First chemicals

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by JBoontje, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. JBoontje

    JBoontje Member

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    I will soon buy my first set of chemicals, and I want to buy the right combination at once.
    I want to do it right the first time, and I am terrified of the fact that I might screw up a roll of film because I used the wrong chemicals (all the images, lost forever... nooo)
    I've found a nice store that delivers these chemicals, and I've made a selection of the chemicals I might buy.

    It would be great if you could point it out if I made the wrong decision.

    Film Developer (I shoot with Tri-X 400)
    Ilford ID 11, 1 ltr.

    Film Stop
    Amaloco S10 scentless signal stopbath (I own 2 bottles with less than 125ml so I dont need to buy this one, just mentioning it for the combination)

    Film Fixer
    Ilford Rapid Fixer, 500 cc

    Paper Developer
    Amaloco AM 6006 Multigrade 500 cc (This is probably an unknown brand for those outside of Europe. I chose this because its quite cheap, and it does the job well I've heard. I do own different kinds of paper like Ilfospeed RC Deluxe, will I be able to develop this kind of paper with this developer?)

    Paper Stopbath
    Amaloco S10 scentless signal stopbath (again, I can use stopbath chemicals for both film and fixer right?)

    Paper Fixer
    Ilford Rapid Fixer, 500 cc

    I've also got a question about re-using chemicals. I dont think I will use the stop/fixer for paper once I used it for film, this would make the chemicals messy too soon.
    Which of these chemicals are re usable, and which ones arent?

    Thanks alot in advance :smile:
     
  2. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I don't know the Amaloco products, but you list looks fine. You should not use fixer for both paper and film - they will probably require different dilutions. Since you have stop bath, you might as well use it, but I've used just plain water for many years. Your products will tell you about dilutions and give you a guide as to how long they may be reused.
    Good luck
    juan
     
  3. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    I'd buy Kodak's D76, as it's usually somewhat cheaper. The 1ltr pack is probably too little, better buy the 5ltr, or 3,8ltr (for Kodak's D76). In case you didn't know it, D76 and ID11 are practically the same thing. Some people reuse ID11/D76, but it can only be done if you use it undiluted. If you do so, you'll need to increase development time to compensate for loss of activity.

    I'd buy a 1ltr bottle of Ilford's Rapid Fixer and use different solutions for film and paper. It can and should be reused. You can get a lot of information from the manufacturer here. If there's something more you'd like to know, do a search in APUG, or ask.

    Stop bath can also be reused, but I'd make different solutions, just like with fixer.

    Finally, any paper developer will do the job. Different paper developers can give different results, but you shouldn't worry about it at this point.
     
  4. mattmoy_2000

    mattmoy_2000 Member

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    You can re-use fix for film (don't know about paper) pretty much indefinitely. The way to test it's OK is to drop a bit of undeveloped leader into it and see if it clears in less than 5 mins. Time how long it takes to clear and then double that time to know how long to fix your film for.
    Stop bath is unnecessary, but if you use it you can be more precise about your timings (just be consistent as to whether you use it or not).
    The only change I'd make would be to order 5L of ID-11 rather than 1.
    The 5L box is about 60% more expensive and contains 400% more chems. This way you can just use the dev 1-shot (either as stock or diluted 1:1) and then chuck it. Whilst this may seem wasteful, it's a lot more consistent than re-using and compensating for exhaustion and barely costs more at all (5L will develop 20 120 films used 1:1, a litre will develop 10 120/135-36 at stock strength, slightly giving finer grain, in theory, but worse acutance- it's a trade off, personally I'm not that fussed about grain, and using 1-shot means not worrying about how to compensate if you push/pull etc.).
    The only difficult thing is finding a clean 5L container to mix it in. I used an old DECON90 (high-purity, concentrated industrial soap) bottle washed out extensively with DI water, but you could easily use a clean bucket and then pour it into smaller bottles (e.g. wine bottles or 2L pop bottles) or a well washed bleach bottle.
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    JBoontje,

    Relax. :wink:

    ID-11 (which is the same as D-76) is a very nice, very reliable developer that many use for their entire career in B&W. I used it when I started.

    As long as you do things in order and get close on times, temps, and agitation, you will get something; with practice you'll get better.

    ID-11/D-76 is also the developer that is the benchmark that other developers are measured from.

    The only thing I see missing from your list that is truly important is Photo-Flo to keep the spots off your negatives.

    The other thing I like to use is Hypo-Clear as part of my rinse process.
     
  6. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    I use Kodak chems. As a note, I mix Kodafix 1:3 for film and 1:7 for paper. Your chemistry probably has a similar difference in dilution for different applications. Be sure to double check your mixing ratios. And make a large print list on a sheet of paper for each process that you can tape to the wall for easy in-session reference.
     
  7. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Hope this helps :-

    Film Developer
    The most consistent way of using ID11 is to dilute it with an equal measure of water (50%ID11 + 50% water – commonly known as 1+1).

    You should find plenty of information on the film development times of 1D11 at 1+1 - best place to look first is Ilfords Web Site - http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2006210204272065.pdf

    Discard the developer at the end of the development time.

    The consistency (which is VERY important in photography) is achieved because you always start with fresh developer.

    It gets rather expensive if you only buy 1L packs and have lots of films to process – but Ilford sell a 5L pack of ID11 for not a lot more money.
    However, don’t ever be tempted to make up for example 2.5L of dev by using only half a pack – the different chemicals inside the pack are not homogeneously distributed and you may get more of Chemical A than you want and less of Chemical B.
    ID11 kept in airtight bottles lasts reasonably well (6 months at least) – so its best to decant your 5L solution into smaller bottles (eg a mix of 250 & 500cc) and discard the developer you don’t use.
    A good source of suitable small bottles are PET Plastic soft drinks bottles – but always clearly label them with the chemical and the date you made it up into solution.

    Film Stop Bath
    You can re-use the stop bath if it has a colour indicator.
    I always keep my Film & Paper Stop Baths separate – but I don’t know if this is strictly necessary.

    Film Fix
    This again can be retained and re-used.
    It is necessary to keep Film Fix separate from Paper Fix.
    Film emulsion contains Iodine halides which are very difficult to wash out of paper – hence why they should not be mixed.
    Also, keep a close count on how many films you process through the Fix – it has a finite capacity which is not to be exceeded without long term problems.

    Paper Developer
    Paper Dev can be retained and reused – but not for too long
    I use the colour as a guide – it should start almost clear or very pale straw and get progressively darker brown with age and use.
    Once it gets to a light to mid brown I pour it away and mix up some fresh.
    The reason you can re-use Paper Dev and not Film Dev is that when developing Prints – if you get it wrong you just mess up a piece of paper, with Film you have ruined the Negatives with no chance of recovering the situation and are forced to go back and re-photograph the subject – as you say in the OP- noooo

    Paper Stop Bath
    You can re-use the stop bath if it has a colour indicator.

    Paper Fix
    Again can be retained and re-used.
    Keep Paper Fix separate from Film Fix.
    Paper Fix also has a capacity which should not be exceeded – see the Ilford Web Site for full details.


    You may wish to consider getting some film Wetting Agent like Ilfotol (http://www.ilfordphoto.com/products/product.asp?n=44&t=Fixers+&+Sundry+Chemicals) – it helps speed up the drying of wet film and elimination of drying marks.

    Tetenal Protectan (http://www.tetenal.com/openerimg.htm?file=imaging_shop/images/105193.jpg) can be used to help preserve the partly used chemicals in their storage bottles by displacing the oxygen from the air gap in the container.

    Finally, a few words of caution
    It is essential to clean up properly after yourself when you have finished a session in the darkroom.
    Thoroughly rinse all the trays, tanks and bottles you have used – chemical cross contamination is a nightmare to diagnose and deal with so is best avoided by good initial housekeeping
    Clean up all the spills and splashes as soon as practical, as it’s a lot easier to do it as you go along than to wait until the very end of the session – I use endless quantities of paper towel.

