Sharing a bottle - fixer

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tkamiya

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I have been using regular powdered Kodak fixer for film and paper, and I've always used them one shot. If I were to put them back to the bottle and reuse, would it be safe to put fixers used for film and paper back into the same bottle and use it again for either/or?

If it matters, I use Tmax400 for film, XTOL for film developer, Ilford MG RC for paper and Dektol for paper developer.

Thanks.
 

snallan

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I would not recommend using the same working solution of fixer for both film and paper.

The reason being that film, RC, and FB paper all have different tolerances for the level of dissolved silver in fixer. Whereas fixer with 8-9 g/l silver will adequately fix film, it contains far too much for paper, which should not exceed the low gram or so. Indeed for archival processing of paper, it is recommended that the level of dissolved silver does not exceed 0.5 g/l for a single bath fixing regime.

So if you wish to reuse, you would need one bottle for film fixer, and another for your paper fixer.
 

Anscojohn

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I have been using regular powdered Kodak fixer for film and paper, and I've always used them one shot. If I were to put them back to the bottle and reuse, would it be safe to put fixers used for film and paper back into the same bottle and use it again for either/or?

If it matters, I use Tmax400 for film, XTOL for film developer, Ilford MG RC for paper and Dektol for paper developer.

Thanks.
******
I would not do it.
 
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tkamiya

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Thank you both. Is it common practice to reuse fixer? I know manufacturer says I can, but in practice is it worth the effort? Perhaps not for film but yes for paper? (I can always reprint if I mess it up)
 

Anon Ymous

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It's very common to reuse fixer for both paper *and* film. I reuse for both, but usually make a fresh working solution when using FB paper. In any case, it's fairly easy to check if your film/paper is properly fixed if you have some KRST.
 

Martin Aislabie

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It’s fine to save and re-use fix - provided Paper Fixer Sol’n is kept for Paper and Film Fixer Sol’n kept for Film.

You just need to keep count of how many sheets of paper or rolls of film have gone through each litre of working solution.

There will be a recommended capacity quoted in the technical data.

One of the best ways to keep count can be found on the OP of this thread - (there was a url link here which no longer exists)

Its also OK to mix Resin (RC) and Fibre (FB) paper in the paper fixer - but the capacity of the fixer for RC Paper is higher than for FB - which means you would need to do a little more maths when working out the available remaining capacity of your Fixer Sol'n.

Fixer will slowly oxidise in a partially filled bottle – but at a much slower rate than that of Dev. So if you are not planning to print again for a few moths – then just chuck it at the end of the session.

Martin
 

BradS

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I have learned the hard way (from experience) to always use fresh fixer for prints. I re-use fixer for films but, never for prints. I don't know if it matters but, I only print on RC paper these day. I cannot justify the water used to wash FB.
 

RalphLambrecht

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I have learned the hard way (from experience) to always use fresh fixer for prints. I re-use fixer for films but, never for prints. I don't know if it matters but, I only print on RC paper these day. I cannot justify the water used to wash FB.

Funny, I do it the other way around but do two-bath fixing for both. I always use fresh fixer for film, and I use paper fixer up to an archival limit of silver content (no more than 1 g/l in the first bath).
 

RalphLambrecht

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...Whereas fixer with 8-9 g/l silver will adequately fix film, it contains far too much for paper, which should not exceed the low gram or so. Indeed for archival processing of paper, it is recommended that the level of dissolved silver does not exceed 0.5 g/l for a single bath fixing regime...

I recommend not to exceed 3 g/l for film if using two-bath fixing. To be safe, I use fim fixer one-shot. Too many bad experiences with reused film fixer.
 

BradS

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I recommend not to exceed 3 g/l for film if using two-bath fixing. To be safe, I use fim fixer one-shot. Too many bad experiences with reused film fixer.

Ralph,

Thank you for these contributions. With film, isn't it always obvious if it has not been fixed enough? With paper you just cannot tell. I used to re-use fixer for paper too but I had some yellow/brown stains appear on some prints some time after printing. I assumed this was a fix/wash problem since i was re-using fixer that time. I've always mixed fresh fix at the beginning of each print session since.

So, my question is: What bad experience did you have with film?

I'm just curious because, now that I think about it, I think I may use fresh fix with films too....
 

RalphLambrecht

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...With film, isn't it always obvious if it has not been fixed enough? With paper you just cannot tell...

Not at all. The film may be clear, but fixing byproducts may still be in the emulsion. The two-bath fixing method works great to solve this issue.

...So, my question is: What bad experience did you have with film?...

Negative darkening after a few years. I refixed as soon as I noticed, but the were pretty dark by then. They are lost. Two of my favorite images is on one roll. Good thing, I made ten prints each before it happened. I followed Kodak's recommendation, but it was no good for Tmax. My mistake, but never again. Since then, I do two-bath fixing, one-shot.
 

RalphLambrecht

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how many sheets of 8x10" paper does 1g/L of silver translate to?

With high-key images, fewer than with low-key images. It depends how much unexposed silver halides you need to get out of the paper.
 

el wacho

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i'll phrase it another way, from memory i read somewhere that you can fix about 32 8"x10"s with a litre of fixer. assuming they are all grey card exposures, is your 1g/L conservative or in line with this? i suspect you arrived at this figure independantly through testing. i was curious about the validity of the 32 sheets (80 sq" ? per sheet) . thanking you in advance.
 

Anon Ymous

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Ilford states (Rapid Fixer's and Hypam's datasheets) that about 10 8x10 sheets can be processed* in 1l of 1+9 solution for a maximum of 0,5g/l silver level. Double that (20 sheets) for 1g/l. Of course, that assumes an "average" print (if there is such a thing). Additionally, border size can be significant I suppose. If you want to be sure, you need to test for fixation and hypo retention.

