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Ben Calwell
31-Oct-2015, 09:09
Can anyone recommend a good, general purpose paper developer that I can mix as needed from liquid concentrate? I've been a Dektol user for a long time, but the trouble is, as an infrequent printer, I'll mix up a gallon from the powder, do a darkroom session and then I might not be in the darkroom again for another six months or so. In the meantime, the Dektol has gone bad. I need a paper dev. concentrate with good shelf life that I can just mix as needed.

Bruce Barlow
31-Oct-2015, 09:24
Try saving up 8 16 oz plastic bottles. Mix a gallon of Dektol and fill the bottles equally, then top them off with water to take out any air. Cap them tight, and they'll last a long, long time. I use 16 oz bottles so that when diluted 2 parts water to 1 Dektol I have a comfortable amount for an 8x10 tray. Use whatever size works for you.

I've kept small bottles of Dektol for over a year with no oxidation.

Randy Moe
31-Oct-2015, 09:36
Ilford PQ works well for me. The original gallon lasts well over a year as I use it. Mix lasts over a month in dark filled to top capped bottle. I have not yet found it's shelf life.

tgtaylor
31-Oct-2015, 09:47
Better yet, get a copy of the Darkroom Cookbook and mix your own from scratch as needed. The bulk chemistry is readily available from suppliers such as Bostick & Sullivan and Photographer's Formulary and has long shelf life.

Thomas

Jac@stafford.net
31-Oct-2015, 09:48
Try saving up 8 16 oz plastic bottles. Mix a gallon of Dektol and fill the bottles equally, then top them off with water to take out any air.

I found out the hard way that most plastics are air permeable, so get the right stuff and be as happy as Bruce is.

Liquid Artist
31-Oct-2015, 10:31
Dark Glass bottles work too.

I prefer topping the bottles off by filling them with glass marbles rather than with water.
That way I know that I haven't messed up the dilution.

photonsoup
31-Oct-2015, 13:05
I have a small scale and weigh out the proper amount for mixing one pint or one quart at a time.

Liquid Artist
31-Oct-2015, 18:37
I've done that in the past without a problem too photonsoup,
However some people say that the powder itself can oxidize once it's opened.

I imagine that vacuum sealing it would help.

I usually use up my chemistry too quickly to have an issue, so I am just going by what I have read or heard.

Tim Meisburger
31-Oct-2015, 19:34
It is very easy to mix D-72, which is the equivalent of Dektol. I have the chemicals on hand, and when I want to print I mix up just 500ml or a liter at a time. Sometimes I go a few months without printing, and what's left in the bottle might have gone bad, but its a small enough amount I don't worry and just mix up some more.

You can also use Rodinal to develop prints, which I do very occasionally if I just want a contact for some reason and don't want to mix a whole batch of D-72. But I don't really like it for either prints or negatives (I use D-23, which I also mix as needed).

LabRat
31-Oct-2015, 21:28
I completely agree with Thomas (above) that mixing your own is the way to go... It seems silly (to me) if someone is doing a sizable amount of lab work, not to... (So much cheaper, always fresh (as you make what you need), mixes clear without oxidation, better shelf life, etc...) And this is when using old dry chems... (And gives you the Mad Scientist groove!!!)

Something you can do to help to make commercial developers have better shelf/tray life is to add a pinch of sodium sulfite, and mixing it in the H20 before adding the concentrate... This will scavenge the oxygen, will mix clearer, and will make it last much longer...

I've had good storage use with using carbonated soft drink polyester/PET bottles (these are thicker/stronger than water bottles, with better sealing caps) for 6 month+++ storage, and blow a little of your (CO2) breath (with a drinking straw) into the air space in the bottle before capping, as this will reduce oxidation as the solution is stored... (Use several smaller topped off bottles for storage, instead of one big, half empty one, and use them as-you-go...) Store them in a dark, cool place...

The Clayton liquid stock developers are cheaper and pretty good...

Steve K

Liquid Artist
31-Oct-2015, 22:29
My darkroom days are most likely over for the winter (it is not insulated or heated yet), but in the spring I may be tempted to start a thread about mixing our own chemistry if no one beats me to it.

I always want to try different formulas. Plus I'm always running out of chemistry.

Ben Calwell
1-Nov-2015, 07:27
Thanks for the great advice on paper developer. I actually do mix my own D23 for film. But that raises another question -- I'll mix some D23, but might only process a few sheets. I've been pouring the D23 back into the bottle to use again and haven't noticed any problems. If I mix it fresh every time I want to use it (for typically only a few sheets), and then discard it, I'll run out of the dry chemicals fast. I'm not a prolific producer of photographs and might only use my darkroom a few times a year. I've been using HC110 from concentrate, too, which, for me, is more cost effective, as it lasts a long time.

