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  1. #1

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    E-6 chemicals: What goes bad first?

    Hi,

    I've got a Kodak E-6 kit that I purchased over a year ago and began using at that time. I don't shoot a lot of E-6, so I've still got a lot of this kit left. The last couple of rolls I've processed have come out rather dark, and the last one wasn't fixed properly. (I caught a strong whiff of ammonium as I poured out the fixer, and the results were obvious. I used some C-41 fixer to fix again and that seemed to clear the film.) I'm therefore guessing that the first developer and fixer have gone south.

    So my question is: How much of this kit is salvageable? Can I just buy a couple of items fresh and continue using the rest of the kit? Or is everything in the kit so close to being worthless at this point that I should just write it off and discard it all? Even if most of it's bad, is there anything that's likely to have a particularly long shelf life, that I could keep for use in case I accidentally spill something from the next kit I buy?

  2. #2
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    In order of failure are the color developer, the first developer, the reversal bath and the fix.

    If the fix is cloudy it is bad, if it is exhausted it just won't fix and leaves a stain. You can refix.

    The color developer turns brown and finally black. The first developer is hard to check out IIRC and so is the reversal bath.

    The bleach does not really go bad, but can be exhausted.

    As with fixer, you can always re bleach and then refix.

    PE

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    The color developer turns brown and finally black. The first developer is hard to check out IIRC and so is the reversal bath.
    PE
    C41 color dev is similar, am I right?

    I got half a liter of c41 cd, which I mixed from concentrated kit at begining of august, souped 3 or 4 rolls in it (the producer says its a kit for 6 rolls). I've checked and its brown now. Is it worth risking developing?

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    No, in no way similar.

    PE

  5. #5
    Domin's Avatar
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    I meant just color change when going bad.

    I know they are quite different.

  6. #6
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    It turns dark tea or coffee colored when it goes bad. Yours is most likely bad. Used developer keeps less well than unused.

    Sorry, I misunderstood.

    PE

  7. #7

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    my E-6 kit expired in 2003...unused, stored at room temperature

    so it's safe to assume the bleach is still probably OK...maybe needs to have air bubbled through it or something?

    my experiments are imprecise enough---I don't need to confuse the issue with bad chemicals...but if bleach lasts pretty well I'd love to be able to use it...I assume it's easy to run a test clip of film & check it

  8. #8
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    The only thing to check is if any of the folowoing happens:

    1. First developer may form crystals. It should be warmed to dissolve them before dilution to make sure the huge crystals come out of the concentrate bottle. This is according to EK.

    2. The color developing agent is still clear in the concentrate part "B" IIRC. It is the small bottle. If left sealed it keeps for many years, unless it is in plastic. Kodak has used plastic with worse keeping of the color developing agent.

    3. Fixer turns cloudy, gets a precipitate, gets a rotten egg odor, or coats the bottle with scum.

    Two and three are really bad, one indicates age but usability.

    There is no test for the reversal bath and by the time you find it is bad it is too late.

    PE

  9. #9

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    thanks...I have a few crystals in 1st dev...

    color dev part B is in glass bottle

    fixer looks clear

    might be worth a shot after all

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    In order of failure are the color developer, the first developer, the reversal bath and the fix.

    If the fix is cloudy it is bad, if it is exhausted it just won't fix and leaves a stain. You can refix.
    My fixer isn't cloudy and doesn't have a rotten egg odor, but it did squat on my last roll. Maybe it was "pilot error," though -- mismeasurement, perhaps. (I considered that I might have accidentally used the wrong bottle, but it had a strong ammonium odor when I finished with it, so I thought I must have been smelling ammonium from the ammonium thiosulfate in the fixer.)

    Is the fact that I re-fixed with C-41 fixer likely to cause problems down the line? This roll isn't very important, so even if it'll do harm I probably won't bother re-fixing in E-6 fixer, but it'd be good to know for future reference.

    The color developer turns brown and finally black. The first developer is hard to check out IIRC and so is the reversal bath.
    When mixed, my color developer is bluish. I seem to recall it being a bit more turquoise when I first got it, but I'm not positive of that. The first developer is yellow, and fairly pale yellow when diluted. The reversal bath is working, although if there are subtle effects of stuff that's just starting to go I might be missing that. Of course, in terms of salvaging kit components, reversing by exposure to light would be an option, correct?

    The bleach does not really go bad, but can be exhausted.
    I've been using it one-shot, so what I've got left ought to still be good.

    Could the bleach be mixed with something else (ammonium thiosulfate and perhaps other stuff) to be used as an RA-4 blix? Or could it be used as a C-41 bleach? If I have to ditch most of the kit, those might be good ways to salvage the bleach, if I knew how to do it properly.

    Anyhow, thanks for your comments.

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