2 1/2 year old D76 Developer


TPF Noob!
May 7, 2006
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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I found a mixed bottle of D76 developer the other day that is probably about 2 1/2 years old and tried a test roll of B&W Plus-X Pan 125.
Here is one of the pictures that I took.

I was amazed that it was still good.
It was in a brown gallon container for darkroom chemicals that was almost full, stored in closet. I think I took about 16 oz out of it when I mixed it to develope a couple of rolls.
Developer goes 'off' mainly because it reacts with oxygen. If dev is in a sealed container with very little air and it's kept cool it will often work even after a year or two. The brown bottle helps as light, particularly UV, provides energy that can promote chemical reactions.
The giveaway to a dev's condition is the colour. If it's anything from clear to pale yellow it should be OK. If it's gone dark brown then it's off. Anything between these may or may not work. Always do a test before committing yourself.
The problem with old stock solution is that other components react and alter. This means that whilst it will still develop a film the results are not predictable and might not match the manufacturers specs so it shouldn't be used for important or critical work.
A lot, of course, depends upon the particular developer and the storage conditions.
Hertz you say test it beforehand, but how? Use film leader clippings?
hammy said:
Hertz you say test it beforehand, but how? Use film leader clippings?
Exactly so. I usually just use the leader and process in daylight. Put it in the stock solution and if you see it turning black in a reasonably short space of time (about 1 min) then it's useable.
In B&W I shoot bulk, so it is no big loss if I waste some for a test. I am still abit amazed that it lasted that long, I am giong to try and develope a couple more rolls today.

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