Shelf-life of unopened Tetenal E6?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Dr Croubie, Apr 9, 2014.

  1. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    2,014
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've finally scored myself a Jobo 2509n reel, so it's now time to start thinking about developing my own E6.
    The problem, being so far down this end of the earth, is getting the chemicals.
    There is a local shop around here who has a Tetenal E6 3-bath kit, the price works out a tad cheaper than getting lab-devved rolls but is a lot better for 4x5s (because you get four 4x5s for using the same amount of chemistry as a roll, right?).
    That's fine with me, the only major beef that I have with my local lab is that they use dip'n'dunk, the clips they use to hold 4x5s put holes in the film, and it makes wet-scanning an absolute headache because the airbubbles won't go away.

    The only thing I'm concerned about is that this kit in the shop has been sitting around for what looks like forever.
    I bought an RA-4 kit from them a few months ago, and that was fine (except the bottles were rather stained on the inside and it took a few hours of shaking to mix the gloop back together, maybe that happens from fresh too though).
    I also noticed that there was no 'use by' or 'mix by', or even 'production' date on the kit itself, so I have no idea how long it had been sitting around on the shelf. At least with RA4 there's no risk in using old chems, just cash to buy more paper and fresh chems, but with film (especially 4x5 chromes) I'm more interested in not cocking them up.

    With complete respect to the shop (because I love them), I'm just a bit worried that this E6 kit has also been sitting around for a while. Would the chemicals go off at all in completely factory-sealed bottles? Or could sitting around for a while in the shop lead to shorter life once diluted?
     
  2. duparis00

    duparis00 Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2014
    Location:
    Toronto
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good question I'm about to buy some E-6 myself and I have a feeling the kits have been around a while.
     
  3. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

    Messages:
    851
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Location:
    County Durha
    Shooter:
    35mm
    So long as the 1st developer has not discoloured past a pale straw colour and the colour developer (part 2) has not discoloured, it will go to a blue/purple colour then it is OK to use. The colour developer and bleach fix does not seem to go off.

    I have a Tetenal kit which has been opened and part used for close on 8 months. The 1st developer is visually still OK, but the colour developer is now almost a deep purple so the remaining (I have already done 6 films from the kit) will have to be dumped. I have found that once a kit is opened, storing the 2 developers in small dark brown glass bottles will greatly extend the manufacturers stated life.
     
  4. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,477
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The kits last at least forever if closed, years (4 at least)
    You can always just test it and see, and if it is dead return it.
     
  5. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Location:
    Olías del Re
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I do recall having read at least 2 years somewhere in the leaflet.
    Manufacturer's indications are always conservative.

    Also, they do stamp a serial number to know when it was made. Instructions to read it were on tetenal web site.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2014
  6. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    2,014
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, I went ahead and bought it anyway. Talked to the guys in the shop first, apparently it had only been sitting there 4 months or so, he said they reordered around christmas.
    Just did my first batch, and they couldn't have gone better. Hanging to dry right now.

    Anyway, I learned a few things today:
    a) My Jobo blows my earth-leakage breaker on my house. Thankfully, I had a second Jobo lying around so I swapped the lift to that one and it heated up fine, but
    b) the second Jobo leaks. So now I gotta go around it with superglue and/or silicon sealant. A towel worked for today but my MDF bathtub-bench isn't happy.
    c) The Tetenal kit has some vastly different times to the Jobo instructions here. I blindly followed the Jobo times (7.30/4/6) and they all look rather good.

