XTOL - minimum volume?

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Although I have been pleased with results using Tmax developer for the Tmax films, I would like to give XTOL a try. So far using Kodaks recomended times my negs are way too thin at every dilution except 1:1. Can it be that you need to have a minimum amount of stock in the tank regardless of the dilution? Also I woulld like to hear about the resulting negatives in terms of contrast and printability at the various dilutions. Thank you for any help.

-- steve vancosin (steve1chsn@aol.com), December 14, 1997


The consensus is that you need 100ml of stock developer per 80 sq in of film. That's one 8x10 sheet/120 roll/36 exp 35mm roll.

-- Tim Brown (brownt@ase.com), December 15, 1997.

Mr. Brown is correct. In practical terms, what this means is that Kodak's recommended times are for one roll of 35mm or 120 film in 100ml (8 oz.) of undiluted stock. So if you dilute the stock 1:1 you should still use it to develop only one roll. That means using 16 oz. of diluted developer for one roll of film.

Given that you can fit two rolls of 35mm film into a 16 oz. tank, you may want a more efficient option. Here it is: when developing more than one roll of 35mm/120 film in a 1:1 dilution, increase your developing time by 15%. This is what Kodak recommends in their tech sheet for Xtol, albeit in very small print. If you dilute at 1:2, add another 15%, and add yet another 15% for 1:3.

BTW, even though one roll of 220 film will fit into a 16 oz. tank of developer, it still counts as two rolls because of its increased surface area. Adjust your times accordingly.

-- Gordon Lewis (gvlewis@earthlink.net), November 12, 1999.

100ml = 3.38 oz., not 8 oz.

-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), November 13, 1999.

Opps! How embarassing, but thanks for pointing out my error. Let me try again. The average 35mm rollfilm tank takes 8 oz. (227ml) of solution for a single roll of film. If you dilute Xtol 1:1, half of the volume (113.5ml) will be developer, so there will be no problem with undercapacity. If you dilute 1:2 however, there will be only 76ml of developer to 151ml of water. That's less than the 100ml minimum, which will lead to underdevelopment.

In my experience however, negatives developed at 1:1 at Kodak's recommended times do not have the same density as negatives developed in full-strength Xtol, also at Kodak's recommended time (i.e., they're a bit lighter.) Bottom line: run a few tests before you develop an important roll of film.

-- Gordon Lewis (gvlewis@earthlink.net), November 15, 1999.

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