Shelf life of unopened developer

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by Paul Giverin, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Paul Giverin

    Paul Giverin Guest

    There's a bottle of Rodinal on ebay at the moment. The seller says its
    new but about 5 years old. Assuming that the bottle has never been
    opened and the seal is intact, is it likely to be OK at that age?

    I'm after Rodinal because I'm using Agfa APX 100 at the moment and I've
    been told that Rodinal will give great results. Regular readers will
    know that I'm a complete darkroom novice so I'd really be interested to
    find out what other developing and printing chemicals people here would
    recommend and also what papers would be best.


    Paul Giverin

    British Jet Engine Website:-

    My photos:-
    Paul Giverin, Jun 18, 2009
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  2. Paul Giverin

    Marty Fremen Guest

    If it were chemicals in powder form, still factory sealed, it might be ok,
    but assuming it's the concentrate solution I would only get it if it were a
    real bargain. Some concentrates have a shelf life of as little as one year

    You could try searching for a Rodinal data sheet to see what Agfa state as
    the storage life, most chemicals state this info in the leaflet that comes
    with the bottle. Doesn't the vendor have the instruction leaflet for it?
    Marty Fremen, Jun 18, 2009
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  3. Paul Giverin

    Bruce Guest


    I'm no expert on developers as I have used C41 process black and white
    film for several years now. The only developing I do at home is with
    paper, not film. OK, that's the caveat.

    The original Agfa Rodinal (R09) had a very long shelf life and five
    years would not be unreasonable. However, Agfa reformulated their
    Rodinal, I think in the 1980s, and the shelf life was much reduced.
    personally, I would steer well clear of any "modern" Agfa Rodinal that
    was more than a year old. 18 months tops, and only if kept in cool

    Having said that, since Agfa's demise, there have been other versions of
    this developer sold by Rollei, Foma and Calbe among others. These are
    much easier to find. Look for R09 or F09 and you will be fine:

    It was called R09 because it was the ninth "Recipe" in Agfa's list of
    chemicals. I think F09 probably refers to "Formulation" or "Formula".

    In general, Rodinal is good for slow to medium speed films - anything up
    to ISO 100. It is not suitable for anything faster as it tends to
    overly emphasise grain. It produces some truly ghastly results with
    high speed films - ISO 800 and above!

    If you want to become a real darkroom nerd, you can buy the basic
    chemicals and make your own Rodinal according to various recipes
    available online. I doubt you would save much money, and they are
    pretty nasty compounds. But you might enjoy it. ;-)

    Alternatively, there are the trusty old formulations Kodak D-76 and
    Ilford ID-11. Search on eBay for "Ilford (ID11,ID-11)" without the
    quotation marks. There's plenty of it around - your local Jessops might
    even order it in for you. Search for ID11 on their web site.

    I experimented with Ilford's Microphen and Perceptol after my all-time
    favourite Tetenal Neofin developers went out of production. However, to
    be quite honest, the sheer consistency I get from Kodak BW400CN
    developed in C41 chemicals in 1 hour at ASDA/Wal-Mart would take a lot
    of beating. I expose anywhere from ISO 100 to 1000 and it just *works*.
    So I put all my effort into getting the prints just right.

    Good luck,

    Bruce, Jun 18, 2009
  4. Paul Giverin

    Bruce Guest

    Sorry, should have said ISO 125. It works well enough with Ilford HP4
    but less well with HP5.
    Bruce, Jun 19, 2009
  5. Paul Giverin

    JDA Guest

    Even if the bottle is opened it is very likely to be fine. O.K. it is
    sure to be fine :). Rodinal is not a fine grain developer, but it gives
    great results with APX 100, in my opinion. My favorite developer. Don't
    use the developing times suggested by agfa, they tend to be very long.
    Try 1+50 and as a starting point, use the times from the digitaltruth.
    Don't over agitate. You can try also stand developing, 1+100, 1 minute
    continuous agitation and 1 hour stand. Incredible sharpness and very
    fine grain!. Enjoy

    JDA, Jun 19, 2009
  6. Paul Giverin

    Paul Giverin Guest

    Lots to think about there. Thanks to you and to everyone else who

    Paul Giverin

    British Jet Engine Website:-

    My photos:-
    Paul Giverin, Jun 21, 2009
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