Film process question--Xtol and T-Max : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi, today I ran some tests of the combination Xtol and T-Max and had a hard time!!! Please, help. What I wanted to get is Normal dev. time for T-Max 100(8x10) using Jobo CPA processor. Here's what I did and waht I got in my test. First of all, I exosed films for the test. I shot a couple of grey card pictures. (3 stops overexposed to obtain density of Zone 8). Then, I processed two films in JOBO drum which accepts 5 sheets at one time. (I had two films: one is grey card neg. for test and the other film was exposed normally; I need at least two sheets of film in the drum to get requirement of chemical quantity.) I diluted developer since I prefer that way. (400ml solution used at 1:1 diluted solution, Xtol 200ml and Water 200ml) As far as time, and temp. I followed Kodak's recommendation. (7/1/2min at 70F) However, what I got was really thin negative. Then, I changed the Dev. time to 12min(too long?) for the next process. Everything was same besides the Dev. time, and this time the result was OK. Density of the grey card in Neg was around 1.35. Therefore, I thought 12min is Normal Dev. time for this combination. Yet, what I got last surprised and confused me!!! Last test I had 4 sheets in one drum, 800ml solution used (Xotl 400ml and Water 400ml), and processed for 12min at 70F. The result: all negatives were dense. Why?? If anyone could answer me or advice or tell me how you process, I'll appreciate!! Thank you. riichi

-- riichi (, December 22, 2001


I forgot to mention a couple of things. I used distilled water when I mixed 2 days ago and also diuted at 1:1 right before each process. Rotation speed was set at 3 (slow). **I've done this kind of test with T-Max RS before, and the normal dev. time which I got was 6min at 1:4@72F, which is exactly same as Kodak's recommended time. I don't understand why the time which I got for Xtol was away off from their recommendation??

-- riichi (, December 22, 2001.

I can't provide a technical answer to your questions but I can describe what works well for me. I regularly process 4x5 T-Max 100 with Xtol in a JOBO drum and love it. Previously a big Tri-X user, I have been won over by the TMX100/Xtol combination.

I use regular strength Xtol, at 70 degrees, for six minutes and get the consistant, repeatable and pleasing negative densities I have come to expect. I also use a single liter of Xtol for up to the equivalent of 15 8x10s, lengthening the development time by 15% for the last five.

Works for me.

-- Dan Montgomery (, December 22, 2001.

You need to do the film speed and zone viii print test for your equipment if you want consistant results. I would suggest that you read Zone VI Workshop and follow the film test and then you will have the results you are looking for. Pat

-- pat krentz (, December 22, 2001.

Ansel Adams' book, "The Negative", has an excellent film testing procedures section at the back of the book.

-- Mark Wiens (, December 22, 2001.

The article on T-max film developing by John Sexton on the homepage yields some valuable developing tips. Take a look at it. Happy shooting. Pat.

-- Pat Kearns (, December 22, 2001.

I have been processing 4 x 5 sheet film in a unicolor drum for some time now. I use xtol straight and development time is 6.5 min @ 68 degrees. My friend and I were comparing develoment times based on the fact he had well water and I used city water. His development times we about the same. I have not ran a test using distilled water.


-- Larry Sandt (, December 25, 2001.

I use TMX and Xtol with 4x5 and individual sheet tubes for developing. However, I found that 1:1 was often thin despite lengthy dev times apparently because the total fluid in the tube was only about 60ml which can lead to somewhat inconsistent exhaustion of the active ingredients when they are diluted. This translates to about 120ml of stock Xtol (plus 120ml water) per 80^2 inches of film -- which is about what you are using. For comparison, I frequently develop roll film at 1:1 with about 120:120 ml of Xtol:water per 80^2 film (a 36 exposure roll of 35mm film) without any problems.

Kodak recommends using about this amount of Xtol per area of film, but in my experience with tube dev (which has intermittant immersion of any particular spot in the negative, unlike my roll film dev which has full constant immersion) this just wasn't enough stock Xtol in the solution for consistent, full density results. So, I went to full strength Xtol development and everything is absolutely perfect. EI of a full 100 ISO (checked with densitometer and shutter speed measurement) and completely consistent results.

Xtol is pretty inexpensive when purchased in largish quantities and it stores wll, so consider how important it is to you to use a 1:1 mix instead of full strength. It seems to me that with 8x10 negatives any sharpness advantages of dilution, etc. would be pretty irrelevant.

-- Eric Pederson (, December 26, 2001.

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