Old developer or old film?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by earthmanbuck, Feb 11, 2021.

  1. earthmanbuck

    earthmanbuck No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm still fairly new to developing my own film, and I was hoping for some more seasoned eyes to help me out.

    I developed a roll for my girlfriend today that didn't turn out great. I don't think it was anything to do with my process (as far as getting the film on the spool and preventing it from touching itself, it was actually my best success by far), but I'm not sure if what I'm seeing is the result of developer that is going bad or old film.

    I used the CineStill CS41 powder kit, which I mixed back at the end of September. I realize this is quite a bit older than recommended, but I've also seen a lot of people saying they've been able to stretch their chemical life substantially, so I figured what the hell. I had only developed four rolls with this batch previously, so I factored that in when developing (added 2% time per roll).

    The film was just generic no-name drugstore ISO 400, that I believe a friend unloaded on me when she moved. No expiry date, but probably a few years old and not likely refrigerated.

    A lot of the pictures turned out very dark (which may have been the photographer's fault), but even on the better exposed ones there's a lot of grain and kind of a strange tint. I'm just curious for future reference, is this more likely an old film issue, or a developer needing to be replaced issue (or both)?

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  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    September? Color chemicals don't have a good track record when it comes to shelf life. I'd say you've got two strikes already.... outdated film and expired soup. Add an iffy analog camera that may not be functioning correctly, and that's the ball game, folks!
     
  3. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would guess both.

    Try it with fresh film and following all manufacturer's recommendations.
     
  4. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    I understand you need to add developing time to expired film. 2% extra doesn't sound like enough, to me. Not knowing more about the film or the camera or the lens, hard to guess much closer.
     
  5. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I save up 8 to 10 rolls of color and process them the same day as the chemicals have a very short shelf life. I mix the kit the prior day and store in 1 litre containers. The next day,, I use a heater in a large bucket of water to get my chemical temps to 110° and the heater maintains this temperature throughout the process. I also have all the tanks loaded (4 to 5) the day before and ready to go. I have found the kits to be good for 10 rolls, only in one session. The key to good developing c41 is temperature and following the manufacturers instruction. If you try to stretch more rolls out of it, your best to do it all the same day.
     
  6. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    I'm approaching 10 rolls on one batch, but it's been over 120 days. I keep my chemicals in air-tight bottles, and I squeeze out the excess air before I tightly re-cap each time. Chemicals are stored in a cool dark location. So far, so good.
     
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  7. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I don't have such containers. They are non accordian bottles. I don't trust it with my setup. Good to know, maybe will buy some good containers.
     
  8. Rickbb

    Rickbb No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Back in the day we would never use chems older than one week. Light, oxygen and temp changes will wreck them. If you store them, use only opaque brown plastic or glass containers made for the purpose, in the dark and never let the temp change much.

    The grain could be any one of or a combination of bad chems, bad film or poor agitation during processing or temp out of control.

    Color processing has a touch of craft to it that is hard to master. My brother was much better at it than me, I did the BnW processing as I seemed to have more of knack for that than he. Weird how it works out sometimes.
     
  9. earthmanbuck

    earthmanbuck No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    2% was what the manufacturer recommended, that number came right out of the guide that came with the chemicals. Although I would think that given the age of the developer more might be necessary.

    I keep the chemicals in these (mine are black, not brown), and filled just about right to the top, minus whatever leaks out of the tank after every developed roll. I don't imagine much light or oxygen is getting in. That said, the room I keep them in is fairly sunny, with a broken radiator that is always on, so it's generally quite warm.

    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'm also thinking it's probably a combo of both developer and film. I'd normally be a bit annoyed about only getting 4.5 rolls out of the chemicals when they say it's reliably good for ~8, but I still got my money's worth for what it would have cost me for a lab to do them. Plus, I'm moving in about a month, so dumping the chemicals is not the worst outcome—makes my boxes a lot lighter. I might still try to shoot and develop a test roll before then just to see what happens.
     

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