How To Develop T-Max 100 in XTOL Using a SP-445 Daylight Tank

February 21, 2018  •  3 Comments

SP-445 B&W Large Format Film Development Daylight TankSP-445 B&W Large Format Film Development Daylight TankSubscribe to my free Darkroom Newsletter and never miss another article or update.

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I have been working on creating some new black and white floral still life images for some brand new silver gelatin darkroom gallery prints that I plan to release later this spring and summer.  

I also scan my original large format film negatives for my low-cost vintage style black and white giclée art print collection.  

I have been using black and white T-Max 100 film and developing the large format negatives in XTOL using the Stearman Press SP-445 daylight development tank.  

I get a lot of requests from readers of my free newsletter as well as my YouTube channel to share more details behind my creative process, so I decided to create this article and video to share the specifics of how I develop my 4x5 large format T-Max 100 black and white film in XTOL using the SP-445 daylight tank. 

As discussed in the video, I dilute XTOL to 1:1 and develop my 4x5 black and white sheet film in the SP-445 daylight tank for 10 minutes at 68F/20C.  I prewash my T-Max 100 with distilled water to remove the annihilation layer from the film.  In the next step, I develop the films for 10 minutes with a XTOL 1:1 at 68F/20C.  I initially agitate the film for 15 seconds and then after the first minute, I perform two agitation cycles every 30 seconds for the remainder of the development time.  I demonstrate my agitation method in the video above.  I then do a 30 second water stop bath and then fix with TF-4 archival fixer for 10 minutes with constant agitation. Next, I wash the film for at least 15 to 20 minutes with tap water to fully clear it and then put the sheets of film into a tray of water and PhotoFlo for one minute before hanging the film to dry.   

I need negatives that will scan very well, and also print in the darkroom.  There are other film and developer combinations that also work very well, but I have found that T-Max 100 and XTOL 1:1 provide very consistent and reliable results for me.  

Development Process Overview

  • Prewash in distilled water (68F/20C)
  • Develop in XTOL 1:1 for 10 minutes
  • Initial agitation for 15 seconds for first minute, then 2 cycles every 30 seconds
  • Water stop bath for 30 seconds
  • Fix with TF-4 for 10 minutes (constant agitation) 
  • Final Wash 15 to 20 minutes 
  • Put sheet film in tray of PhotoFlo for 1 minute
  • Hang to dry

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Comments

Jim(non-registered)
Thxs. PM sent.
Tim Layton Fine Art
Hi Jim, thanks for the comment and question. You can use Pyrocat HD in the SP-445 if you want. I personally use Pyrocat HD for my negatives that I will be making platinum prints from. For me, that means bigger negatives and the SP-445 is for 4x5 sheet film. I use DIY PVC tubes (see blog) for my larger sheet film and Pyrocat HD and I use a semi-stand development process because I need the extra density, contrast, and stain for the platinum process. Hope that helps and don't hesitate to email with any questions. Happy to help.

Tim
Jim(non-registered)
Thank you for this very informative video and especially for putting in an article as well so that we can copy your steps. One question: why don't you use the pyrocat developer in the SP445? I'm thinking it's only because you use different developers for different film, but I am just getting up the courage to go beyond using a monobath with HP5 so pardon if my question is naive.
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