How Long Should Developer Last...?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BardParker, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. BardParker

    BardParker Member

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    Just developed the first roll of Tri-X from my new-to-me Mamiya 7, and noticed that the negatives are kind of washed out. (I have only developed <10 rolls of 35mm & 120 film at home, so my experience is very limited.) Using Arista Premium Liquid developer at 1:9. Developer is perhaps 2 weeks old and has been stored in capped brown bottles that I got from Freestyle. I corrected developing time for temperature according to the Massive Developing Chart App (5min 6 sec for 22 dC/ 74dF, instead of 6 min at 20 dC). Agitation was 1 min continuous and then 10sec every minute. Was relying on the meter on the Mamiya 7, so perhaps is underexposed on a very bright, overcast day?

    Should I be mixing fresh developer every time, or can I reuse this? How does one know when the developer is depleted? I also have some LegacyPro L110 Developer, but have not tried this yet. I was planning on trying it at 1:50 dilution as per Jason Bruner's excellent videos linked from apug. Thanks for any advice, tips, etc.

    Kent
     
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    All developers get used up. Some are one shot, some can be reused, some can be replenished. For example Ilford DD-X is designed as a one shot but can be reused, within limits, by adding more time to each successive run. The L110 is one shot. Pyro type developers last mere minutes after mixing. XTol can be used one shot or replenished, where some fresh developer is added to the working solution after each run.

    The directions you got with the Arista developer should give you some clue.
     
  3. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    You are facing two variables here.

    Firstly developer
    I have not used this particular developer. In general, it is best to standardise on either a developer that you use one-shot or a developer specifically designed for multiple use with/without replenishment. My standard developer is Barry Thornton's two-bath developer. He recommended using it for 15 films but I have found that, by replenishing the second bath, it gives consistent results for many films over a long period of time.

    Mamiya 7 meter
    For the past 11 years I have exclusively used a Mamiya 7 with 65mm lens. However, I use a hand-held meter because the built-in meter is very tricky to use. It is a quasi spot meter meaning you need to know where to point it for an accurate reading, hold the AE lock and then recompose. I have found that, for my way of working, the meter can be as much as three stops different from the reading I have calculated with the hand-held meter. This is generally because I have metered to achieve good shadow detail and, in the image I am composing, a very bright or very dark area falls in the centre where the quasi spot meter would take a (false in this case) reading.

    The best course of action is to tackle the two variables one at a time.

    Firstly, standardise on a developer that gives consistent results (one shot developers are particularly good for this and can be used economically).

    Secondly, spend some time learning how the Mamiya 7 meter works and decide if it suits your way of working. If not then use the camera in manual mode with either a hand-held meter or use the inbuilt meter as a spot meter and interpret the results as appropriate.

    Finally, it is well worth pinning down these variables as the Mamiya 7 is a fantastic camera to use.

    Best,

    David
    www.dsallen.de
     
  4. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    The keeping properties of ?all? developers refer to the original concentrate, not the diluted working concentration.

    For example, Rodinal (now Adonal) concentrate remains good for decades, even in partially-used bottles.

    The life of working-strength developers is usually very short, sometimes measured in hours, sometimes less.
    For this reason (and others) I always use one-shot developers and discard the working solution after development.

    - Leigh
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Thing about developer is..... there's no going back if your film get messed up! Until you know the behavior of your particular developer, it's safest to use fresh one every time. That's what many of us do. Use them as one-shot.
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I wonder if you're mixing the entire bottle of developer 1:9 and then keeping it for weeks. You can't do that, as Leigh says. You take a small portion of the concentrate (10% of what you need, in this case, since you add nine parts of water), dilute it with water of the appropriate temperature, and proceed with development. Discard this diluted developer after your development step.
     
  7. BardParker

    BardParker Member

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    No, I'm just mixing up what I need for 2 rolls in a 16 Oz Paterson tank (600cc) but reusing it. I've done about 3 cycles (4 rolls of 35mm and 1 roll of 120) in 2 weeks. I understand the Arista Premuim Developer is very similar to F-76. So, I should just be using this for a one shot developer at 1:9?
    Kent
     
  8. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Your developer is dead.

    Compare the first roll you did with the last.

    - Leigh
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i wouldn't re-use your dilute developer unless you have a deep tank of it and you replenish it.
    a lot of developers, like the one you are using, when used to process a few rolls of film in a
    round tank ... are single shot.

    good luck!
    john


    ps. freestyle has a 800# why don't you call them and ask ?
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    To the OP:

    Your question seems to be about time ("How Long") but really the issue is more about capacity ("How Many Rolls").

    markbarendt's advice is the best - read the instructions :D.

    But just in case they don't mention it - be sure to have fun!
     
  12. BardParker

    BardParker Member

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    I called Freestyle today, and they recommend that the Arista Premium Developer be mixed and used as a one shot developer. This works out to only about 50-60cc/ 16 0z tank, so not that expensive. What initially threw me off is the bottle said "long lasting" on the label. I think they meant shelf life for full strength solution in the original bottle. Thanks for all the advice. The 64 oz bottle only had instructions for dilution 1:9 and recommended developing times for popular films.

    Regards,
    Kent
     
  13. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    Good detailed information can be difficult to find. Glad you got it sorted out.

    - Leigh