C-41 Stabilizer usage

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Tom Kershaw, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    This question is probably directed at PE;

    I'm currently using the Fujihunt X-Press C-41 kit to process C-41 films; in various posts on APUG, stabilizer seasoning has been mentioned if I recall correctly. The Fujihunt solution contains 1,2-Benziso-thiazolin-3-one . Is there an advantage to re-using the stabilizer, thereby seasoning the working solution with processed films, or is the working solution (of stabilizer) best used on a one-shot basis? The process manual / leaflet doesn't give advice on this subject.

    Tom.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tom;

    The stabilizer in the Fuji kit is a proprietary bacteriostat apparently like the one Kodak now uses. It can be used as long as it is clear and colorless. You do not season it so much as dilute it with carryover and exhaust the chemicals. As long as it acts as a wetting agent, you can be sure that it acts to prevent growths on the film.

    And, the nice thing is that as long as it causes no water spots, you are ok, but if you see beading on the wet film, just use fresh stabilzer. No harm is done. If you let it dry with water spots however, you have a problem.

    PE
     
  3. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    I am very troubled by the stabilizer issue now. If I send a roll of VPS-III to a lab that uses Fujihunt chemicals I suspect that my film will get a correct bath of stabilizer. For some of my old and not so old expired films that I kept in the freezer I do not even know which stabilizer they should be bathed in. I don't believe lab technicians know about that either. Am I out of luck on this? I guess if you buy and shoot freshly bought films you won't have this issue.
     
  4. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Speaking of which, the tetenal kit includes "hexamine" stabilizer which, according to wikipedia, is a formaldehyde based chemical. It does not contain a wetting agent (!). Is there anything bad about using a formaldehyde based stabilizer with newer films?

    So a stabilizer with a bacteriokiller is never exhausted?

    Would my slide films benefit from me finding formaldehyde and dunking them in it?
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    VPS III processed today stands a chance of being run through a process with the wrong stabilizer.

    Formalin is known under several names by reason of forming a great number of derivatives which have some of the properties of formain, but sometimes not all of them. If they decompose into formalin then they will stabilze older films, but if they do not, then they will not.

    All stabilzers can be exhausted, but replenishment is not critical and is easy. Stabilzers do not generally go bad, that is they don't spoil after mixing unless they are visibly cloudy or have a precipitate or suspended matter.

    PE
     
  6. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Two questions and a comment:

    What is the result of using the wrong stabilizer?
    When did they change to the new type of stabilizer?

    Formalin (a version of Formaldehyde for those who don't know) is extremely toxic and if even a drop gets spilt it means a full evacuation of the building and a professional Hazmat team response for cleanup. Therefore eliminating this chemical from photographic chemistries is a good thing. I don't know if the antibacterial agents they use now are any more environmentally friendly, or less toxic, although I would guess that is the general idea.

    I would think the biggest issue for stabilizers is that since they follow a water rinse, they would get a little more diluted with use.....
     
  7. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Hazmat Team...??

    I can vividly remember having to work with tissues drained with formalin for hours at university. If I had hinted at a hazmat team, I would have been considered totally nuts...
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Paul;

    Most importantly is the fact that your statement about toxicity is a typical overreaction to chemicals and chemistry. Formalin has been used for over 100 years in various industrial processes and it is only now that they are saying it is a suspected carcinogen. It does cause respiratory distress and problems, and should be avoided, but it is not in the same class as cyanide which your description describes better. Cyanide is instant death! Formalin at the same level is watering eyes and shortness of breath until fresh air is reached.

    Wrong stabilizer = bad dye stability in film.
    Change to new stabilizer = I Don't Know - sorry. Neither Kodak nor Fuji announced this with much fanfare.

    Last but not least, formaldehyde = formalin. The pure gas is called formaldehyde, the solution is stated to be formaldehyde 38%, 3% etc, or Formalin solution with a percentage.

    PE
     
  9. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I don't know, I work for a delivery company that deals with dangerous goods, and that is the procedure for formalin, does not apply to all formalin containing substances though, There are a few other things on the list, as for cyanide, it's on another list, the not for carriage list.

    So when they changed the stabilizer they changed the dyes or couplers as well, seems like this should have been made public, so people would know.
     
  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    They did (in a way...)

