Mixing Xtol and Rodinal....

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Robert M, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. Robert M

    Robert M Guest

    Does anyone has some experiences in developing in Xtol mixed with

    I work with Agfa, Efke and Tmax films, also Delta, FP+ and HP5+ from

    In fact I'm looking for some development times to start with.

    Robert M, Sep 12, 2003
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  2. Xtol and Rodinal are very different developers which will
    not work well together. Xtol is a low alkalinity developer
    using a type of Phenidone and Ascorbic acid. Rodinal is a
    high alkalinity developer with p-aminophenol as the sole
    developing agent and potassium hydroxide as the alkali.
    If mixed probably the hydroxide will cause the Phenidone
    to become extremely active and cause fogging. There would be
    absolutely no advantage to doing this.
    Between the two Xtol is the superior developer delivering
    greater film speed and much finer grain. Rodinal's main
    advantage is convenience. It delivers low fog clean
    negatives but is one of the grainiest developrs on the
    market. Its used for small format mainly where someone wants
    the large acutance effect Rodinal will give when highly
    diluted. Its suitable for very fine grain films where its
    tendency to exagerate grain is minimized.
    I would stick to Xtol, it works very well for most films.
    Its reputation for unreliability is exagerated. The problem
    was mainly from packaging problems with the one liter size
    which has been discontinued.
    I am not condemning Rodinal, its a good developer for many
    purposes, but is not a good choice for faster small format
    Richard Knoppow, Sep 12, 2003
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  3. Robert M

    Mike Marty Guest

    Anyone know where I can purchase Rodinal online? B&H says they can't ship it.
    Mike Marty, Sep 12, 2003
  4. Robert M

    Mark A Guest

    Mark A, Sep 12, 2003
  5. Robert M

    Mark A Guest

    There are people who have mixed the two and claimed great results. Check out
    www.photo.net and search the forums.
    Mark A, Sep 12, 2003
  6. Robert M

    glennbooth Guest

    Adorama will ship it too. Freestyle will ship it ground with no hazmat
    glennbooth, Sep 12, 2003
  7. Hmmmmmm
    Lesssee, as I remember Rodinal contains lye (sodium hydroxide), a basic
    substance meaning it's pH is > 7.0

    And, if I understand correctly Xtol is based on Vitamin C, (Ascorbate), an
    organic acid meaning it's pH is < 7.0

    As I recollect, the result of mixing an acid with a base is a salt and it's
    water... Doesn't sound promising at first blush...
    Some of you chemistry fans may want to correct any errors I may be making

    BTW, I souped a roll of FP4+ in Rodinal 1:50 (the bottle is at least 5 years
    old) yesterday, and I have a strip of sharp looking negs that look like they
    will print nicely at 2.5 grade on MGIV RC...
    Dennis O'Connor, Sep 12, 2003
  8. Robert M

    Mark A Guest

    Yes, it does sound unlikely, but people have done it and they claim it
    works. I cannot vouch for this myself, but here is one person's formula. A
    google search might yield other information:

    "Mixing Rodinal and Xtol by Sam Elkind

    I read with interest the Nov 28th exchange on the BW Film Developing forum
    about Vit C developers and the Rodinal variation. On that forum, I have on
    occasion mentioned a blend I use that gives excellent results with (at
    least) Tri-X, Delta 100, Delta 400, and Verichrome, in both 135 and 120
    formats. I think people have an initial reaction that the idea sounds

    The blend uses both Xtol and Rodinal. The origin for me was that Xtol
    results were too flat, while Rodinal results were too grainy (no surprise).
    A couple of years ago, I was searching for an ideal developer and after some
    tests I settled on this blend. Following is the result of my testing
    (quantities set to my 500 mL tank):

    Xtol = 100 mL
    water = 400 mL
    Rodinal = 4 to 5 mL

    Times @ 24 degrees C. are:
    Tri-X (200) = 9 minutes.
    Delta 100 = 10.5 minutes.
    Verichrome = 8.5 minutes.

    This blend may be useful to you and perhaps others. I think you will find
    the grain is quite acceptable, even in 35mm negs, and that tonality is
    attractive, especially in highlights. In the context of the exchange on the
    BW forum, in which you made reference to Gainer's Rodinal variation, I
    thought you might find this combo of interest."
    Mark A, Sep 12, 2003
  9. Idiots will try almost anything......and it sometimes works!

    But I would recommend against this procedure, unless the two
    developers are used in succession, with a rinse in between!
    Michael Scarpitti, Sep 12, 2003
  10. Robert M

    Jorge Omar Guest

    Jorge Omar, Sep 12, 2003
  11. Robert M

    Jorge Omar Guest

    Not always an acid and a base will react making a salt. Fairly common
    mixes in developers are borax and boric acid; metabissulfite and
    There will just be an equilibrium point. These non reacting mixes are
    named buffers and highly regarded.
    Xtol has ascorbic acid and borax.

    Now, I wonder if just adding some alkali (carbonate? metaborate?) to
    Xtol wouldn't be very much the same as adding a bit of Rodinal?
    (I do not have any Rodinal to do a test).

