Is there a B&W film developer without limited shelf-life? For example, something encapsulated so well, that it can be stored unopened for decades? For example, something like tablets in metalized packages for one-shot developer preparation.

I used to shoot B&W film from time to time (1-2 rolls / year), and limited shelf-life of developers (both powder, stock, both factory sealed and opened) means that every time I want to shoot - I will have to throw away old one and re-order a developer which is typically too large (mixed for 10-40 rolls).

By the time fresh developer arrives it might be too late to have fun...

Surely there are known tricks - like displacing air with butane or dust-off gas, storing solution/powder in refrigerator, but it is often mentioned that it could add months - not years of shelf life.


Rodinal is a good one, my personal favorite. The 100 ml "Baby" Rodinal from Adox is an especially good choice for infrequent developing; the small packaging lasts only for a couple films (whether it is good or ill depends on your volume).

Just to give you more options you might consider Ilford HC and / or Kodak HC 110.

Both of these (the "difference" between the two is similar to D-76 vs ID-11 = mainly packaging) are syrupy liquids that last for about forever until diluted to working strenght.

  • 100mL for only a couple rolls? Stretch that thing to 20 rolls 😉
    – OnBreak.
    Sep 3 '19 at 0:07
  • 1
    Dilution is key here - 100 ml of Rodinal is 2.5 litres at 1+25, which is about five 120 rolls. Or ten at at 1+50. I don't think the OP was looking for stand development techniques... Sep 3 '19 at 14:26

Use Rodinal. The last bottle I emptied had been opened for at least 15 years and kept at room temperature without any protective measurements.

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