View Full Version : Re-using film developer

20-Mar-2018, 13:43
I have a Mod 54 tank and I want to develop 5x7 film one sheet at a time in it. Can I re-use the chemicals for maybe another 3 or 4 sheets at most? Do I have to keep the back of the film off the sides?

Pere Casals
20-Mar-2018, 14:34
Of course developer can be reused, but then you need to take care about additional factors.

A re-used developer may have less strength, so you may need to compensate with slightly more time to get the same development.

The degree of exhaustion developer suffers when developing a sheet it depends of how exposed it was, if no light reached the sheet then there is very small development (just to deliver some fog) so the developer remains new. If the sheet was completely overexposed then a lot of developer reacts with silver halide and the developer gets more exhaustion.

For this reason using developer one shot is recommended in non Pro labs.

So if you reuse developer then you have to learn to guess a proper development time increment. Not difficult, buy it will add some variability.

A way to control that process well is using test strips, you can buy it https://www.ilfordphoto.com/1672109, of you can make it DIY. Then you may need to measure densities.

The other way you have to save developer is using it very diluted, for example Xtol 1:3, Rodinal 1:100. You will waste less developer without complications.

Reusing or not, in the case of Xtol, you have to end using at least 50ml of stock xtol per 5x7 sheet, or 100ml per 35mm roll or 100ml per four 4x5 sheets. So from the amout of liquid and dilution you know how many ml of stock xtol developer is in, then for each 50ml of stock you can make a 5x7 sheet. Each developer has its rules.

Another way is developing inside a paper safe as it was tray development, it's what I do. When development is done I close lights, I move the sheets to the stop bath (plain water) and 15 seconds later I open lights and I do the rest (fixing) also lights open. I waste little developer.

20-Mar-2018, 18:07
hello campy

i can't helpyou with your situation just with the developer ...
about 10 years ago i did a little experiment. i reused the same developer over and over again
to see how many runs i could get out of it.
first of all, it was 1L ansco 130 dilute 1:6 i processed the film at 70F
i did a run of 8 sheets of film first. then 2 rolls of 120 then some 35mm ( 3 rolls )
the film turned out fine, no less contrast or "snap" until the last batch i did, IRRC it was 8 more sheets of 4x5 film
and while the film was processed into negatives they were just kind of dull, no crispness to them.
i didn't replenish or anything, just kept re-using it ...
if i had drawn out 70cc ( and replenished wtih 10cc of dev and 60cc of water ) and 1/2 way through my experiment ..
i wouldnt' have been able to notice any difference ...
that all said, i had a 1gallon tub filled with home brew coffee developer .. its about 4L of brewed sumatra coffee ( robusta home roasted )
some washing soda and vit c ... and a bit of ansco 130 in it ( stock ) not much probably 80-90cc ...
i never replenished the developer and put hundreds of rolls and sheets of film through it (color and black and white )
( shuffled in trays or in hand tanks ) i also made prints with the same developer..
it was still going strong after 5-6months .. eventually, i got nervous and i took a few L out ...
and made another couple of pots of fresh of coffee and added to the "seasoned" developer ... did this for 2 years .. never an issue

good luck with your developing !

21-Mar-2018, 01:22
As implied above, it really depends on the developer. Some formulas can withstand heavy and prolonged use. Others (like pyrocat) are basically dead after one session. So it can be done, for sure. But if you regularly want to develop just one or two sheets at a time, I'd give tray development a serious thought.

21-Mar-2018, 01:54
An other way to go is to set up a replenishment system. In such a system you use the same stock developer over and over again, adding a bit of fresh developer after each developing session. There are several developers suitable for such a system and XTOL seems to be popular among those. In a typical replenishment system with XTOL there is a stock solution of 2.5 L, stored in a full and air thight bottle. After each film (135, 120, 4 sheets of 4x5 or 2 sheets of 5x7, etc.) you add 70ml of fresh XTOL, filling up the storage bottle with the used developer again and discarding what is left. When developing only one sheet of 5x7 you add half of the 70ml. Once the system is set up it can run for years.

There are a couple threads on the Photrio site on this topic. One of them being https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/biting-into-xtol-replenishment-benefits-and-times.156536/.

Stop and fix can be re-used until they are exhausted. Look for an indaction of capacity in the manual or on the bottle.

21-Mar-2018, 02:18
I am only thinking of re-using it for one session to do 3 or 4 sheets. If the Mod 54 can do 6 4x5 in one shot then can I just empty the developer back into the bottle after each 5x7 sheet since I am only doing 1 sheet at a time.

21-Mar-2018, 02:39
Sure, you can.