Bruce Barlow
1-Nov-2015, 08:06
I found out the hard way that most plastics are air permeable, so get the right stuff and be as happy as Bruce is.

I found that to be the case 10 years ago, but I kept Ansco 130 and other developers in liter Coke bottles for 2 years with no ill effects. Dektol is only a year, because I used it.

I think they've improved the plastics used. Better living through chemistry. Diet Coke is my brand of choice.

Careful searching can find 16 oz glass bottles, too. Obviously, they're even better. As a last resort, buy brown ones.

And, in answer to Liquid Artist, I use water to top off because it's simpler. Adding an ounce of water to a 16 oz bottle doesn't affect dilution enough for me to worry about. I can always add 30 oz of water rather than 32, or just not worry about it and be consistent with my slightly greater dilution. "Close enough for photography," as the sage said.

bigdog
2-Nov-2015, 04:33
Kodak's Polymax T will substitute nicely for Dektol, as will Ilford's PQ and Multigrade. All three mix 1:9 from concentrate.

esearing
2-Nov-2015, 17:19
Can anyone recommend a good, general purpose paper developer that I can mix as needed from liquid concentrate?

Ethol LPD can be mixed from powder to make 1 gallon stock. Or you can buy it premixed liquid form. Should last a long time.
Dilute it 1:1 for cold tone or 1:4 for warmer tone. I personally like 1:3.
I put the used developer in a glass wine bottle between printing sessions. I use a wine stopper with air pump to remove most of the air.

jp
2-Nov-2015, 17:36
I mix up a bunch of Dektol like Bruce Barlow does, perhaps once a year.

Except I have nothing nice to say about Diet Coke.

Michael Graves
2-Nov-2015, 18:18
I buy Photographer's Formulary Ansco 130. I love this developer, especially with Adox MC110 paper. You do have to mix the first batch from powder. But properly stored, it lasts a long long time. I buy the 5-liter kit and mix 5 quarts. Okay, so that's not very precise, but I've gotten used to it, and that's what I do. I then fill Rubbermaid 1-quart plastic bottle to the 1-quart line with the mixed developer and drop glass marbles in until I get a nice meniscus at the top of the bottle and the put the cap on tightly. Then I store it in the closet in the back bedroom we no longer use. It stays nice and cool there, and I've used bottles that was over six months old that hadn't begun to discolor in the least. And the prints looked as good as ones made from the first batch. Just don't let your wife drop the marbles into her aquarium if you haven't washed them yet. Don't ask how I know. I don't want to talk about it.

Bruce Barlow
2-Nov-2015, 18:26
Except I have nothing nice to say about Diet Coke.

Good bottles...

Michael Clark
2-Nov-2015, 20:21
I use the Arizona Green Tea in brown 16oz Pete bottles sold at Costco, they work good. I peel off the label so no one will mistake it for a refreshing drink.

Donald Qualls
3-Nov-2015, 12:19
I've mixed Dektol stock solution in half the water and been able to keep the stock solution in glass pickle jars, with minimal airspace (but not topped up to zero airspace) for over a year. It still works correctly even if the double stock has turned pretty dark brown (like very strong tea or pretty weak coffee), as long as you remember to dilute correctly (instead of 1+2, you need to dilute 1+5 to get the same working solution strength).

Randy Moe
3-Nov-2015, 18:10
Good bottles...

Very good bottles. I once pressurized a 2 liter Coke bottle to over 250 psi with N2, in a sealed room. I was curious and stopped there as I didn't want to make a loud bang. Even the cap held. The fitting was connected via a small hole in the cap. No leaks.

Sometimes, in test labs we test 'other' things. :)

jp
3-Nov-2015, 20:37
Very good bottles. I once pressurized a 2 liter Coke bottle to over 250 psi with N2, in a sealed room. I was curious and stopped there as I didn't want to make a loud bang.

Wise to have some restraint there! I made homemade soda once in my dorm room back in the day. Sugar, yeast, flavor, all that... It was probably a cheap no-brand bottle. After a week of building pressure, the heat came on one morning and a bottle blew apart, and that caused another couple bottles to fail in a chain reaction. It was like a shotgun being fired in my room. I have also made rockets with 2L bottles (add some water, pump up the pressure, uncork it and let it go). It got pretty deformed at 100 PSI and flew with tremendous power.

Back on topic.. I'm using plastic juice bottles as they have a wider neck which is handy for using a funnel. The bigger cap is more to write on too. A sharpie is adequately permanent for writing on the cap what the contents are.

Eric Biggerstaff
4-Nov-2015, 08:46
Clayton P-20 is an excellent paper developer in liquid and is nicely priced via Freestyle. Excellent tonal range and keeps well. I use glass wine bottles for storage, they work great and I get to enjoy the contents! Fill to the top and the contents last many months.