Anyone using Alkali-Fix?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by antielectrons, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. antielectrons

    antielectrons Inactive

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    Following my failed attempt to get some TF-4 I have decided to try out Alkali-Fix from http://www.monochromephotography.com/fixer.htm as it is available in Europe and seems to do just the same trick. Anyone used it? Any special recomendations?

    I am shooting FP4+, HP5+ and Tri-x, and use a water stop bath.

    Antonio
     
  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've never used the specific product you mention, but I have been using home-made TF-3. It seems to work well (and very quickly), but I won't really know for some years, since it can take years for fixer problems to show up.

    The instructions on the Web site you reference say it's possible to use an acid stop bath with the Alkali-Fix product. That's not recommended with TF-3; for that, the usual recommendation is to use a water stop bath. I don't know if Alkali-Fix is sufficiently different to justify a different recommendation or if its manufacturer just doesn't consider the change in pH from carried-over acid stop to be significant enough to be a concern. Not being a photochemist myself, I can only go by others' recommendations on this point.
     
  3. Jon Butler

    Jon Butler Subscriber

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    Antonio,
    I have used Alkaline fix for film and prints and would like to use it all the time as it doesn't wipe out the colours when lith printing and is gentler on your negs highlights.
    Even if I make it myself from raw chems it far to expensive for me to use it full time at volumes I use. Acid fix costs me about £11 for 20L of working
    solution @ 4-1. You work out what your paying.
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Why not look for C-41 fixer?
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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  6. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    An alkaline (or pH neutral) rapid fixer is best for fixing film. The least expensive way to get one is to mix your own. I use Ryuji’s Neutral rapid fixer. The basis of Ryuji's Neutral Rapid Fixer is a 60% solution of Ammonium Thiosulfate (it costs me a little less than $16.00 per gallon). Thus my per liter cost for Ryuji's fixer is about 80 cents (200ml 60%Ammonium Thiosulfate per liter of working fixer).

    See:Ryuji’s Neutral rapid fixer

    http://www.apug.org/forums/article.php?a=99

    Another good Mix-Your-Own rapid fixer (only dry chems and water) is:

    Ole's Quick fix (OF-1)

    http://www.apug.org/forums/article.php?a=38
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Started with TF-4 because its recommended for Pyrocat, so I went ahead and used it for paper with no problems so far. Only alot of time will tell for sure. Of all the chems in my darkromm it is the most obnoxious as far as smell, (smells kind of like dilute ammonia) but I keep it covered in the tray, and have decent ventilation. If I didn't have a good ventilator it would be nasty.
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    TF-4 is an Ammonium Thiosulfate Rapid Fixer. In my experience, it works equally well with film and paper. It is capable of producing archival results with both film and paper (if you follow the recommended processes and procedures).

    TF-4 does release some ammonia during mixing and use.

    Ryuji's Neutral Rapid Fix also does a good (and archival) rapid fixing job on both film and paper. I use it with Pyrocat-HD and Pyrocat P, it does not reduce the Pyrocat image stain.

    It does not release ammonia during mixing and use.

    I have also found that Ryuji's Neutral Rapid Fix is more effective than TF-4 for removing anti-halation dye (i.e., TMAX Red) during film fixing.
     
  9. antielectrons

    antielectrons Inactive

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    Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately Silverprint have a $260 minimum order for overseas shipments...
     
  10. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    The C-41 fixers are usually very easy to obtain. They will not be in the black and white part of the shop, and the staff are unlikely to understand why you would use it instead of "black and white" fixer. I used to use Agfa FX-Universal (pH=7.5) but with their demise I will soon start using Kodak Flexicolor fixer (pH some where around 6.2, which of course is not alkaline but not very far from neutral). It is cheap. If I need it to be slightly alkaline, I will try adding some TEA.
     
  11. foto-r3

    foto-r3 Member

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    LP-FIX NEUTRAL

    We are using LP-FIX NEUTRAL --a pH neutral fixer-- for bartya/FB paper. However, it does not offer any advantage to use this product with film or RC paper. The chief advantage is that the print thus fixed will be archival, with no risk of acid eating away at the base. Similarly, this product will avoid any undesirable staining with alternative/historical processes, while offering a higher throughput rate than an alkali fixer.
     
  12. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have not used or tested LP-FIX NEUTRAL and thus have no opinion of it.

    However, I have used and tested

    Ryuji’s Neutral rapid fixer. It is now my standard fixer for both film and paper.


    http://www.apug.org/forums/article.php?a=99


    Some quotes from Ryuji

    “This fixer gives rapid fixing and rapid washing, same benefit as what's claimed for alkaline fixers, but with minimum of swelling.

    “This fixer is for both film and paper. Use undiluted.”

    “I should also add that the fixer's capacity depends on agitation and temperature. Also, watch out for the dilution of the bath due to stop bath carryover. Two stage fixation is one effective way to ensure good results, although it is unnecessary with ammonium thiosulfate fixer when it is not pushed to exhaustion.”
     
  13. foto-r3

    foto-r3 Member

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    LP-FIX NEUTRAL is a product made by LABOR PARTNER, a German concern that has been producing fine photochemicals since 1984. Distributed by MACO. It is also a rapid fixer. With a dilution of 1+4, 2 minutes are suggested and at 1+7, 4 minutes.

    I would suggest that a alkali fixer reaches exhaustion before a pH-neutral fixer, and a pH-neutral fixer before an acid-based fixer (treating the same number and type of copies). But there are an array of factors that intervene in this. To wit: a fixer will reach exhaustion faster if the prints have large white areas (undeveloped silver dissolved in the bath). And, yes, so-called "cascade fixing" is a reliable practice.

    I do not think the concept of "rapid washing" for pH-neutral/alkali fixers has been scientically proven since these contain the same kinds and amounts of fixing salts which are what must be washed out.
     
  14. antielectrons

    antielectrons Inactive

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    Thanks guys but I was really just looking for some feedback about Alkali-FIX
     
  15. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Sorry, but I haven't used Alkali-FIX so I have no experience based data.

    I did look on the Alkali-FIX web site - and was turned off by their Hard Sell Hype.

    Here is an unfortunate example:

    “We all know what happens to a metal when it is in contact with an acid; the acid reacts with and eats away the metal. Immersing the delicate silver grains of your fine print in acid is not the best thing you can do! The delicate high values are at risk, and you are in danger of burned-out highlights, particularly if your mixing/timing routine is lax. The answer is an alkaline stop (or water bath) and an alkaline fix…”

    Chemistry was evidently not this ad writer's strongest academic subject.

    From: http://www.monochromephotography.com/fixer.htm
     
  16. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    As far as washing is concerned, I have read that alkaline fixer washes out of emulsion faster than does acid fixer. I have not found anything that definitively says that alkaline fixer washes faster from fibre paper, and that is the only washing that concerns me. Film washes fast, and RC paper does too.

    As far as capacity is concerned, it's the amount of silver compounds in fixer that limits its useful capacity, even if it has enough thiosulphate in reserve to remove much more silver halide. Acid and alkaline fixers would be identical in this regard, I would think.

    I use neutral or slightly alkaline fixer for paper to avoid the SO2 odour. It makes a big differnce in the darkroom. I use it for film to preserve the stain that I get from Pyrocat-HD (and previously PMK).
     
  17. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    The above much expurgated quote does no justice to
    Mr. Hoskinson and little to the promoter of the product.

    The promoter's pitch did remind me of a recent post
    where in was mentioned a micro film's total loss of image
    after fixing in a strong fixer. I wonder, just how many
    are experiencing loss of fine detail?

    An alkaline stop if it be sulfite has an advantage over
    a water stop in that it will help prevent oxidation of carry
    over developer. Also the emulsion will more quickly fix due
    to it's alkaline state. Two arguments for. The gentil, very
    dilute, one-shot, neutral fix I use incurs no build up of
    developer. So, no stop is needed. Dan