Shelf Life of T-Max and Rodinal Developers : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Does anyone know how long these concentrated developers last? How do I know that they are fresh? They have no expiration date.

Also I was surprized to see that neither were sealed. Once I unscrewed the caps there was no seal!

Please help!

-- Sol Campbell (, September 30, 2000


No seal when you bought them?!!! Someone must have removed them!

Tmax developer gets darker with age. Rodinal is dark from the beginning, but it keeps much longer. I opened a bottle of Rodinal two years ago, and it's still as good as new.

-- Patric (, September 30, 2000.

The bottle of T-Max I bought recently had no seal under the cap, nor is there any evidence such as residue on the rim to indicate that a seal had ever been there. I can't recall seals on T-Max developer bottles in the past either, but they do say memory is the first thing to go!

-- Sal Santamaura (, September 30, 2000.

No Sal, Memory is the SECOND thing to go. Don't ask, you don't want to know. William Mitchell, MD

-- Bill Mitchell (, September 30, 2000.

The bad news is that unlike someone else wrote new Rodinal is clear not brown in color! The good news is that as Rodinal ages it gets brown. That coloration Does Not seem to have any effect on the film you process in it. I presently use Rodinal that is at least 2 years oldit is very dark brownyet when I process Agfa 400 in that brown Rodinal at 1+100 I get negs so easy to print that I think I've St. Ansel and his dodging scepter watching over me...jim PS...old Tmax's only good for making print developer out of...come to think of it that is all that new Tmax developer is good for...XTOL and Rodinal (and maybe PMK)...are the only developers that a person really needs...jim

-- Jim Vanson (, October 01, 2000.

I agree with Mr. Vanson, but as far as I can tell, Rodinal lasts forever. I've had this stuff turn the color of an eggplant and work as well as the day I'd opened it, some 3-5 years before! Xtol will go south about 3-6 months after mixing, but it's so cheap, I just keep new packs around for whenever I need them. PMK will last forever in brown glass bottles. In fact, I 'age' my 'A' solution by mixing up 3 litres and placing it in a brown glass jug with a natrual cork stopper. I take 1/2 litre at a time from the big jug for daily use, and mix up two more litres when I've taken that much out. This way I always have 'aged' PMK available. This increases the stain with such films as TMX. Gordon Hutchings' latest Book of Pyro describes this little trick. I run a custom B&W lab and go through 500g of dry pyro at least once a year.

-- Michael D Fraser (, October 01, 2000.

I keep Rodinal in the refrigerator, and it can last for three or four years. When it turns really black I throw it out. It is designed to keep for a long time, but it does eventually oxidize.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, October 01, 2000.

To expand on what Ed said. I keep all liquid conventional developers in the refrigerator. An old photographer told me to do this a long time ago. By lowering the temperature you are slowing the chemical activity and extending its life.

-- Jeff White (, October 02, 2000.

As already posted, Rodinal lasts for a looonnnnnggggg time. I'm nearing the end of a 500ml bottle that is over two years old. It is now quite dark brown but the negs I've developed look lovely. I can't wait to print them!

-- Michael Chappell (, October 11, 2000.

Discard Oxidized Rodinal !

Rodinal concentrate indeed has a long shelf life. However it slowly turns brown, and the material slowly loses its developing power. Unless you are in a hurry to develop a film, or don't have time to go to downtown to buy new bottle of Rodinal, you may still use it, but you reduce the dilution ( ie, use more Rodinal in same amount of H2O) or extend the development time.

However the best thing to do is to through it away.

Rodinal is dirt cheap, why save a few pennies and risking ruin your precious negatives ?

One day, you may find that your negative developed with oxidized Rodinal is so thin, even grade 5 paper cannot print it !

-- martin tai (, October 14, 2000.

I have found Rodinal one of the most robust and reliable developers available. I have a part-used bottle,dated 1996, which looks like black coffee but still works!

Kodak T-Max 100, rated at 50 ASA, and devved in Rodinal 1+ 49 (yes, I know!- but it make the arithmetic easier!) for 7 1/2 mins gives very, very fine grain and superb sharpness. N.B. - I'm using a condenser enlarger.

-- Chris Waller (, November 23, 2000.

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