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My chemicals are about four years old and maybe used about six times. They have been stored inside my home, 75° F, and in a cabinet. Chemicals are in glass beer growlers with tight lids. This is the first time I developed and have no images. I am thinking it's that my chemicals are now expired but I am unsure if this is what it looks like if they are bad. Or it's a result of something else. Are are No images, no sign of any frames. And yes, the film seems to be thinner than normal. Can someone tell me if this is the result of bad chems? They also haven't been used in a year

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Bad chemicals or (more likely) development. No edge information apparent, so not an exposure or camera problem. Probably not a film problem either. I assume you know this is color negative film and should have been developed with color (C-41) developer? \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes 4 year old chemicals are not going to be usable, but we do not know what other problems may have contributed to the failure to achieve an image. " use six time " Typically chemicals are used and discarded. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alaska Man
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 22:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Film does not have frames until it is exposed. The "frame" is the shadow of the boundary of your camera's light box. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 7:42

2 Answers 2


Expired chemicals are like expired food: they still resemble what they were once best for. So we are not talking about expiry here but something gone seriously wrong. The film may not be exposed, or you might have mixed up developer and fixative solutions, or air kept getting into the developer and oxidizing it by and by.

Whatever caused your solutions to become completely unusable in storage within 4 years would also be a problem with more frequent use. Try finding it out.


Examine the film to discover any traces of an image. If the developer is inactive, there will be no image, no edge printing. If the developer has any vitality, you will see edge printing. The intensity of the edge printing reveals the vigor of the developer. Again, no edge printing, the developer has likely expired. If not completely expired, you will see frame numbers, emulsion numbers and manufacturer's logo.

You can test the developer by dipping a snippet of film in the solution. Do this in the light and watch to see if the film blackens.


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