Getting the fix to the right temp.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by SuzanneR, Nov 10, 2004.

  1. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I was processing some film yesterday, and I was having trouble getting the fix close to 68 degrees f/20 degrees c, and I was wondering if anyone has any tricks. Since I dilute the developer, I can get that to the right temp with the water, but often my fix mixes up to a working solution, and my basement gets cold... really cold! Especially in winter, so I usually put what I need in a beaker in a tray of warm water, but it got too warm, so I was switching out the water in the tray... blah... blah...blah...

    Anyone got any better ideas??
     
  2. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    I used to use a makeshift water bath consisting of a thermostat, an aquarium heater and a washing machine pump. Later I upgraded the pathetic little aquarium heater to one of those cup boiler things, then about twenty years ago I bought a second-hand Pro-Co tempering unit. Goodness, writing this has made me realise how old it is. I'm amazed that the pump bearings are still OK. Nowadays there must be plenty of lab equipment going cheap.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  3. harveyje

    harveyje Subscriber

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    Jobo makes a tempering bath which may be available 2nd hand. I believe it will accommodate six 1 liter bottles.
     
  4. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks, both, for the info!
     
  5. Jeanne

    Jeanne Subscriber

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    In cold weather I usually pour the fix into a beaker when I start mixing the dev, and put the beaker into a bucket of really hot water in the sink. Leave a thermometer in the fix, and keep an eye on it. It's generally up to temp a little before the time I need it, so I pull it out of the bucket and let it sit on the counter for the remaining time.

    In warmer weather, I generally start warming it up right after I mix the dev.

    Sounds slapdash, I know, but I think over time & hundreds of rolls of film, you just get a feel for it.
     
  6. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks, Jeanne. Sounds close to what I do, but your timing is a little more precise! I'll try it.

    Slapdash works for me! Again, thanks!
     
  7. Max Power

    Max Power Member

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    Suzanne,
    Harveyje is correct, JOBO makes/made a tempering bath. Mine holds 6 bottles and 4 tanks. It is absolutely brilliant. I just get the water in the bath a couple of degrees lower than 20C and put in my chemistry. I let it sit for a couple of hours and everything is perfect.

    I picked mine up for a song a few months ago. A pro photog had ditched it because he was going digital.

    BTW, I swear that 'going digital' are my two favourite words in the English language right now. :wink:

    Cheers!
    Kent
     
  8. Leon

    Leon Member

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    i dont worry about the fixer temp. I have a tray warmer that I use to keep the developer at 20, or whatever, but the stop and fixer are in the darkroom sink, which is pretty cold most of the time. I've had no probs with this at all and I fix a small piece of film every half hour to check clearing times and these are always fine ... I've notice no difference to having it a the summer ambient room temperatures. I tone my prints regularly and have had very few fixer probs show up - only a couple of poor washing signs, but none of those recently.
     
  9. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Leon, You bring up a question for me. I've never really been that careful with the temp of the fix, but how important is it? Really? I just feel like my fixer gets soooo cold in the winter, that I try to get it closer to the developer, but in the summer I don't really have to worry about it that much. Can anyone shed light on it?

    Kent, "going digital", certainly has made it a buyers market! It's great!!
    Thanks all.
     
  10. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    For film it is important to keep all the solutions close to the developer temperature, including wash. How close is "close"? I don't know, but I have seen problems with a cold wash a long time ago. I believe it is called reticulation and resulted in a mottled look to the film. I suspect a few degrees off isn't going to be a problem.

    I use a Jobo to help with temperature. To rapidly heat solutions up try the microwave.
     
  11. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I use an immersion heater like the ones you can dip into a drink at your desk. Just fill a beaker with developer or fixer, warm it with the heater, pour it back and check the temp.

    John
     
  12. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Modern films are supposed to be less prone to reticulation - I seem to recall a magazine article 10 - 15 years ago when they tried to create reticulation and ended up having to dunk the developed film in a beaker of ice-water...

    I use a CPE2 now and always used to work at room temperature in any case so this is not something I've ever worried about, but my guess is as most have suggested: within a few degrees will be just fine. Obviously the developer needs tight time Vs temperature regulation - the stop and fix need only be in the ball-park. The fixer (and/or film) manufacturer(s) will give time/temperature graphs for fixing most films.

    Cheers, Bob.

    P.S. - if using a microwave, remember to take the thermometer out first.... :wink:
     
  13. Leon

    Leon Member

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    Whoops - theres me going on about prints, and suzanne was talking about films - what an idiot I am!

    When developing films, I keep my developing drum and the fixer bottle in a water bath (plastic bowl) of about 2-3 degrees higher than I want the developer to be at. I regularly check the temp of the developer in the tank, but am never too bothered about he fix temp . + or - a couple of degrees seems to be fine.

    that'll teach me to not read the original thread posting now wont it!
     
  14. Melisa Taylor

    Melisa Taylor Member

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    like Leon, I've never been too concerned about my fixer temp.

    i just keep fixer and stop between 65 and 75 degrees and all is fine.
     
  15. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    The "rule-of-thumb" we've generally used is to get the other chemicals within 5 degrees of the developer. Any greater differential "may" result in emulsion crazing. I have never personally experienced this in 50 years of messing about so it is probably rare - but still possible.

    Warming does not seem to be a great problem if one sits a container, preferably glass, in a hot water bath (double-boiler style). Cooling is even simpler: just place an ice cube in a plastic (Zip-Lok) bag and lower it directly into the fixer, stir and monitor 'till done!
     
  16. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks for all the tricks everyone!!
     
  17. eagleowl

    eagleowl Member

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    I use a 36" thermostatically controlled tray warmer.
    It was expensive,but I can get all my chemicals to the same temperature and keep them there as long as I like.
    And,it's big enough for all 3 of my print trays.
     
  18. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Larry,

    If you can get any modern film to reticulate you can probably walk on water too. It pretty much can't be done short of immersing the film in boiling water followed by a liquid nitrogen bath.

    Modern films are much more resilliant to extremes of processing temperature than films of yester-year. A couple or three years ago a good friend who specializes in experimental photography couldn't get film to reticulate to save her life. She was quite frustrated since she wanted to show her students this "creative" technique. Better to use a PhotoShop filter instead!

    Don Bryant
     
  19. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I've had it happen. Not on purpose, but as a result of freshly mixed fixer - not up to temperature - poured into a JOBO CPP-2 processor.
    The film was Fuji Neopan 400 - I think the developer was Satter's Zonal Pro Gamma Plus with Agfa Rapid fixer. Reticulation ... definitely.

    I didn't know I could walk on water ... well maybe - if it is cold enough...
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I.ve never seen such crap in a thread before.

    If you can get your dev to the right temperature then you stick the stop bath and fix alongside. It's really not rocket science and the hot water tap will suffice in most instances.

    It is important that all chemicals are within a couple of degree's C. Get it wrong & you won't see reticultaion but you might be surpriesd at the grainy developer :smile: which you'll blame on other things.

    Ian
     
  21. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Ed,

    Post a scan of the reticulated film and I'll be a believer.

    Don