Originally Posted by Freakscene
T-Grain and epitaxial films contain a lot of silver iodide, and it needs more developer to develop it. Particularly with T-Max 100 and high key scenes, there just isn’t enough developer in a normal volume of high dilution Xtol to develop the film to a normal density. This is why Kodak dropped the dilutions greater than 1+1 in the 2004 version of the Xtol datasheet. If you are seeing an increased shoulder in the usable portion of the negative you are probably operating near exhaustion of the developer.
If high dilutions work for you with these films, that’s great, but bear in mind one day it might not, although a lot of photographers aren’t attuned enough to the these details to notice unless the development fails entirely.
PC-Tea produces negatives with coarser grain than Xtol because the alkali is unbuffered. It works better if you use dimezone-s instead of phenidone because dimezone-s develops silver more synergistically with ascorbate than phenidone. I had problems with it failing the same as Xtol, and although cheap, it was slow and unpleasant to mix. I corresponded with Pat Gainer, who invented PC-Tea, before he died, but essentially we could only agree to disagree. Tremendously intelligent and nice man.
Great information, thanks! I've used only 1+2 and I've mostly produced thin-ish negatives from T-max because I always have some shots with high SBR on a roll and prefer printing with higher grades overall, and never have that many high key shots, so yes, I probably just haven't noticed the problems.
I will try PC-TEA to see for myself, as I already have the C and TEA. Unfortunately neither Suvatlar nor Silverprint seem to sell dimezone-s, so I'll probably make do with phenidone, unless someone can suggest another source in Europe? I would think the same considerations about dilute developer apply, especially as the amount of phenidone/dimezone-s in the stuff is very small compared to some other developers?