Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/05/07

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Black and white -- point me in the right direction
From: Johnny Deadman <>
Date: Mon, 07 May 2001 13:11:03 -0400

on 5/7/01 12:27 PM, Dan Honemann at wrote:

>> For me, the current quest is getting Neopan 1600 right.
>> Until just recently I used a local lab which always gave me back Neopan
>> negs that looked like lith film. Now I'm souping my own film (in XTOL, as
>> many here have recommended) and just last night processed a roll in XTOL
>> 1:2 for 10 minutes, the time given by the massive development chart.
>> Results: good shadow detail and very fine grain but still very dense
>> highlights. So, for the next roll I'll cut development time by 20% and see
>> what happens.
>> I'm not frustrated yet - challenged is the better word. I'm determined to
>> get this film right and add it to my "lineup" - there are too many times
>> when 400 ain't fast enough.
> Guy,
> Please keep us posted.  I know Simon Stevens has had success with Neopan
> 1600 in Xtol 1:3 at the published times + 10%.  I'd be interested in hearing
> your experience.

I got my best results with Neopan in Xtol 1:2 or 1:3. I never had dense
highlights, but I am a very gentle agitator. One thing you might try, and I
recommend this on any film where you are getting dense highlights with
otherwise good results, is to cut back on your agitation towards the end of
the time. Particularly with dilute developers. So for example, APX 100 in
Xtol 1:3 has a development time of 23 minutes. I agitate as follows:

First minute: continuous agitation
1-13 minutes: 10s (3 inversions) per minute
13-17 minutes: 10s (3 inversions) per 2 minutes
17-23 minutes: 10s (3 inversions) per 3 minutes

or in other words agitate at minutes 1-13, 15, 17, 20 and 23.

This enhances the compensating effect, because the dilute developer exhausts
quickly in the highlights but is still active in the shadows. The result is
a very nicely toned negative. I think this procedure also enhances sharpness
a little.

The danger is that you will get uneven development or bromide streamers but
I have not seen either of these even with more extreme versions of the above
such as letting the soup stand for 5 minutes at the end.

If you try this with less dilute developers you tend to just get
overdevelopment because the developer does not exhaust in the highlights as

Another advantage is that with dilute developers used in this fashion the
development time is VERY non-critical. A couple of minutes over at the end
would be no big deal.

(I figured this out for myself but the last time I opened Adams' THE
NEGATIVE there it was for all to see).
- -- 
Johnny Deadman

Replies: Reply from Mark Rabiner <> (Re: [Leica] Black and white -- point me in the right direction)