Testing the “New” Xtol
Concerns were running rampant on internet forums over the new packaging / catalog number of Kodak Xtol BW Developer regarding an issue with inactive development. You can read this entire blog but my final developing test results are, nothing inside the package has changed. To expand on my test keep reading.
First, a new cat number and new packaging do not indicate a changed product. Note that new catalog numbers may require online sites to make a new listing for a product and the old listing may show that it has been discontinued. Xtol has not been discontinued. To be sure about the product itself I tested the old and new with some classic Kodak films, TMax 100 and TMax 400. I shot both rolls in the same camera, cut them in half in the darkroom and process part in Xtol I had mixed 6 weeks ago and the second developed with the new packaged product mixed 36 hours before. Although my controls can never be as exact as a lab, I did my best to be consistent with my mixing, temperature and technique.
My observations are as follows, nothing inside the package has changed. I got exactly the same expected results on both halves of the negatives strips. No change.
Have you had problems? There may be 2 reasons for this, first with the new product the originals were not shipped with part A and part B attached, use caution that you received the correct units thus making it possible to incorrectly mix two part As or two part Bs. They now all come taped together. Kodak Professional has also issued this statement “We’ve recently become aware of a few customer complaints for inactive development with 2019/08/09 date coded KODAK PROFESSIONAL XTOL Developer. We have been working with the manufacturer to verify there will be no further issues.”
My new packaging units have this manufacturing date code and my product performed perfectly as expected, I repeat no problems.
Film: 100Tmax shot at ISO 100 and 400Tmax, shot at 400 ISO
Processing: as per Kodak’s recommended times, 100Tmax, 7 minutes, 30 seconds, and 400 Tmax for 6 minutes, 30 seconds, both at 68 degrees, using stock solution and processed in the Lab Box. Pre wet, Rapid Fixer, and archival wash were the same for both.
Lighting: Extreme overcast with slight light changes as all 36 exposures were shot simultaneously.
There you have it, my beloved Xtol is as it should be and still #1 in my book.
Leslie Lazenby fell in love with photography when she was given her first camera, a GAF 126, at the age of 10. Her first job in a camera shop with a custom and commercial photo lab turned into a 20-year adventure in film; leading to positions in darkrooms, customer relations, and as head of purchasing. For the past 15 years, Leslie has owned her own business, Imagine That, retailing traditional photography products, photographic restoration, custom printing and video conversions. She finds her Zen next door at her studio, the Mecca, where she plays with her film cameras, processes film and holds small classes focusing on teens and young adults. @leslie_lazenby on Instagram / https://www.flickr.com/photos/65448995@N05 on Flickr