Film Washing Test

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Greg Davis, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    A few weeks ago there was a discussion about whether to use an acid stop with film or plain water. During that discussion the topic of washing methods came up and I said I would test the published washing methods of both Kodak and Ilford by following them to the letter and then use the standard Residual Hypo test and compare the results to the Hypo Estimator card. After finally getting through the university red tape I have received my silver nitrate to mix the test solution and have conducted the tests. In order to be thorough, I retested everything to verify my results.

    All film used was Kodak T-Max 400 TMY-II in 120 format and all rolls were processed using the exact same steps and temperatures with the exceptions noted in the fixing and washing cycles. The images are titled according to whether a hardening or non-hardening fixer was used (Kodak Rapid Fixer with or without part B), if Kodak HCA was used, and the washing method used.

    I used running water for some tests, and used the specified flow rate as determined by a flowmeter and the test for efficient flowrate explained in Conservation of Photographs Kodak Publication F-40, 1985.

    The washing methods published are:
    Kodak's:
    A 5 minute running water wash at a rate that changes the water once in 5 minutes when using a hardening fixer and HCA or 10 Fill and Dumps. If a hardening fixer is used without HCA, then a 20-30 minute running water wash (at the same rate) should be used. I include the results from only 10 minutes to be thorough.

    Ilford's:
    Fill the tank with water and agitate for 5 inversions, then empty. Fill and agitate 10 inversions, then empty. Fill and agitate 20 inversions, then empty. This assumes a nonhardening fixer and no HCA.

    The washing methods tested were as follows:

    Kodak- 5 minutes of running water, with hardening fixer and HCA
    Kodak- 5 minutes of running water, with nonhardening fixer and HCA

    Kodak- 10 minutes of running water, with hardening fixer without HCA
    Kodak- 20 minutes of running water, with hardening fixer without HCA
    Kodak- 30 minutes of running water, with hardening fixer without HCA

    Kodak- 10 minutes of running water, with nonhardening fixer without HCA
    Kodak- 20 minutes of running water, with nonhardening fixer without HCA
    Kodak- 30 minutes of running water, with nonhardening fixer without HCA

    Kodak- 10 Fill and Dump, with hardening fixer and HCA
    Kodak- 10 Fill and Dump, with hardening fixer without HCA
    Kodak- 10 Fill and Dump, with nonhardening fixer and HCA
    Kodak- 10 Fill and Dump, with nonhardening fixer without HCA

    Ilford- 3 Fill and Dump with Agitation, with nonhardening fixer without HCA
    Ilford- 3 Fill and Dump with Agitation, with hardening fixer and HCA

    I added a couple of variations that aren't published, such as Ilford's method with hardening fixer and HCA, but I figure some people may do this.

    The film is compared to a Hypo Estimator card. The darker the test solution, the more residual hypo in the emulsion. A well washed negative should have little or no staining matching the patch labelled 1 or less.

    I offer no conclusions here, I am only presenting results. You can argue which method is best all you want, but the results here are what they are.
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    The images were mixed up in the upload process, so do not appear in order of the list, however, the image title indicates the washing method applied.

    If I missed a combination or method you like, then test it your own damn self.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2010
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Thanks Greg for doing all this work.

    I think that I'll go check my stocks of HCA.
     
  4. Removed Account2

    Removed Account2 Inactive

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    Both Ilford and Kodak changes of water works perfectly with non-hardening fixer, I use rapidfixer which is non-hardening, so this confirms my experience 6 changes is more than enough, and usually I make 8 for good measure.

    Thanx for your effort, this must have been quite a job!
     
  5. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The conclusions seem to be that, at least under these test conditions, hardener retards washing but HCA helps.
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Thanks for the test.

    It appears to me that time and HCA are more important than anything else.

    I have some paper tests here that I might post for you all.

    PE
     
  7. Vlad Soare

    Vlad Soare Member

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    Ilford's fill-agitate-dump method seems to work perfectly with or without HCA. :smile:
    It appears that HCA allows one to get away with a less than proper wash, but it's unnecessary if one washes the film correctly ("correctly" meaning either the right number of fill-agitation-dump cycles, or the right number of minutes in running water).

    Thanks for posting this. I've been using the Ilford method for some time, but never tested its efficiency. I'm happy to find out it works fine.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2010
  8. amac212

    amac212 Member

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    Oh my word. Just fantastic, thank you for sharing!
     
  9. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I never liked the Kodak method because it feels like I am wasting water because I am sure when I do it I am changing the water several times in 5 minuets. Thank you for proving that i can switch to the Ilford method that allows me to close the tap between cycles.

