E-6 chemicals: What goes bad first?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by srs5694, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Hi,

    I've got a Kodak E-6 kit that I purchased over a year ago and began using at that time. I don't shoot a lot of E-6, so I've still got a lot of this kit left. The last couple of rolls I've processed have come out rather dark, and the last one wasn't fixed properly. (I caught a strong whiff of ammonium as I poured out the fixer, and the results were obvious. I used some C-41 fixer to fix again and that seemed to clear the film.) I'm therefore guessing that the first developer and fixer have gone south.

    So my question is: How much of this kit is salvageable? Can I just buy a couple of items fresh and continue using the rest of the kit? Or is everything in the kit so close to being worthless at this point that I should just write it off and discard it all? Even if most of it's bad, is there anything that's likely to have a particularly long shelf life, that I could keep for use in case I accidentally spill something from the next kit I buy?
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    In order of failure are the color developer, the first developer, the reversal bath and the fix.

    If the fix is cloudy it is bad, if it is exhausted it just won't fix and leaves a stain. You can refix.

    The color developer turns brown and finally black. The first developer is hard to check out IIRC and so is the reversal bath.

    The bleach does not really go bad, but can be exhausted.

    As with fixer, you can always re bleach and then refix.

    PE
     
  3. Domin

    Domin Member

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    C41 color dev is similar, am I right?

    I got half a liter of c41 cd, which I mixed from concentrated kit at begining of august, souped 3 or 4 rolls in it (the producer says its a kit for 6 rolls). I've checked and its brown now. Is it worth risking developing?
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    No, in no way similar.

    PE
     
  5. Domin

    Domin Member

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    I meant just color change when going bad.

    I know they are quite different.
     
  6. Photo Engineer

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    It turns dark tea or coffee colored when it goes bad. Yours is most likely bad. Used developer keeps less well than unused.

    Sorry, I misunderstood.

    PE
     
  7. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    my E-6 kit expired in 2003...unused, stored at room temperature

    so it's safe to assume the bleach is still probably OK...maybe needs to have air bubbled through it or something?

    my experiments are imprecise enough---I don't need to confuse the issue with bad chemicals...but if bleach lasts pretty well I'd love to be able to use it...I assume it's easy to run a test clip of film & check it
     
  8. Photo Engineer

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    The only thing to check is if any of the folowoing happens:

    1. First developer may form crystals. It should be warmed to dissolve them before dilution to make sure the huge crystals come out of the concentrate bottle. This is according to EK.

    2. The color developing agent is still clear in the concentrate part "B" IIRC. It is the small bottle. If left sealed it keeps for many years, unless it is in plastic. Kodak has used plastic with worse keeping of the color developing agent.

    3. Fixer turns cloudy, gets a precipitate, gets a rotten egg odor, or coats the bottle with scum.

    Two and three are really bad, one indicates age but usability.

    There is no test for the reversal bath and by the time you find it is bad it is too late.

    PE
     
  9. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    thanks...I have a few crystals in 1st dev...

    color dev part B is in glass bottle

    fixer looks clear

    might be worth a shot after all
     
  10. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    My fixer isn't cloudy and doesn't have a rotten egg odor, but it did squat on my last roll. Maybe it was "pilot error," though -- mismeasurement, perhaps. (I considered that I might have accidentally used the wrong bottle, but it had a strong ammonium odor when I finished with it, so I thought I must have been smelling ammonium from the ammonium thiosulfate in the fixer.)

    Is the fact that I re-fixed with C-41 fixer likely to cause problems down the line? This roll isn't very important, so even if it'll do harm I probably won't bother re-fixing in E-6 fixer, but it'd be good to know for future reference.

    When mixed, my color developer is bluish. I seem to recall it being a bit more turquoise when I first got it, but I'm not positive of that. The first developer is yellow, and fairly pale yellow when diluted. The reversal bath is working, although if there are subtle effects of stuff that's just starting to go I might be missing that. Of course, in terms of salvaging kit components, reversing by exposure to light would be an option, correct?

