Film Developers that keep well

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by wogster, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Someone asked about paper developers that keep well, so how about film developers.

    Here is the scenario, the photographer shoots a couple of rolls of film a month, and wants to process them at home, is looking for a developer that will keep well Developer must work well with the Ilford traditional grain films (PanF+, FP4+, HP5+) and be economical. We are looking for a developer where a 1L working solution lasts months, although stock solutions and concentrates that keep well and are to be used one shot are also okay. It's a pain in the donkey to get to the photo shop, so sealed bottles and powder packets that will last a long time unopened are preferred.
     
  2. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Rodinal's concentrate (it is used one shot) last for years, with some people using decades old solutions with no problems. No working strength developer lasts more than 6 months in a sealed jug. Some concentrates last a year or more, but Rodinal lasts near forever in its concentrate form.
     
  3. drpsilver

    drpsilver Subscriber

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    06 Dec 2008

    Wogster:

    The two developers that come to mind are Ilford ID-11 (or Kodak D76). The other developer is Kodak HC110.

    I have stored D76 for months as a stock solution in bottles with little "head space". It can be diluted 1:1 for one-shot use. The bottle of HC110 concentrate I have is more than a year old and is still "going strong". HC110 can be diluted in many ways (check APUG threads for more information) for one-shot use.

    Both of these developers are great with the films you list. Hope this helps.

    Regards,
    Darwin
     
  4. P C Headland

    P C Headland Subscriber

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    Rodinal will, I think, outlive the Sun :wink:

    HC110 has a very long shelf life too.

    As for homebrew developers, PC-TEA seems to last a long time. Like Rodinal, it gets darker with age, but works just the same as when it was originally bottled.
     
  5. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    PMK has very good keeping qualities. As long as you don’t contaminate one of the solutions it will supposedly keep for years.

    Pyrocat mixed in glycol is another developer that also keeps quite well. My last batch is well over a year.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2008
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Pyrocat HD without Glycol keeps very well, I'm still using the last litre of a batch I made up 18 months ago,

    With Glycol it should last considerably longer.

    Ian
     
  7. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    Ian, your previous posts on this matter has convinced me that the keeping qualities of Pyrocat HD mixed in water is good enough for me. Next time I will not bother to mix it in Glycol.
     
  8. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I'm not aware of a w/s dev that last longer than one day, at best. That's why we have stock solutions; dilute just before use.

    Rodinal may very well be the champ in this area. I recently finished a partially open bottle from 1968, still good, too.

    HC-110, and the pyro's are also long-lasting stock solutions.
     
  9. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Rodinal is definitely very good. Five plus years, probably longer, as a concentrate.

    PMK is very long-lived. My stock solution lasted about seven years and there was no sign of degradation. You can buy it pre-mixed or mix it yourself from scratch. My second batch is from scratch; my first was pre-mixed.

    I'm not aware of any particularly long-lived working solution. D-76/ID-11 will last about six months in stock solution in a full container, and you can use it undiluted, but I prefer to use it diluted 1:1 and the keeping time of it in diluted form is only a day or two.
     
  10. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I have not used D76 extensively. I know that it is capable of doing a more than satisfactory job. My understanding is that as D76 ages it tends to increase its PH and this makes it a more active developer.

    I have had, as others here have also reported, very long shelf life with both Rodinal, HC110 and Pyrocat HD. Rodinal, for all I know, may still be good from the original batch that is, I believe a 100 years old.

    If one mixes a developer from scratch and keeps the developing agent in water seperate from the alkaline agents...such as sodium carbonate...and mixes the two ingredients immediately prior to being used the life of the developer can be greatly extended.

    Another means to increase the life span of a developer to to exclude or greatly limiting the exposure to oxygen. There are at least two ways of doing this: Filling the empty space in the developer container with an inert gas...such as nitrogen. Using marbles to bring the volume of the remaining developer to the top of the bottle.
     
