XTOL 1L Packages

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Well, I had just ordered two 1L packages of XTOL for use with PanF+ and HP5+ as a journey to using these combos for the next year. The first XTOL screw up was my fault. After inhaling a bit of the Part A powder (a very small, airborne dusting), I immediately went to wash my hands and rinse my mouth and nostrils and to get some fresh air, leaving the powder to cake up in the graduate. I was unable to dissolve the remainder of Part A so rather than take the risk, I dumped it (for recycling).

The second 1L package the Part A had the consistency of flexible maple sugar candy. I guess I was one of the unlucky ones that got a leftover from the shelves of a supplier. The code C40014 is stamped at the bottom of the plastic package if that means anything to any of you. The upshot is, even if you can get a 1L package of the stuff, avoid it at all costs.

So, now I'm looking for a new developer combo. I had thought about ID-11+ since it's well-known and easily obtainable but are there any others that anybody might recommend? Perhaps it's just time to suck it up and go the PMK route. I just worry that I can only get the stuff in large amounts and I will never use enough before it goes bad. Oh well, I'll figure it out. But avoid the 1L packages of XTOL!

-- Nicholas Barry (nbpn@isolation.net), October 30, 2001



I have used XTOL several times and it has kept very well. Use a dark bottle in a cool or cold place, or keep it in a flexible plastic bottle and freeze it and it will keep for months or years.

XTOL was developed partly to satisfy the demand for an environmentally friendly developer, as it uses essentially vitamin C as a devloping agent and other rather benign stuff. I once made a developer out of a Vit C tablet and a spoon of baking soda. it worked but not well.

The alkalai agent in XTOL is a bit iritating but otherwise it is non toxic.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (richard.ilomaki@fmglobal.com), October 30, 2001.

Ilford's Ilfosol-S contains Sodium Ascorbate and a Phenidone derivative, making it a close relative to Xtol. It's a liquid concentrate, so there's no problem with making it up, and the concentrate has a long and reliable shelf life, in my experience.
The drawback is that's it's a bit more expensive than Xtol.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), October 31, 2001.

I agree, Ilfosol-S would be a good substitute for XTOL. Another good alternative would be Edwal FG7. If you choose FG7, you probably will want to add sodium sulfite to lessen the grain with HP5+. I used this combination a lot before going to PMK, and it's as good or better than any of the commercial developers.

PMK is certainly an alternative you should consider. Few developers match the quality you can achieve with PMK. If you choose to mix your own from a kit, be very careful not to inhale pyrogallol dust! You can buy it pre-mixed in liquid form from Photographer's Formulary.

One last point, FG7 and PMK have excellent keeping properties. PMK will last years with reasonable care.

-- Ted Kaufman (writercrmp@aol.com), October 31, 2001.

Another enthusiastic vote for Ilfosol-S. For me it's been a convenient, reliable Xtol equivalent. I'm particuarly pleased with it for developing TMX. Results at 1:14 in a Jobo have been outstanding, and I know Pete Andrews uses it at that dilution for inversion agitation too.

-- Sal Santamaura (santamaura@earthlink.net), October 31, 2001.

PS to Pete: the Ilford product is probably less expensive than Xtol if one calculates losses of film and chemicals to "the dreaded Xtol failure."

-- Sal Santamaura (santamaura@earthlink.net), October 31, 2001.

Apologies to Pete. I didn't recall correctly. He said in another thread that he uses Ilfosol-S at 1:9, not 1:14.

-- Sal Santamaura (santamaura@earthlink.net), October 31, 2001.

Thanks for straightening that out Sal. I was beginning to wonder if my memory was slipping (more than usual)!
Now, was that 1:14 or only 1:9 dilution I gave that film? D'you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), November 01, 2001.

Ah, but Richard, did you use Sunkist chewable vitamin C? 250mg, or 500?

-- Bob Fleischman (RFXMAIL@prodigy.net), November 04, 2001.


When mixing powders, cut a 3/4 inch opening on the package top corner and pour the mix as close to the water as possible. I use a stainless steel kitchen pot to mix my XTOL. I have not had issues with caking, however if larger particles exist they desolve in 5 min. Very small flakes are helped by crushing with the mixing spoon.

XTOL is my favorite developer producing better sharpness, lower grain and longer life than D-76 type developers. I would use ID-11 for small format if XTOL was not available.

-- Richard Jepsen (rjepsen@mmcable.com), December 25, 2001.

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