Xtol + Tmax 100 ?

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In the May/June issue of Photo Techniques, in a section called Black and White Films 2000, the author recommends Tmax 100 in Xtol developer. Since I can't find Xtol in the Kodak manual, I am assuming it must be another company that produces it.

Can anyone shed some light on the positives and negatives of Xtol and Tmax 100 sheet film? Who makes it? Times, tempratures and dilutions that are recommended?

Thanks in advance.

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@att.net), April 23, 2000


XTol is a Kodak product and information for development times can be found on their website. From the comments I've seen on this and other sites, XTol is a love/hate product and Kodak has had some production difficulties which Kodak swears it has fixed. I'm in favor of XTol and have produced very nice images with it. I'm sure some who loath it will respond as well. When I don't develop negatives in PMK I use XTol and haven't had any problems and have been very happy with the results. I have developed some TMAX in XTol and have been tempted to switch from my normal FP4+ given the results.

There are some tricks to using XTol succesfully: 1) it ages fairly quickly when kept in a stock container. Kodak says it has a stock solution shelf life of around two months, I don't use anything older than 1 month. 2) Pay attention to the amount of developer to film ratio. You need to use a minimum amount of stock per surface area and some developing containers don't hold enough working solution for the developer to be effective. This information can be had on the Kodak website. 3) Don't use your normal e.i. for the film. XTol IS faster than other developers and needs to be adjusted. I find its best when you shoot the film at almost it rated speed.

-- Kevin Kemner (kkemner@tateandsnyder.com), April 23, 2000.

I tested five batches of XTOL and each batch was different. I cound not get consistent results with it, as each batch required a different developing time. I used plenty of solution per sheet and distilled water. I have not had this problem with any other developer.

-- William Marderness (wmarderness@hotmail.com), April 23, 2000.

For some interesting information, read this thread:


-- Sal Santamaura (bc_hill@qwestinternet.net), April 24, 2000.

Maybe I'm just not as aware of problems as the other contributors, but my experience with xtol has been completely positive. Even with stock solution six months old, I've gotten good negs. Watch the color, if it has gotten yellow, don't use it, other than that it should be fine. I use 1 to 1 dilution, mostly with tri-x.

-- john dilpin (windfall@qn.net), May 16, 2001.

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