Ilford Films and Xtol Developer : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Anyone try FP4 and HP5 with Kodak Xtol developer? The manufacturers literature lists several other Kodak developers but not Xtol. Either the results were unacceptable or it is a combination that was just overlooked. I would rather consult the forum than dive into the unknown.

Many thanks

-- Michael Kadillak (, June 17, 2001


I have used it successfully and gotten very good resulst with both films, but no longer use Xtol due to 3 of the 'dreaded Xtol failures'. (one of which was saved by my developing by inspection and after 20 minutes of nothing dumping in some Rodinol I kept on the shelf... an image started coming up shortly after I did that) When the Xtol worked it was nice & clean with FP4+. Good grain and nice separation in the low to mid tones as well as clean highlights. Very low base + fog. HP5+ had more fog than I liked with Xtol. Used it a bit but went back to ID11. Personal preference only. With silver printing I could print through the fog just fine but was looking at going with platinums so thought it better to get a cleaner base. Grain, speed & density with Xtol were all nice using it from stock to 1:3 and even worked well at 1:5 with Tech Pan in 4x5. It was the failure possibility that killed it for me. Others have used it a lot & never a failure so it appears to be hit & miss. I just don't want to take the chance of losing any more images.

-- Dan Smith (, June 17, 2001.

Xtol 1:1 works ok with HP5+, giving a bit more acutance and somewhat more graininess than D-76/ID-11 1:1 for a gain of 1/3 stop speed.

IMHO there's more loss than gain.

-- John Hicks (, June 18, 2001.

I have used Xtol with both FP4 and HP5. I have also stopped using it because of it's unreliability. I have had 3 failures also. I have to agree that it is a nice developer when it works. I felt that agitation was aproblem with Xtol and FP4. I got uneven development with both roll film and sheet film. I later read that Iford specifically recommends not to prewet as it removes a wetting agent built in to the emulsion. Anyway, I also have gone back to ID-11 with these films and had excellent and reliable results.

-- Bill Lester (, June 18, 2001.

I run both in a deep tank line set up with XTOL, and think they look seems to me that alot of the trouble with XTOL comes from higher dilutions, and may be associated with pH and specific gravity of the final mix. But, in my experiences with it in the tank, it's a very long lasting & stable replenished developer. I don't know what you're set up is like, but you can get times for Ilford films in Xtol off the Kodak pro site, although you may have to look at the deeptank spec sheets.

-- DK Thompson (, June 18, 2001.

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