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

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Anyone use Xtol Developer?
From: tom coleman <>
Date: Tue, 02 May 2000 07:28:07 -0700


Thanks so much for the excellent advice and observations!  This confirms
what I have rather unscientifically come to suspect.  I'll try some of
your suggestions and see what happens in particular using less dilute
development, test rolls and extending development times.  I've found, in
general, that Kodak's recommended development times are always short of
what's desirable.  Negatives that I shot, for example, in London in
February came out really thin.

You're right though, I haven't used a developer that produces like XTOL does.


Tom Coleman

Johnny Deadman wrote:
> 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
> recommend:
> (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
> photos:
> music: