Human friendly fixer

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wiggywag

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Which fixer do you prefer? I find my fixer (foma fixer) nice working, but a bit strong smelling even with quite good ventilation. I used Ilford Rapid Fixer before but I don't believe it was so strong smelling as the foma.
 

RalphLambrecht

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Which fixer do you prefer? I find my fixer (foma fixer) nice working, but a bit strong smelling even with quite good ventilation. I used Ilford Rapid Fixer before but I don't believe it was so strong smelling as the foma.

Acid fixers smell, alkaline fixers don't. Switch to an alkaline odorless fixer if the smell bothers you. But remember, once you go alkaline (acid free), you need to drop the stop bath too and replace it with a water bath.
 

MikeSeb

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I've been using C-41 fixer for over a year for both C-41 and conventional B&W, at the suggestion of one of our compadres here. It is dirt cheap (vs other concentrate alkaline fixers), works beautifully, and simplifies my fixer sourcing by doing both types of film. Although acidic, its pH is somewhere around 6.5 so it is more nearly neutral than acid fixers. Its smell is minimal to nonexistent. I buy it in those cubes that make 25gal working solution; I think it costs pennies per roll.
 

gorbas

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Acid fixers smell, alkaline fixers don't.
????????????????????
Ralph, what kind of alkaline fixer and water are you using????

Photographers formulary Alkaline fixer TF-4 is smelliest fixer I ever experienced in my life!
Odor of Ammonia is sometimes unbearable! I have to mix it day before and leave in the jug to lose little bit of the smell. It still stinks but less than freshly mixed.
Goran
 

RalphLambrecht

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Acid fixers smell, alkaline fixers don't.
????????????????????
Ralph, what kind of alkaline fixer and water are you using????

Photographers formulary Alkaline fixer TF-4 is smelliest fixer I ever experienced in my life!
Odor of Ammonia is sometimes unbearable! I have to mix it day before and leave in the jug to lose little bit of the smell. It still stinks but less than freshly mixed.
Goran

Goran

Talk to them. Their MSDS sheet does not identify the chemicals their fixer contains (???). That's unusual. Alkaline fixers should not smell. None of the ones I know, do. Kodak F-6 is almost odorless. The 'Darkroom Cookbook' lists odorless formulae. According to that book, the odor is caused by sulfur dioxide. The substitution of balanced alkali or sodium carbonate for boric acid eliminates the odor. Attached is my own formula.
 

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Photo Engineer

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Well, you can use an acid stop bath with TF-4 with no problem whatsoever. Or, you use a running water rinse. This presents no problem.

However, TF-4 does smell like Ammonia and any alkaline Ammonia based fixer will smell like Ammonia. However, Sodium based alkaline fixers do not smell. Great, but at what cost? Well, the Sodium based fixers are about 2x - 4x slower to fix and slower to wash out than Ammonia based fixers. If you wish to pay that price, then use a Sodium Hypo based alkaline fixer.

TF-5 is totally odorless.

PE
 

J Rollinger

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Why would anyone mind the smell of fixer? I look forward to it! There is nothing like the smell of fixer in the morning!
 

john_s

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Why would anyone mind the smell of fixer? I look forward to it! There is nothing like the smell of fixer in the morning!

Even if you use C-41 low odour fixers (e.g. Kodak Flexicolor Fixer, Fuji have one too) your darkroom will still smell like a darkroom because little splashes of fixer end up smelling like traditional fixer. But the smell will be just enough to bring back memories, not enough to make you sick.
 

