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  1. #1
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    C-41 chem shelf life / Contaminated chems

    OK, so I've been doing C-41 developing for a few months now, and have a few related questions.

    1. Today I was on roll #3 of a Unicolor kit I just mixed up yesterday. (FYI, it was a roll of Polaroid One Film, ISO 200, 35mm, expired of unknown vintage, that came out completely blank.) I swear I've NEVER done this before, but I inadvertently started pouring my just-used blix into the developer bottle, which was already full and so it ran over immediately, alerting me to my mistake. I panicked and poured out probably about 200 ml of developer so I could get the most contaminated developer out of the bottle, but obviously some blix got mixed in. Should I scrap these chemicals or still attempt to use them?

    2. I can't seem to get the same amount of shelf life out of my Unicolor mixed chemicals that other folks here on APUG are getting with theirs. I thought I was doing rather well with getting about 14 rolls steadily over the course of 6 weeks before the kit failed suddenly. With the latest batch I did about 10 rolls in only two weeks' time, then let them sit another two weeks before trying the chems again, and they failed. I've always stored my mixed chemicals at room temperature in Datatainer 1 L bottles with nearly no air at the top. Will refrigerating them make any difference? Or should I switch to a liquid kit like Rollei Digibase so I can mix only as much as I need?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback you can provide.
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    "Embrace the negative with absolution, your final positive reward." --IQ, "The Province," Frequency

  2. #2
    msa
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    There's no dumping the "most" contaminated developer.

    Your developer is tainted.

    Remix.

    Refrigeration will definitely extend storage life, but I don't do it, preferring to mix chemicals in small batches and use them regularly.

  3. #3
    hpulley's Avatar
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    The way liquids mix, that developer is likely toast. You could clip test it if you like.

    I keep my JOBO/Tetenal 1L chems in the cold cellar and have gotten 24 rolls out of them so far. Not sure if the cold helps. Keeping the glassware clean probably helps. I clip test before every roll and hope for the best at this point. 5 more kits ready to go when this one's done...

    Might be nice to do one shot C-41 though I don't know if I could pour it down the sink anyways. At least with the 1L kit I keep it until it's done then take it to the hazmat disposal depot all at once. So far the Tetenal kit is the only one I can seem to get delivered here but if I could get a Kodak 5L kit I would probably use it one shot.
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  4. #4
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    How does one do a clip test with color film, given the orange base?
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    "Embrace the negative with absolution, your final positive reward." --IQ, "The Province," Frequency

  5. #5
    hpulley's Avatar
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    Two choices.

    1) develop and blix for usual times at the usual temperature in light to make sure I get density from the developer and clearing from the blix.

    2) better yet, test a film clip in a developing tank, 35mm Fujicolor is perfect as it has red, green and blue in the edge markings.
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  6. #6
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    Your developer is done for.

    C-41 developer is supposed to last six weeks and then die, according to Kodak. Based on personal experience, I wouldn't try to push it past that point, especially since the developer itself is so darned cheap. I've had negs completely ruined, 100% useless because I said, "Oh, it's only two weeks past, it's tightly sealed, and I haven't used it much." So much for a ten pack of 4x5 film ($16 at the time) and the day it took me to shoot it. Portraits too; even worse.

    I'd also forget cheesy blix kits and go for the bona fide Kodak C-41 process chemicals. There are many reasons named over and over in the archives. But maybe the one that will make the largest immediate impact is cost. Developer is cheap, and can even be replenished. Bleach lasts for twice as many rolls as the developer does, and then can be regenerated, or it can be constantly replenished, as it has no shelf life. The only thing that makes it go bad is using it, not sitting. C-41 fixer is as cheap as dirt (maybe even cheaper, depending on the quality of the dirt), and also lasts for twice as many rolls as the developer, or can be replenished. Blix starts degrading the second it is mixed, and each chemical ends up not doing its job as well as it should.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 04-18-2011 at 08:37 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

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  7. #7
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    Yeah, I figured my developer was toast. Great suggestion, hpulley, with regards to the Fujicolor. I always try to keep some of that cheap film on hand.

    I've indeed read here that blix doesn't do as good a job as separate bleach and fix, 2F/2F. The only thing that I'm hesitant about is in the initial outlay of funds for the bulk chemicals - it seems one has to buy mass quantities (unless I've overlooked something in the forums). If someone's made a definitive post on what to buy from where and a detailed set of instructions on what to mix and how to replenish, I'm all ears (I've indeed seen a list of Kodak item numbers).

    Thanks to both of you for your input.
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    "Embrace the negative with absolution, your final positive reward." --IQ, "The Province," Frequency



 

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