Tri-X (TXT) in Dektol and in XTol : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

What are the strengths and weaknesses of these two developers when used with KODAK TRI-X Pan Professional Film (TXT)? How are they different in terms of retaining detail in shadows and highlights? How are they different in terms of grain, edge effects, sharpness, etc? Yes, I know I can perform extensive testing and determine my own answers but it would be helpful to know what experienced darkroom folks can coax out of these materials. I'll be contact printing the negatives.

-- Chris Hawkins (, March 07, 2000


Sigh... I meant D-76 instead of Dektol. Using paper developer for film wouldn't be a good idea!

-- Chris Hawkins (, March 07, 2000.

Chris, XTOL/Tri-X 120 is becoming my most frequently used combo. My tests of Tri-X souped in XTOL and D-76 indicate Tri-X developed in XTOL 1:1 had the best micro contrast in midtones. Tri-X in D-76 had lower highlight values. There are a lot of variables but two tests were consistent. XTOL normal development gives Tri-X a real speed boost(1/2 stop)which builds density of values placed near or on Tri- Xs long toe unlike D-76. XTOL has a little more contrast than D-76 in the highlights. I recommend the development times posted on Kodaks film developing web page. The page lists development times for a CI of .52. I use a condenser enlarger so developing to a lower CI than typically published on film boxes helps acheive a longer tonal scale on the print. I am curious if other can confirm my observation.

-- Richard Jepsen (, March 08, 2000.

Chris, my response is for Tri-X Pan ISO 400. TXP is a different emulsion which I have not used. The Film Developing Cookbook by Stephen Anchell and Bill Troop (1998) have this to say about XTOL vs D-76. "Fine grain and sharpness are improved when compared to D-76 and T-Max developers. XTOL is now the developer most highly recommended by Kodak for T-Max films. It has been observed that dilution increases speed and sharpness with XTOL. Dilutions of 1:3 or more are frequently recommended. At these dilutions XTOL is effectively a nonsolvent developer, but because of its careful buffering, grain is still fine." They also mention that most films show about 10% more enlargeability. My experience squares with their advice. Xtol 1:3 is almost as sharp as Rodinal with less grain.

-- richard jepsen (, March 08, 2000.

Try this again. Tri-X (TXT) ISO 320 is different from Tri-X Pan (TX) ISO 400. My comments are on (TX). I believe the HD curve of (TXT) is more of a straight line than the (TX) S curve. Be careful to avoid blocked highlights using (TXT).

-- Richard Jepsen (, March 08, 2000.

Just because it's a "paper" developer doesn't mean you can't put film in it. You can get some interesting results with that combo. Try Tri-X and Dektol @68F for 90sec. Use a water bath before the developer. I used this in school a few years back when I was really pressed for time trying to get some pics in for grading. It's down and dirty, but sometimes you do what you gotta do.

-- Steve Colardeau (, March 14, 2000.

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