    I've been using it one-shot, so what I've got left ought to still be good.

    Could the bleach be mixed with something else (ammonium thiosulfate and perhaps other stuff) to be used as an RA-4 blix? Or could it be used as a C-41 bleach? If I have to ditch most of the kit, those might be good ways to salvage the bleach, if I knew how to do it properly.

    Anyhow, thanks for your comments.
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    C41 fix and final rinse can be used with E6 and vice versa. Same with the bleaches. Times may need to be tweaked for optimum performance with the bleach and fix, but you can always redo these steps and the washes and final rinses with no harm at all to C41 or E6 films, so it is easy to 'play'.

    The color of fresh mixed color developer and first developers are not that important. It is just that the final mix of the color developer must be less than strong tea colored, or the concentrate of the part B (IIRC) the one that contains the concentrated color developer before mixing should be clear or pale yellow. The first developer should be clear or pale yellow before and after mixing. Solids in the first developer must be dissolved by warming.

    PE
     
  12. domaz

    domaz Member

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    As an aside how long does Color Developer concentrate last when still in Part A and Part B forms? Should I bother rebottling Part A of the Color Developer to prevent oxidation or is it fairly stable?
     
  13. Photo Engineer

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    Once you open a bottle of concentrate for any reason, it begins to go bad at an accelerated rate. Then, all bets are off.

    PE
     
  14. Photo Engineer

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    Steve just sent me a PM. He asked a very valid question about the ordering of the chemicals going bad that I posted earlier.

    I have to explain that the reversal bath and the first developer are rather tied as to which I would place first. It depends. I guess I placed the reversal bath after the first developer because I think of the many people (myself included) who use reversal exposure and it just sort of skipped my mind.

    Another thing is the fact that the first developer can be sort of tested, by dipping in a piece of leader into fresh stuff and doing a test every day timing the blackening rate (I would use some B&W film as it can be observed better). There is no test for the quality of the reversal bath, and so it should be replaced regularly. You have no other assurance than replacement.

    Thanks Steve for the reminder. I hope that this is more clear.

    PE
     
  15. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    P.E have you heard of the white rubbery stuff that can form in the reversal? what is that? one person I used to know joked hmm if reversal does that "ITS ALIVE"!!!!. But he had the persona of a mad scientist. um maybe I should see if i can make some of this stuff in a container of stagnant reversal waste.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

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    Steve;

    IDK what that is, but the reversal bath contains an organic acid and stannous chloride. The tin salt is the active ingredient which fogs film, but it is also oxidized by air.

    IIRC, there is also a buffer in the solution.

    Sorry, but I don't know more than this.

    PE
     
  17. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I think if the white rubbery stuff you are finding is like what grows in my reversal bath deep tank, it is a kind of mold. It doesn't seem to affect the performance of the reversal bath, though.
     
  18. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    ive never seen it but im glad you have because ive been curious as to weather or not its real hehehehe.
     
  19. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    How long will the concentrates last after one has opened the bottles?

    Kodak gives suggested/recommended max storage times for mixed solutions, but not for the concentrates. I've been researching the net this afternoon and this question has been asked for years and appears on other forums. But no good answers.

    Now seriously, what has been people's experience?

    I understand that once a bottle is opened, things start to happen. But, if a mixed solution is good for X weeks in a full bottle and Y weeks in a partly full bottle, there must be some practical ballpark figure for the concentrates.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

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    Nope, no ballpark. They eyeball is the best measure of this for color developer and fix. The solutions begin to discolor rather rapidly and once the color developer concentrate goes beyond the color of tea to look like coffee it is done for. The reversal bath shows no change, it just stops working, and the same may be true of the first developer. The fix begins to get yellow particles precipitate out.

    PE
     
  21. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    OK, thanks, Ron. I'm going to try my question a different way in a new thread with a new title. :smile: