Ilfosol 3 going stale
I developed a couple of rolls last night using Ilfosol 3.
This was a controlled test where I set up a studio strobe and took a series of photos holding the light constant and varying the aperture.
Even at the "heavy exposure" end (meaning where the aperture relative to the strength of the strobe should have yielded serious over-exposure), the negatives (to my admittedly untrained eye) look a bit thin.
Development temperature and times were well controlled...at least as well as my setup allows. I was comfortably within a degree or two and five seconds or so (68 degrees/seven minutes/1:14 ratio) on all counts.
The contents of my Ilfosol bottle have turned a dark brown. I first opened it right at four months ago. Reading the Ilford specs, they talk about a four month life for partially full bottles. I assumed there was at least a bit of margin of safety in that, but now I wonder.
Anyway, I'm going to get a fresh bottle and repeat the experiment to see what the results look like.
In the mean time, I have two specific questions:
1) Does the expiration of Ilfosol 3 come on suddenly, or is it a gradual thing?
2) Other than eyeballing the color, is there a reliable way (short of risking screwing up a roll) to determine when its too old?
Based on my results, I'm thinking that maybe I should limit the life to something safe (two months?) and not risk it.
I use Ilfosol 3, and find that when it starts to turn color it's time to throw it out. Rodinal it's not. I have gotten pretty good life by putting marbles in the bottel to bring it to the top, but still watch closely.
On the other hand, I find that Microphen stock solution lasts a long time.
I'm going to try that marbles thing on the next bottle. As it stands, I'm tossing out a half-full bottle.
I always develop in batches. It's good to have a 4,5 or 10 reel tank. When I have 20 rolls to develop I do it in a day. This way I go through a bottle of ilfosol, of Tmax, of DDX or a pack of D76 within an hour or two.
There are many advantages of doing it this way. Especially in the homogeneity of the films. When printing, they all have the same density. Printing them is a breeze once the first neg is dialed-in.
I rebottle my Ilfosol 3. usually into 125 cc bottles, with no air to speak of, which is about 4 8x10's or equivalent and it lasts a very long time.
"There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).
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As far as a test is concerned try developing the film leader in normal room-light for the normal development time to see whether the leader goes black. If you can barely see the filament of a room lightbulb through it then the dev is most likely OK
Interesting idea. I gather the definition of a failed test is one that doesn't turn a piece of fully exposed film fully opaque in the allotted amount of time.
I shoot 120, so I don't have leaders, but what I think I'll do is take your suggestion and cut a roll into 3" strips and keep them in an envelope...using them to test the developer on a monthly basis or so. Would it be adequate to just put the strip in a dish and then add the developer (mixed to the correct concentration) and wait seven minutes?
I'm going to try that test tonight with my spoiled bottle. It will be interesting to see what happens.
I stopped using Ilfosol because it goes off quickly. I presume oxygen is the problem. I tried using Protectan gas, but this didn't help. I would think the best way to preserve it would be re-bottling or marbles, both as mentioned above. It changes colour gradually from almost clear, through yellow to brown. Yellow works, but brown is useless. It's a pity because I liked the mixing convenience and the results it gives.
I have trouble with all the Ilford liquid developers, exacerbated by the fact that I don't shoot a ton of rolls. The bottles inevitably go bad before I have finished them off. I've switched to Rodinal and its variants because I don't have to worry too much that my chemistry has gone bad.
Were the edge numbers ok?
Originally Posted by omaha
I've not had troubles with liquid chemicals but dont store them partially used to long, cept Rodinal.