How long will Dektol last?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by stradibarrius, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I mixed my Dektol last winter and have not tried to print anything all summer. I am going to print some in the next couple of days and I was wondering how long Dektol stock will last? What is the normal color for Dektol?
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,709
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2003
    Good Evening, Stradibarrious,

    Kodak says that Dektol is good for about six months in a completely full container. Dektol is clear when fresh; it gradually changes to yellowish. then dark yellow, then reddish-brown as it ages.

    Konical
     
  3. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

    Messages:
    2,914
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Location:
    Southeastern
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If not a full bottle, 2 months. Unless yours was in one of those accordion style bottles I don't think it is any good.
     
  4. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,361
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, replace it. It's not worth the grief of starting a printing session and finding out it doesn't work.
     
  5. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    That is what I will do, I just didn't want to throw out 2 liters without asking first.
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,196
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Try using some. If the image comes up quickly in the tray, it may very well be okay.

    Make sure that you complete your development procedure with your test print, and then examine it carefully for mottling or other signs of uneven development.

    Even if it works fine with your test, it may have reduced capacity, so make sure to keep inspecting your prints as your printing session proceeds.

    That being said, I would make a point of having some new Dektol available, so if the old stuff doesn't test correctly, you aren't stuck.

    Matt
     
  7. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,462
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    North East U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If the bottle was full to the brim, it might be ok. I've seen dektol work until it was the color of weak coffee.
    But what the print looks like is the real determinate factor. The developer may well produce an image, but the blacks may not be what they should be. As suggested, you are probably better off dumping it.
    FWIW, in my experience, storage that long in an accordian bottle will guarantee that it is no good.
     
  8. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,678
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Full to the brim and in glass (or PET...e.g. pop bottles)....it should be OK. FYI - I use a bunch of 1 liter glass bottles and chemicals seem to last much longer. When Dektol is fresh it is a very pale amber. I'd say give it a try if it isn't too discolored.

    I'd also have to agree with bdial that it is probably no good if it is in an accordion bottle. They tend to trap bubbles in the folds and they are made from thin polyethylene which is quite gas permeable. A good free alternative to lab glass bottles (although they are cheap!) are 20 oz/500ml PET bottles. They are less gas permeable than polyethylene and much of the air can be squeezed out.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2009
  9. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,022
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How long will Dektol last? Based on recent Kodak history, I would say they will discontinue it in a couple of months. Ba dum bum cha! You have so many good answers, I had to blow it. Sorry.
     
  10. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    May as well test it. Expose a piece of paper with a negative as you know it should develop (remake an old print, if you took notes) and if you get a good image you're good. If you get bad contrast then chuck it.
     
  11. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    2,386
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    Cleveland, O
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Color is an accurate guide to the state of Dektol.

    It begins to lose activity when it turns medium yellow - you will need to increase development time to get to maximum black the paper can deliver.

    You can still use it when it has turned orange, but developing times may stretch to 10 minutes or more. A tablespoon of carbonate can bring expired Dektol back to life again for a few more prints.

    When it starts to turn brown and smelly it is far gone and should be flushed.

    Expiring developers can be used with papers because paper is developed to completion - you just keep the paper in the developer until it is finished.

    However, when making soft prints the print isn't developed to completion. To prevent streaking and splodging soft-working developers work very slowly, allowing you to pull the print before it is completely developed. Many photographers used to keep a jug of old Dektol on hand that they would mix 50:50 with fresh developer to make a slow working 'soft developer'.

    It is, of course, possible to poison Dektol so it doesn't work while remaining clear - pouring the stop tray back into the developer bottle will do it.
     
  12. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    How do you use dektol? Stock or some dilution.
    Is it one shot or should I save it?
     
  13. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    Lehi, Utah
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    It may be worth mixing a tray and trying it against the new batch. It will give you some experience as to the effects of the older stuff. Do a side by side comparison and report back. It will be of interest to others who might have the same question.
     
  14. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,467
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a batch I mixed last March, Its a dark red-brown, still works like fresh. I do keep it in full bottles with air removed, of course.

    Rick
     
  15. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,305
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use it 1+2 until Dmax starts to suffer.
     
  16. Don Wallace

    Don Wallace Member

    Messages:
    419
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    Ottawa, Cana
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I just did some contact prints with Dektol mixed from stock which I prepared in the summer and did not store in a full bottle. I was unable to get the blacks I wanted on MGIV WT. I will mix up some new developer tonight and do a comparison between the old stock and the new. I will report back for inquiring minds.

    Another variable: I calibrated my dichroic head last year with MGIV WT and the highest contrast I get with it is about 3.5 (expressed in traditional grades), so it just might be the negative.
     
  17. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

    Messages:
    1,382
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2009
    Location:
    Monroe, GA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I'm just going to mix some fresh and be done with it This is very dark brown and I don't want to waist the paper and time fooling around with it.
    Ralph, do you mix the stock ( which is 1+2) 1+2 or are you talking about just using stock? Also do you save the Dektol or is it one shot?

    Also in my trays do I just need enough chemistry to cover the paper completely?
     
  18. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,305
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    1 (Dektol) + 2 (water)

    I don't use paper chemicals one shot. Use Dektol until Dmax suffers.

    I use 2 liters in 12x16-inch trays for 11x14 prints.
     
  19. clayne

    clayne Member

    Messages:
    2,805
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisc
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Same here, although I tend to use that for 8x10 and 5x7 more so than 11x14. 12x16 trays, while they occupy more space, are just easier to handle paper with.