Developing film--fixer remover?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cesrig, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. cesrig

    cesrig Member

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    I'm a photo student home from for the summer. I'm planning on developing some 120 film in my bathroom. Just to refresh myself I was reading Ilford's developing guide (http://www.ilfordphoto.com/applications/page.asp?n=31) and I noticed that they don't use fixer remover. I've been using Sprint Systems chemicals for developing film which as a last step before final wash includes fixer remover.

    What's the deal with fixer remover and film? Is it necessary/depend on the fixer? I'm definitely not going to be using Sprint stuff while I'm home, so I suddenly feel "in the dark" again...

    Thanks
     
  2. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Using a fixer remover or hypo clearing agent lets you use a shorter wash time. It's an extra step, but it saves a lot of water and results in finished negatives more quickly.

    If you don't mind a long wash, there's no need for it. Also, if you use an alkaline fixer (such as Photographer's Formulary TF-4) a short wash is fine even without a hyp clearing agent step, but alkaline fixers are more costly than acid fixers.
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Fixer washes out of film rather quickly; unless speed, or water saving is an absolute necessity, any kind of hypo-eliminator for film is not a necessity.
     
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I use the 5-10-20 rinse method. Fill tank with water, invert 5 times, empty. Fill, invert 10 times, empty. Fill, invert 20 times, empty. Maybe a minute with Photo Flo and then hang to dry. Rinsing is fast and a lot less water is used.
     
  5. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    In one of the trillion threads on "how much rinse is enough?", someone posted a link to Actual Science---a paper, maybe even a peer-reviewed paper, in which someone had actually done some analysis of the rinsing process based on qualitative information like the amount of hypo in half a liter of working fixer.

    As I remember, they concluded that the *length* of time the film spent in a rinse bath could be pretty important, since the fixer diffuses towards equilibrium---in theory, IIRC, a single rinse after dumping the fixer was enough to get the residual hypo to archival levels, but the required stand time might be excessive.

    After reading that, I felt a lot more warm and fuzzy about the Ilford wash method, especially with TF-4. But now I can't find the link; does anyone remember what I'm talking about?

    -NT
     
  6. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    The only time I use a hypo clearing agent is when I'm processing fiber based prints. Fiber based papers absorb the chemistry into the fibers of the support, and that's why a hypo clearing agent is useful. It makes removal of fixer from the paper support easier. Films and resin coated papers don't absorb anything into the support. Only the very thin layer of gelatin emulsion carries any chemistry. Since the emulsion is so thin, and carries so little chemistry, wash times can be very short with very little water used.

    My procedure for films, which is probably overkill, is to fill the tank with water after the fixer is poured out for a quick rinse. This remove most of the residual fixer right off the bat. The loaded reels then go into a suitably sized (about 1 quart) plastic container with a couple of small holes in the bottom for 10 minutes. Water flow is very low, allowing for 1 complete change of water every two minutes by my reckoning. I've got some really old negatives treated this way (often worse) and they still look fine.
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/Thinktank/5693/ilfwash.pdf

    Lee
     
  8. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Forgive me for pointing out a detail that can confuse beginners at darkroom work. I don't wish to pick on Anscojohn. It's just that the nomenclature for washing aids can be confusing at best. As best I know it, the following is how it sorts out:

    Hypo Clearing Agent - capitalized - is a Kodak product that is a washing aid, and hypo clearing agent, uncapitalized is a generic term for a washing aid. Washing aids help get fixer out of the paper base when washing prints (or fix out of the emulsion of films). Fiber based papers can hang onto fixer tenaciously, and wash aids greatly shorten print processing and improve print washing results.

    Hypo eliminator is NOT the same as a washing aid. Kodak's Hypo Eliminator HE-1 is perhaps the best known of it's type of chemical. It is a now obsolete post wash treatment used to eliminate the very last minute vestige of hypo from a print. Paradoxically, that may not be the good idea it sounds like. Recent research suggests that an infintessimal residual of hypo in a print may actually enhance the longevity of the B&W image. Hypo Eliminator removes that vestige, and probably reduces the life of a print.

    Hypo Eliminator would, regardless, be used after both the washing aid and the washing. It is not a wash aid.

    The processing sequence was: develop, stop, fix rinse, wash aid, wash, hypo eliminator, re-wash, often followed by a protective toning. Now, the hypo eliminator and re-wash steps are superseded and should be avoided.

    Sorry for that rant.
     