    Good luck and have fun

    Martin
     
  8. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    That's a good basic list. Like so many others, I use D76(ID11) for a good reason. It's been around longer than I have, and it's good. Wetting agent can be useful, though I find that a final rinse in distilled or purified water does just as well, and I've never been bothered by drying marks. Hypo clearing agent makes sense when processing fibre based papers, but modern emulsions and RC papers fixed in rapid (ammonium-based) fixers don't need a clearing agent. Some people use two-bath fixing as an alternative to a clearing agent. For fixers, I just put a strip of masking tape on the working solution bottle, write the capacity on the masking tape strip in arabic numerals, and put a tally-mark on for each film fixed, and use it until the fixing capacity listed in the instruction leaflet has been reached.

    I don't use stop baths. Used to, but can't say as I've detected any difference, though it may be more important if you're doing processing that involves very short development times.
     
  9. ryca

    ryca Member

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    Hi All,

    I think I've messed up - You all mention keeping film & paper 'stop' & 'fix' mixtures seperate... I'm somewhat a newbie - been doing this at home for the past 3 weeks and have been using the same stop & fixture for both my film processing & wet paper printing as the ratio specified was the same on each bottle --> Ilfostop (1+19) & Ilford Hypam Fixer (1+4). My results have been fine though?

    Should I continue or redo 4 new batches? (2 x Stop & 2 x Fixer)

    Also on a side note.. I've been reusing the stop & fixer for these 3 weeks.. mixed them each into a 1lt bottle. I only work on weekends and have processed around 4 films and made about 15-20 prints. How do i know that the stop & fixer has expired / exhausted / ended?? Does Ilfostop or Hypam indicate? Is there a max number you all adhere to? I noticed on 2 prints I made last night had some kind of stains on them, not in the same location either.


    thanks!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 13, 2009
  10. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    You can use the same working solution of fix for film and prints, but I'd avoid that. RC papers can get away with much more economical dilutions than film, and it's worth bearing in mind that film will produce more silver than paper, thus making it hard to track the fixing capacity and hence exhaustion of your solution if you mix film and paper, and from what you say, you may already be experiencing the effects of that.

    Trust the manufacturer to know his product. I don't bother doing exhaustion tests, I look at what the manufacturer says in the leaflet about fixing capacity, and go by that. Even if the manufacturer is being conservative, I'd rather throw out underused fix than find out in ten years time that an irreplaceable image has deteriorated avoidably. If you use the same solution, you're going to have trouble tracking exhaustion and will be reliant on tests, which you may not always remember to do.
     
  11. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    If you're worried about losing precious images, then do test rolls of something unimportant before. Test rolls are always advised when trying something new.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    ryca:

    You need not worry about re-doing the Stop-bath steps. I can guarantee that development has stopped for all of the films and prints you have done.

    As far as re-doing the Fix steps, you probably shouldn't bother. The prints with stains are probably incompletely fixed, but re-fixing will probably not help. If there are any films that were fixed toward the end, you might want to consider re-fixing them, but I wouldn't bother, unless there are absolutely critical images on them, that could never be replaced. If you do re-fix and wash, the extra handling will increase the chance of scratches or other damage.

    Most likely all but the last prints will be fine.

    Just consider it an opportunity to learn (there will be lots more :smile:).

    Keep having fun!

    Matt

     
  13. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Yup – sounds like you have messed up – but not big time – so the stuff you have done should be OK :smile:

    Probably the best thing to do is dump the Fix Sol’n you have made up and make up two new batches – one for film at 1+4 and the other for Paper at either 1+4 or 1+9.

