View Post
    I routinely shoot Tri-X at 1600 and 3200 and develop in Rodinal using stand development. I get wonderful results. They have more grain than that image, but then again, I want the grain. Here is one I shot between 1600 and 3200 (no exposure meter):

    ...

    Developed in Rodinal 1+100 for 70 minutes with no agitation. Again, I like the look of Rodinal. Maybe that's why I don't like the look of XTOL.
    It certainly looks good to me, although these photographs are not necessarily comparable. I didn't have an opportunity to see an example like that.

    Finally, what is important is what you said about grain. You like grain and rodinal is more than good for you. Xtol is something different. Not something bad. Grainophobes love it.
    Yes, I am definitely no grainophobe. I have never tried to push Tri-X with XTOL though...maybe I'll try it.
    Kodachrome
    They give us those nice bright colors
    They give us the greens of summers
    Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah.
    -Paul Simon

  8. #28

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    XTOL works perfectly well for me. I'm able to expose films at box speed and I retain detail in the shadows. The grain is very fine and I get nice tonal separation. But I did run film tests first with a densitometer.

  9. #29
    kodachrome64's Avatar
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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry 8300: BlackBerry8300/4.5.0.55 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102)

    What benefit would a densitometer give me? Letting me know proper development? How much do they cost?
    Kodachrome
    They give us those nice bright colors
    They give us the greens of summers
    Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah.
    -Paul Simon

  10. #30

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    It's a great developer that will give somewhere between a 1/3 and a 1/2 stop more film speed. It's also much less toxic then other developers. In my comparisons with TriX in D76 and in Xtol, the grain is finer in Xtol. Another trait of Xtol is dilution doesn't decrease sharpness much and the grain is still fine. You must tho test your film for the proper E.I.. Concerning scanning, it's the film that determines your resultant file output. One of my favorite films with Xtol is FP4+ at the right dev time.
    W.A. Crider

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