How long can I keep my developer.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ChristopherCoy, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    At the time, I have a generic two reel processing tank. It holds just shy of a liter of chemical. It's the one 120 or two 35mm reel kind.

    I have been using the 5 liter jugs and mixing XTOL, and recently DDX (1:4).

    The thing is, I'm not familiar enough with shelf life, or replenishing, enough to know what I'm doing. So to be safe, when I develop a roll, I discard the developer instead of putting it back into the jug. I got sloppy with the XTOL and would put it back into the jugs for a few times and took my chances, but I don't want to do that with my project film.

    Since I'm trying to shoot more, and I'm developing regularly, I have learned that this is going to get quite expensive fairly quickly. I just bought the $17 bottle of DDX a week or two ago, and after only three rolls, it's time for another.

    What can I do to reduce the cost, in terms if making this last longer?
     
  2. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    Xtol works well replenished and if you do a search you will find detailed instructions about how to do it. It's quite easy.

    Kodak documentation states that Xtol will keep for 6 months. Some people have reported keeping the stock solution longer than that, but it does not change color with age and from I understand, when it quits, it quits. If you use constant replenishment you can keep the process going for years by adding fresh developer with every roll developed. It becomes very cheap if you do that.

    DD-X does get rather expensive mixing it 1:4 as the instructions suggest and using it one time. A single batch mixed 1:4 can be used for multiple rolls, but Ilford states the quality may not be quite as good or something like that. Some people use DD-X at higher dilutions e.g. 1:7 or 1:9 one-shot and that helps to reduce the price per roll. I recently picked up a bottle of DD-X to try when my current batch of Xtol reaches the 6 month time at the end of this month.

    Dave
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Using X-Tol in a replenishment regime would be by far the best approach.

    With DDX, the Ilford Technical data sheet says:

    AVAILABILITY AND CAPACITY
    ILFOTEC DD-X is available in 1 litre bottles world- wide. Used at 1+4 for one shot processing it will develop 16 135/36 films. If reuse techniques are used it will develop up to 50 135/36 or 120 films.


    Note the reference to 1 + 4, rather than the more confusing 1:4.

    The technical data ("Fact") sheet that covers all the Ilford liquid film developers is accessed from the product page for DDX - here is the link: http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2011427124733149.pdf

    The description of "reuse" process in the Ilford fact sheet indicates that involves some decrease in quality. It certainly involves a large increase in complexity (developing time is constantly changing).

    The replenishment regime for XTol result in a subtle increase in quality, and is incredibly simple.

    Your choice.
     
  4. kbrede

    kbrede Member

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    If your tank takes just less than 1L, maybe it would be beneficial to look for a smaller tank. My Patterson tank (one 120, two 35mm size) takes 500ml of developer. A stainless tank would be even smaller.
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I used to use XTOL. It lasted me 8 months at minimum. I basically keep my developers in "per serving" bottles to minimize exposure to air. My bottles are plastic. It could have lasted longer but I ran out at that point.

    I do not replenish but use it one-shot.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Xtol used at 1+1 and then discard is still quite cheap but I'd certainly look for smaller tanks. My Jobo will do 2x120 or 2x35 in 485mls. If you have a Jobo rotary processor then it is 140 and 240 mls respectively for 35 and 120 film. Store it in winebags

    pentaxuser
     
  7. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    I went through four bottles of DD-X and to this day think it to be one of the best developers out there, but cheap it is not. I switched to using it more diluted than 1+4 as recommended and actually liked it just as well or maybe a little better. In the end I switched to replenished Xtol and now I'm looking into "Home-made Xtol" and then I'll use that as a one-shot. Of course, for now I'm using and really liking Pyrocat-HD. If you want "cheaper, but better" then look no further than Pyrocat-HD and you can buy that pre-packaged also or mix your own. You have a part "A" and a part "B" when mixed with water 1:1:100 or 1 oz. A + 1 oz. B + 100oz. H2O. A little goes a long, long way and it last nearly forever. Sounds like you might want to try it. JohnW
     
  8. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I don't want to use XTOL at all though. I don't want to use any Kodak chems or film - strictly Ilford.

    I'll try it 1+9, until I can find something more suitable that's not Kodak.
     
  9. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    chris,
    i strongly suggest to consider rotation processing.it will reduce your processing volume from 1l to a couple of 100ml(look at the instructionsthat came with your tank). you can switch from inversion processing to rotation processing with almost any tank by rolling it back and forth at the edge of a tableor by rigging something up with an old pair of roller skates,good luck happy processing.
     
