"XTOL clone" for Europeans

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jockos, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. Jockos

    Jockos Member

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    Hi all,

    I'd like to mix my own ascorbate developer for 400ISO films. I'll make caffenol for the medium speed ones (ISO 100), but since it's pretty dark up here in Scandinavia, I'm going to need a developer that can give box speed as well.

    I know there are several XTOL-like developers one can make at home, and I'm wondering which one's good for Europeans, considering restrictions on chemicals.

    What does other people around here use?
    What's better for me, considering I've got the ingredients for caffenol C H available already (sodium carbonate, ascorbate, KBr)?


    I know there is a lot of emotion involved in developers, but I hope we can keep the discussion civilized and focused on non commercial developers and Europe.

    Thanks!
     
  2. FujiLove

    FujiLove Subscriber

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    Hello - I can't advise you on an XTOL recipe, but if you're having trouble sourcing chemicals, give eBay a try. I had lots of problems last year trying to find dry chemicals in the UK for reverse processing B&W film and gave up with normal UK suppliers. The chemicals were however easy to source on eBay from sellers in Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania etc. and also good value.
     
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    Jockos

    Jockos Member

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    Great advice, that's where I got the ascorbate and KBr!

    Right now I'm thinking PC-Glycol, seems to be very much like XTOL, and very simple to make as well!
     
  4. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    mytol: check the formula online
     
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    Jockos

    Jockos Member

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    Is that really the best solution, considering the price of sodium sulfite in Europe?
     
  6. michaelfoto

    michaelfoto Member

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  7. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    If you really want to mix your own stuff, AND want to reach full film speed, then you have to get at least Phenidone or Dimezone-S, and your local pharmacy won't have that. There are some photo chem supply stores in Germany or UK which sell most products you will ever need for home brewing. Try Suvatlar or Silverprint, for instance.

    I used Ryuji Suzuki's DS-10 for a while and were quite happy with it for Tri-X. Since Ryuji's web pages related to analog photography went offline a while back, there are only copies of his formula available online, like his DS-10 formula here. Generally, Ascorbate based developers are a bit difficult to store for extended periods, so if you don't want to mix stuff every time you have an exposed roll, you should look at Mark Overton's 'Mocon' formula. If full film speed is of paramount importance to you, you should also look at Microphen (or ID-68 which is said to be close) and Crawley's FX-11.
     
  8. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    I have made up ,nearly, the real Xtol formula given in the patent and in the Film Developing Cookbook. However I don't think it is possible to buy DTPA in Europe so it's not possible to mix the exact formula.
     
  9. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    There are a couple of recipes(formulae) in the film development cookbook for that
     
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    Jockos

    Jockos Member

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    I'm getting phenidone for sure, but the sodium sulfite seems to be quite expensive, and I think all the recipies you posted require it in hefty amounts. I don't think those developers are economically sound in the EU.
     
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    Jockos

    Jockos Member

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    I'm sure there is, would you like to discuss any of them in regard to cost and availability in Europe?
     
  12. Alan Johnson

    Alan Johnson Subscriber

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    Sodium sulfite has effects on the developed image with Xtol.
    1. It dissolves silver from the developing grains then reprecipitates it uniformly causing the grains to be finer.
    2. It uncovers the latent image specks and allows them to be developed ,this results in a higher effective film speed.
    So if the sodium sulfite is omitted the developer can hardly be called an Xtol clone.
     
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    Jockos

    Jockos Member

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    Well, if you read the whole post and not just the topic header, I did ask for a XTOL like developer, rather than a 1:1 XTOL clone, and in that definition I'd say most ascorbate/phenidone developers fit.

    Let's point the discussion that way instead of discussing semantics please :smile:
     
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  15. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    I have said this on another occasion like this: you can argue about all kinds of ingredients, but Sodium Sulfite is a sine qua non. If you can not find a decent and cheap source of Sodium Sulfite in Stockholm, then get prepackaged DD-X, Microphen or whatever and be done with it. There is no way that shipping a compound, that is used in 50-100 g/l quantities in single shot developers can ever be cost efficient, regardless of what it costs at the source. As a reference: I pay 4 Euros per kg for Sodium Sulfite from a chem supplier pharmacy in my home town, that's about what you should be paying for this. And no, there is no speed preserving developer recipe out there which does not use copious amounts of Sodium Sulfite.
     
  16. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    For those in the EU who have problems with sodium sulfite availability/price you can use the food grade. It is commonly used as a preservative. Try companies that deal with restaurants or deal with food canning supplies, etc.

    You can always mix Geoffrey Crawley's FX-55 which gets around the storage problem as the developing agents are added to the working solution just before use. No need for chelating agents. See below

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FX-55_(film_developer)

    As a plus it uses much less sulfite than do the Xtol clones.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
  17. albada

    albada Member

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    In Europe, would Potassium Sulfite be cheaper? It also has the advantage of permitting stock solution to be more concentrated. However, other chemicals would probably need to be tweaked in a formula to adjust pH.

    Mark Overton
     
  18. RSalles

    RSalles Member

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    There is some packs at the local *bay website here in Brazil which sells sodium sulphite as:
    1Kg : 4.23EU
    25Kg = 68.9 EU

    I think you'll get a good price in Russia also, as you're in Norway that's not that far,

    Cheers,

    Renato
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Ironically I think one reason there was no commercial Kodak commercial Ascorbic developer before Xtol was an earlier Swedish US Patent for Ascorbic developers,. Xttol seems to come out when that expires. I have the Patent saved, it's freely available on-line but how quickly I can find it I'm not sure.

    Ian
     
  20. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Strangely, Potassium Sulfite is crazy expensive in Europe compared to Potassium Metabisulfite or Sodium Sulfite. I have no explanation for this, and ended up making my own Potassium Sulfite stock solution from Potassium Metabisulfite and Potassium Hydroxide.

    @Jockos Alan was correct in stating "if the sodium sulfite is omitted the developer can hardly be called an Xtol clone": without similar amounts of Sulfite your developer will not even be close to Xtol.
     
  21. haziz

    haziz Member

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    Sounds complicated! Any reason you do not want to use pre-packaged Kodak Xtol?
     
  22. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    It's a bit complicated. I spend a total of about an hour per year making up a couple of batches of developer. I do it because where I live lots of products that I used to use have become unavailable. There are expensive alternatives, but mixing my own gives me some independence.
     
  23. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    i can buy sodium sulfite for 1 euro for kg in comercial purity... even less if i buy more kg´s
     
  24. ruilourosa

    ruilourosa Member

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    this purity is good for photographic purposes since 1960 (looking at my father´s negatives developed solely with d-76 that he made from scratch) and since 1996 (looking at my negatives developed with too much different developers...)
     
  25. haziz

    haziz Member

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    Ironically, that would also expedite the disappearance of the few remaining commercial products. I do anticipate at some point mixing my own D76 or Mytol from scratch, but will save that to the day the commercial products are no longer available, and we would then also have to contend with the lack of film. While the commercial products are still available, I intend to continue supporting Kodak and Ilford and Sprint. Maybe, this support may keep them going for a bit longer.
     
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