--> Skip to main content

Prints using Seasoned X-Tol

 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

Lossy DNG File Sizes by ISO.

Fairly recently I discovered the magic of lossy DNG's. My stock photo library is ever growing. Though JPG's might really be enough for my archive, I've been keeping my raw files. RAW files take up lots of space. And RAW files can't typically keep user generated EXIF data in the file. RAW files keep their keywords and other metadata in a sidecar, that is if you regularly save the EXIF data to file. So recently I've been converting all my RAW files to lossy DNG's. After testing the highest ISO setting on the new-to-me A7R IV, I converted the files to lossy DNG's only to find a surprise. The very high ISO lossy DNG's were much larger than the original Sony RAW files! Lossy ARW vs Lossy DNG full image sample So I thought it would be a good test to shoot from the lowest to highest ISO, convert to lossy DNG and see where the file size savings invert. Here's the data as seen in the above screen shot: ISO Lossy Sony ARW Raw file size (MB) Lossy DNG file siz

How to stop annoying Corel pop-up ads

Corel has done something extra sleazy. For those not familiar, Corel has been making image editing software for as long as I can remember. The Canadian based company is known for budget graphics software including Corel Draw! (Similar to Adobe Illustrator) and Paint Shop Pro (Similar to Lightroom) as well as some other products. The price of their software makes it hard to resist. I bought a few of their products years ago. Recently ads started popping up in Windows (not on a web browser, but just in the right corner of my monitor. Those ads were for Corel products and would float over all other panes in my Windows. How sleazy is that?! So I found a way to get rid of the ads for good. Or at least until you install another Corel product. If this happens to you, and you find it as annoying as I do, follow this instruction. First, hit control (+) alt (+) delete and select task manager at the bottom. If you look at your task manager, you'll see something called "background