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Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Albin, May 29, 2007.
What kind of fixer can I use with PMK developer?
When I was using PMK I fixed my negatives in Ilford non-hardening rapid fix. Some claim that an alkaline fix is better. I tried it and couldn't see any difference. I've also used Ilford's rapid fix on rollo-pyro and pyrocat-HD with no problems.
I use an alkaline fixer, at first because it was supposedly better to use in terms of preserving image stain, but now I continue primarily because alkaline-processed negatives require a much shorter wash period than acid-fixed negatives.
I use regular Kodak fixer.
The one thing is that I usually return my negatives to the PMK for a few minutes after they're fully fixed, so that they'll accumulate more stain on the silver. But I return them to a water stop bath first to make sure I'm not changing the pH of the PMK too much.
other than that, I found it made my film (35mm) really flat! The short washing time is definitely a plus, another thing is it's smells not as bad as the acid fixer.
Best fixer with PMK is TF4 from photographer's formulary or Berfix from bergger. It's an alcaline fixer.
Dr. P, at a workshop with Gordon Hutchings I was told by him that the pyro "after bath" was no longer being used by him. One result of this soak is the addition of "general stain" which can actually affect the negative in a bad way. It shows up most obviously in the shadow values and will make shadow textures look muddy or somewhat soft with respect to contrast. I use PMK for portraits, as it does a very nice job on skin tones and shadow values aren't as important for the look I want. General stain is not the way to go in some settings.
For landscapes I use pyrocat-hd because shadow values are so much nicer. tim
Sodium thiosulfate straight will do. I use it for film. For
paper I'll likely carbonate or bicarbonate it as tests so far
indicate more rapid and complete fixing. I don't use staining
developers but have seen sodium thiosulfate recommended
for the purpose. The ph is near neutral.
Spoon up fresh fix at processing time. As a 120 roll starting
point try 16 grams, a half ounce plus, of the anhydrous and
ten minutes with more or less continuous agitation. Dan
Rapid fixer will work fine, as well as sodium thiosulphate or an alkaline fixer. Just pick your poison.
Good to know, thanks Tim. It'll certainly make things simpler and quicker to skip the after bath. I'm happy with PMK, and I really like its compensating effect on highlights -- it'll be a while before I need a refill, but I'll think about pyrocat-hd when the time comes.
I use regular old Kodak fixer. I don't care about the stain. I just want it developed. Can't tell any difference anyway.
If you don't care about the image stain, why not use D-76, D-23, Xtol, HC110, Rodinal etc., etc. instead of PMK?
I'd still use a rapid fixer containing ammonium ion (TF-4, etc., or home brew).
Has anyone noticed that fixing PMK-stained negatives takes longer than negs developed in conventional developers?
I had some brand new fresh fixer the other day, and I fogged a couple negatives that still hadn't cleared after 3 minutes in the fixer. I now give them a full 5 minutes of fixing (with constant agitation) before turning on the lights. That's never been the case for me with negs developed in xtol.
Each film has its own fixing time in a particular fixing bath.
Ideally, fixer should be tested before each use, with a test piece of the film you are using.
Start by determining the film's Clearing Time in the fixer you will use.
With the room lights on in your darkroom place a piece of the film (like the leader of a 35mm film) in fresh fixer. Record the temperature of the fixer. With gentle agitation, observe and record how long it takes the film to become completely transparent (i.e., clear). This is the Clearing Time. Multiply the Clearing Time by 3 to obtain the Total Fixing Time required.
The Clearing Time and required fixing time will increase with each use of the fixer.
The films I'm using, FP4+ and HP5+, clear faster when developed in xtol than PMK, so the only variable that's different is the PMK.
Paul, I posted a longer answer earlier.
I don't use PMK, but I do use several other staining and tanning developers.
The Pyrocat series of developers produce very low levels of fog and (for me, no measurable general stain - only image stain). My statement is based on my post development and fixing densitometry. I include a Stouffer step wedge in one of my negs as a control.
Your PMK negatives may have had general stain that you interpreted as fog.
XTol is a non-staining developer.
Just use Hypam and see no loss
How fast do undeveloped FP4+ and HP5+ Clear in fresh fixer of the type you are using?
Just about any fixer will do the job. Some people advise that highly acid fixers could interfere with the pyro stain. I haven't seen this, but keeping the pH near neutral seems to have some advantages in fixing and washing. Some also say that the alum hardener in some fixer interferes with pyro stain. Modern films do not usually need a hardening fixer, but some old style films (like Adox and some exotic emulsions) can benefit from hardening. I don't use PMK, but my usual routine is to fix in F-34 (non-hardening rapid fixer with a pH of 6.5), wash, and then treat the film with a solution like the old C-22 stabilizer (formaldehyde and PhotoFlo in a dilute solution with water) before drying. E-6 stabilizer will probably work as well.
I wouldn't worry too much about the choice of fixer. Use whatever is on hand. Later, you may want to do some experiments to see if a less acid or non-hardening fixer improves the stain with your situation and technique.