    Jorge Omar, Sep 13, 2003
  12. Having taken up that advise and having searched, I'll report two comments in
    the first 40 or so hits. The first person offered a print as evidence of
    results which could best be described as reflecting the worst of both
    worlds. The 2nd person says she's started doing her Tri-X in Rodinal to get
    grain reduction. One wonders what she was previously using - perhaps laundry

    Just goes to show that you have to consider your source here in the wacky
    world of the internet. In this case, I'll go with Richard.
    Randy Stewart, Sep 13, 2003
  13. What is the nature of the great results? Is the grain sharper? The
    resolution greater? The curve shape straighter (or warped in some way or
    another that matters to some photographer).

    It is one thing for a bathtub chemist to concoct something that develops
    film, and another thing to come up with a developer with different
    properties from all the others going around. There are so many ways by
    which identical results may be obtained; why not use the simplest that
    gives you the results you need?

    If I make lousy boring images, there is no way any conceivable developer
    will turn them into great art (unless I use the fixer first, perhaps).
    Jean-David Beyer, Sep 13, 2003
  14. Robert M

    Mark A Guest

    There are people who have mixed the two and claimed great results.
    They claim very good sharpness with less grain than Rodinal alone. I am not
    vouching for these people or their results, just passing along information.
    I didn't start this thread. Despite what someone else said, some of these
    people are experienced and knowledgeable photographers.

    Instead of posting theoretical complaints on this group, if one is truly
    interested, they should read all the information on this subject or try it
    themselves (one formula was already posted, but there may be others).

    Personally, I am not much interested, but I don't go around slamming others
    without trying it first.
    Mark A, Sep 13, 2003
  15. Robert M

    Mark A Guest

    Combining developers acn have unanticipated results, as different ones
    I am don't doubt that the results of mixing XTOL and Rodinal were
    unanticipated. If you want to know more about what ACTUALLY happens when two
    are mixed, try it yourself or contact the people who have tried it.
    Mark A, Sep 13, 2003
  16. This is good enough for me, and sufficient explanation on a scientific basis
    to override whatever curiosity I might have about what might happen if you mix
    these two together.

    However, if you think that you can somehow find an exemption to the laws of
    physics and chemistry, be my guest. It's your film and your developer, after all.

    At Boston/Logan airport last Friday, I saw on a Delta departures/arrivals
    screen this Windows error dialog in front of the grid of flights:

    "At least one service failed to start..."

    I took a photo of it. I thought:

    "I'm glad I don't run Windows. I'm glad I'm not flying Delta today."

    - Recent posting on Slashdot (http://slashdot.org/)
    David Nebenzahl, Sep 13, 2003
  17. Is not the obligation on the person who has a new developer to state
    what the benefits of using it might be, compared with all the existing
    developers? Does the world really need yet another one?

    To attract my interest, it would have to work enough better than XTol on
    TMax type films or better than D-76d or HC-110 on Tri-X type films. And
    by "better" I mean improvements in whatever I might be interested in
    (sharpness, resolution, acutance, curve shape). Now in the posts here,
    so far all I know is that the combination may be (but no objective
    measurements were reported) less grainy than Rodinal, a developer I
    would never use anyway because it is too grainy, and most developers are
    less grainy than it is.

    So if grain is less, what is the cost? Do I lose acutance as well? Do I
    lose film speed? Is the D/H curve distorted? Let's have some data. Why
    should I go to the trouble of testing every new developer that comes along?

    Is the mix better than D-76, for example?
    Jean-David Beyer, Sep 13, 2003
  18. I can beleive that there is less graininess since the Xtol
    will have lowered the pH of the solution and probably
    increased the salt content. However, what advantage does it
    have over Xtol?
    Rodinal has four ingredients, para-aminophenol, a
    developing agent related to Metol, potassium sulfite,
    potassium hydroxide, and some potassium bromide. Potassium
    salts are used because of their greater solubility,
    important for a highly concentrated solution.
    para-aminophenol can be used in lower pH developers. At
    one time it was recommended for those suffering from Metol
    sensitivity, but it turns out that P-aminophenol is also a
    In general it is considered inferior to Metol as a
    developing agent but is soluble in very great quantity,
    again necessary for the highly concentrated Rodinal.
    p-aminophenol is somewhat superadditive with Hydroquinone
    but not the extent of Metol, it is not a good substitute for
    Metol in M-H formulas. I don't know if it is superadditive
    with Ascorbic acid but if so its probably inferior to either
    Metol or Phenidone. Mixing the two just doesn't make sense
    based on what is in them.
    Practice doesn't usually contradict theory unless the
    theory is very wrong. I don't think it is here.
    Of course, results are the final proof but I strongly
    suspect that the claims made here are not really based on
    any sort of careful comparison.
    Richard Knoppow, Sep 13, 2003
  19. Mark, you have attacked Dr. Henry before in this group.
    You have _never_ offered any evidence to support your claims
    that his results were in error, none.
    His work is completely described and can be replicated by
    any one willing to take the trouble. He followed good
    scientific method.
    I would further say that one characteristic of the
    internet is that you never know who you are talking to or
    what their qualificatins are. Perhaps before claiming Mr.
    Beyer is just biased you ought to ask something about his
    background and qualifications.
    Richard Knoppow, Sep 13, 2003
  20. They may have been unansticipated by the person who tried
    it but I think a good chemist could predict pretty well what
    would happen.
    Richard Knoppow, Sep 13, 2003
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