Making E-6 Chemicals Last

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by jtayloreckstein, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. Hey all,
    I mixed up a batch of E-6 for the first time last month. It was truly an exciting experience after so much B&W work. Although I did panic when the film came out blue... and a few hours later, all the colors were there. I went headlong into the endeavor and didn't check shelf life. Most people say 2 weeks, some say a month with light use, non-permeable bottles, and certain techniques for removing air. I did some work right at the 2 week mark, and I could tell a difference (even with increased time in the 1st developer).
    The current batch is past gone. My slides are a tad dark... so I hope to use my experience on a new batch and doublecheck my results. Before I do, I ant to make sure I don't have to hoard up all of my film before developing it in the darkroom or mixing the chemicals and feeling like I have a deadline.
    My question is this. If I buy a gallon kit or even a quart kit and split up the working solution into smaller bottles, will those keep for a while or are they sensitive to being transferred? Do I need to use special bottles for doing this? I haven't had much luck with the accordion bottles, they seem flimsy to me. I have used marbles in the past (bad experience accidentally using coated marbles) and that worked.
    Please let me know if you have any other ways to extend the life of E-6 chemicals (aside from not using them, ha). I've enjoyed not having to use mailers and a (slight) cost savings over some labs.
    Thank you,
  2. The less exposure to oxygen during mixing or transferring the better. So if you can mix your working solutions in an inert(nitrogen) atmosphere with water that has all dissolved air(oxygen) removed, the longer your shelf life.
    I can get RA4 chemistry working solutions to easily last double Kodak's storage times by mixing with distilled water and storing in squeezable PETE plastic bottles, I do use it for one shot processing however. Purging the partly full factory bottles with nitrogen extends the storage life as well.
  3. Thanks Bob for the information. Is it hard to purge bottles with nitrogen? What's your source? I always use distilled water in mixing. Does that mean it's free of oxygen?
  4. My personal experience with Tetenal 3-bath 5L E-6 kit:
    I've opened the kit 14 months ago, and since then I'm preparing small batches 500ml each.
    After each preparing, I'm securing the bottles with "compressed air". The kit is as good as new with one exception: the blix bottle 2 went bad, so I had to replace it with a new one from another kit.
    I'm securing working solutions with "compressed air", too, so they are good for 5 weeks, perhaps longer.
  5. Also, I just noticed a mistake I need to fix:
    My question is this. If I buy a gallon kit or even a quart kit and split up the ***STOCK*** solution into smaller bottles, will those keep for a while or are they sensitive to being transferred?
  6. I have a nice high pressure welding type tank of nitrogen. You can use a can of Ronson butane with a short piece of tubing to displace the air in the bottles with butane. Or buy wine preserver. If you fill the small bottle with butane or inert gas first, there is less contact of the stock solutions with air during the transfer.
  7. Janusz,
    Thanks for responding. I'm not sure how to use compressed air in this situation? Is it like a vacuum setup?
    I found something like this for under $10. Think this fits the bill?
    " preserver spray is a simple way to keep an opened bottle of wine fresh for longer and preserve its bouquet. ... replaces the air in a wine bottle with a balanced mixture of nonflammable and tasteless carbon dioxide, nitrogen and argon gas"
  8. It's better if you can find one without the carbon dioxide, that will dissolve in the water and lower the ph, not so good for developers. Wine is acidic so the dissolving CO2 is not a problem with wine.
  9. Taylor,
    I posted a similar question just a few days ago. You may want to review this thread:
  10. Taylor, "compressed air" is marketing name. In reality it is a mixture of some gases (propane?). Just pour it as "wine preserver".
  11. Most of the concentrates aren't terribly sensitive to storage time. If you aren't going to use them up in several months pouring them into smaller containers could help, but it's not that big a deal if you keep them in a cool place. Some here have even reported freezing them, although I doubt that would work with FirstDev. But FirstDev isn't too expensive.
    FirstDev will start to turn amber soon after it's opened, which is irrelevant, and it throws crystals after a few months, which is fatal. Reversal will probably last a decade. ColorDev components are pretty stable, I've never suspected they went bad in storage. I don't think there's much problem with Prebleach, but I don't know what's in it, and it's cheap. Bleach lasts approximately forever but might need aeration before use (it's normally aerated in use). Fix should be pretty stable, but it's dirt cheap.

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