To harden or not to harden?

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moouers

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What benefits does a non-hardening fixer have over a hardening fixer? I know for PMK it calls for a non-hardening in order to establish a proper 2nd bath stain. But what about regular modern film emulsions in regular chemicals (such as Rodinal or ID-11)? Will using a non-hardening fixer cause films to be scratched easier when being put in plastic storage sleeves?
 

trexx

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Modern films are significantly 'hard' that a hardening fixer is not needed for almost all processing. Using films with old style emulsions or reversal processing are the rare exception.

Non hardening fixers allow you to do post development manipulation like toning the negative.

TR
 

Stregone

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I am going to need to get some more fixer soon, and was wondering about that too. Would Fomapan be considered an old style emulsion?
 

removed account4

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it is difficult to wash your film or paper clean if you harden them
so if you want to insure that your film or paper is "archival" ...
 

Doc W

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I am clumsy and have been my whole life. I don't expect it to get any better, so I use hardening fixer with film as extra protection against myself. jnanian is quite right that it is more difficult to ensure that film is archival, but I wash it well and use a hypo clearing agent. trexx is also right that it makes post-development manipulation more difficult, but I have never toned a negative in my life so this is not an issue for me.

I don't use hardening fixer for prints because I do tone prints and they tone better without hardening fixer. Also, if one scratches a print, it is easy to reprint. Not so with negatives.
 

Photo Engineer

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A very very rough test for old style vs new style hardeners in film is to fix the film in a non-hardening fixer that is at 100F or 40C. Wash the film, then dry and look for reticulation.

If it reticulates with this test, then it is "old style" and if it is not reticulated, then it is "new style".

This test is not 100% reliable as it can give a "new style" film, an "old style" classification if the hardener used is at a very low level, or the film is exceptionally fresh. Even so, the test was reliable in that it cautioned you against use without a hardening fix.

PE
 
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