    I also thank you on behalf of all the fish, or the person that will get to shower a few minuets longer with the water this saves. *L*
     
  10. Removed Account2

    Removed Account2 Inactive

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    There are two "kodak methods", read the entire test!
    1. is running water for up to 30 minutes, which really ain't Kodaks method at all, but the traditional method.
    2. is 10 changes of water, compared to the Ilfords 3 changes of water.

    Ilfords method is sufficient with non-hardening fixer, which is more or less standard issue these days.

    10 changes of water is enough for anything.... usually more than enough.

    The interesting bit in the test was a glimpse into how efficient running water really is, in theory its not efficient at all.....

    But as said before, I prefer my "adapted ilford method" at least 6 changes of water and usually one or two more with a drop of detergent added to get rid of water droplets. My negatives will outlive me by a good margin.
     
  11. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    When using a standard 16 ounce two reel developing tank, Kodak's method of running water used with HCA, requires a minimum flow rate of .2 gallons per minute, using a total volume of 1.125 gallons after 5 minutes. The alternative of 10 fill and dumps uses 1.25 gallons. Ilford's method uses a volume of .375 gallons, but assumes a non-hardening fixer. Kodak assumes a hardening fixer and would require less washing than their published data if adjusted for a non-hardening one, especially if still used in conjunction with HCA.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Very good points Greg. And, good measurements of the water.

    These values would be reduced yet again by an alkaline fixer.

    You may want to keep the film for 5 years or so, and re-examine these results. I have done so with paper and the results are astounding. The "bad" ones that tested as unwashed are dark brown!

    PE
     
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    Removed Account2 Inactive

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    What levels does the Kodak test indicate as far as remaining thiosulphates goes?
     
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  15. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    According to the data sheet that came with the Hypo Estimator:
    Density of Stain vs. Estimated Grams of Thiosulfate Ion/sq. meter
    1=0.01
    2=0.02
    3=0.05
    4=0.12
     
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Very well presented. In fact better than I have ever seen in any book I have read on the water washing part of film processing. All of us on APUG owe you a debt of gratitude for this comprehensive test. I use the Ilford method but extend it to an initial flush then 5,10,15,20, 15,10 5 so 8 changes in total. I'll now stick with this as my method.

    Many thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  17. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Thank you, Pentaxuser and Ron. The whole purpose of the project was as a teaching aid in class, as well as to stop the arguing here since nobody else was willing to actually put these methods to the test instead of arguing which was best simply because they used that particular method. I am not going to draw any other conclusion from this comparison except to say that if anyone uses the combination of hardening/nonhardening fixer, HCA, and wash methods that the manufacturers recommend, you can't go wrong.
     
  18. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Thanks for the altruistic work.
    The results should stick somewhere before time buries this thread under the new ones.

    Fabrizio
     
  19. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I would say that your test shows that both methods work quite well with non hardening fixer, after that it comes down to what you prefer, or what fits your needs at the time.

    The Ilford method might save water, but there are times that running water over the film gives you a chance to duck out and do whatever, like find a towel, while the film washes on autopilot.
     
  20. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    We could ask the moderators to make this a sticky.
     
  21. jawarden

    jawarden Member

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    Thanks very much, Greg. I'm always wondering if I have washed enough. No more.
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Guys;

    Here is my paper wash test.

    Normal process, Dev, Stop, Fix, wash.

    Fix = KRLF (Kodak Rapid Liquid Fix), Paper dilution, recommended time.

    Paper = Ilford MG IV FB

    Conditions = Runnin water, single sheet, 5x7 tray with 4x5 sheet.

    When fresh, all of these looked equally white. They are now 5 years old. The retained Silver test is on the left and the retained hypo test is on the right. The test on the right (retained hypo) has darkened with age being Silver Nitrate. It required 2 - 4 minutes for complete washing to yield no change in stain with keeping. I ran that test as well, shown in the second figure. It is the only sheet that has shown no appreciable stain growth in the intervening 5 years. I'll let you know more in 5 years.

    Please note that the retained Silver is still slightly positive, and the retained hypo is positive at 2 and 4 minutes, but since it darkens with age it is hard to tell now. However the paper still looks good! So, you can be fooled.

    I have the same test with RC paper. It tells a totally different story! :cool:

    PE
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2010
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Done, without asking. :cool:
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Pray tell, PE, what the story is with RC.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  25. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Thank you, Ole. I would hate to see people ask this question over and over when it has been answered very well here (if I do say so myself).
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    For RC in the same conditions, the wash times were considerably shorter and NONE of the samples have browned even though they failed both tests. This is what is confusing to me at this time. In addition, I ran the same tests with TF-4 and the shorter wash times were fully verified and it passed all tests. TF-4 processed prints wash incredibly fast!

    So, IMHO, the tests can fool you with RC. I'm still debating this with myself.

    PE