  11. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    The standard practice is to either make up the concentrate from its powder form (D76/ID11) or to buy in the liquid concentrate (HC110/Rodinal) - then keep this concentrate in a bottle/container in the presence of as little oxygen as you can manage (squashed the bottle/insert inert gas in the air pocket/glass beads - are all standard tricks to exclude oxygen)

    This bottle of concentrate should then be kept in a cool dark place.

    When you have films to develop, you take some of this concentrate and dilute it to the required working solution immediately before you use it.

    The bottle of concentrate is then further squashed/refilled with inert gas/has more glass beads added/what ever else - to again exclude as much oxygen as possible from the storage bottle.

    Chemicals such as ID11/D76 in dry powder form have a huge shelf life.

    ID11/D76 in concentrate form have a shelf life of easily 6 months

    ID11/D76 is THE standard developer against which all other developers are compared

    D76 is Kodaks version of the standard developer/ ID11 is Ilfords version

    Personally, I make up packs 5L of ID11 and if I don't intend to use it all straight away I decant into 500ml bottles - 500ml happens to be the amount of Dev I need to process a tank of film

    While ID11 doesn't have the shelf life of Rodinal, it is a much more straight forward developer to use (no need to pre-soak).

    As ever with these things there is no one clear answer (otherwise we would all be using it) but a matter of personal taste.

    Martin
     
  12. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I too use film with similar occasional and haphazard frequency. That's why I've settled on using HC110 as a one-shot, directly from concentrate (mostly 1+63). I puchased some 2 and 4 ounce Nalgene bottles from one of the camping gear suppliers and divide up the concentrate so that all but the working bottle are full to the brim. Even the bottle with air exposure can go for months with no apparent degradation.

    (As I do even less printing, I'd love to find a paper developer goop that would work in similar fashion.)

    DaveT
     
  13. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    The most inexpensive developer is D-23. As long as it is not contaminated it will last for several months.
     
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  15. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Dave, somewhere in this site http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/ is a blurb about using HC-110 as a paper dev. It works, but as always, YMMV.
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    ansco 130 keeps very well, and can be used
    for film as well as prints :smile:
     
  17. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    Chris - A question.

    I have some of the newer Rodinal (relatively recent purchase from Freestyle) and the stuff is getting dark on me - still in the bottle, undiluted, as bought.

    I found that the Agfa xray processor at work does a wonderful job on my 8X10 film, therefore the Rodinal doesn't get used too often anymore.

    Does this change from light/honey color to dark (Coca Cola-type dark) hurt the stuff or is it as you say, worth decades of time?
     
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  18. wogster

    wogster Member

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    This sounds good, according to the massive dev chart you can use it 1+25, 1+50, 1+100, not sure what the difference is, as my tank uses 300ml of solution (35mm), 1+25 would mean that a bottle is good for about 40 rolls or so, at about 45 cents per roll. Not sure what the different dilutions mean, guess I need to look at the 65,536 Rodinal threads here :D
     
  19. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    HC110 and 510 pyro will probably out live me.


    MIke
     
  20. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    For Rodinal to turn dark brown is usual. It does not indicate a problem.
     
  21. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Is that a Typo Agfa Ansco 130 is a paper developer, you normally champion Agfa Ansco 103

    Yes & no, or both :D

    Ian
     
  22. Frank Szabo

    Frank Szabo Member

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    Thank you!! I was afraid the stuff was no good. Going to bag it and stick in the film fridge.
     
  23. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    I'm currently using Rodinal that is several years old and is dark brown.

    The other developer I like using is PMK pyro which I make from formula and again this seems to keep just fine.
     
  24. R W Penn

    R W Penn Member

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    Got new jug of Rodinal. So I tossed 3oz of 1959 or older that was a gift in 1959.It was working very well at 1-100
     
  25. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Do you find problems with the viscosity using smaller amounts?
     
  26. Uhner

    Uhner Member

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    If you use a syringe the viscosity is no problem.