Xtol Developer experience?

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I am looking for anyone with actual experience with Xtol Developer with TMax films in large format. I currently use ID11 @1:3 with a Jobo 6-shooter type drum and get excellent and predictable results. Question: With Kodak stating this will give sharper images and better tonal separation in both mid tones & highlights, has anyone actually tested the stuff to see if it is reality? Did you try it and is there really a noticable and 'measurable' difference?

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), February 28, 1998


Dear Dan,

I don't have any experience with XTOL, but there's a great article on it at the Jobo website. The address is


Click on 'Literature' then 'Jobo Quarterly' then 'Issue 13, Feature article'.

They have lots of good things to say about it. For once the manufacturer has published times for use in a Jobo style processor. I'm actually planning to switch to T-max films in the next week or so and I am still deciding whether to use RS or XTOL. There's surprisingly little known about XTOL, even though it's more than 2 years old. Nobody seems to have heard of it. I'll probably try XTOL, I'll let you know how it goes. Please let me know if you find any info from another source.



-- Andrew Herrick (andrewherrick@hotmail.com), March 05, 1998.

I've been using XTOL almost exclusively for over a year now. My film is almost exclusively Ilford HP5+. For 4x5, I develop in open ABS tubes, spinning them in trays of liquid. This combination works well for me to develop 5 or less sheets at a time.

I did a very informal comparison between XTOL and Rodinal for HP5+, and found the results to be very similar. I never make prints larger than 11x14, even from 4x5 negs, so that's the size I used for print comparison. The negs under a loupe also looked almost identical.

Based on this very subjective test, I've chosen developer more based on cost and convenience than anything else. XTOL is my choice mostly because its shelf life is supposed to be very good.

-- mike rosenlof (mrosenlof@qualcomm.com), March 05, 1998.

I've been using Xtol for over 6 months now and am very pleased with the results. Go to the Kodak web site and they have a 17 page PDF document that you can download. It covers times for 135, 120, and sheet film from all the major manufacturers. It allows me to test other films without having to worry about compatability, but I've been primarily using it with TMX.

-- Bob Santoro (bobsantoro@wwnet.net), March 11, 1998.

I switched from T-Max RS to XTOL 1.2:1 for TMY 8x10. I like the results much better: cleaner, better tonal separation. And cheaper too. I process in a tray for a nominal time of 9 minutes at 75 F.

-- Peter Hughes (ravenart@redshift.com), April 11, 1998.

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