better use distilled water?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by bonk, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. bonk

    bonk Member

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    Is there any advantage (or even disadvantage) in using distilled water for mixing a) developer b)stop bath c) fixer or d)wetting agent? I can always get as much as I want for free, so I thought maybe its a good idea since the water is really clean. :smile:
     
  2. abudhabiandy

    abudhabiandy Member

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    Hi, I always use tap water for dev, stop & fix but have found distilled water to be 100% better for wetting agent -in fact my negs hve been 100% clean since doing this about a yer ago.
     
  3. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    If you can get an infinite supply for free, there's no reason not to use it. For certain developers, distilled water is critical for making the stock solution. For stop and fix, it is generally irrelevant which kind of water you use, so long as your tap water does not have an extreme Ph.
     
  4. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Is your tap water fit to drink? If you let a container of tap water sit for a few hours, do you find sediment on the bottom? If you can answer yes to the first question and no to the second, then your tap water is perfectly fine for photographic use.
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Hi Bonk,

    The advantage is you will know what you've got. Many (most?) have no problems using tap water but I consider it cheap insurance. I use it for everything but wash water (I use distilled for the final rinse with wetting agent as well).

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Commercial photo chemicals (either powders such as D-76, or liquid concentrates) have components in them to allow them to work fine with a wide variety of water. If you are mixing up "custom" chemicals from individual components then distilled water is best.
     
  7. Murray Kelly

    Murray Kelly Member

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    The de-ionisedwater at all motor suppliers is by far the best insurance against local water incompatibility problems with developer mixes. After that, tap water is 'probably ' fine.

    I have had troubles with wash water here - it is terribly hard and I have had to add Calgon to avoid unusual effects.

    Murray Kelly
     
  8. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I strongly advocate use of distilled (or RO filtered) water for mixing PhotoFlo for the final rinse. Pure water results in clean negatives.

    I also keep a supply of distilled water for use in diluting chemicals for Pt/Pd printing. The chemicals are so expensive that I want to make sure there is no chance of contamination based on water quality.

    But for the other chemicals, ordinary tap water is fine.
     
  9. lawrenceimpey

    lawrenceimpey Member

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    I have been experimenting with distilled water and filtered tap water for the final rinse (with wash-aid). Strangely, I've had more problems with the distilled water than with the filtered water. Not sure if this is because the previous steps were in filtered water (in a hard water area) but I'm not bothering with distilled water any more.
     
  10. tac

    tac Member

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    I have two darkrooms that I use on a regular basis, one in the central Appalachians, and the other in Manhattan. I have always mixed D76 from tap water at both. Early on, I discovered that I needed to use drastically different development times for each location, for identical film (mostly Tri-x and TMY), exposed with the same meters and cameras.

    After eliminating all other variables that I could (e.g., using two Kodak Process thermometers, calibrated together, using fresh d76 from same batch), I was forced to conclude that the pH and mineral content of the two water sources was the culprit.

    With adjustment, I can create identical negatives at either location, but the difference is about 2 minutes +/- development time.

    I assume that distilled for mixing developer would be standard everywhere and thus eliminate this situation, but I never bothered, just used the time adjustment.

    I do, however, use distilled for final rinse in wetting agent, and for the critical parts of alternative processes. I think that if I had free access to unlimited distilled, I would use it for almost everything.
    Good Luck and Have Fun!
     
  11. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    I've switched to distilled water for making photographic solutions, especially developers. I've had issues with regards to calcium carbonate deposits forming in certain solutions. Since the switch, there hasn't been any problems.
     
  12. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    Developer, fixer and hypo-clearing agents should NOT be made with distilled water. They were not formulated for using such water and will not yield optimal results.

    Photo-flo should be made with distilled water.
     
  13. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    This doesn't make any sense.

    Distilled water is pure water - H2O. Tap water is pure water that has a variety of contaminants in it, but the contaminants vary from place to place. How could a chemical manufacturer possibly design a developer, fixer or hypoclear for optimum use in tap water without knowing specifically the composition of that tap water? And how could he possibly market something on a global basis when the actual composition of tap water varies so widely.

    No, the notion that photo chemicals were designed for optimum use in tap water rather than distilled water fails the common sense test.
     
  14. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Some developers have been designed to tolerate most tap water. Perhaps in touting that fact, the statement was made that tap water is optimum, but it should have read "There is no need for distilled water. Optimum results will be obtained with tap water." That statement may or may not be true. I have encountered tap water that was not fit to drink because of the amount of chlorine in it. You don't always realize it. When I moved to this place I got used to the deepwell water that is cool in hottest weather, sweet to the taste and, unfortunately for carbonate developers, very hard, but that's good for the heart. When I visit my old haunts, I can hardly stand to wash my face for the chlorine in the water.

    I use a lot of borax and sodium metaborate in my developers because they do not require either distilled water or EDTA.
     
  15. tac

    tac Member

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    Could you maybe provide a source or authority cite for this? Especially for developer, fix and hypo-clear?
     
  16. Antje

    Antje Member

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    I always give my film a final bath in distilled water with some wetting agent, but that's really all I do because the tap water is very good here.

    Antje