I need a universal fixer

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modafoto

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Hi

I am looking for advice on a fixer for both paper (RC and Fibre) and film (traditional and T-max/Delta).
Should I go for alkaline or acid.
I use mainly Rodinal and HC-110 for film dev and Tetenal Eukobrom for paper. For film I use water stop, for paper a 1% acetic acid stop or water.

Greetings Morten
 
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Would be interested to hear people's reasons for using alkaline fix (I know it is supposed to wash out of FB paper better). I have always used acetic acid stop bath and rapid (ammonium thiosulfate) fixer for both films and paper, only difference is I use 2 fixing baths for film and put hardener in the fix.The hardener is a habit from the days in a pro studio with a drying cabinet, I do feel it guards against scratches with both wet and dry film. The 2-bath fixing for films is a great idea, perfect fixing every time and you can use the baths much longer than normal. As I understand it, akaline fixer will exhaust very quickly with no stop bath. I have always found stop bath ensures even results. Odorless (citric acid) stop bath I found useless, very low capacity.
 

Nick Zentena

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TF-3

1) Cheap

2) Doesn't smell

3) Easy to mix up

4) Lasts almost forever. It lasts longer then I feel okay with keeping it around. In other words it's still working when I toss it.

If you use a stop then you'll need a wash step. With film just fill the tank with water then dump. With paper add a water tray between stop and fix.
 

Ole

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I use an alkaline fix so that I can keep an all-alkaline process. This eliminates all risk of pinholes from carbonate outgassing, preserves the stain from staining developers, and keeps the smell down.

Acid rapid fix has a somewhat stronger tendency to bleack the images, losing detail in highlights (prints) or shadows (negatives).

Alkaline fix bleaches far less. There is also less need for HCA or prolonged washing.

As to stop baths, many think that aceic acid is too strong. A weaker acid like citric acid makes for less pH change, and should at the same concentration have greater capacity than acetic acid. Citric acid can be bought in a supermarket at low price.

I only use stop bath when timing is very important, as when lith printing. At all other times I use a water wash.

Alkaline fixer does not in my experience exhaust any quicker than acid fix?

Hardener should be unnecessary with most materials, and makes washing and/or subsequent toning more difficult.

The fixer I use is my own OF-1, "published" in the Chemical Recipes section here at APUG.
 
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Been using TF3 for several years. Buy the gallon size and put into quart bottles. It doesn`t seem to sulfur out like Rapid fix and no stop bath required. Water does just fine.

The only down side is it requires 15/30 min to clear after diluting. Plan ahead. Oh yes, you have to shake the stock bottle for 30 sec before pouring out some to dilute. Gentle shake is fine.
 

Nick Zentena

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You need to mix it up yourself. Only a three chemicals if I remember right. Hypo,sodium sulfite and sodium metaborate.

Sorry I meant TF-2. It's early.

The formula should be on Jack's chemistry site but that seems down right now.
 

noseoil

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Mort, the Darkroom Coolbook has TF3, I'm pretty sure. I also stay with alkaline throughout. An acid stop for printing at times if developer is too active or values need to be "nailed" at critical print..

I've been using Photographer's Formulary TF4 for all, film and papers. PMK, ABC or Pyrocat and Neutol WA, Dektol or Amidol. tim
 

Helen B

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If you don't want to make up your own fixer, or ship from the USA (thanks in advance for helping to reduce the record trade deficit) Agfa FX-Universal is a neutral all-purpose kind of rapid fixer that is readily obtainable in many parts of the world.

Best,
Helen
 

Mongo

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I used to use TF-4 exclusively. Great stuff. Easy to use, easy to wash...a truly wonderful product.

This year I've switched over to the cheap FreeStyle Arista powder fixer, mostly because I'm using a lot more fixer this year (printing work has begun in earnest), and the powder is so much cheaper. So far I've had no problems with it; although it's not quite as easy as TF-4, it's still a good solution. (Remember to go through the link here at APUG if you're going to order from FreeStyle!)
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I've switched to TF-4, but I keep separate batches for film and paper, just to keep things like antihalation and sensitizing dyes and pyro stain out of my prints--not that it's been a problem, but since there are many potential causes of print staining, I think it's best to eliminate any unecessary variables.

