Fresh Ilford Liquid Chemical availability in Greater Toronto Area

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Todd Barlow

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A number of years ago I have standardized on Ilford DDX, Multigrade and Rapid Fix.
I normally buy from 1 of 3 retailers in Hamilton, Burlington or Toronto where I can check batch codes.
In the last 3 weeks I have found the following liquid chemical batch code dates based on checking with Harmen Technical Services.

DDX - Burlington - Batch Code date: Mar 2021 (1 year 6 months old)
DDX - Toronto - Batch Code date: Feb 2021 (1 year 7 months old)
Multigrade - Hamilton - Batch Code date: Mar 2020 (2 year 6 months old)
Multigrade - Burlington - Batch Code date: Mar 2021 (1 year 6 months old)
Rapid Fix - Hamilton - Batch Code date: Mar 2021 (1 year 6 months old)

I want to support local retailers and avoid online shipping costs however I would prefer to work with fresh(er) chemicals. I have tried the following with results above.
Henry's -
BellArte -
Bulrlington Camera -
Downtown Camera -
Argentix - (do not offer Ilford DDX, Multigrade or Rapid Fix )

Any other recommendations for in and around the GTA for fresh Ilford chemicals?

Thanks

Todd
 

Don Heisz

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Amplis is in Ontario. I don't know if they have a storefront but their shipping isn't terrible, And it would be difficult to beat the Canadian Ilford distributor for freshness.
 

MattKing

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And if you wanted the best of both worlds (maybe) perhaps you could place an order through a retailer that is out of stock, who would buy it from Amplis and get it shipped to their store.
 

Light Capture

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I've standardized on pretty much the same long time ago. Using the same stores.

In addition www.filmplus.ca is a local resource and they stock quite a bit (at least they did when I was there year or two ago).

Rapid Fix keeps forever. Use fresh one for film and if there are any crystals, it gets used for paper.
Used Multigrade after many years and still works fine. I did notice whether it's fresh or older, max black is much easier to achieve in processor than in tray.
DDX also outperforms D76 and Ilfosol by wide margin when it comes to longevity and shelf life.
I wouldn't hesitate using any from your list. All but one are within Ilford recommended 24 months and they're probably fine much longer than that.
 

mshchem

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Most of what you mentioned should be fine if kept at room temperature. That's well within the shelf life.

There's a shop in Iowa that I visit now and then. Last time I was there they had several 1 gallon bags of Kodak Microdol-X film developer. The stuff must be 15 years old. I wouldn't be using that without close inspection. 😊
 

pentaxuser

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Surely what is key here is: How much fresher are the same chemicals from other stockists and does it matter? .

Frankly I have never checked the batch code dates from any U.K. retailer on these chemicals but I do know that I was given 2 bottles of Ilford fixer from the proprietor a shop who had toyed with but then abandoned the idea of offering b&w processing and the unopened bottles were several years old.

I am still using the first one some 18 months later and its still fine

pentaxuser
 
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Todd Barlow

Todd Barlow

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Thanks for the responses...
@ Don Heisz, I agree! Amplis who is the master distributor for Ilford Canada and should have the highest inventory turn rate and I think I will give them a try.
@MattKing, it could work however the one retailers would need to restock all three chemicals at the same time - timing for them may not work for me.
@Light Capture, Fixer I can test, Multigrade if it does not perform I can reprint but the film development does not offer a second chance. I will phone Filmplus to see of they offer DDX (not shown on their website)
@mshchem, like I noted above the fix I can reprint if the multigrade does not perform - but film development does not offer a second chance.
@pentaxuser, I would have similar thought as Light Capture and mshchem above.

At the core of this for me is that this hobby of ours is not cheap and I would prefer to get fresh chemicals for the money spent, especially for the film developer that does not offer a second chance to develop the film again if the first time failed due to old / expired / sub performing developer.

I wonder if Iford should consider doing further testing on their liquid chemicals considering there are fewer retailers that seem to have lower inventory turns and as a result may have inventory that is already approaching the Ilford "best before date" before it gets sold to the public.

My other option is redo my testing using powder chemicals.
 

MattKing

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Ilford/Harman don't make any of their own chemicals. Most likely it is new Tetenal or associated entities who are doing the manufacturing.
And do they even include "best before" dates on them, or is it just batch numbers?
 

mshchem

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Ilford/Harman don't make any of their own chemicals. Most likely it is new Tetenal or associated entities who are doing the manufacturing.
And do they even include "best before" dates on them, or is it just batch numbers?

This is a very good point. Harman, to their credit puts date codes on the chemistry.
I understand the concern. I use powders for developers, I have space and equipment to mix. For fixer, currently, I use Kodak rapid fixer, the old stuff made by Tetenal, I dilute the concentrate to 4 liters then I split this into 4 1 L bottles. I have a bunch of XTOL, Bromophen etc. The XTOL is the German made version.
 

mshchem

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Most important factor I MHOFWIW is not the age of the unopened concentrate. It's what happens once it's opened. Unless you have a nitrogen blanket in the bottle the developer is at risk.
 
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