Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/05/02

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Anyone use Xtol Developer?
From: Johnny Deadman <>
Date: Tue, 02 May 2000 14:29:27 +0100

on 2/5/00 7:32 AM, tom coleman at wrote:

> Dear LUGers,
> While I love the extremely fine grain of Xtol developer on TMax 100,
> I've also encountered unexpected variability in the development of the
> negatives.  Some rolls develop differently that others.
> While I have been careful with times, temperatures and dilutions, I
> still can't necessarily predict what results I'll get when I souped them
> in my 3 reel tank.
> Any suggestions on things to watch out for will be greatly appreciated
> such as particular sensitivity characteristics of this film that I
> should be aware of.

Tmax emulsions and Xtol are a tricky combination at any dilution other than
stock. Personally, I increase the dev time by two minutes to eleven minutes
for TMY in Xtol 1:1.

I think the reason for this (Rabiner is the expert) are threefold:

(a) Tmax emulsions are greedy for developer, so there is a real issue about
whether you get enough active Xtol in a dilute solution to fully develop
them, unless you use stock. Even 3 rolls in 1 litre of Xtol 1:1 can lead to
underdevelopment, though each roll has more than the recommended 100ml of
Xtol stock available to it.

(b) Tmax emulsions are very sensitive to processing variation. So the
effects of (a) are intensified, where the same effect might not be as
obvious in another (traditional) emulsion.

(c) Xtol is notoriously variable from batch to batch.

IMHO the results are absolutely worth it and I wouldn't use any other dev
for these emulstions nowadays, but in order to get consistent results I

(a) run your own test to establish the correct development time for your own
combination of exposure, temperature and work habits. Some people find it
works great at the nominal times/temps, others (like me) find a radical
increase in dev time is necessary (and I *like* a flattish neg)

(b) run a test roll with every new batch of xtol.

(c) if you really run into problems, consider using distilled water to make
up your xtol as despite the presence of EDTA (a chelating/sequesterint
agent) in the formulat, the level of impurities in your water can affect the
activity of the developer.

- --
Johnny Deadman