Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1999/07/08

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Subject: Re: [Leica] XTOL Again (slightly off-topic)
From: "Greg Achenbach" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 06:15:52 -0600

I apologize for continuing (slightly) off topic but this is something which
I feel is important, as we all strive  to get quality images from our Leica
equipment. There are also quite a few testers and technical types in the
group so this may be of interest. writes:

>Then why all of the problems using it as you have described?  Besides "fine
>grain" and "consistent results" which Kodak's Microdol has provided for
>decades, what does this "remarkable developer" really provide?

I have never used Microdol so I cannot comment on that. XTOL gives me a
pleasing tonal scale and a bit extra speed as well as fine grain and
consistent results.
>What techniques does the developer use to arrive at "fine grain" and
>"consistent results?"  Is it faster than Phenidone based developers and
>sharper than Metol based developers?
>Has anyone really done some definitive tests to determine how it stacks up
>against the standard developers?

I use a Jobo processor so this is probably the most important factor in
consistent results. When I get lazy and use a manual small tank, I still get
good results however. I have compared it against D76 and HC110 using mostly
TriX and HP5, with a few rolls of TMX and TMY.

>Is the developer used in the old Nikor type tanks that allow the developing
>agent to exhaust in the highlights and keep working in the shadows or is it
>just being used in the Jobo type constant agitation equipment?

Jobo mostly
>Is the developer used as a one-shot for consistency or used over and over
>again with time compensation guessed at as the developer wears out?
One Shot

>Is the developer used with the slow films such as Tech Pan and Agfa 25 or
>does it work best with the high-speed, huge-grain films?

I have used it with Agfa 25 with beautiful results. You must use it at full
strength with APX25 however. This is from a technical bulletin put out by
Jobo. It will work with TechPan but I have not tried it.
>This XTOL discussion my be "slightly off-topic" but it has been drawing
>interest from the Leica family.