Distilled compared to filtered water

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Tom Kershaw, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    There have already been many threads on APUG about distilled and filtered water but I'd like to ask a specific question:

    Is distilled water more effective (or actually necessary) compared to filtered water through a filtration system such as the Ametek AM1 from Nova Darkroom (http://www.novadarkroom.com/product/161/Water_Filters.html) for particular processes?

    Many formula specify 'use distilled' but I wonder if this is based more on insurance or habit rather than anything else?

    Tom.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tom;

    Filters come in many types. Some remove particulate matter, and others remove ions as well as particulate matter. So, in the latter case you have deionized water. Some filters remove organics from the water as well.

    Today, all commercial prepackaged products contain ingredients to cope with the largest variety of water types possible and to prevent problems. Usually, you can see no difference in any of these types of water unless you are at the extreme of hardness or sediment content.

    We are moderately hard here, but have high sediment so I just use a plain filter to get rid of the sediment. It seems to give me the same results as distilled or deionized water does with D-76 and Dektol, or with KRLF or TF-4.

    PE
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    De-ionised water is often better than distilled water, although ideally for the purest water it should be de-ionised then distilled.

    Most laboratories use de-ionised water not distilled water these days and often what is sold as distilled water is actually only de-ionised. So yes a good de-ionising column is ideal for photographic use.

    The filters you linked to are just that a particle filters so not ideal although useful. A simple water filter used to soft water to prevent a kettle furring up is quite adequate with UK tap water.

    Ian
     
  4. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    PE,

    Thanks for your concise response. A few more questions:

    - Does the apparently acceptability of deionized water for "standard" B&W work carry through to deionized water being acceptable for;

    1. home brew developers etc. ?

    2. alternative process solutions ?

    3. emulsion making ?

    To rephrase my question (while acknowledging the problems of making clear cut statements): Are there circumstances when distilled water is needed / a very good idea, and what benefits does distilled water offer over deionized?

    Tom.

    PS) I'm in a hard water area.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Tom, deionised water is fine for emulsion making. I manufactured emulsions commercially for approx 10 years in an area of often hard water, local borehole was hard water, Birmingham water was soft, the supply came from either or both at different times.

    Deionised should also be fine for alternative processes and mixing up your own chemistry.

    Ian
     
  6. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    Tom, like you I'm in a hard water area (London) and now only use deionised water for making developer stock solutions and certain toners such as gold chloride. Simply to prevent precipitates forming.

    For mixing working strength film developers I just use filtered tap water. However I've started to use Pyrocat-HD and I noticed a white precipitate formed when mixed with tap water. I cured this by using a good quality Brita water filter. A much cheaper option then using my deioniser, the ion exchange resin carts. are bloody expensive.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Actually the Britta type water filters contain similar deionising resins to the larger lab type commercial units and will give similar results. I have both.

    Ian
     
  8. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Trevor,

    Which Brita model did you go with? A search on www.boots.com reveals several different jug & filter types.

    Tom.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tom;

    I use commercial distilled water from the supermarket for emulsion making. I use filtered tap water for mixing processing chemistry of all sorts. If there is sediment, I filter the solution.

    PE
     
  10. RobC

    RobC Member

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    if its practical, one of these units will give purer water than any distilled water you purchase.

    http://www.coleparmer.com/catalog/product_view.asp?sku=0150320

    distillation requires double and even triple distillation for the purest water and that still does not remove everything from the water since steam is perfectly capable of carrying particles with it as it rises from the water surface. Deionisation if far better as it actually filters virtually everything out.

    But prepackaged chemicals from ILFORD etc are buffered sufficiently to allow use of straight tap water without problems. However, in a hard water area, you are likely to get drying spots on film or paper if you don't use filtered water for your last wash. And some finicky developers benefit by using deionised water when mixing stock solutions. e.g. PMK.

    i.e. use deionised/filtered water for stock solution and final rinse. Everything in between should be OK with tap water unless you have very poor quality supply.
     
  11. BBMOR

    BBMOR Member

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    Tom

    most of the small Britta filters (for home use ) are using weak acidic resins with some actif carbon ,this means that only the tempory hardness will be removed (the Ca and Mg bound to the HCO3) also some divalent metals as Ni,Cu,Fe ....will be captured ,this water is certainly not totaly deionised
    If a total deionised water is needed a mixed bed filter is the only way or to by the so called distelled water what always means demineralised ,a membrane (RO) is also a solution
    i know it quite well because i am selling those resins to all the big players and use a MB for the rinsing water (last bath ) when i develop my films (wetting agent)
    most of the commercial chemicals contain complexing agents and normal tapwater (without particles ) is ok

    jm
     
  12. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    Tom,

    The one I went for was the Elemaris XL, with a 2 litre capacity (£24.67/Argos).

    It takes the newer Maxtra carts. which their blurb says reduces, chlorine, carbonate hardness, aluminium, heavy metals, certain pesticides and organic impurities. Note they say reduces, not removes. Anyway it sure does taste nice:smile:.

