My Venture with Kodak XTOL Developing

featured, Film

A lot of the time, It seems most everyone I speak to about photography just doesn’t understand why my main focus is in film photography.

I’m always hearing:

“Why are you going backwards?” “Why would you want to wait when you can get your results right now with digital?” “Forget that old school stuff, it only makes stuff harder for you”

I have a number of digital cameras that are more than capable of giving me the results I want AS FAR AS DIGITAL..but it still doesn’t compare to my love of film, it’s look and the process of it’s development.

With that being said, recently I took on a new project to take my experience with film even further and learn how to mix my own developer from powder.

This is what I started with:

1 Pair of Kodak XTOL A&B powder packets
Purified Distilled Water
A bucket able to hold 5Liters, actually more than 5 liters after the addition of the powder
A big spoon to mix and break up any clumps
Face mask (it is hazardous and should not be inhaled)
A strainer just in case there were more clumps i needed to break up

I began with 4 liters of the Purified Distilled Water and the first packet, Packet A, and began to mix


After i made sure there were NO clumps within the first mixture, i mixed in the second packet, Packet B


I once again made sure that there were no clumps after i mixed in the second packet as well.

After a while of stirring, i’d like to guesstimate i stirred for an additional 20 minutes, i had my mixture 🙂


I have never really seen what homemade XTOL looked like so to my surprise it was actually pretty clear! Kind of like water

So be VERY careful, some people may confuse it with water depending on where you store it and attempt to drink it.

That would be a HUGE NO NO lol so be aware of where you store it after you are done mixing

So..let me now show you some of the results from my first attempt at mixing and developing with XTOL.

By the way, i developed at 1:1 XTOL because this was the recommended formula for Ultrafine XTreme 400 film










I have to admit, i was AMAZED at how sharp the photos were and the beauty of the contrast.

I was definitely skeptical, probably because of how easy XTOL was to make, about the results that i would get once i scanned but WOW.

Again, i believe photography is truly for one’s own happiness and how it makes you feel creating these works of art.

I choose to use FILM Photography as my way towards my goals because of how i truly cherish the process from photo-taking to developing/fixing to printing/scanning.

It’s just my way, and i do not push my beliefs on anyone but dammit if i love it lol

I still shoot digital! I actually have another project that i am wrapping up at the moment and you’ll be seeing a post about it soon.

A beautiful woman friend named Mondee reached out to me to do some Yoga photography for her resume.

I’ve been getting many great responses and comments from all who’ve seen it, and just want to make sure i present it well before i send it out to you all 🙂

Now back to the present subject, i think i may have fallen in love with XTOL coupled with Ultrafine Xtreme.

Maybe..i should try my hand at what i hear many pros throughtout the years swear by..Kodak D-76 and Tri-X film

Eh, maybe sometime in the future for another project..but in either case, just remember

Find YOUR way, find YOUR happiness, be YOUR creativity..

There are many mediums out there for you to see art and to capture your view of it so you can share it to the world.








Hope everyone enjoyed the post, and some of the pics that were posted.

Peace to you all

If you’d like to view the entire Flickr album, click HERE

P.S. Photos taken with Leica M6 and Voigtlander 35mm F1.7 in varying locations throughout NYC and NJ and scanned with an OpticFilm 8200i with the VueScan software


7 thoughts on “My Venture with Kodak XTOL Developing

  1. Xtol is my favourite developer for 400 ISO film, especially when pushing it. So pleased with the results – just like yourself. I also mix in a bucket and then bottle in 1ltr PET bottles and use it 1:1. Unfortunately I don’t usually use it all up before it expires 🙂 D76 mixes in the same way and is also cheaper, but it doesn’t enhance the speed like Xtol does.

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