--> Skip to main content

Prints from Negatives using Seasoned X-Tol

(13 September 2022 update, I think the title of this entry was misleading. The prints are from negatives developed with seasoned X-tol, the prints were developed with normal paper dev. If you read this previously, the title is updated to reflect that reality.)

 Joke all you like. I'm a.... how does one politely put it.... frugal fellow. I've been looking into the least expensive means of developing film for a while. I'd been trying to use my thrifty skills on behalf of the school where I work (Mills College, which clearly didn't work out as we're working on shutting down.) For school I've had the lab setup to use HC-110 dilution E (1:47 from syrup, or 1:9 from stock.)

HC-110 dilution E ended up being good solution for our school darkroom. Paterson tanks require 10oz per roll of 35mm, and 1:9 dilution makes math easy. And it costs about 25% of the developer we were using when I started.

I like HC-110 ok. It works well for stand development. It's economical. It lasts seemingly forever. But it is NOT compensating. And some of the most common budget films are a bit on the contrasty side (FOMA for example.)

Doing some research I found that you can replenish Xtol with fresh Xtol. And you can allegedly keep going forever just by pouring our 75mm per roll of 35mm x 36 or equivalent. So I gave it a try.

I already like Xtol. But I've only used it 1:1 and 1:2. For the seasoned recipe, you have to continually use straight seasoned developer, and I was curious how that would look in the real world. Turns out I like it a lot!

These are some examples - portraits of my daughter Ella. These were taken with my Mamiya C330 on Ultrafine (e)Xtreme 100 film which I believe to be Kentmere. I shot the whole roll the same, close up of Ella with a Mamiya Sekor 105mm lens at f4 - 1/250th (if memory serves.)

All the prints were made with some paper that was in a big 250 sheet box labeled Agfa Portriga Rapid grade 4. But I don't believe that's the paper that was inside. For anybody who's printed on Portriga, it has a rich warm brown tone, this paper is neutral. It's from a bunch of paper a former teacher here at Mills gave me that came from Rondal Partridge's darkroom when he stopped printing. 

Rondal Partridge was the son of Imogen Cunningham, and both were family friends I later found when telling this story. My Grandfather Hal (Milton) Halberstadt even lived right next to the Partridges at one point and my dad grew up knowing Rondal (Ron) quite well as a kid. Or that's the family lore.

In any case, the paper is nice, wish I knew what it was. I do really like the tonality of this series (samples on the drying rack at school.) Something magical seems to be happening leaving plenty of room in the shadows and the highlights. 


Popular posts from this blog

Linhof Serial Year List - Salomon Says

Recently I've acquired a few Linhof cameras. I got a 5x7 view camera from Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale. Later I stumbled upon a Color Kardan 90 Jahre Jubalaeum edition on Craigslist. And more recently, I found a "baby Technika" 2x3 (6x9) at Oakland's East Bay Depot for Creative Re-use. Not knowing much about Linhof large format cameras, I tried getting more info online, and came across a strange thread on the Large Format Photography Forum . Basically on this thread various Linhof owners ask a guy named Bob Salomon what year their Linhof was made. And the thread is over 100 pages long! Sifting through that thread is mindnumbing. Why Bob doesn't just publish the list of serial numbers is beyond me. Maybe it's just nice to feel needed. So I started compiling a spreadsheet of the serial numbers and the answer Bob gives. If you don't feel like spending a couple days reading this thread to get a hint as to the age of your Lin

Should I ditch my Sony a6500 for a A7r IV?

Recently, I bought a Sony a7r IV. The main reason was for stock photography. The high resolution along with improved focusing and biggish buffer would allow me to make better people (and other) stock photos for my various stock endeavors.  The Sony system has treated me well. I own two A7r II's for stock and other work, and two a6500's for event photography. The A7r II's aren't ideal for events for a couple reasons. The focus tracking is pretty good, but maybe not enough for fast paced people on stage. Another reason is that silent shooting is only available on single shot mode. And (admittedly a first world problem,) the files are much bigger than needed. Well, the last problem, too big files isn't an issue with the A7rIV if you use it in APS-c mode. The files are effectively the same size as the a6500: 24 mp. Focus with the IV is even faster and more effective than the very capable a6500. And with those smaller files, the IV has no problem with buffer overflow. So

From the Archive: Obsolete Film Data Sheet Scans - ORWO Information

Here's a sheet I got from writing ORWO Technischer Kundendienst back in the 1980's. It lists development times for all the ORWO Black and White films sold for export at the time (NP15, NP22, NP 27) combined with western developers Microphen, Atomal, Rodinal, Refinal, D-76, & ID-11. A little bit of ORWO history- Germany's big photo film/paper manufacturer up until Germany's losing WWII was AGFA (short for  A ktien G esellschaft F ür A nilinfabrikation - or corporation for some sort of plastic manufacture.) Germany was occupied by the winning powers USSR/USA/GB/FR and the rift between the USSR led to some complications for industries. Depending on your view of history the US and western allies were much friendlier to the land they occupied (remember the USSR lost many millions of their citizens to the NAZIs which made them much less tolerant.) In any case, some factories in the east moved to the west with many key employees. Most photo enthusiasts know of the t