A Rose By Any Other Name ...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Gerald C Koch, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    It is unfortunate that the word hypo continues to be used in photography. It is based on the erroneous use of the name hyposulfite for thiosulfate. The misnomer goes back to the early days of the art and is seems firmly entrenched. The problem is further compounded by Kodak continuing to use such terms as Hypo Clearing Agent, Hypo Eliminator, Hypo Test, ...

    I post this because a problem arises when Twitter Brains attempt to shorten Hypo Clearing Agent to hypo in the same manner as the word information has become info. Suddenly a washing aid becomes a fixer!

    APUGers might help by gently proding :smile: people to use such neutral terms as fixer, sodium thiosulfate, and washing aid and avoiding the word hypo alltogether.
     
  2. Ottrdaemmerung

    Ottrdaemmerung Member

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    Personally I've never committed this gross error. Fixer = hypo, and Hypo Clearing Agent does just what it says: it clears hypo from film/paper. Perfectly logical to me!

    Recently though, I saw that on B&H a couple of clueless people had made this mistake and given Berg Bath HCA a bad rating because of it. I commented to set the record straight. :smile:

    One might be motivated to call HCA "Fixer Clearing Agent" instead, but folks might make the same error in calling it "fixer" instead.
     
  3. trexx

    trexx Member

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    Jerry,

    Glad to see I am not the only one concerned about the use of Hypo. Hypo means under or lower and thiosulfate lowers the temperature of the water it is being mixed in. Earning it's misnomer of hypo. You are right we should strive to use 'washing aid' for the step in the process of washing.

    The resources for learning film processing has changed. Once it was at the side of an old lab rat. Now it is a You-Tube video, made by someone doing their second roll of film. We at APUG should make sure we are clear about these basic steps. Even if not agreeing on water vs acid for the stop. It is still stop.
     
  4. Monito

    Monito Member

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    Right on. However, gentle prodding would be less effective than firm insistence and correction as each occasion arises.

    Photography is an art where details count. They can have huge effects and there are many of them. Photographers in control of their art pay attention to details to more consistently approach their envisioned image. Those who don't pay attention get lucky sometimes and think they are great artists.
     
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Very well said. The problem in this age of the internet is that information is now delivered in specific bites. Years ago when someone wished to start in photography they first read a book on the basics.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i think we should start a petition
    and try to get the photochemical makers
    to change the names ...
     
  7. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    This is incorrect. These names have nothing to do heat of solution...

    The compound used for fixing was originally called "hyposulphite of soda", which was the originally given to sodium thiosulphate, Na2S2O3 (sorry about the lack of subscripts).

    In systematic chemistry, sodium hyposulphite is the salt of hyposulphurous acid.

    Modern chemical nomenclature for some nonmetals, like sulfur, form a series of polyatomic ions with oxygen (all having the same charge) using the following rules:

    The -ate form formula and charge must be memorized for each nonmetal. For Sulfur, the -ate form has 4 oxygens and a -2 charge. The charge will be the same for the entire series. Sulfate is SO4 with a -2 charge.

    The -ite form has one less oxygen than the -ate form. Sulfite is SO3 with a -2 charge.

    The hypo- stem -ite form has two less oxygens than the -ate form. Hyposulfite is SO2 with a -2 charge. However, this form of sulfur is not believed to exist.

    The per- stem -ate form has one more oxygen than the -ate form. Persulfate is SO5 with a -2 charge.

    The -ide form is the monatomic anion. Sulfide is S with a -2 charge.

    There are some regularities in the names of these polyatomic ions. Thio- implies replacing an oxygen atom with a sulfur atom. Thiosulfite is S2O3 with a -2 charge.

    All this nomenclature and formula determinations were being played out in the very early 1800s, as can be seen on page 452 of the Journal of the Society of the Chemical Industry:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=WyEAAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA452&lpg=PA452&dq=bernthsen+hyposulfite&source=bl&ots=L90kukzH-x&sig=jj1Osa-facf4sYe0V6GO9H-YooQ&hl=en&ei=HDw4Tp3BJeThiAKfjYHoDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CBgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
     
  8. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    Thanks Kirk. Now we know. So the "hypo" is not just archaic: it's incorrect and always has been.
     
  9. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Regarding the name of the rose, I have often read "iposolfito di sodio" in Italian documents, so I went to read my old "bible" and it says: [...] to this effect fixing baths contain tiosolfato di sodio, a very economic salt that photographers call iposolfito, or in the case of some rapid fixers tiosolfato d'ammonio.

    So sodium hyposulfite seems to be (also according to wikipedia) an alternative name in chemistry, but the "traditional" name in photography, for historical reasons. Thiosulfate is the name in the IUPAC nomenclature but photography dates back to before it and the name stick. Kodak obliges to an old tradition, or to the nomenclature which is common in the industry.

    Just for information for the interested, in HTML superscript and subscript are supported with the <sub> tag and <sup> tag but it doesn't seem they pass through the APUG application.

    Na<sub>2</sub>S<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>

    would be interpreted by browsers Na2S2O3 with the numbers in the correct size and position.

