Fixer longevity : how many rolls/prints?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by delphine, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. delphine

    delphine Member

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    I am sure this would had been writen about before but I cannot find the answer.

    I have some Ag-fix test strips, but I would prefer to have a rough rule to monitor fixer usage rather than test.
    Therefore, I have two questions for people who count rolls/prints when using their fixer.

    How many rolls do you typically process with your batch of fixer?

    Same question with RC and FB prints, how many prints to you count before you discart the fixer?

    Thank you

    Delphine
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2008
  2. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    The fixer manufacturers generally give this information in terms of the number of square metres that their product will handle. For film it is common to use the clearing time of a test portion of film to check it's serviceability.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    You might want to consider a two bath fixing for both film and paper.

    Not only will it give you better fixing but it extends the life of your fixer to.
     
  4. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

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    Ilford say that 1 litre of their Rapid Fixer should be sufficient for 24 rolls of 35mm film. I've read somewhere that a roll of 35mm has about the same surface area as a sheet of 10x8 (I haven't done the maths though), so it should also last for about 24 sheets of 10x8. However to be safe I mix up fresh fixer after 15 sheets of 10x8 (i.e. about 15 rolls) which works out at about 10p per sheet/roll. Maybe I'm using more fixer than I need, but it's not the most expensive stuff in the world and I'd rather be safe than sorry.
     
  5. delphine

    delphine Member

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    May be I should have said that I use Fotospeed fixer, and it does not indicate the film capacity on the bottle.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    you might consider doing a clip test with your favorite film

    ... clip off a piece and leave it out to be exposed.
    before you process any film in new fixer, put ur clip of film in the bath
    see how long it takes to clear ...
    and when it takes 2x the original time to clear, change your fixer ...

    good luck!

    john
     
  7. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    Hi delphine

    I only use my fixer for film the one time. This is because I do not want silver particles sticking to the emulsion of my film. The fixer does not go to waste though, as I then use it in my Nova upright for print making. It will be used for the one printing session, about seven sheets of paper, sometimes more, sometimes less. Then, before the next printing session I will test it, and then if O.K, which it usually is, I will use it for the second printing session and then discard. If the print is for some one else, it is fresh fixer every time.

    Happy New Year and see you in about twelve weeks time :smile:

    Regards

    Stoo
     
  8. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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  9. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    In that case you are reduced to testing as you go, for you cannot assume that it is the same capacity / dilution as other products.:sad:
     
  10. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Delphine, I agree with Stoo Batchelor. Fixer is a relatively inexpensive chemical and to use it as Stoo suggests guarantees that film and paper will be properly fixed without having to worry about the longevity of the film and paper you have processed.
     
  11. delphine

    delphine Member

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    Thank you to all.

    One time shot for film and re-use for prints is a easy and safe rule of thumb to go by. I think I'll stick to that.

    Happy new year !!:smile:

    Delphine
     
  12. ooze

    ooze Member

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    Does this phenomenon exist? If so, what are the effects?

    Cheers,
    omar
     
  13. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    Hello Delphine

    Just want to share a thought with you. One of the reasons I am a big fan of Ilford is the documentation that they provide about their chemicals. The Ilford Rapid Fix will do 24 rolls of 35mm/36exp---80 sheets of 8X10 RC---40 sheets of 8X10 Fiber all per litre. These are good numbers--I normally limit it to 20 rolls of film/litre. Now I am not a wacko environmentalist but I do believe in using my chems to the max amount reasonably possible. 1-shot fixer seams to be a waste of fixer and pouring more junk down the drain than necessary. Just a thought.

    Also I have never heard of "silver particles sticking to the negative" but hey they could fill a book with what I don't know!!!!
     
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  15. delphine

    delphine Member

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    23mjm,

    Stoo suggested a one time use on film processing then, the fixer is re-used till exhaustion (or your preferred usage level) in your printing session.

    And as Stoo referred to the silver particules. I don't know if it is what I saw yesterday (I suspect it is). I saw tiny particules, here and there, at the surface of one of my films drying yesterday. (Definitely not dust). They were visible only when the film was wet (can't see anything now nor water mark). I don't know if that was silver particules.

    With that in the back on my mind, I tested the fix this afternoon, I gasped.

    Delphine
     
  16. Akki14

    Akki14 Member

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    My bottle of FX20 Fotospeed fixer says for film, test using a leader and timing the clearing time. Depending on who you talk to here on here, you then double or treble that time for your film fixing time. When that time reaches double what it takes to clear when fresh, throw out the fixer.
    For paper it says 1litre does 40 8x10 prints.
     