* Assuming you use only one fixing bath.
 

RalphLambrecht

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Ilford states (Rapid Fixer's and Hypam's datasheets) that about 10 8x10 sheets can be processed* in 1l of 1+9 solution for a maximum of 0,5g/l silver level. Double that (20 sheets) for 1g/l. Of course, that assumes an "average" print (if there is such a thing). Additionally, border size can be significant I suppose. If you want to be sure, you need to test for fixation and hypo retention.

* Assuming you use only one fixing bath.

I like your disclaimer. My recommendations are only relevant for two-bath fixing. For archival processing, discard the first fixing bath as soon as the silver thiosulfate content has reached 0.5-1.0 g/l. This occurs with images of average print density after each liter of chemistry has processed about twenty 8x10-inch prints. At the same time, the silver thiosulfate content of the second fixing bath is only about 0.05 g/l. This is the giant advantage of two-bath fixing. You are actually fixing every print in almost fresh fixer at least once. For less stringent commercial photography, many printers process up to fifty 8x10-inch prints per liter, allowing the first bath to reach 2.0 g/l silver thiosulfate and the second bath to contain up to 0.3 g/l. These levels are too high for true archival processing.
 

BetterSense

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I have a question. I use RC paper only. Occasionally, I will take a piece of unexposed paper and throw it in the fixer for 15 seconds or so. Then I rinse it, put it in the developer, and turn the lights on. If the paper stays pure white, I assume that fixing for 30 seconds or more is sufficient. Is this a valid test?
 

BradS

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Negative darkening after a few years. I refixed as soon as I noticed, but the were pretty dark by then. They are lost. Two of my favorite images is on one roll. Good thing, I made ten prints each before it happened. I followed Kodak's recommendation, but it was no good for Tmax. My mistake, but never again. Since then, I do two-bath fixing, one-shot.

(smacks head!)

Jeez, I feel dumb. I rarely go back and look at negatives after the initial work....hmmm, whether to go look or continue to life in bliss....well, I'm gonna be more fastidious with my film fixing regimen from here on.

Thanks Ralph.
 

2F/2F

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I am curious about Mr. Lambrecht's fixing method as well. (I am speaking of film fixing.)

Ralph, do you use standard fixer concentrations in each bath, or a more diluted fixer bath? Do you also use your second bath one shot, or just the first? I ask because I don't like to waste my Ilford Rapid Fixer. It is $10 per liter of concentrate, so using it one shot at 1:4, I would be using $2 worth of fixer just for the first bath. I use hypo check drops, and don't even get the cloudy drops when I am nearing the stated capacity of the fixer (24 rolls per liter). I generally do a leader test, and triple the clearing time. Even near the end of the stated capacity, the leader always clears in about 1:30 (in which case I fix for six minutes). After this, I always do a very thorough rinse (a few minutes), hypo clear (three minutes constant agitation), rinse (a few minutes), and final wash (10 minutes, swapping location of the rolls every few minutes) routine that lasts about 20 minutes beginning to end. I hope I am going to have healthy negatives years down the road....no problems so far, at any rate.

Is there a way to precisely measure the silver concentration of a fixing bath?
 

Anon Ymous

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2F, there are strips of paper that can be used to estimate silver content, but they're not very precise at low levels AFAIK. Regarding proper fixation though, there are tests that can be done, for both film and paper. The ST1 test for residual silver halides uses sodium sulfide to check for proper fixation. It works exactly like the sepia toners. They rely on silver halides present in the emulsion to give these brown tones. The problem with sodium sulfide is that it doesn't have an indefinite life in the solution and it must be replaced quite frequently. For that reason, you can replace it with a 1+9 solution of KRST. After fixing and washing the film, cut a piece of clear film, remove excess water and place a drop on the emulsion side for 2-3 minutes. Any discoloration other than a barely visible spot means that your film must be refixed.
 

BradS

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2F/2F, you might also consider switching to Lauder Chemicals' rapid fixer. I pay $17 per gallon...the stuff works as well and in some cases better than Ilford Rapid.
 

RalphLambrecht

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I have a question. I use RC paper only. Occasionally, I will take a piece of unexposed paper and throw it in the fixer for 15 seconds or so. Then I rinse it, put it in the developer, and turn the lights on. If the paper stays pure white, I assume that fixing for 30 seconds or more is sufficient. Is this a valid test?

Most people recommend sulfide toner, but I don't see why regular developer should not work as well.
 

RalphLambrecht

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...Ralph, do you use standard fixer concentrations in each bath, or a more diluted fixer bath? Do you also use your second bath one shot, or just the first?...

standard film fixing concentration, one-shot for the 1st bath, 2nd bath is promoted to the 1st for the next film

...It is $10 per liter of concentrate, so using it one shot at 1:4, I would be using $2 worth of fixer just for the first bath...

With the Jobo, I need 300 ml per shot, at 1+4 that makes 60 ml of concentrate

...I use hypo check drops, and don't even get the cloudy drops when I am nearing the stated capacity of the fixer (24 rolls per liter)....

I don't consider them as relaible.

..I generally do a leader test, and triple the clearing time. Even near the end of the stated capacity, the leader always clears in about 1:30 (in which case I fix for six minutes)....

That is reliable! I don't get that with TMax films.

...Is there a way to precisely measure the silver concentration of a fixing bath?...

Tetenal's silver estimator can detect a silver content down to 0.5 g/l, which is much better than the potassium iodide drops.
 
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