Non-hardening fixer for toning?

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andrewmoodie

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I've been advised that a good thing to do if I'm toning some FB stuff is to fix it in non-hardening fixer. Is this true? Why? And can anyone recommend a good brand if that's what I need?

I'm going to be toning some stuff in blue, some in sepia, both will be done with Speedibrew so I'll be bleaching first.
 

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andrewmoodie said:
I've been advised that a good thing to do if I'm toning some FB stuff is to fix it in non-hardening fixer. Is this true? Why? And can anyone recommend a good brand if that's what I need?

I'm going to be toning some stuff in blue, some in sepia, both will be done with Speedibrew so I'll be bleaching first.

Yes, it's true. I have no idea why. I use FreeStylePhoto's Arista Arifix powder: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/sc_prod.php?cat_id=303&pid=600

It's cheap, and my prints tone beautifully when I use it.

(Oddly enough, Ilford's non-hardening paper fixer always makes it harder to tone my prints...wish I knew why that was.)
 

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You could also use the 2 part Kodak rapid fixer (in the box) and not add the hardening agent.

S
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Zonal Pro rapid fixer without the hardener also works well, if you prefer an acid fixer.

TF-4 works very well, in this respect, and may cut your toning times substantially. With Azo I toned in KRST 1:15 for 3 min. for maximum density after non-hardening acid fixer, but I had to cut that to 1 min. after TF-4. For a little more control, I've switched to KRST 1:20, and I tone for 1.5 min. Other alkaline fixers should give similar results.
 

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David A. Goldfarb said:
TF-4 works very well, in this respect, and may cut your toning times substantially. With Azo I toned in KRST 1:15 for 3 min. for maximum density after non-hardening acid fixer, but I had to cut that to 1 min. after TF-4. For a little more control, I've switched to KRST 1:20, and I tone for 1.5 min. Other alkaline fixers should give similar results.

An excellent suggestion David. I'd forgotten about TF-4, as I've switched over to the Arista powder for everything now, but when I was using TF-4 toning was a breeze with both KRST and Kodak Brown Toner.
 

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Not adding hardener also makes it a little easier for prints to take Spotone. I use Kodak Rapid Fix and leave out the hardener. I use two baths, 30 seconds in each and I dump the first bath often.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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In any case, the only real reason to use hardener would be if you were using a rotary drum type print washer, and had to worry about prints being scratched when wet.
 
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andrewmoodie

andrewmoodie

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David A. Goldfarb said:
Zonal Pro rapid fixer without the hardener also works well, if you prefer an acid fixer.

TF-4 works very well, in this respect, and may cut your toning times substantially. With Azo I toned in KRST 1:15 for 3 min. for maximum density after non-hardening acid fixer, but I had to cut that to 1 min. after TF-4. For a little more control, I've switched to KRST 1:20, and I tone for 1.5 min. Other alkaline fixers should give similar results.

Thanks for the info David. I've never heard of TF-4 before, could you tell me more about it?

Also, I don't have a preference for acid fixer over alkali or vice versa. Should I? What's your preference?
 

David A. Goldfarb

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For info on TF-4 check out www.photoformulary.com, and if you search for info here on "alkaline fixers" you'll turn up more info. There are other alkaline fixers you can brew yourself in Anchell's _Darkroom Cookbook_, if you can't get TF-4 in London (maybe Silverprint has it), since it's a liquid concentrate and could be costly to ship from the U.S. Ole also has an alkaline fixer formula in the chemical recipes section on APUG.

Like most people I suspect, I started using TF-4 with PMK pyro (after using acid fixers for 20-odd years), since acid fixers can reduce pyro stain. Then I discovered that I liked it for everything. The odor (a light ammonia smell) is not as bad as Kodak Rapid Fixer or most other rapid fixers, it's really fast acting, seems to last a long time, doesn't require a hypo clearing agent, wash times are shorter than with an acid fixer if a hypo clearing agent is not used, because it is alkaline cross contamination of developer is less of a problem (though of course one should always do one's best to avoid this), and it reduces toning times.
 
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andrewmoodie

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Thanks again David. I've decided it's time to take my picture-taking up a notch or two and I've realized that if I want to do that I've got to start learning about chemistry side of photography. Don't be surprised if you see a few more questions from me in this section.

Andrew
 
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