Yesterday I was developing three rolls of film from test shots of three different cameras. The first, a Olympus OM-2 recently purchased, the second a FED-1 from 1952 and finally a Ihagee Exa camera from 1953. Little did I know, but the problem was not with the 50 year old cameras, but with the 24 month old developer!
I am not one to worry too much about saving a few bucks here or there. I have sufficient discretionary funds to enjoy my hobby amply. While I cannot afford all that I want, I can afford all that I need. So why risk using developer that was24 months old?
The answer is that I live in Argentina and have not tested out the local film chemical options. So all I have is what I have brought with me from my time in Indonesia and from recent trips to the US.
I had bought this bottle of Ilfosol about two years ago, and opened it after arriving into Argentina. I had all the warning signs possible, with the first few rolls coming out a bit weak. I assumed the problem was my development times and kept on going.
What aggravated the problem is that I was developing different films so it was hard to see the signs in the early rolls.
Then yesterday I dropped three rolls of HP5 to develop and ensured everything was properly timed. The result was three very thin negatives.
The good part of the story is that the pictures taken were not massively important and just made to test the cameras. All three cameras have been proven to work so the test was a success.
The bad is that I did capture some nice moments of my son with our dog. It would have been nice to be able to print a few of those.
The best part of the story, I have learned an important lesson and have seen the first hand evidence of a developer going bad. To be clear, Ilfosol is a GREAT developer as are all of Ilford's products, it is the photographer who was at fault here.
So last night, I took my frustration (at myself) and channeled it into some fresh ID-11 developer (my favorite) which I have in powder form. I have now noticed that I am down to the final 8 liters of developer. So I will test the local supply before I run out of good developer.
Here are a few rules I have decided to add to my developing process.
Patrick...confirmed film & digital photography addict.