How long in fixer befor I can turn the lights on?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by stradibarrius, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    When I take the B&W print out of the stop bath and place it into the fixer tray, how long does it have to be in the fixer before it is "light safe". Is it immediate or do I have to wait the entire time it is in the fixer?
     
  2. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I don't know the scientific answer, but I usually wait for 1/2 the time of total fixing before turning on the light, ie 30 seconds for TF-4 fixer, whose total fixing time for fiber is 1 min.

    Jon
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Experimentally, 10 seconds is enough. At least it has been with all the papers I have ever used. :smile:
     
  4. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    It depends

    What is the time recommended for fixing your prints / how fresh is your fixer / how strong is your fixer / FB or RC - these all affect the answer?

    The old rule of thumb was 1/2 the total time - but that always had a good margin of safety.

    If you are using fresh strong fix like Ilford Hypam at 1+4, then 10 to 15 seconds is enough when the total fixing time is 1 minute.

    Martin

    Martin
     
  5. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    What is the rush?
     
  6. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    There is another thread here on APUG where this question was previously dealt with, and a consensus was reached that the lights can go on very soon after the B&W print goes into the fixer. IMHO, the most entertaining post on that thread was made by Bob Carnie, who probably has made as many if not more prints during his life than anyone else on APUG.

    IIRC, Bob's post is to the effect that in the past he always had waited much longer before the lights went on, and if he had known the information earlier, it would have freed up years! of his life (hope I have paraphrased this correctly).

    I mention this just to highlight that all of us, no matter how experienced, can always learn something new.

    Now if I could just learn enough to be able to print as well as Bob Carnie!

    Matt
     
  7. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Good question. I give it about a minute, but as an experiment I turned the lights on with a print that had been thoroughly stopped, but not fixed. I then placed it in the fixer. Even though the paper was further exposed, nothing showed because it would have needed to be developed again to make the new exposure show. Now I'm not saying that is good practice. I have no idea how detrimental such a thing is to the longevity or subtlety of the print, but it was an interesting, albeit uncontrolled experiment.
     
  8. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    As many of you realize I am a beginner at printing and up to this point expose, develop, stop and fix one print at a time, so that means that I am waiting about 8 mins in the dark shaking the fixer tray. If this is not necessary then I could turn the light on, reset my timers, blah, blah, blah.
    But if I need to sit and wait the whole time then that is what I will do...I guess I don't want to be like Bob Carnie and realize that I have spent most of my life waitng on the fixer!! LOL!!
     
  9. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You know you can use a safe light, yes?
     
  10. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    I kinda wondered if Bob was having us on a little there... but it does point out how the seconds add up... and that some habits die hard. We sometimes stick with one practice simply out of the comfort of the routine.

    I was taught that the paper was light safe as soon as it was in the fixer and that has always seemed to work for me. My lights are usually up within 10-15 seconds of starting the fix bath. Certainly it has sped up the procedure when doing test prints. My pace in the darkroom is deliberate enough... I can use the extra seconds evaluating prints and checking tables, etc.

    Cheers,
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    You could use a rapid fixer and be done with fixing in significantly less than 8 minutes. I like TF-4, which will also reduce your wash times.

    Half the fix time before turning on the white lights is a good rule of thumb, as suggested.
     
  12. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Hang on! Why are you fixing that long? What materials are you using? The idea of print fixing is to fix strong and short, otherwise, you'll have trouble washing the residual fixer out of the paper. Please share your material combination.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Two other points:

    1) this may be one of the advantages of using stop-bath as compared to a water rinse. If there is still some residual developer on the print, turning on the lights quickly may result in some minor fogging.
    2) I use those first few seconds in the fixer as a perfect time to glance around my darkroom to check whether I have, indeed, put away my photographic paper/closed my paper safe. IMHO, this is time well spent!

    Matt
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2009
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  15. NormanV

    NormanV Member

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    With film I just use a water rinse between dev and fix but with paper I always use a stop bath to preserve the fixer as I believe that there is more carry over with paper. I always wait for the complete fixing time before switching on the light because 1) what is the rush and 2) it gives you time to make sure everything is safe
     
  16. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Yes I have a safe light, but it is not like working with the light on.
     