    (I thought I saw some option to allow the pass-through of HTML tag but I'm wrong I see it nowhere).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2011
  10. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    If you are on a Mac you can use the Special Characters window to add subset numbers. I don't know what equivalent is available on Windows PC's.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    john:

    if you read what kirk said, it is RIGHT, because it is the olde name for the same thing.
    :wink:


    thanks kirk,
    no petition needed ! :smile:
     
  12. Murray Kelly

    Murray Kelly Member

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    I must be an OOT - I know exactly what hypo is when mentioned in dispatches.

    It's the darned Ammonium Thiosulfate (thiosulphate?) that has me foxed.

    Not really :smile:
     
  13. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Actually, since the hyposulfite ion is not believed to exist, hyposulfite can't be correct.
     
  14. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    so they called sodium thiosulphate hyposulfite of soda, but it wasn't hyposulfite of soda at all ? sorry to ask such a strange question, but when did the scientists
    that "discovered" sodium thiosulphate realize that they had mis-labeled
    the chemical, and that there was no such thing as hyposulfite ?

    sorry john s, i obviously misunderstood what kirk said !



    john
     
  15. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Again, it can't exist in the IUPAC nomenclature. It can exist in historical chemical usage, and it existed, and it still exists. It's a name and it has a conventional nature. Just like "rose".
     
  16. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Lots of things get names that are later proven to be misleading. In photography, no matter how chemically incorrect, "hypo" is historically synonymous with "fixer". I'm not sure we are very likely to undo that. Whether or not a chemist would use the term "hypo" in non-photographic environments, in the darkroom, hypo does exist, I use it, you use it...

    The real problem happens when beginners and folks who use language carelessly mix up "hypo" with Kodak's "Hypo Clearing Agent". I don't know how many times I've posted to try to urge that novices be aware of the difference between fixer and wash aid.

    Another term that gets misused is "Hypo Eliminator". Despite the fact that beginners and some sloppy darkroom teachers have conflated the terms, "Hypo Eliminator" is not equivalent to wash aid.

    "Hypo Eliminator" is a Kodak formula for Kodak Hypo Eliminator HE-1 - a specialized solution to remove the last microscopic traces of fix from emulsions after all ordinary washing has been sucessfully completed. It is by no means synonymous with ordinary wash aids, which are intended to remove the bulk of fix from an emulsion. "Hypo Eliminator" is no longer recommended as an archival treatment since, evidently, it does more harm than good.

    So, the process would be (if Hypo Eliminator was still a recommended treatment, which it is not): first fix, then wash aid, and then wash, then Hypo Eliminator, then a second wash.
     
  17. Monito

    Monito Member

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    Regardless of how common "hypo" is now, if we personally each would by choice use the term "fixer" or "thiosulfate", then the less the term "hypo" is used the sooner it will rightfully be seen as archaic and a token of a lack of knowledge.
     
  18. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Much ado about nothing, IMO. What real difference does it make whether it is called hypo or fixer? As someone pointed out, if you could convince everyone to call it "fixer", and convince Kodak to rename their HCA to Fixer Clearing Agent, the "twitter brains" could just as easily shorten "Fixer Clearing Agent" to "Fixer" and you'd end up with the same confusion.

    People learn the hard way. Correct the ones you can and don't worry about the rest. What's it going to cost them? One roll of film is all it'll take for them to learn the difference.

    Good luck trying to eliminate hypo from the photographer's lexicon. I predict that will never happen.
     
  19. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I didn't learn at the side of a lab rat, I learned from books. Good books are still available as is an abundance of accurate information on the 'net, most of it text. If someone is too impatient to seek out decent info and exercise a modicum of discretion in their sources I too say they deserve what they get. I'm very willing to help out folks just starting in film or other areas I may have some knowledge of but I'm frankly a bit tired of the mollycoddling of those with the attention spans of a ferret on a sugar high.

    It is an inaccurate name but that doesn't matter. If someone can't figure out that a chemical called "Phizbin Clearing Agent" is used to clear film of "Phizbin" then too bad.
     
  20. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Being a Kirk, I can tell you that everyone knows it's spelled "Fizzbin"... And there are rules for it too.

    Each player gets six cards, except for the player on the dealer's right, who gets seven. The second card is turned up, except on Tuesdays. Two jacks are a "half-fizzbin." A third jack is a "shralk" and is grounds for disqualification. With two jacks, one wants a king and a deuce, except at night, when one wants a queen and a four. The top hand is a "royal fizzbin," but the odds of getting one are "astronomical".
     
  21. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    It was early on in the 1800s, I believe. A lot of chemicals were determined using gravimetric and titrimetric methods, and there was a lot of error doing these things back then as the purity of available chemicals was not as good as we are used to today.

    Also, sulfur forms many differing compounds with oxygen. Dithionate ion (S2O4 with a minus 2 charge) is similar to "hyposulfite" (SO2 with a minus 2 charge). Tetrathionate is S4O6 with a minus 2 charge. I suspect all these different forms took them a bit of time to unravel!
     
  22. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    That's the card game. I was talking about chemicals. :wink:

    Excuse my snarkiness tonight. Something in the air I guess. I do sort of roll my eyes at this sort of thing but I'm usually nicer about it.
     
  23. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Outstanding! But you forgot the best line in the whole spiel: "The name of the game is called Fizzbin."
     
  24. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Well, it's been so long since I thought of that game, I'm sure there's a lot more I forgot!