If you want an acid fixer that you can always mix fresh either for film or prints, I've used Zonal Pro rapid fixer. They recommend 1+4 for film and 1+9 for prints. It comes in a liquid concentrate with an optional hardener that can be purchased separately, and is very convenient.
 

eric

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Does anyone have experience with Clayton no-stink fixer? I was going to mix up some TF-3 but I didn't have 'nuf chemicals. I went to the pusher and they have Clayton no-stink fixer. Couldn't hurt. It was pretty cheap for a gallon size (1:7 for prints 1:4 for film).

I'll have to mix up some TF-3 when I get more stuff from Formulary
 

Kirk Keyes

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Helen's suggestion of Agfa FX-Universal is a good one. I'd suggest Ilford Rapid Fix or Hypam Fix or Kodak Rapid Fix (without the hardener - use Part A only). These are near neutral pH fixes.

I beleive that the All Alkaline process is overrated, and doesn't take advantage of some useful things that an acid stop does - like actually stop the development of the filx at a predetermined time...

If you are interested, here's a thread that actually tries to get to the bottom of the acid stop question (which is kind of the whole premise of the alkaline fix question).
http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=009ZDV
It's a long, and sometimes tedious thread, but there is a lot of info in there for those that care to dig.

And for those worried about carbonate causing pinholes, there's some info in there on that too.
 

dancqu

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David H. Bebbington said:
As I understand it, akaline fixer will exhaust very
quickly with no stop bath.

Stop baths are 98% swiftly moveing, small, far traveling,
H2O molecules. The acid in those baths has little, if
anything, to do with stoping development.

BUT, an acid stop will impart an overall acidic character
to the film or print and thereby ready it for an acid fix.
If a hardener is used the fix ph should be maintained
below seven. Dan
 

Helen B

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'If you are interested, here's a thread that actually tries to get to the bottom of the acid stop question (which is kind of the whole premise of the alkaline fix question).
http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a...g?msg_id=009ZDV'


Who has the movie rights for that thread?
 

rbarker

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Helen B said:
'If you are interested, here's a thread that actually tries to get to the bottom of the acid stop question (which is kind of the whole premise of the alkaline fix question).
http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a...g?msg_id=009ZDV'


Who has the movie rights for that thread?

Always thinking. Impressive, Helen.
 

MurrayMinchin

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I use TF-3 alkaline fixer, keeping seperate batches for film and paper; both batches are diluted 1:4 from the stock solution making it fairly "universal". Fix film for 3x the clearing time. For fibre based paper I go 40 sec in the first fix with a 10 sec drain, then 30 sec in the second fix with a 10 sec drain for a total of 1min 30sec...it's suposed to work in one minute...seemed way too short! This has passed the residual silver test.

I used to go developer, acid stop, first fix, long rinse, plain hypo, selenium toner, hypo clearing agent, wash. I now go developer, water stop, first TF-3, second TF-3, straight into the selenium toner, wash. This means that (not including developing time) I can have a fully toned test strip / work print in 5 minutes. Considering how much selenium toning can effect an image I find this to be a HUGE savings in both time, and materials.

The formula is: Ammonium Thiosulfate (60% solution)...800ml. Sodium Sulfite (anhydrous)...80gr. Sodium Metaborate...5gr. Distilled water to make 1 litre. While the stock solution is a tad stinky, the working solution is fine. If you've slacked off doing kitty-litter for a couple extra days, you've smelt worse.

I believe "The Film Developing Cookbook", Anchell and Troop, had the Sodium Sulfite originally at 60gr, but it's been changed to 80gr.

Murray
 
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dancqu said:
Stop baths are 98% swiftly moveing, small, far traveling,
H2O molecules. The acid in those baths has little, if
anything, to do with stoping development.