  17. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Doesn't it depend on the paper? I know many RC papers contain a developer in them and they turn purple if left in the sunlight undeveloped. Lots of paper does not like some RC and all (AFAIK) fiber paper. If it has developer I would wait longer, but if it's completely stopped it should be pretty light safe even before it goes into the fix.
     
  18. Maris

    Maris Member

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    I find that if my paper is fully "stopped" in fresh acid stop bath after development I can turn the lights on and move promptly to the rest of the procedure (fix, rinse, hypo-clear, archival wash, etc) and it makes no difference to the final result.

    I even do this with 8x10 sheet film in order to to freak out darkroom spectators who think seeing fully developed but unfixed film means disaster. The "freak-out" factor is compounded by me telling them in advance about the expense of sensitive materials and the dreadful consequences of mistakes.

    The underlying principle is probably that modern "developing out" emulsions deposit so little silver on exposure (compared to "printing out" emulsions) that I can't see it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2009
  19. dng88

    dng88 Member

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    Hi, Ralph and Stradibarrius,

    As a beginner (and a keen reader of your book "Beyong Monochrome"), I think I may have similar experience like stradibarrius. It is around 8 minutes each negative if I do it one by one.

    My short answer is do the wet cycle by batch. Longer answer is below:

    I do my 8x10 contact print and it takes hours to just finish the test print (for my 28 film batch each time). With limited time that can be spent on dark room, it is very hard to sustain.

    The breakthrough come when after I gain more confidence using Ralph procedure ( I hope I understand it correctly, plus reference to both Picker video via Ralph recommended foto.tv and further reading of Adam's book Appendix).

    I will now first fix the enlarger time with the black is really black in the paper (unexposed but developed negative print as black). If the actual negative is well exposed and developed (with 1.21 density range?), it can be just exposed and stockpiled in safe paper box before goes to the wet cycle. (If one want to adjust in the expose stage, one can try to do Dodge and Burn, ... etc. if one roughly know the effect. Or, simply just do a few varieties for really thick/thin negative.) Once I got the first set of print later, I can estimate what to do the next batch. Do not do wet cycle one negative each time.

    The key to me is to the wet cycle in batch. I can do 6 to 10 paper each 4 minute wet cycles and the result is similar to what I obtained in 1 paper each time. You just use the same technique as the tray development, only this time it is so much easier - you can do it with safe light on. The half to 1 minute (21 seconds enlargement light time) is fixed per negative but the batch wet cycle can cut the time nearly half. I contact print 70 outstanding negatives like this in < 2 hour after I found this procedure is ok. I can finally see the picture I have taken!

    Of course, when the good one comes, you can do it very carefully like not turn on safe light even, using fiber paper, detail dodge and burn etc.

    My two cents.

    Once again, Ralph it is a very good book.

    Dennis
     
  20. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    Dektol developer, Kodak indicator stop bath, and Kodak professional fixer. Every where I read it says to fix 5-10 min. so I am fixing 7 min.
     
  21. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    Sorry for the correction, but....
    I think Ralph is the Author of "Way Beyond Monochrome"

    "Beyond Mononchrome" is a different book by Tony Worobiec.

    Maybe Ralph will appreciate the correction.
     
  22. Mike Keers

    Mike Keers Member

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    Strad,
    You're using fiber based paper? That does require 5-10 minutes, as does film according to my packages. But for RC paper, it's 2-4 minutes in the fix for both the Kodak and Kentmere powder fixer I use. I use the double bath and do about 90 seconds in each, 3 minutes total. I allow 30 seconds in the first tray of fix and then turn the lights on, and I've read as little as 10 seconds is fine for RC paper.
     
  23. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    No, I'm using Ilford RC Multi contrast paper.
     
  24. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Three minutes will fix the hell out of Ilford RC.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2009
  25. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    That is great news!!!
     
  26. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Absolutely!

    RC paper fixes within 1 minute in film-strength (10%) ammonium thiosulfate (rapid fixer). Ilford FB takes 2x 1 minute in the same solution. It takes twice as long in sodium thiosulfate.