XTOL, Who ARE You?

Eastman Kodak’s ultimate film developer was formulated in 1996 by Sylvia Zawadzki and Dick Dickerson. “Ultimate” in the sense of not penultimate: it was meant to be universal for all manufacturers’ films–Kodak even published processing information for other companies’ films, at a variety of exposure indices and working dilutions–and self-replenishing. https://digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?Film=&Developer=%25Xtol%25&mdc=Search&TempUnits=C&TimeUnits=D

The Barrington Huge School dilution was a minor miracle: 1:1, diluted 1:1 for use (effectively 1:3) also was a hedge against underexposure, and it never failed in an open container.

Small packages of the powder (to make one quart/liter) proved not to be practical, supposedly due to a difficulty in consistent mixing. There was also “sudden death syndrome,” wherein the developer died without warning. Now, lumps occur in bag A, perhaps from air getting into the bag, resulting in the same fate.

Think about Eastman’s difficult past: Fred Sommer’s 8×10 film with uneven emulsion; the huge Henry Wilhelm Ektacolor class action suit, and TX 120 recent paper backing fiasco. When quality control goes awry, it does so bigly with Kodak.

But this kind of unreliability doesn’t happen with Pyro, or FX- (add your own number here), or Harvey’s 777, or Rodinal(-type) developers. Now there are alternatives: Fomadon Excel, EcoPro, and even Mytol. In our lifetime narrative arcs of buying and ruining film, most of us need no enabling.

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