    The Paper Fix at 1+4 is faster acting, which is important if you are using FB Paper but of no real consequence if you are using RC – check the Ilford Web Site - http://www.ilfordphoto.com/Webfiles/2006130213591255.pdf

    Capacity/Exhaustion of Fix is difficult to determine without laboratory testing.
    Manufacturers capacity figures are safe – stick with them and you will never have to worry.
    Go beyond these and you are on your own – so as Dirty Harry said “Do you feel lucky: Punk!” :wink:
    Personally, to me Fix is cheap as chips – so if in doubt I chuck it and start with fresh.
    One of the better ways to keep a tally on the capacity is to keep score on the side of the bottle – see here - http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/...yings-platitudes-homemakers-golden-rules.html

    Stop is just Stop – it doesn’t real matter whether it’s being used for Film or Paper – so you should be fine there.
    Watch the colour – Ilfostop has a colour indicator, which is a clear golden yellow when fresh but goes a rather muddy yellow colour as it exhausts before finally turning purple when exhaustion is complete.
    It’s best to dump it as it starts to turn muddy yellow and not to wait for it to turn purple.
    By the time it has turned purple it is no longer acidic but alkali and so isn’t Stop any longer.

    Stains on prints are never a good sign :surprised:
    It usually shows either exhaustion or contamination or mechanical damage to the print surface.
    The best thing to when you see it, is to dump ALL of the working chemistry, give all the trays and dishes a good clean then start again.

    Good luck

    Martin
     
  14. JBoontje

    JBoontje Member

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    Thanks alot for the advice, I will sure read these posts over and over again.
    D76 is indeed cheaper, so I will get that one instead of ID-11.

    I've also found a nice second hand-unopened 5ltr box of Amaloco 6006 which I'm currently bidding on :smile:
    (New: €44,50 Second hand: €15 :smile: )
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    D-76 1:3

    Even cheaper at 1:3, a not unusual dilution. Good
    I'm sure at even greater dilutions. Development
    times do become extended. Dan
     
  16. ryca

    ryca Member

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    @alexmacphee, @MattKing & @Martin Aislabie:

    thanks so much for taking the time to reply.. your advice is invaluble! i'll continue sharing Stop but will definitely mix up 2 new seperate Fix batches for film & prints and as advised, keep tabs on usage as per Ilfords recommendations.

    my storage bottles are only 1lt and each usage (whether film or print) is with approx 600ml - this isn't a problem is it? should I store working solution in bigger bottles (eg. 2lt or 5lt) so theres more volume to work & refresh itself with?

    again thanks!
     
  17. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    I don't know if you get it where you live, or get indigestion for that matter, but my wife has a duodenal ulcer which occasionally gives her cause to reach for a bottle of Gaviscon, an indigestion remedy from the pharmacy. One of the sizes it comes in is 600ml, which is perfect. I use D76 at 1+1, which is use-once throw-away dilution. I clean out the medicine bottles thoroughly, and use them to store my stock D76 and my fix. The 600ml bottles come in two shapes (I think it's for the different flavours), so I use one shape for dev and the other shape for fix, just to avoid risk of confusion. There are also 300ml size bottles of the stuff.

    I make up my D76 stock, then dispense it into the 600 and 300 bottles. This scheme works perfectly for me. D76 stores well, and when I'm ready to use it, I dilute it 1+1 in the measuring cylinder ready for pouring in to the tank. I like glass bottles because I find them better for temperature equilibrating in a water bath. The caps on these bottles are also child-proof, which I like for photo solutions.
     
  18. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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  19. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Hello JBoontje,
    You are getting much good, sound advice. My advice is to internalize this good information while at the same time, trying to keep things simple. As has been mentioned, your goal is consistency in technique and in result. D76/ID-11 and Tri-X and a "classic" combination: learn it completely.
    And, most importantly, have fun.
     
  20. alexmacphee

    alexmacphee Member

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    Sometimes even the most obvious advice bears repetition. I always fall back on HP5/D76 (for some reason D76 is cheaper than ID11), which I've used since it was HP3. It's always interesting to experiment, but when you know one combination inside out, you're far less likely to be wrong-footed. It's closely analogous to knowing your camera so intimately you're unaware of having to think about it.
     
  21. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    absolutely correct.

    And, HP3. FP3, HPS----
    we go back a bit, don't we!?