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Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by RalphLambrecht, Mar 7, 2011.
Kodak may have changed their formula. It's sometimes hard to tell from an MSDS as only those ingredients considered dangerous need be listed. However my bottle of Photo-Flo approximately 15 years old does contain Antifoam B according to the data sheet. Since many on APUG have old or even ancient bottles I think the comment about a antifoaming agent to still be pertinent. Many of the antifoaming agents contain sodium tallowate which is just a fancy way of saying soap made from animal fat. This will form a scum with hard water. Hence the spotting seen when too much Photo-Flo s used.
Concerning old/ancient bottles, doesn't Photoflo have an expiry date? I've always seen one printed on the bottle.
That may be more related to the integrity of the bottle than to the integrity of the contents within!
It also may be related to the requirements of ISO certification.
There certainly wasn't any "best before" dates on the old glass bottles.
The plastic bottle I am currently using has a "2009-03" date on it, but no language attached that would indicate whether that is a production date or a use by date.
I could have sworn my bottle says EXP but you might be right. I'll have to check at home later. I always assumed the concentrate eventually went bad.
It is true that the date printed on my bottle has faded a bit. Maybe the EXP was there, and it expired!
I have a 50ml bottle with the old Kodak logo like this. No dates on it whatsoever and mine isn't faded at all.
Are you sure? It might be saying that the expiry date is September, 3647!
Lol, good one...
Here's an example:
I also have a bottle that looks like this with a clearly stamped EXP:
I'd love to be wrong since I've dumped a lot of unused photo flo over the years due to expiry dates. I never come close to getting through a bottle before it expires.
Uh, I just realised that mine is Photo-Flo 600 (50ml make 30l working solution), so this might be irrelevant.
You are wrong!
If you want it to last forever, just transfer it to a glass bottle - and don't drop it.
I have found that PhotoFlo if stored and handled properly can almost last for ever.
Just checked, my bottle, which is about 15 years old, has no expiration date. Indeed there is nothing in the formula that would actually go bad. Kodak may have added such a date later to conform with some international regulation. The EU has lots of them.
The joke is that bottles of Photo-Flo are typically mentioned in wills
I have bottles that were given to me in college after the class was over (we all had to buy our own bottle). So the bottles are from 1976 and still good after 40 years. I did most of my film processing over the years for my various employers so I still have a cache of the stuff at home since I only use a couple of drops per roll.
I have some embarrassingly old PhotoFlo bottles and I have never had a problem.
Resurrecting this old but debated argument as I went for the first time trough negative damage by PhotoFlo200 (never used before). How do you proceed after you see your negatives have spots and marks? do you put it back into the water and wash again? This Weekend I processed 43 120 rolls, FP4 and HP5 in X-tol R, followed the same procedure as since 20 years (Jobo tank hand inversion 6/14 rolls aech time) but this time I decided to try PhotoFlo instead of hair soap that I was used to use since many years. Dilution 1:250 in distilled water thinking to be on the safe side: got 50% of negatives with small spots and 20% with heavy marks all along the lenght. 20 rolls are already cut and in sleeves, the rest hanging in the dryer rack. Suggestions for the already cut and/or the others? Hope to avoid things like "don't use it again" or "don't use hair soap"...
Try re-washing and another bath in Photo Flo.
Adjust your Photo Flo dilution so that there are no water droplets on the film. The ideal dilution is the minimum amount of Photo Flo to break the surface tension of the water enough to prevent droplet formation. Kodak's dilution recommendation is based on this, but we may be able to do better. If droplet formation was your problem, then your dilution is too weak.
Another consideration: don't let the Photo-Flo solution collect on the negatives. Water can build up on edges, etc., causing residue when it dries. I squeegee my film between two clean fingers before hanging. If you are dead set against squeegeeing, then make very sure you are hanging your film so it can drain well and that the water is sheeting and running off, not collecting anywhere.
After reading all this thread I'm really in doubt wether or not to use PhotoFlo again. I think I'll go back to my soap's drop/2L water. I'm afraid it'll be time consuming to rewash the 20 rolls cut in 4 pieces each (6x6 and 6x9 negatives). Need to think about some dedicated workflow/tool. About squeegeeing I use the two finger technique with latex gloves but very softly and this could allow some solution residual on the film. This can be surely improved. I always dry with a soft sponge residual drops from film's edge corners.
Once the film is hung up, I take a paper towel and touch the bottom corner of the film to draw off the excess liquid. Never use a squeegee.
Do you think I can rewash all rolls together in a big tray taking out one roll by one after the washing or do you suggest washing each separately? Paper towel as suggested was very effective in my experience but recently did the squeegee to speed up the process.
You can wash them together, just make sure that then is enough room to get both sides of every film into the solution for at least 30 seconds.
I've used Photo-flo for over 40 years ,never had any problems. Is there a chance that you have a bad bottle,or maybe it was contaminated? People are always giving me chemicals from old darkroom cleaning . I am careful about using a previously opened bottle.
I always use purified water. I would get fresh wetting agent, Ilfosol etc. I wouldn't reuse that bottle.
When you use really pure water you can use wetting agents very sparingly.
Sorry to hear about your experience .
Best Regards Mike
Squeegees are horrible. I leave my film on the Jobo or stainless reels while I dunk in photo-flo. Then without ever touching the film, I hook a stainless film clip onto the film, and use the clip to pull the film off the reel. Untouched by human hands. Then I hang, from a hook on the ceiling in my darkroom , put another clip on the bottom of the film strip to keep it straight . Leave it undisturbed until completely dry, no fans, or film driers .
I know that Jobo recommends taking the film off the reels before photo-flo. I've never had a problem, I rinse them off immediately in hot water and dry them. I would rather buy a new plastic reel, if it gets stained, than risk scratching or contaminating my negatives.
Best Regards Mike
I bought a Foto-flo fresh new bottle last week from one of the best darkroom supplier in Italy. I think that the amount of chemical suggested by kodak is 100 or 1000 times what is needed. I’m looking at the negatives rewashed this morning and they are fine. Washed in filtered tap water (10 L ) with 100cc of Photoflo solution 1:250 that I used the first time.