BUT, an acid stop will impart an overall acidic character
to the film or print and thereby ready it for an acid fix.
If a hardener is used the fix ph should be maintained
below seven. Dan

No disrespect, but (although professionally trained) I learned most of my photography out of the Ilford Manual of Photography, starting with the 1942 edition, a copy of which I acquired at the age of 7 or so.

The latest iteration of this book in my possession, the Manual of Photography, 1988 edition, has this to say:



Rinse baths

A plain rinse bath is very commonly employed between development and fixation to slow the progress of development by removing all the developing solution clinging to the surface of the film. A rinse bath does not completely stop development, as developer remains in the emulsion layer, but it does remove much of the gross contamination of the film by the developing solution. Rinsing is carried out by immersing the material in clean water. To ensure that this does not become loaded with developer, running water should be employed, if possible.
Rinsing in plain water must be followed by fixation in an acid fixing bath to stop development. The rinse bath then serves not only to slow development, but also to lessen the work that has to be done by the acid in such a fixing bath. Rinsing thus protects the fixing bath.

Stop baths

Although a plain rinse can be used between development and fixation, a better technique is to use an acid stop bath, the function of which is not only to remove the developer clinging to the surface of the film, but also to neutralize developer carried over in the emulsion layer, and thus to stop, not merely slow, development, as developing agents are inactive in acid conditions.
In selecting an acid it must be remembered that some of the bath will be carried into the fixer as films pass through it. This rules out use of the stronger acids (e.g. sulphuric acid) as these would cause precipitation of sulphur in the fixing bath. Solutions of potassium or sodium metabisulphite (2.5 per cent) or acetic acid (1 per cent) are commonly used.



If you feel confident enough as a photochemist to go against this, fine. All I can say is that on the one occasion I used citric acid stop baths (separate ones of course for film and paper), I was getting developer stains after just a handful of prints and ruined a batch of landscape negatives which came out with blotchy skies (yes, the solutions were fresh and agitation was given).

Regards,

David
 
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This thread has made me think more about stop baths and fixer than ever before in my life! In my previous post I mentioned the 1942 Ilford Manual, curiosity drove me to consult this book again. Some may care to read all of the extract below, others may like to simply consider the recommendations of
a) acid stop bath plus 2-bath acid fix for permanency
b) plain hypo fix to retain maximum pyro stain.

Regards,

David

CHAPTER IX


FIXING, WASHING, AND DRYING

After development the plate or film is fixed, but it is bad practice to transfer directly from the developing bath to the fixing solution. Commonly, a short rinse is given in clean water and this is often all that is necessary, but a better technique involves the use of an intermediate acid stop bath, the function of which is to neutralize the alkali in the developer carried over in the emulsion layer. The action of the stop bath is to arrest development and it also tends to prolong the life of the fixing bath. It is of particular value when a highly alkaline developer, such as caustic hydroquinone, has been used. Although the bath must be acid it must not cause precipitation of sulphur from the fixing bath, and this rules out the stronger acids. Solutions of potassium metabisulphite (2 1/2 per cent.) or acetic acid (1 per cent.) are commonly used.

Occasionally a hardening stop bath containing 2 1/2 - 3 per cent. chrome alum is employed. This is particularly desirable when processing is being carried out at high temperatures, since the gelatin is hardened before it has had time to swell excessively.
The developed negative bears the silver image, but it is not yet in such a condition that it may be brought into the daylight or be used in the further operation of making the positive print. The silver halide which was not affected by exposure and which has not undergone reduction by the developer still remains in place, lowering the contrast of the negative and increasing the density of the image. This silver halide is still light sensitive and would gradually print out, changing colour and masking the image to a greater and greater extent as time went on. The remaining silver salt must therefore be removed and this is done in the fixing bath, which is in fact a solvent bath for silver halides. Of the possible solvents, sodium thiosulphate (hypo) is the one in general use-all the others have disadvantages of one kind or another. The alkali cyanides and thiocyanates, for example, although more rapid in action than hypo, exert a softening action on the gelatin and have a fairly considerable solvent action on the silver image. The cyanides have the additional disadvantage of being highly poisonous. They have been and still are generally used, however, in the Collodion process.