    On their site there was a page:

    "Photochemicals - Questions and Answers
    KODAK FLEXICOLOR Final Rinse and Replenisher FAQ's"

    where the situation was explained.
    That page has vanished meanwhile.
     
  11. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I guess the real question is approximately when it changed? If I have film in the freezer that I bought fresh 5 years ago, would that be new or old style stabilizer? If it's new, then it doesn't really matter to me, as I might at the most buy a brick every 2-3 years ( I don't use a lot of colour film), so I don't have any really old film around. I know that some others have film that is frozen from 20 years ago, so it's more of an issue.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

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    Vericolor III is "old" film and the new Portras from last year and the new Ektar 100 are "new" films. I can't tell you when the changeover was though. Sorry.

    The best bet is to add some 37% formalin to the new stabilzer. Or mix your own stabilzer. The old type is 10 ml of 37% formalin (about) added to 1 liter of standard Photo Flo 200 working solution.

    PE
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    PE I think in another thread about stabilizer, a respondent suggested that with "new" films, stabilizer wasn't necessary and simple Photoflo wetting agent will work in terms of avoidance of water spots. Your posts suggest to me that stabilizer still performs a useful function even with "new" films and should be used. Am I right?

    However even if stabilizer should still be used, am I right to say that "new" films are probably less susceptible to the problems that stabilizer is desinged to prevent, as they age compared to "old" colour films?

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Pentax;

    I have stated this over and over. Silver metal is a bacteriostat and fungicide when finelly divided. Therefore in B&W films, they have a "preservative" built in to some extent. In color films, silver is removed and all of the organics make a "feast" for the buggies. The stabilzers in the past worked to both stabilze dyes and to act as a bugistat! Today, color films only need the bugistat.

    PE
     
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    PE Thanks. That's another question clarified

    pentaxuser
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Paul,

    This is what Kodak stated:


    When will the new FLEXICOLOR Final Rinse and Replenisher be available?

    FLEXICOLOR Final Rinse and Replenisher will be available beginning in March 2000. It will replace all sizes of the current FLEXICOLOR Stabilizer and Replenisher LF on a stock-turnover basis. However, it will not replace FLEXICOLOR Stabilizer III and Replenisher, which will continue to be available.



    If new FLEXICOLOR Final Rinse and Replenisher contains no stabilizing agent, are there any films that I shouldn't process with the final rinse?

    Yes. Do not process films of older design that require a stabilizing agent for image stability. These films are KODAK VERICOLOR III Film, VERICOLOR Slide Film / SO-279/5072, and VERICOLOR Print Film 4111. Process these films only in a processor that uses FLEXICOLOR Stabilizer III and Replenisher. Films of more recent design, such as KODAK GOLD, MAX, ROYAL GOLD, PROFESSIONAL PORTRA, PROFESSIONAL EKTAPRESS, and PROFESSIONAL SUPRA Films require no stabilization for image stability. They will have optimum image-stability performance when processed with FLEXICOLOR Final Rinse and Replenisher.”



    Kodak uses here the term `stabilizer´ only with reference to Formaldehyde containing rinses, PE uses it also for final rinses containing an agent just acting as bacterio- and fungistat.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

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    AgX has the correct Kodak post. I had not copied it and did not know the date. I have gallons of the old Stabilzer and use it for everything and so never paid attention to the problem.

    PE
     
  19. wogster

    wogster Member

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    For me, it doesn't matter then, don't have any film that old....
     
  20. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Don't forget that when my teachers were kids and the mercury thermometers broke they would flick the beads of mercury around the counter. Last year a thermometer broke at my school and they summoned the Hazmat team and evacuated the building.

    So "new" films will not benefit from a traditional formalin stabilizer? Doesn't the new stabilizer contain some proprietary non-formaldehyde based stabilizer? What is in the E6 pre-bleach stabilizer?
     
  21. Photo Engineer

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    The new "FINAL RINSE" contains a bacterio- and fumgistat that preserves the film.

    The E6 process still uses formalin. The pre-bleach contains Sodium Formaldehyde Bisulfite adduct which reacts during the bleach to form formalin which stabilzes the dye without odor. The E6 final rinse contains a bacterio- fungistat that preserves film.

    New films can use all existing final rinses and older stabilzers or you can mix your own as I described earlier. Old films can use only the formalin stabilzer. E6 films still use formalin.

