Replenishing Kodak XTOL

Discussion in 'Talk About Developing Film' started by Ian-Barber, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Admin Staff Member Registered User

    Aug 6, 2016
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    Since I started developing my own black and white negatives, I have only used one type of developer which is Kodak HC-110 syrup version. I have now processed over 80 sheets of 5x4, 15 rolls of Medium Format and 6 rolls of 35mm with HC-110.

    During this period, I have started to get to know what its limitations are, how it performs under different lighting conditions and film speeds. For a change, I have decided to try another developer to see how I think it performs on the type of exposures I make.

    Kodak Xtol
    Doing research and talking to Martin I decided to try some Kodak Xtol. Kodak Xtol is a powder developer which comes in two packets, Part A and Part B. You have to mix the entire contents which make up a total of 5 litres.

    Mixing The Chemistry
    To accommodate this amount of chemistry I had to purchase 5 x 1 litre plastic bottles and a 10 litre plastic bucket. Mixing the developer was very straight forward indeed.
    1. Add 4 litres of warm water to the bucket
    2. Pour in the contents of packet A and mix it thoroughly until it is completely dissolved.
    3. Pour in Packet B and mix it thoroughly until it is completely dissolved.
    4. Add a further 1 litre of water and do a final stir for about minutes.
    5. Decant the contents of the bucket into the 5 1 litre bottles.
    Using The Kodak Xtol Developer
    According to the Kodak Xtol Data sheet, Xtol is best used at a dilution of 1:1. Fo4 5x4 sheets, this means in my Paterson tank which holds 1000ml, I need to use 500ml of developer and 500ml of water.

    You don't need to be a professor in mathematics to realise that you can only do 10 lots of developing a maximum of 20 sheets of 5x4 film to the 5 litres. ( Not a cost effective as HC-110).

    replenishing Kodak Xtol is something I have read about in passing but never really looked into it as I was only using HC110 but now having mixed up the 5 litres, I decided to poke around and do some research.

    I came across a post on another forum where people were discussing the benefits of replenishing Xtol. I had a lengthy conversation with someone who has been replenishing it for years for both darkroom printing and digital scanning. He explained the benefits of replenishment which was cost efficient and in his opinion an increase in acceptance as the developer seasons.

    Kodak Xtol when used as replenishment must be used from stock and Not Diluted with water

    The following is how he told me to replenish Kodak Xtol.
    1. Label one of the 1 litre bottles as your Working Solution
    2. Label the remaining bottles as your replenisher
    3. Pour the entire contents (1000ml of developer) into your processing tank
    4. Develop the film as normal
    5. After the development time has finished, pour 930ml back into the working solution bottle and pour the remaining 70ml down the sink. ( Xtol can be poured down the sink)
    6. From one of your replenisher bottles, pour 70ml back into the working solution.
    1. Very cost effective way of using a highly regarded developer
    2. Always have working solution ready to go (no mixing of developer)

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