Hypo itself has a weak solvent action on the silver image and while its action is negligible during the time required for fixation, prolonged immersion in the fixing bath results in considerable reduction in density, and the effect may be very marked where fine. grain negative emulsions and printing papers are concerned.
The fixing bath removes the residual silver halides by transforming them into soluble double salts of sodium and silver which must themselves be removed from the emulsion. Some of them are not particularly soluble and, in addition, tend to break down to form silver sulphide. This is one reason why fixing baths should not be worked to exhaustion point-such baths would contain a certain amount of these unstable compounds and although they might be capable of dissolving silver halide they would leave the film with a very high concentration of the soluble double salts, including the unstable ones from the effect of which it might not be possible to free the film by subsequent washing. The practice of using two fixing baths, the last being relatively fresh, has much to recommend it.

For rapid fixing the optimum concentration of hypo crystals is approximately 40 per cent. (8 oz. per 20 oz. solution). Speed of fixation also increases with temperature, but wherever possible it should not be allowed to exceed 68°F. It is obvious that in tropical countries this condition cannot be complied with, but for such circumstances special processing instructions have been provided and no undue difficulty will be met with if the directions given are followed exactly (see page 187). The addition of ammonium chloride to hypo baths to speed up fixing has been advised but the procedure is of doubtful value.
The hypo should be dissolved in hot water, since the formation of the solution is accompanied by a considerable fall in temperature. If cold water is used to begin with the crystals will dissolve only very slowly and the bath will have to be warmed again before use. Where large quantities are involved the hypo may conveniently be placed in a muslin bag suspended just below the surface of the water. This method hastens solution and obviates any need for stirring.

Plain Hypo Baths
These are seldom used, since unless a satisfactory stop bath has been employed there is very considerable danger of the gelatin becoming stained due to the oxidation of developer carried over in the emulsion layer. It is more common to use an acid fixing bath which may be regarded as a combined stop bath and fixing bath, or an acid hardening-fixing bath, which is still more satisfactory. Such baths are described in the following pages. A plain hypo bath is, however, used when it is desired to get the maximum amount of staining with a Pyro developer (and also for certain kinds of paper). With plain hypo baths the white light must not be turned up until fixation is complete.

Acid Fixing Baths
The addition of a suitable acid to the hypo solution provides a more satisfactory fixing bath, since it prevents any danger of stain from the oxidation of developer carried over into the fixing bath. At the same time it arrests development immediately. Under these conditions white light may be turned up shortly after the sensitive material has been placed in the fixing bath. Acid fixing baths should be discarded as soon as they show any sign of depositing sludge on the film or become excessively turbid. ....
 

dancqu

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David H. Bebbington said:
If you feel confident enough as a
photochemist to go against this, fine.

I don't see in my short statement any contradiction.
More so my comments are from a physicist
point of view. Dan
 

Curt

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So no one uses Kodak Indicator Stop and Kodak Rapid Fix?

I am using Zonal Fix which is a very fine product and simple to mix and use. If you use Rodinal and Zonal Fix you don't have to have jugs of stuff sitting around for those Kitchen, Bathroom, Broom Closet, Small Apt. photographers, of which I am not one but suggest them for those in need.

I have some TF4 but have yet to use it.
 

lowellh

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We make several "universal fixers," from ODORLESS to High sulfite fixer, and concentrates or ready to use.
 

fschifano

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Curt said:
So no one uses Kodak Indicator Stop and Kodak Rapid Fix?

I do use Kodak's Indicator Stop, but not the Rapid Fix. For fixer, I'm using Kodak's Flexicolor Fixer and Replenisher. Though designed for C-41 processing, it works just as well, if not better than, and at less cost than, anything else I've used with B&W materials.
 
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