My trays are too large to pour the chemicals back into the bottles or to cover with plastic wrap. I leave them exposed overnight and start up early the next morning. Sometimes the developer goes bad overnight; other times there appears to be not change. Since my dry darkroom is a bedroom and the wet darkroom is a bathroom, I am not concerned about the effects of the chemicals on the enlarger or the dryer.
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I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
I often leave the chems in the trays at night if I am going to continue to work in the morning. I've never had a problem. I have left chems in the trays for at least 24 hours and the developer still worked fine. I use Dektol 1:2.
My darkroom is in the basement and rarely gets over 20C even in the middle of summer.
Last edited by ricksplace; 06-20-2009 at 04:27 PM. Click to view previous post history.
"I'm still developing"
To make a floating lid; plexi or similar would work; PVC too. Stainless if you want bragging rights - but then you may need stainless trays to go along with it. Maybe you should say with plastic.
I've seen the adjustable-volume (accordion thingie) bottles used at college darkrooms with excellent success.
Do NOT leave the developer out when it is not in use. It will start to noticeably oxidize in as llittle as two hours out with a U.S. Qt. size that I usually use (~950mL).
So the smaller solutions can even be poured in a bottle when you go on a break or are counting paper or processing film or something.
The more surface area (8x10" trays oxidize much more slowly than say a 16x20" tray with similar amounts of solution) and the higher the dilution, the quicker the oxidation.
Also, though, sloshing them around in bottles causes oxidation too, so don't make too many dumps back into a bottle either.
I always use a graduated cylinder for RA-4 tray processing, and dump the developer back in before it reaches capacity and replenish. Then I'll just use the bottom of a 10-L RA-4 Kodak kit, I think the part A bottle as a make shift floating lid.
A similar approach would probably produce just-as-consistant results with Dektol or the like, although it is time consuming if you are running a lot of prints through to have to constantly replenish.
I think I was using a 4-L Paterson cylinder, or maybe it was a 2- or 2.5L variety, I forget.
While I agree with PE that developers can last overnight, or even longer than that, I find it better to store them stoppered. While some will keep working with just a tray covering, there definitely is a level of exhaustion that is noticeable, and caused frustrating print exposure inconsistancies that ultimately just waste your time and paper.
If you have an adjustable volume bottle, why not use a method that will work consistantly every time (unless the damned bottle starts leaking which, of course, has never happened to me ;-) )?
Originally Posted by hoffy
I have tested this with Dektol 1+2 and got the same results Dr. Henry published in his book. The developer shows no significant sign of aging for a couple of days, after which, the achievable Dmax starts to suffer. See the attached file with my test results. However, I agree with others who have recommended to pour the developer back into the bottle after printing. For one, it can't hurt and the darkroom will smell better the next morning.
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Ralph, are you sure there is *no* deterioration at all?
When the developer oxidizes (turns brown) there has to be some loss of action, as the brown is the benzene compounds going bad.
With Dektol 1:2 in a U.S. Qt (950 mL) quantity, I think 1:2 is the dilution I usually use, it'll definitely be brown at the end of an 8-hour workday.
So, unless you are replenishing chemistry, I would think that for optimal consistancy, you would *have* to bottle it to avoid this, even over the course of a single day.
Air flow will have an effect on this though, of course, but as long as there is oxygen in the air, the process will be ongoing.
My data agrees with Ralph's post, and I can better it with a simple cover on the tray. Then again, I have been able to better that by mixing my own developers which have up to 4x the capacity or tray life of the example that Ralph's data shows!
I'm not a chemist, so, I don't know what it really means for the developer to turn brown, but I do know that the color of the developer is little indication of its capability. Maybe oxidation doesn't affect developing power as much as it changes color. Dektol, for an example, changes its color very quickly after it has been prepared. However, even after it has turned into a brown 'soup', it still develops the print perfectly.
Originally Posted by Blackknight603
In theory, there is a small change in Dmax after the first day. In practice, this isn't an issue for several days. Dmax deterioration is hard to detect without a densitometer, and my tests show that highlight and midtone contrast is not affected for days. I never replenish developers. I discard it after my emergence time has gotten too long for 6x factorial development or the smell got to me. Through my development technique, Dmax loss is almost non-existing.
I still pour my developer back after use, but I don't think it's a big issue if one doesn't.
Thanks for your expansion.
I've never carried it past one day, but wouldn't you then have to deal with evaporation too?
I remember trying browned developer once I'd left out overnight, and I seem to remember that it had deteriorated though.
Probably depends on quantity, air quality, humidity, and temperature.
Originally Posted by hoffy
You can float Saran Wrap over the developer, smoothing it to get the air bubbles out and you'll be o.k.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA