xtol 1+3

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I have been processing tri-x in xtol diluted 1+3 for some time and have been happy with the results. However when I mentioned this to a colleague, they expressed concern saying that Kodak didn't recomend using dilutions greater than 1+1. Whilst I am happy to continue with my normal practise (if it aint broke, don't fix it), I am curious to find out more. Does anyone have any information on this and has anyone experienced any problems with xtol at 1+3.

-- sean o'fiain (sean_ofiain@hotmail.com), August 22, 2001



As you say "if it aint broke, don't fix it." I think Kodak stopped recommending XTOL @ 1:3 because too may people were using too little chemistry and getting underdevelopment. As long as you use the proper amount of chemistry per volume of film, you will continue to get properly developed negatives.


-- Pete Caluori (pcaluori@hotmail.com), August 22, 2001.

"As long as you use the proper amount of chemistry per volume of film, you will continue to get properly developed negatives."

That is until you experience "The dreaded Xtol failure". Happens suddenly... the developer just doesn't work. No rhyme or reason and certainly not because you used too little stock in the dilution. I used 200ml stock per 8x10 film unit & still got hit with it.

The Yellow Peril recommending against 1:3 has more to do with Xtol's reaction to chlorine, iron, calcium and hard water than more folks using less than the recommended 100ml per 8x10 film unit.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), August 22, 2001.

Is the dreaded Xtol failure still happening? It hasn't happened to me, but I decided to use 1+1 instead of 1+3 following some advice somewhere that it would reduce the risk. It appears to occur at random to people who have not had previous trouble, which would probably eliminate water quality issues. Has it happened to anyone out there recently? Any correlations with anything identifiable?

-- John Stockdale (jo.sto@bigpond.com), August 22, 2001.

I haven't had XTOL failure since 1999. I now store my mixed XTOL in 8oz dark brown bottles and it lasts several months (about the same as D-76). I've always used the 1:1 dilution and the 1 ltr packets.

-- Robert Orofino (minotaur1949@iopener.net), August 22, 2001.

The darkroom salesman at my local camera store suspected that incomplete mixing of part A was causing the sporatic failure in the develper. He called Kodak to find out how hot the water could be in mixing the developer and was told there was no restriction on the upward temperature. So if I decide to give Xtol another chance I'll mix it at the highest temp I can get from my tap water, letting part A sit for a few minutes after thoroughly mixing it. On the other hand, the results I'm getting from DD-X look just like those I got with Xtol (when it worked), plus it comes as a liquid and has been 100% reliable.

-- Jon Porter (jonporter@yahoo.com), August 22, 2001.

I'd be interested to know if anyone using distilled water had been hit by the dreaded XTOL failure, especially if hard tap water figures into the equation.

By the way, I e-mailed Kodak after noticing the XTOL package said to mix with water between 65 and 85. I was told that Vitamin C is sensitive to heat and 85 should be the upper limit.

-- Brian Hinther (brianh@onewest.net), August 22, 2001.

> distilled water

Yep, it got me.

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), August 23, 2001.

I had failures (and success) with both distilled and tap water and with all three dilutions. Going on the hypothesis that I wasn't adequately mixing part A, since I mixed it in 68 to 70 degree water, I'll try mixing it much more rigorously at 85 degrees with the next pack of Xtol.

-- Jon Porter (jonporter@yahoo.com), August 23, 2001.

I've been using Xtol for several years now without failure. I mix it at 80 deg. in distilled water and store it in full clear 16oz glass and 64oz plastic bottles for up to 6 months. I mix 5 liter batches. I dilute it to 1+2 for use.

-- Tim Brown (brownt@flash.net), August 23, 2001.

Anyone know of where you can get information on times for Xtol diluted at 1:3 (as Kodak no longer publish them)? Even if you can get the old information, this won't include times for the NEW Ilford Delta 400. Any information on this?

-- Ed Hurst (BullMoo@hotmail.com), August 23, 2001.

You probably already know of the 'Massive Dev Chart' http://www.digitaltruth.com/photo/devchart.html - has xtol 1:3 dilution times for a number of films, but, alas, not for Delta 400 (new).

I've been using Microdol-X for Delta 400 rated at EI 320 and I like it, a lot.

-- Mike Watkins (mikewatkins@trendvue.com), August 23, 2001.

i agree with one of the other statements "if it ain't broken" don't fix. I have been using Xtol 1 :3 with my students off and on for sometime (depends on film type). No problems, however, i do use a magnetic stirrer for mixing all chemicals and I have been thinking perhaps that may help reduce problems. Also, we also mix one liter of solution, even if only one roll of film is being processed.

-- Ann C lancy (clancya@mediaone.net), August 23, 2001.

Xtol can be a very nice developer. But having had 3 failures, with both tap water & distilled water and at different dilutions I no longer take the chance that negatives I have worked hard to get come out blank. To those who like the one litre packets you better stock up quickly as The Yellow Godfather is discontinuing them. Those who call Kodak & get answers might try doing so at various times & then comparing the differing answers. You don't always get the same information twice in a row. Same question...different answers. Not exactly confidence inspiring, but there is always the possibility some are not asking the same question or that the answer is couched with qualifiers that the questioner doesn't pay attention to. Xtol can be a really nice developer but I don't chance the failures. And for those who are sure we who have had failures are poor darkroom workers, I measure the amount of chemistry carefully, even to the point of marking the bottles with each use to keep track of the mixing variables. Xtol for me has been an exercise much like driving. A drunk is out there on the road & the fact he didn't get me this time is no indication he didn't hit someone else. So I have solved the Xtol failure problem with a simple solution... Ilford & Agfa make some nice products.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), August 24, 2001.

the dreaded Xtol failure is not something that is related to oxidation, temperature, stirring, mixing, or anything of a predictable nature. my experience, and of others I am led to believe, is that you can successfully develop a roll of film, and the next day, using the same batch, same film type, same conditions, find yourself with severe underdevelopment. when Xtol behaves, it is very, very good.

-- daniel taylor (lightsmythe@agalis.net), August 25, 2001.

Daniel: I'm sorry I have nothing to add, but if it is not dependent on "oxidation, temperature, stirring, mixing, or anything of a predictable nature", i can't help thinking that it depends on something else, either alone or in an interaction with some of the above factors. All we have to do is find what it is.

-- john stockdale (jo.sto@bigpond.com), August 26, 2001.

I used Xtol 1:3 for several years with great results (I've never experienced Xtol failure). However, what I did experience (starting in the summer of year 2000) was Xtol 1:3 "trashing" my negatives. I started getting little bits of what looked like metal flakes all over my 35mm TMX negatives. I was mixing the Xtol in distilled water and I am very careful with my film processing, so I figured it was a problem either the film or developer. I called professional support at Kodak and they said the problem was the 1:3 dilution and if I used it straight or at 1:1 I wouldn't have this problem anymore. I never went back. My bad experience with Xtol cost me days of negatives and I was/am afraid it will happen again.

-- David Vogt (david.vogt@ncmail.net), February 25, 2002.

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