I have been presented with an opportunity to try Kodak Xtol stand development.
A colleague recently gave me about 30 hermetically sealed packages of Kodak Xtol powder developer. It had come into their hands from items other photographers had quit. All of it was out of date, some by up to 10 years.
I’m not a fan of out-of-date developers. But, given it was hermetically sealed powder, I thought there is a good chance it will be OK. Besides, the 30 packs equated to potentially 150 litres of Xytol stock developer.
I have never used Kodak Xtol before. It comes in 2 parts, both powders. Both are mixed together according to the instructions on the pack, making a total of 5 litres of stock per set.
If you are familiar with some of my earlier posts you may know I use stand development: the use of dilute film developers over comparatively long development times with minimal agitation. This process particularly suits high contrast subjects but is also of use for general photographic subjects.
After a few failed attempts to use Xtol for stand development, I eventually settled with the following procedure. I make a 1400ml jug of dilute developer up to use with my Jobo tank. The dilute developer consists of 175mls of Kodak Xtol stock developer plus tap water to make a final volume of 1400mls.
Stand Development Kodak Xtol
|3 mins||pre-soak film in tank with tap water at 20ºC|
|after 3 minutes empty tank of pre-soak water|
|first 60 seconds||pour dilute developer into the tank, then invert agitate for remaining first 60 seconds|
|at 2 minutes||invert agitate tank 3 times in 3 seconds, then leave the tank a water bath at 20ºC|
|at 7 minutes||invert agitate tank 3 times in 3 seconds|
|at 12 minutes||invert agitate tank 3 times in 3 seconds|
|at 17 minutes||invert agitate tank 3 times in 3 seconds|
|at 25 minutes||invert agitate tank 3 times in 3 seconds|
|at 29′ 40”||pour out the developer and commence stop bath at 30 minutes|
|Stop bath, then fix as per your preferred method|
The image above was made on Ilford HP5 looking directly into the sun. You can see the lens flare even though I tried to shield it with my hand during exposure.
Both the HP5 and the FP4 images in this post were developed in the same tank for 30 minutes, along with HP5 and FP4 step wedges tests.
Later, I will produce some contact prints from the step wedges to quantify the compensation effect of Kodak Xtol developer with stand development.
Early Observations Xtol Developer
One observation on earlier tests was that the base fog appeared considerably more than with Ilford LC29 developer, especially with HP5 film. A second observation is that Xtol is a lower activity developer compared to Ilford LC29.
Kodak Xtol does apparently have some solvent effect on grain, so this too must be explored during printmaking.
These initial images would indicate that Kodak Xtol can be used successfully in stand development with good compensatory effects. You can download the technical specs for Xtol from Kodak.
If you have experience with Xtol I would be interested to hear about it.