    In the 1700s it was stylish in high society to drink mercury for the unusual feeling it gave rolling around in the digestive tract, and lead was the common base for cosmetics. Women often had festering sores due to the lead pigments they used in cold cream and rouge. In any event, mercury vapor is the source of the "Mad Hatter" in Alice in Wonderland as mercury was used by felters in the hat making process and it will make a person's behavior become "mad". I agree that mercury vapor is harmful, but formalin is not in that league. Furniture finishes, glues and fabric sizing agents all contain formalin and if it were to be removed instantly from your home, your clothes would probably wrinkle up and your furniture would dull down and probably collapse. In fact, film stored in furniture drawers suffer from pre-process formalin exposure problems that used to lead to a greenish cast and fog. The same dye stabilty problems and fog problems applied before as to after processing to older films.

    Formalin pervades our society. Melamine and Bakelite are two plastics produced by using formalin. Formic acid is produced by insects metabolizing things that we cannot tolerate and many trees produce methyl alcohol (wood alcohol) which is also as toxic as formalin but not as well known to the layperson. Single carbon atom organics of the formalin, formic form (pun alert) are used by most organisms on earth but the highest mammals to which it is toxic. I might also mention that mercury falls into that same class to a small extent.

    If we removed formalin products from the face of the earth (and mercury) our entire ecosystem would probably collapse. So, we cannot afford to get hyper about at least formalin.

    BTW. the word plumbing comes from the word "plumbos" which is Latin for Lead, atomic symbol Pb. Lead pipes were used for years in plumbing systems from the time of Rome, and many wonder if Lead poisoning led to the collapse of the upper classes in Rome, but there is no evidence for that. Today, the process is on to ban lead in solders which are still used in electronics and in plumbing to solder pipes. Lead is far more toxic than formalin!

    PE
     
  22. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I can remember wrapping some in a paper towel and brining it to school in my shirt pocket. I was king for day with the other boys. (Mercury poisoning, perhaps that's what's wrong with me.)
     
  23. wogster

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    I don't know about in the US, but here in Canada lead was banned from solder intended for plumbing use years ago, although it's still allowed for some other things, metal roofing, electronics, lead used in the building of pipe organs, Whether formalin is useful or not, isn't the point for debate, all I said was that I work for a delivery company that deals in dangerous goods, and if formalin is spilt, then the procedure is an evacuation and Hazmat response. It's not just formalin either, there are strong acids that will have the same response, one that was unmarked ate through a metal dock plate in under 30 seconds.

    Many things can be cleaned up by specially trained staff people, although they may still use Hazmat gear. Technically photo chemicals are considered class 8 dangerous goods -- corrosive -- although there are people who work with them without using any kind of protective gear. It's funny, if a box of colour chemicals broke open and spilt part of it's contents at home, I would just clean it up, at work, I would stop the line and call for a spill responder, as that is the policy.
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    And I cannot ship color chemicals or any developer as it contains "alkali" a generic word that requires a license to ship, at least that is what I'm told by UPS and FedX. I have to apply at their local head office for it and can only let them pack it and ship it from the main dock. I tried to donate 3 C-41 kits to Project Basho last year and was barred from shipping it.

    Also, when I teach, I have to have my chemicals shipped in by the host organization as I can't carry or ship the Ammonium Hydroxide or Sodium Hydroxide. In NYC, Lye is banned for public use.

    So, the rules are inconsistant and always changing as society changes. Thats the only point in any of this actually. The ability to do analog photography legally is being eroded by the current trends.

    PE
     
  25. wogster

    wogster Member

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    There are 5 sets of rules, and they don't always agree with one another, you have local laws, state laws and federal laws, you have shipping company policies and IATA rules if air shipping is involved. In Canada we only have 3 sets because municipalities don't have the right to set laws in this matter. The provinces rarely have laws that don't agree with federal law and each others laws, since the transportation of goods is a federal matter. Shipping company policies and IATA rules still apply.

    I agree that analog processing is getting legally more difficult, but I think as fewer people are involved in it, this trend will slow down and even stop as volumes get lower. The manufacturing of digital cameras and materials is often far more toxic then film is, but since the toxins are released in China, Taiwan and Malaysia it's less of an issue for most people.
     
  26. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I heard concern that all the cool science kits that got many of today's scientists interested in science in the 70s have all been banned because you can make bombs from them. Without cool exploding things boys my age are much less likely to get interested in science.