  9. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    Use rapid fix and the ilford wash method and you'll probably be fine. As mentioned previously the amount of time spent in the fix is as important as the washing.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    From Google search for, filmwashing ilford .

    I use a relaxed version of the Ilford method.
    Twixt water changes and some agitation each
    I find time to do some clean up. Little water
    is used. I keep a jug of room temperature
    ready for the purpose.

    The link look for mentions the advantage of
    using water at room temperature. Dan
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I do just about the same thing. I don't bother with the jug of room temperature water though. However it comes out of the tap is fine for me.


    Steve.
     
  12. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The old rule of thumb was to wash film 30 minutes in running water. I usually take the top off the tank, stick a funnel in the fill tube and put it under a slowly running tap. Hypo clearing agent is not strictly needed, but it can help insure that all the fixer products are washed out, and it can reduce the wash times. By the way, most people feel that the Ilford wash method is insufficient to guarantee archival permanence with all water conditions.
     
  13. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I'd be more concerned with the emulsions exposure
    to 30 minutes of running water of questionable quality.

    Better than 50%, "most people", may not use the
    Ilford 5-10-20 wash routine, but few doubt it's
    ability to deliver a very good wash.

    The sequence is a time and water saver. With Good
    quality water, which ANY film wash requires, there
    is no need to worry.

    To bolster the sequence, as I've mentioned, I do
    not hurry it. Also room temperature water is
    some additional insurance. Dan
     
  14. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    As I mentioned earlier I use 5-10-20 and I actually timed it the other night and I got through it in under three minutes, forget the exact time. But it is great for productivity and savings in resources.
     
  15. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    ...and absolutely, room temperature water will wash things out faster than straight cold tap water. No doubt about it.
     
  16. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Why not a 5-5-5 sequence?

    I believe the 5-10-20 sequence is Ilford's way of saying
    that more time is needed for diffusion of fixer outward
    from the emulsion as less and less of it remains in the
    emulsion. On an atomic scale the last of the fixer is
    deeply located.

    A 5-5-5 sequence will work just as well as long as
    the amount time with each change of water is
    increased.

    The first short wash removes primarily surface
    clinging fixer. The later washes are waiting
    for that deep down fixer to surface.

    I wouldn't rush it. My strictly followed 5-10-20
    wash routine ran about 5 to 6 minutes. Now a film
    wash runs me about 10 minutes. The wash takes more
    time but I spend less time performing the wash. Dan
     
  17. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Which is fine when water is very plentiful and cheap. However in more and more places water is getting less and less plentiful, and the cost of that water is getting more and more expensive. You would be amazed at the amount of water you can go through in a short period of time, letting a tap run for 30 minutes, even at a fairly slow rate of flow.

    The Ilford method can be extended and many people do, I usually do 5-10-20-20 (the second one is done much slower though). IIRC That method was developed just after WWII when England had a water shortage. The real proof isn't in how much fixer is left in the emulsion, it's how many negatives that were processed using it in the 1940's and 1950's that are still in perfect condition today.

    Considering that today we often use rapid fixers that fix in less time and can be washed out easier, a method that worked in the 1950's with old style fixers, should work even better today with modern fixers.
     
  18. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Hypoclear is not essential, but it's use can reduce that amount of washing required after film is processed. Alternatively, its use can provide an extra margin of comfort that your film has been processed as archivally as possible.

    I'm curious about the statement that you are 'definitely not going to be using Sprint stuff' at home. In most areas today, processing chemicals are rather hard to find, and the cost of purchasing them from a remote supplier and paying for shipping and possibly hazmat charges is unappealing. Where I live, there is only a couple of stores that carry processing chemicals on any consistent basis, and the one brand that I have been able to find regularly is Sprint. Yes, Sprint have made their name on educational use of their product, but the stuff works, and more importantly, its available. My point is that I wouldn't arbitrarily rule out Sprint.
     
  19. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    It's the fixer with it's load of silver which needs to be washed
    out. The less fixer and silver to start the quicker the wash and
    the less water needed. I use fixer VERY dilute one-shot.

    A 120 roll through 500ml of just prepared, pristine,
    very dilute fixer, guarantees extremely low silver levels.
    Fresh chemistry is the only way for me to work because
    I've only a few rolls each year to process.

    FB paper is also processed with very dilute one-shot
    chemistry. Washes consume VERY little water. Dan
     
  20. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    If I'm developing several rolls of film, I usually mix up a batch of HCA simply to cut down on wash time. If I'm only developing one roll in the foreseeable future, I don't mix any up. It isn't necessary, but makes things go faster.