  17. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    Dear Omar and All

    Firstly, I too am no expert when it comes to film development, so I can only speak as I find (or write as it is here)

    Some years back I had a problem with crud on my negatives. I went through a process of elimination to get rid of the problem. The problem turned out to be my water supply, yet, before arriving at this conclusion, one of the things that I picked up on here on APUG, was that when re-using fixer, you are subjecting your film to a fluid that is full of silver particles. Now, the way I see it, if my film emulsion is soft enough to hold on to a lump of lime from my water supply, so much so that it takes a good scrape with a cotton bud to clean it, and even then sometimes it will not budge, then I am sure that the same emulsion is quite capable of holding on to all that silver floating about in the used fixer. I prefer that my film sits in a clean change of chemicals throughout the development process.

    My method may be a bit extravagant but my film is always squeeky clean now, and I usually only have to pick of the occasional fleck of dust with the tip of a brush.

    Regards

    Stoo
     
  18. catem

    catem Member

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    I never re-use fix - either for film or for prints. (For prints I currently tend to use one bath of Hypam at 1 : 4 (and throw) - if I was using a 2-bath fixer I would keep it for the second bath). The test for fixer freshness from the bottle is still useful - but I don't think I ever keep it long enough for it to go off (I buy the 5l bottles).
     
  19. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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    i reuse fixer. i use the fixer check liquid to determine exhaustion.

    i have been told not use the same fixer fro prints and film. i guess the prints fixer can harm the film.

    FWIW

    eddie
     
  20. Trey

    Trey Member

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    One thing to consider when reusing film fixer for paper is whether or not there is hardener in there. If so, you may encounter problems if you try to tone later on.
     
  21. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    I re-use all film fixer many times until the clearing times get longer than about 45 seconds. All my film sits in fixer for 2.5 minutes. I've never encountered any problems. I use Ilford Hypam for all film and printing as it's non hardening.

    For printing, I use ilfords two bath system diluted 1:7 for each bath. I fix FB prints for 1 minute in each bath. When the printing session of no more than 12 prints is complete, I throw away the first bath, and reuse the second bath as the first bath in the next printing session. Seems to work well, and good economy etc. I've never had a problem with staining or issues with toning washing etc.
     
  22. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    It seams to me that there might be some confusion as to one-shot and re-use from what I can tell. To me one-shot is use it and down the drain. Re-use is do a session and pour it in a bottle for another day. I never pour mixed fixer in a bottle. I mix a batch and use it for that session watching my print or film quantities. Using the recommended numbers given by Ilford for their Rapid Fix. I normally wait until I have 10 or 15 rolls to develope before I start mixing new batches.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2008
  23. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    It would take some very unusual combination of chemical
    interaction to precipitate elemental silver within the fixer
    solution. Off hand I can't think of any combination of
    chemistries we involved with darkroom chemistry
    might concoct on purpose which would cause
    such a chemical reaction.

    I've read many APUG posts dealing with fixer but yours is
    a first ever seen warning of fixers "full of silver particles"

    In years past I've put a lot of film through the same lot
    of fixer with no problems. I dare say 9 out of 10 or more
    APUG'ers reuse fixer. Film strips, Ag indicator paper, silver
    load drops, and by count, are the methods used to
    test fixer.

    For myself I use fixer fresh each roll or print, very
    dilute one-shot. Dan
     
  24. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    For film, I use a neutral pH rapid fixer that I mix fresh for each use. I use it once and dump it.

    For fixing paper I use two fixing baths - both made fresh at the start of the printing session. I dump them at the end of the printing session.
     
  25. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    Dan

    Please take a look at the link below;

    http://www.uos.harvard.edu/ehs/silver_recovery.shtml

    Now, as I have said, I am no expert on film development, or in anything else when it comes to photography for that matter. I speak as I find. In number 1, in the article, it quotes...."Silver attaches readily to surfaces"..

    Now, as this is an article on silver recovery from darkroom fixers, and it also warns of the dangers of discharging used fixer in to the enviroment, I can only assume that there is a silver content in used fixer. At what point a fixer reaches a point where as it becomes a hazard does not concern me. The fact is that used fixer will have silver particles, or what ever word you wish to use, in it. As this silver is capable of attaching itself to surfaces, in this instance it would be the soft emulsion of my film, I have chosen that during my own development routine I do not wish to subject my film to such a risk, however small.

    Yes, as this post proves there are many APUGers re-using fixer with no complaint, and they are very happy with their results, as I am with mine. So there is no reason for any of us to change our development routines.

    Regards

    Stoo

    EDIT...I thought I would just add PARTICLE/A MINUTE PORTION OF MATTER. and please, I am in no way trying to sound smart here (I always find that quite difficult!)
     
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  26. catem

    catem Member

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    Also worth stressing that if you do put your fixer down the sink, the more 'used' it is the worse it definitely is for the environment. Another reason, apart from archival reasons, I don't use it to exhaustion. Although one of my NY res's might be to dispose of all my chems (apart from developer) via the Council hazardous waste route...