    For complete removal of impurities you would need a deioniser like the one Rob linked to. I have something similar but as I said because the running costs are expensive, the carts I use are over £40!!! I use the Brita more.

    Regards,
    Trevor.
     
  13. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    jm,

    Thanks for your informative post. I do recognize that a small Brita filter system may not be the highest specification option, and I hadn't even considered Brita domestic filters until Trevor's mention. I already own one of the particle filters (the Ametek AM1), so I'm looking at the further options when deionized or distilled water is suggested or needed.

    Trevor,

    On the Brita filter: What processes are you using the Brita filter water for, and how many litres do you get before the cartridge needs to be changed?

    On the lab deionizer: Approximately how many litres of water can be processed per £40 cartridge?

    Tom.
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yeah, at EK we used deionized distilled water for emulsion making and for chemical mixing in the lab, but here I've found that commercial distilled was good for emulsions and tap water good for processing chemistry. So, there might be a point of overkill. IDK, it depends on what works for you.

    PE
     
  16. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    Tom,

    Sorry can not give an exact amount, this is because I use it for drinking water as well as mixing WS developers particularly Pyrocat-HD. Because as I posted earlier, of a white precipitate through just using tap water. This wouldn't have particularlly bothered me but when the film dried there was streaks of white 'film' on the upper surface which fortunately was easily removed with a soft cotton cloth. However since I've started using the Brita this has not reoccured.

    I've never had problems with WS PMK pyro with ordinary tap water; filtered just to remove the larger particles (Paterson tap filter).

    With regard to the deioniser, again I don't monitor the exact amount, because it's a colour change resin, goes from brown to red when it needs replacing. However the manufacturer states that its capacity is from 40 to 160 litres depending on water hardness. I now only use it to mix stock solutions of film developers and toners.

    As Photo Engineer said, the general use of deionised water could well be overkill.
     
  17. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    The white precipitate from the Pyrocat series is, of course, calcium and/or magnesium carbonate. Rain water or dehumidifier water will work if it's clear. Filter out the bug parts, etc. I have high humidity in the warm months, so I have a large dehumidifier. If you used a combination of borax and NaOH or KOH to get the same pH, you could probably use the tap water.
     
  18. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    As with Gainer, I collect my ac run off water in the summer time. Here in the Washington DC area, there is lotsa humidity in da summah tahm!

    I have three large stainless steel chemical tanks with lids and dump the run off into them--unless I am using the run off for my house plants.

    I always filter the ac water before use; use it for mixing film developer and Photo Flo final rinse. I use filtered tap water for everything else. I have no chemical problems of which I am aware, but then I use no really esoteric chemistry: D23 and DK25R are very forgiving, dontcha know.

    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  19. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I just found out: 40 grams borax and 80 grams KOH or 57 grams NaOH will make a liter of Pyrocat B that works as the standard carbonate one with my Pyrocat MC, 1:1:50, 8 minutes, 70 F for FP4+ normal contrast. Should work with the other Pyrocats as well.
     
  20. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The ion exchange filters sold in supermarkets and hardware stores generally produce water that is chemically equivalent to single distilled water - like that you can buy in the supermarket. This is suitable for just about any photographic use. Other filters, such as activated carbon filters, simply remove grit and some organics and odors and may reduce chlorine a bit. These may not solve some photographic problems, so you should either go for distilled water or deionized water, possibly by using one of the deionizing filters. More elaborate deionizing units are available from laboratory supply houses that produce water equivalent to triple distilled or semiconductor grade water. These are overkill. In fact, tap water is fine most of the time.
     
  21. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Speaking of distilled water, I'm having a difficult time finding some here in London. Can anyone suggest where I should look?

    thanks in advance,

    HL
     
  22. dsullivan

    dsullivan Member

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    Marine aquatic stores, they all have Reverse Osmosis systems and many of them sell tanks of RO water for marine aquatic use, you may have to bring your own container though.

    One place in central london is the Aquatic Design Centre (http://www.aquaticdesign.co.uk/) though I've not bought from there myself (we're a bit far out and I'm not lugging tanks of water on the tube)

    David.
     
  23. RobC

    RobC Member

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    Boots used to sell deionised water for highly inflated prices. Any motor factor will sell deionised water for batteries.
     
  24. bill spears

    bill spears Member

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    If you see any window cleaners using these long pole systems, their water is purified by reverse osmosis. My brother uses one and always carries several 5 gallon cans full in his van. Quite possible they would sell you some at much less than the usual cost of deionised or distilled water from a chemist.

    Bill
     
  25. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    I have a RO system for my darkroom. With a ppm meter it reads the same as distilled. 0 ppm. Robert
     
  26. Photo Engineer

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    I have been trying to find a suitable RO unit. Can you give some information on the company? Thanks.

    PE