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Thread: Unopened Kodak B/W Chemicals - How long do they last?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Unopened Kodak B/W Chemicals - How long do they last?

    Years ago I stored about 30 of the yellow kodak powdered chemical pouches. They are mostly D-76, Dektol and Fixer. They are all over 10 years old. They are all sealed unopened, stored in a cool dry space. Am I correct to assume that they will be fine. I'm not likely to use them for a few months, so testing them is not an option at this time. (My former darkroom has become a storage room) If anyone has some experience with developing with old chemistry, or has a better understanding of chemistry. My thinking is that the powder chemical crystal combinations should last indefinitely. Am I right? Thanks...bk

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    2,886

    Re: Unopened Kodak B/W Chemicals - How long do they last?

    See this: https://www.largeformatphotography.i...piration-dates

    You can check developer with a drop test.

    Take a 35mm film end and, lights open, let fall a drop of developer every minute , one at the side of the other for total say 12min, then fix also open lights, you obtain a scale of densities, compare result with another test made with fresh developer.

    This test checks strength, but not fog. You may want to also check fog... so develop (in darkness, this time) a piece of unexposed film (say 1cm) in the fresh developer and another piece in the developer you want to check, then compare densities.

    If fog is similar then you may (if necessary) make a development time adjustment based on the drop test. Of course, if the adjusment is not slight I would not use that developer.

    If old fixer has a significative yellow precipitation the it can be damaged because of sulfiding, IIRC this happens because oxygen entered inside through plastic. I used sulfided fixer as the first bath of a two bath fixing, this is you fix with the problematic fixer that still makes (say) 99% of the job for half of the time, then you fix the other half of the time with fresh good fixer, the second bath is not exhaused because little silver halide remains.

    But also check the old fixer strength by directly fixing (lights open) a film end that has not been developed, measure how long it takes to clear the film, and compare with the case of fresh fixer.

  3. #3
    multi format
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    Re: Unopened Kodak B/W Chemicals - How long do they last?

    Quote Originally Posted by BKP View Post
    Years ago I stored about 30 of the yellow kodak powdered chemical pouches. They are mostly D-76, Dektol and Fixer. They are all over 10 years old. They are all sealed unopened, stored in a cool dry space. Am I correct to assume that they will be fine. I'm not likely to use them for a few months, so testing them is not an option at this time. (My former darkroom has become a storage room) If anyone has some experience with developing with old chemistry, or has a better understanding of chemistry. My thinking is that the powder chemical crystal combinations should last indefinitely. Am I right? Thanks...bk
    people smarter than me have suggested
    if the chemistry has "clumped" in the pouch
    it is no good. if your chemicals are not clumped
    then mix them and do the tests mentioned
    if they are clumped its not even worth mixing them.
    have fun!
    enjoy your coffee

  4. #4
    Ed Freniere
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Tyngsboro, MA, USA
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    74

    Re: Unopened Kodak B/W Chemicals - How long do they last?

    If the developer powder has any brown tint, it has started to oxidize, probably because of a leak in the container. Throw it out if so.

  5. #5

    Re: Unopened Kodak B/W Chemicals - How long do they last?

    Old photo chemicals in cans keep astonishingly well. I have shelves of old GAF, Dupont, and Kodak from the 60's and 70's I would guess. Cans without damage are almost always fine.

    I have had very bad luck with the older foil-like bags from Kodak (maybe late 70's throught the 80's). With developers, at least 2 out of 3 have been bad. Different sources, but I still can't know if something other than the package contributed. I don't know when this style package changed.

    I've not had any problems with the later style Kodak bags. I don't know if they fixed a problem, or the later ones just aren't old enough to show a problem. Looking at the bags I'd have expected the opposite outcome. I imagine you are talking about the current style bags, and doubt you'll have a problem, but the advice above gives you the info to check them.

    My experience with developer is that if it is not brown it is fine. Xtol would be the major exception where I would do a test. Very slight discoloration doesn't worry me with paper developers. I have no idea about fix and hypo clear. I use old plastic bagged Zone VI so hope that stuff keeps okay. I suspect it does or I wouldn't use it.

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