    So, now I've got some more questions:
    I mixed 350ml of a 1L kit, near enough to 1/3rd (I would have done 333ml, but 350ml and the maths/measuring is a lot easier, the 2509n only need 270ml so I'm covered there).
    The 1L kit claims 12 rollfims capacity, if I do 2 rolls at once. So I've mixed up chems for 12 / 3 = 4 films.
    But I've only put through 4 sheets of 4x5, ie 1-roll capacity.
    So the question is, can I get more capacity out of the already-mixed partly-used chems? Even being conservative and expecting half the capacity, I should get another 4 sheets out of this batch, shouldn't I? I'm going back to my shack next weekend to shoot some more, I should do at least 4 shots, maybe 6, so I can dev them in just over a week from now.
    I'll also finish a roll in my 617 and may shoot another one or two, but rollfilm lab-dev vs tetenal kit only works out $2-3 more to get it done in a Q-Lab, so I may just lab-dev the rolls and be done with it.

    Honestly, I can do two more batches of 325ml each, with 4 or 6 sheets of 4x5. One batch of 4 sheets and the kit has paid for itself compared to a lab, if I do two more batches of 6 I'm definitely ahead, so I'm not concerned about milking too much from this kit, but it would be nice to know what to expect. If I do reuse, do I need any time-compensation in any of the steps?
     
  7. JaZ99

    JaZ99 Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    This was my 5th (yes, fifth) reuse of tetenal e-6 kit @8 minutes FD, 11 minutes CD, and BX:

    [​IMG]
    Great Hanami place by JaZ99wro, on Flickr

    I always mix up 450ml of chemistry, so I can get 11 batches from 5L kit.

    This is the control strip from 4th reuse of another batch:
    L003A.jpg
     
  8. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

    Messages:
    1,143
    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Melbourne, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you had a 1 litre kit wouldn't you just mix the whole kit and just keep returning It to the bottle until you had done the recommended no of films?
     
  9. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,392
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, do as Shane says.

    Sent from my C6603 using Tapatalk
     
  10. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

    Messages:
    2,014
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Location:
    rAdelaide
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, unfortunately, the Jobo has this pesky habit of only having 600ml bottles. So I theoretically *could* have mixed up all 1L bottles, then transferred them to the 600ml ones for use, then back to the 1L, but I didn't exactly have any 1L bottles lying around.
    I figured that even if I poured out each 1/3rd of the kit after I'd used it I was ahead on cost anyway, so no pressing need to reuse.
    And also, Jobo reported some people get problems mixing chems between fuji and kodak films, if I shoot some Ektachrome next I can mix some un-fuji-tainted chems to use.

    So anyway, I just did another 6 sheets of RVP50 in the same stuff as the first, so I've now put 2.5 roll-equivalents through the first batch; I'm going to mix fresh for the next batch, which will go in the current 600ml bottles. The results were almost as good as the first, just a slight pinkish tinge to the clouds in 3 of them (the other 3 didn't have clouds). Not sure if it's a film or dev problem, 1 of those sheets was the same as the first batch (left at room temp for 2 weeks), the other 5 were fresh from the freezer (although I'm pretty sure they were all from the same box anyway). Very slight, nothing I can't correct when scanning anyway.

    The leftovers I'm going to collect in just some junky water bottles and use for cross-processing and some ektachrome that expired in 1982, ie where I don't care about the colours and paid next to nothing for the sheets anyway.

    Jaz, I'm interested if you've got any kind of time-compensation table/formula for reuse? I again gave it 7.30 FD, but this time 6mins CD and 7mins BX (on high-speed '2', the rest on low-speed '1', that's all you get on a CPE2). Like I said, i'm not going to reuse these chems again for anything important, but if I can 'lomo' anything out of them that'll be a bonus...
     
  11. Colin D

    Colin D Member

    Messages:
    66
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2012
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've resurrected this thread because I am about to do my first E6 processing in the near future.

    Using a litre kit on 4x5 film. If I read what is said above I can get 48 sheets done on the kit (ie. 4 sheets = 1 x 120 roll)

    I plan on splitting the solution into one working lot of 330ml and keeping the unmixed stuff in a container putting butane inside and leaving it in the fridge to keep.

    I'm still unsure on how much you can re-use the used solution, once the colours start to drift can I just top it up with new soup or do I ditch it and begin a new batch.