  10. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Is that what a Uniroller would do?
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'd suggest ID-11 then - which film are you using (to determine dilution)?

    I don't know why you won't consider Champion Photographic's chemistry.
     
  12. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Strictly HP5+.

    And I never said I wouldn't consider another developer, I'm just not ready to venture into other stuff yet. I've been stuck on Kodak since high school, it's all I've ever worked with. And now I'm having to change my processes, albeit by personal decision. It's just easier for me and more comfortable for me to use a major player like Ilford right now.
     
  13. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    A replenished developer works best if you are processing film on a regular basis. If your developing is sporatic then a one-shot developer might be best such as Kodak HC-110. The concentrate keeps for a long, long time. It's also quite cheap when you figure how many rolls you can do with a single bottle ai 1+31 and higher dilutions. Look at the following website for information on this developer. www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110
     
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  15. Nikonic

    Nikonic Member

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    What does a replenished do, anyways? And by that I mean chemically.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The chemistry that was formerly made and marketed by Kodak is now made (in North America) by Champion - who are a major player.

    Someone else may very well be marketing the Kodak stuff soon.

    And as for ID-11 dilution choices, Ilford's fact sheet lists times for using stock ID-11 (7.5 minutes), ID-11 diluted 1 + 1(13 minutes) and ID-11 diluted 1 + 3 (20 minutes)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2013
  17. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Not major enough for me to readily find without a google search... And they aren't on the shelves in my local photo shop if I need them in a pinch one day.
     
  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have used replenish XTOL for over two years without a problem.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    No, but they make much of the chemistry that the labs you use employ: http://www.championphotochemistry.com/about-us.php
     
  20. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    A replenished developer system recycles most of the developer after use. An amount of either a specific replenisher or fresh developer is added to maintain the developer's strength. An example would be D-76 used with replenisher D-76R. It's economical but there is some change in the developers action after each replenishment cycle. People tend to either love the idea or hate it.
     
  21. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Before going to a replenishment regime I'd recommend first reading about it as discussed in detail by Kodak in this excellent publication (including how exactly to do it for a variety of developers including XTOL should you decide to go that way). Pros and cons are discussed. See pages 15-17 (this entire publication is an excellent reference though):

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/o3/o3.pdf

    Gerald's HC-110 suggestion is worthwhile considering.

    DDX is an excellent developer. It works fine at 1+9, but make sure you still have an adequate amount of concentrate in the working solution to develop the amount of film. Refer to Ilford's instructions - although they do not explicitly indicate the amount of concentrate required per area of film.

    In general, more developer is better, and skimping is not worth the potential price.
     
  22. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    Don't forget that Freestyle markets a clone of XTOL, so you don't necessarily have to cease XTOL if you want to jump ship from Kodak but otherwise like it.
     
  23. Nikonic

    Nikonic Member

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    But what is actually happening on a chemical level with these marketed replenishers. Is it an alkali to get the PH back up where it should be? Are there compounds that react with redox byproducts and clear them up or sludge them out? Or is it just a fresh jolt of whatever the reducer was?
     
  24. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    Essentially the byproducts are diluted out with replenisher. (The excess volume either overflows or is carried over into the following solution.) Compared to the processing tank solution, the replenisher is a bit overconcentrated with both developing agent and preservative. Also the pH is higher to boost the tank pH back up a bit.

    In the systems that are replenished with original developer, obviously the initial tank solution must change during processing, and should eventually reach some different equilibrium levels. I'd guess that the B&W systems have a large error tolerance which allows this sort of thing. My experience has mainly been in large scale color neg and paper systems, which are generally too finicky for this sort of thing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2013
  25. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    That sounds like an astonishingly ineffective developing tank. Do you really mean a litre for a couple of rolls of 35mm?! If that wasn't a typo then the first step towards economy would be to replace the tank with a more normal one.

    Apart from APX100 and Rodinal (which go so very well together) I seem to use ID11 1+1 for most things, with 1+3 for sheets in trays. This works out at a very reasonable point for cost/longevity when I buy the five litre packs, and is also a very standard and repeatable choice. Occasionally for HP5+ at a higher speed I would use DDX, but there isn't that much difference unless you are going over ISO800.
     
  26. Nikonic

    Nikonic Member

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    I guess if you were running 10,000 negs through a machine a month this would end up being economical. But I don't see why anyone would bother with it on a small scale. Just make a new batch.