Preping developer (your experience please?)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Dikaiosune01, May 11, 2011.

  1. Dikaiosune01

    Dikaiosune01 Member

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    This is quite possibility a stupid question... please bear with me.

    Is it possible to mix the developer the night before?
    (My evenings are quite short and would like to do some preparation work the night before. I was wondering if mixing the chemicals and storing them in a dark place. Will that be alright? )

    To prevent oxizdation, can I cover it with suran wrap (I use a clear jug to mix a litre of chemicals; which is enough for one round of negatives)

    Will similar principles apply to fixer and stop bath?
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Stop & fix last well in a tray if covered, you could pre-mix those and just make up fresh dev. It's not worth pre-mixing developer you will get some deterioration.

    In reality if you have everything else ready mixing fresh chemistry is so quick and has the advantage you can mix to the right temperature.

    Ian
     
  3. jerl

    jerl Member

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    The Ilford datasheets say their paper developer can last about a day in an open tray, so you should be ok. Realistically speaking, they are being quite conservative, so you can probably get a bit more than that. I've had good experiences with mixed developer even a week (although it was stored in a bottle, not in an open tray). Personally, I'd suggest keeping all of the chemicals in bottles and just pouring them out when you need them. It shouldn't take that much longer, and is probably better than wrapping the trays (even from a practical standpoint of reducing space and reducing the risk of spillage).
     
  4. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If it's for film, I'd suggest a liquid concentrate developer so you can mix it fresh right before use. Something like a liquid PMK/pyrocatHD/hc110/tmax developer will mix up real quick while you presoak the film. This is in contrast to the long time required to mix powdered chemicals like d76/xtol/kodak-fixer.

    Stop or fixer will last a long time in bottles and I'd suggest leaving them in bottles until you are ready to use them, not for oxidation, but just to keep your chemicals organized. You don't want to fix your film before you develop it for example.
     
  5. degruyl

    degruyl Member

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    With powders, you can generally mix them ahead of time. A while ahead of time. It takes several weeks for me to use a gallon of D76 (used once through and mixed 1+1 with water).

    As mentioned, most liquids don't take long to mix at all. On the other hand, do not even attempt to mix pyro based formulas ahead of time. There is a reason the components come in separate bottles.

    What chemistry are we talking about?
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Yes, I agree. It appears the first poster was talking about diluting a commercially mixed liquid concentrate developer stock solution to the final working dilution ahead of time.

    My mind leapt to an earlier time in my darkroom life diluting Ilford Multigrade paper developer 1:9. Oh, back then my life was simpler. High school, to the present hub and dad of two kids busy with thier own lives.

    I mix most of my developers from raw dry chemical constituents, and I most certainly mix them ahead of time, since a lot need to be very hot to ensure all ingredients dissolve in a reasonable time.

    You are right that some things mix only at time of use, and Pyro based developers are certainly one of them.
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    One thing about liquid concentrates, whether they have been mixed from powder, or bought in a pre-mixed bottle, is temperature. If you mix the working solution the night before, you have to spend time making sure they are at the right temperature by the time you use them. That takes longer than just mixing the water at the tap to temperature, and adding the liquid concentrate.

    I also use replenished developer, which isn't diluted, so it's warmed up prior to using, so that it's at exactly my desired temperature before I use it. If I use single-shot developer, like HC-110 or Rodinal, I just pour the concentrate into 68 degree water that I get from mixing hot and cold at the tap. And while the film gets its pre-wash, and subsequent developing cycle, I warm up the stop bath and fixer to working temperature, so there I don't really lose any time.

    What would you gain from mixing your working solution the night before? That's the part I don't understand.
     
  8. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    "What would you gain from mixing your working solution the night before? That's the part I don't understand."

    I very much understand: time. I've been getting up between 4 and 5 a.m. to print before work. It's the only time I can find and 5 minutes saved can mean a lot. I printed my first acceptable 20x24 print this morning and was very excited. I was less excited when I caught my bus a half hour late and had to skulk into the office looking like a slacker.
    To the OP, I recommend two paths depending on what type of printing you're doing. For proofs and test prints mix up a batch of developer, keep count of how many prints go through it and bottle it up after each session up to a week long, assuming you haven't reached its capacity. For sessions where you're doing final prints, always mix up fresh developer. As for temp, my dr is pretty stable at 70 and I think consistency matters more than actual temp. Hope this helps. Others with more experience are certainly welcome to let me know why this may not be ideal.

    Thanks,
    Leo
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Leo,

    Thanks for your perspective. I do believe the OP is talking about film developer, though.

    If you mix it the night before (working solution), chances are it will have gone bad, and/or you have to bring it up to temperature. What I suggested was that it takes longer to heat already mixed working solution up to working temperature, than it takes to just mix cold and hot water until you have the right temperature (should take about 12 seconds), and pour in the right amount of concentrate (another 12 seconds), compared to minutes of warming the already mixed developer up (or cooling down if you're in a very hot area). Even if you're lucky enough to have a storage facility for the working solution that is exactly the temperature it needs to be, most single shot film developers will go bad in a relatively short period of time.

    - Thomas
     
  10. 36cm2

    36cm2 Member

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    Thomas, yeah I didn't see the negatives reference. My bad. Totally agree with you.