XTOL What is the latest?

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After reviewing the many posted comments regarding problems with Xtol, I'm wondering if Kodak has solved the problem, or made any progress toward eliminating the intermittant and confusing lack of consistancy resulting from use of the product? Is it bettter to stick with D-76 or ID 11?

-- Carl Crosby (humminboid@aol.com), February 03, 2002


Seems the Kodak solution was to just discontinue the 1 liter packages of Xtol, which eliminates a big percentage of home darkroom users. From my experience, Kodak should have recommended mixing at a higher temperature. I used Xtol for a year, having about a dozen failures. After starting to mix the chemicals at 100 degrees I've had 100% consistency and not a single failure, even with four-month-old developer.

-- Jon Porter (kodiakalaska@hotmail.com), February 03, 2002.

The first time I used Xtol (1 ltr pack) I had problems mixing it at room temperature. Since then I have always mixed it at about 35 degC & have had NO problems ( touch wood). I now use the 5 ltr packages & store it in collapsable containers to keep out the air. This way the developer seems to keep forever. Using Xtol @ 1:1 it lasts me about 6 months with no visible change in results. With the negative feedback on Xtol & the discontinuation of some B&W products I fear Xtol may soon bite the dust. Some of us however are quite happy with the product.

-- Melvin (bramley@nanaimo.ark.com), February 04, 2002.

I have authored a couple of previous postings regarding Xtol failures. I now mix at higher temperatures and let the mixed solution 'rest' for a while ensuring that the powders are completely dissolved. I have not had any failures for months. I am a little dissapointed that the 1 litre packs are being discontinued, but that will not stop me from using it. I think it is the best developer available other than PMK which is a little more trouble to use.

-- Bill Lester (wlester@lesterconstruction.com), February 04, 2002.

I have not yet experienced the problems others have reported. I mix 5 liters of the stuff, using distilled water, and pour it into one of those 5-liter bottles Kodak sells for its color chemistry. Then I use it (usually at 1:3 dilution) until it's gone.

-- Chuck Albertson (chucko@siteconnect.com), February 04, 2002.

what differences are there between xtol and tmax rs from those of you who have used both? i.e., grain size, film speed

-- mark lindsey (mark@mark-lindsey.com), February 04, 2002.

The Film Developing Cookbook by Stephen Anchell and Bill Troop say it all. "XTOL is the fist patented developer formula from the US Kodak Research Lab to claim a speed increase. Fine grain and sharpness are also 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."

Kodak no longer provides charts for dilutions greater than 1:1. Over a 4 year period my failure rate with the product is much less than 1% using dilutions of 1:2 with mostly 120 film.

D-76 may not make it to market if developed under current enviromental standards. XTOL's ultimate advantage is the reduced environmental impact to the environment and humans. It works great on 120 Tri-X/Verichrome mixed 1:2 and 135mm FP4m mixed 1:1. It's a perfect balance of sharpness, grain, tonality. 120 Tri-X is sharp sharp sharp when cooked 1:3 with XTOL. By diluting, you get different looks.

-- Richard Jepsen (rjepsen@mmcable.com), February 07, 2002.

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