Athiril

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Here Kodak E6 fixer concentrate is $15 AUD or so for 2x5 litre bottles which makes up 20l of working solution, though it can be used in weaker dilutions.
 

gorbas

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Hi Guys,
Ralph, Thank you for the formula!
That is not bad idea at all! I will call them!
At first I was mixing TF-4 with tap water (Vancouver tap water comes straight from mountain lake with minimal processing and with liberal addition of chlorine) and then I started mixing it with deionized water. There is no difference in the smell!
Home mix of TF-3 was also very smelly.
Traditional Hypo with sodiumthiosulphate wasn't smelly at all! It had some odor but it was OK.
But isn't been stated somewhere that traditional Hypo is unable to completely fix modern MG papers???
Now with TF-4 I'm only thinking why I'm doing it to myself when there is easier technological way to print pictures.
Agfa FX-Universal (for color processing) is way easier on my nose and lungs but unfortunately I'm running low with my stock.
Well maybe is time to look for some Fuji or Kodak color processing fixer??
Goran
 
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wiggywag

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But what about quality issues? Is there any big differneces between these fixer when it come to archival permanence etc...? I've heard that some don't use Rapid Fixers together with Potassium Ferricyanide reducing.
 

RalphLambrecht

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Please read PE's post above. I'm sure, he knows more about this subject than I do.

I would not use sodium thiosulfate fixers, because they are slow. The smell does not bother me. When using the two-bath method both fixer types work well, but I don't want to give fixer a chance to soak too deep into the fibers.
 

Photo Engineer

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All fixers can fix all films and papers. The question is "how long does it take to do this job" and second, all fixers are archival depending on wash and again the question is the same as the one above! You also must use the right stop or rinse between developer and fixer and you must use the right dilution of the fixer for the film or paper you are using.

One instruction cannot cover all conditions and so the instructions are written for the most extreme conditions leaving some slop. I have had personal experience using a rinse between developer and fixer and find that if the water is not running, or not running fast enough, fixing is affected. That is why the instructions I have read say "use a running water rinse between fixer and developer".

Also, with alkaline or neutral fixes, it is essential to keep the lights off until fixation is complete. Remember that the film or paper is still alkaline and you essentially fog the excess silver halide and then allow the "monobath" fixer to continue to react. I have gotten fog, just by being curious.

PE
 

dancqu

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Only One Is Odorless

Which fixer do you prefer? I find my fixer (foma fixer)
nice working, but a bit strong smelling even with quite
good ventilation.

Sodium thiosulfate alone or made alkaline will not produce
any fumes or odors. Sodium and ammonium thiosulfates
can produce fumes and odor if acidified. Ammonium is
alone in being able to produce fumes and odors
whether acid or alkaline.

A very simple fresh fix at processing time is some measure
of sodium thiosulfate to make the needed solution volume.
I plan ahead, use it very dilute one-shot, and have it
finished off that session. And it's not that slow;
FRESH each roll or print/prints. Dan
 

Philippe-Georges

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Fuji Unilec, alkalic, cheap, easy to 'find', simple in use, long lasting, litle odour and made in Belgium (Fuji-Hunt), see attachment page 14...

Philippe
 
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Anon Ymous

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BetterSense

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I used that Arista Premium Odorless liquid fixer and was unimpressed with its capacity and fixing speed. The stock solution also went bad on me. I use Ilford hypam now. Even in my tiny closet darkroom, I notice no smell whatsoever, so I don't know what the deal is with fixers smelling. I used to use Kodak powdered fixer (a hardening non-rapid fixer) and it did smell.
 

Anscojohn

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I use EK F-24. I do not mind the smell.
 

RalphLambrecht

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I used that Arista Premium Odorless liquid fixer and was unimpressed with its capacity and fixing speed. The stock solution also went bad on me. I use Ilford hypam now. Even in my tiny closet darkroom, I notice no smell whatsoever, so I don't know what the deal is with fixers smelling. I used to use Kodak powdered fixer (a hardening non-rapid fixer) and it did smell.

Same here, but some people are more sensitive to it than others.
 
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wiggywag

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When you use such fast fixers that require only 1 minute fixing, when is it safe to turn the lights on? After 30 sec?
 

BetterSense

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I turn the lights on as soon as the print is in the fixer. Sometimes, even when the print is in the stop, as long as I'm sure all the development is stopped.
 
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