Kodak Fixer Questions

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by suebrown, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. suebrown

    suebrown Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm about to start developing film at home for the first time. I'm currently taking my first darkroom class, and it's about to end.

    I have a bag of powdered Kodak Fixer (Cat 197 1746) that I got for free. In my class, we use a rapid fixer; this one's not rapid.

    Here are the questions I hope you'll help me with:

    1. On the bag, it says the dilution should be "1." Does that mean use it straight?

    2. The time is listed as "5 - 10 minutes." I'll be developing Tri-X 400 (shot at 400); exactly how long should I fix for?

    3. I'll mix up a gallon of it. Then I'll use some, and pour the used back into my gallon jug. And when I've done 12 35mm rolls (or 6 120mm rolls), it will be spent, and then I'll dispose of it. Is that right?

    4. How should I dispose of it?

    Thanks for your help!
    Sue
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Sue,

    1--Use it straight as mixed.
    2--The time will vary somewhat with the particular film. The T-Max films, for example, usually need a longer fixing time. When the fixer is fresh, 6 or 8 minutes for Tri-X should be OK. Just see the data sheet for the film of your choice.
    3--The capacity of a gallon should be far more than 12 35mm rolls. In an old Kodak Master Darkroom Dataguide, I've found a figure of 100 8 x 10 sheets/gallon which should translate to approximately the same number of either 35mm or 120 rolls. That assumes, of course, that you don't exceed the shelf life of about 2 months for the mixed solution.
    4--Small amounts can ordinarily be disposed of safely by dumping down the drain.

    Konical
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Sue

    not sure where you are located but do not dump the fix down the drain. Any local pro lab or school will have a silver recovery unit that should accept your spent fix for free.
     
  4. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hi Sue,

    a good way of testing if your fixer is still good is to save the piece of film that you cut off before you reel it up.
    Put one of those film pieces in your fixer and measure how long it takes for that piece of film to clear. Double that time and that's your fixing time. If it takes a very long time to clear the film strip, or it doesn't clear at all, it's about time to get rid of it.

    This helps to maximize the potential of your fixer's lifespan.

    - Thomas

     
  5. suebrown

    suebrown Member

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    Thanks for all your help, everybody. I appreciate it.

    Sue
     
  6. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Fixer can be used much diluted. You would need to know how much of the
    working strength solution is needed to do the job then dilute to the volume
    needed. I use fixer very dilute to near it's capacity then toss it; one-shot
    usage.

    Do parcel out that gallon into smaller amounts and keep the caps on tight. Dan
     
  7. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    For the kind of fixer you have Sue, Do Not dilute it. Use it full strength only. You can count the number of rolls of film or sheets of paper, that you have processed, and discard it when you reach that amount. The film test huggyviking describes is a good way of checking your fix.
     
  8. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Sue,

    The capacity of fixer depends on whether or not you want your films to be archival. The build-up of silver in the fix as films are fixed prevents the full removal of silver halide and other unwanted complexes. According to Grant Haist (ex EK research director) the capacity of fixer is as little as two films per US gallon if archival fixing is required.

    Two-bath fixing greatly extends fixer capacity - one US gallon can fix 20 films archivally if it is split into two baths, and a wash used between the two baths. Ask for more details if you want them.

    Under-fixing must be avoided. Over-fixing a little isn't a problem.

    These capacities refer to films with no silver iodide - which includes Tri-X as far as I am aware. T-Max films exhaust films more rapidly - I count one T-Max film as two when I log my fixer use. Here's what EK say about T-Max: "Your fixer will be exhausted more rapidly with these films than with other films. If your negatives show a magenta (pink) stain after fixing, your fixer may be near exhaustion, or you may not have used a long enough time. If the stain is slight, it will not affect image stability, negative contrast, or printing times. You can remove a slight pink stain with KODAK Hypo Clearing Agent. However, if the stain is pronounced and irregular over the film surface, refix the film in fresh fixer."

    Best,
    Helen
     
  9. djklmnop

    djklmnop Member

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    Here are the terminology references when speaking of these:

    You have your Powder solution, or your Concentrate (liquid). Once you mix it up for storage (unless concentrate), you'll have whatÂ’s called, Stock solution. Once you mix up the stock solution to be used, it is called the Working solution.

    On packages, if there is no dilution necessary, it will indicate 1 rather than a ratio. Or it will say Full or Stock. If dilution is necessary, it will say 1:1 or 1:2 (1 part chem:1 part water). Most hand agitation tanks are 800ml, so if the necessary working solution is 1:1, then it would be 400ml:400ml.

    In reference to your fixer, since it is not rapid fixer, fix it for 10 minutes. Your working solution will be stock (for prints it's 1:1). Make sure you use hypo clearing agent to reduce wash times to 5 - 10 min rather than 1 hour. Your working solution is 1:4 for Hypo Clearing.

    The math I use is, add the two ratios up and divide it by the total capacity to get your ml for your stock solution. Then I take that number and multiply it by the remaining to get your water solution. For example 1:4 for 800mm. 1+4 = 5 / 800 = 160ml * 4 = 640ml. 160ml + 640ml (1:4) = 800ml. Very simple and useful math!

    If you're developing Tri-x I would recommend pouring the fixer into a dedicated 1 quart bottle so you can reuse it the second time then toss it. For Tmax films, I usually use it once and dump it. I always try to avoid contaminating my stock solution if I can help it. Sure it is more economical in some ways, but I would not want to put a potential masterpiece negative at risk. :smile:

    As any photographer will tell you: Film/Chemicals/etc is cheap. However, time is not.

    Andy
     
  10. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    I called Kodak and the NEW Tri-x will "eat up" the fixer quicker, but not as bad as T-max.
    I can't figger how to upload it so do a search for "Photo binbook" look under photography-darkroom-fixing. REAL good article.


    Jennifer
     
  11. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    Oops, I forgot to ask. If I have a 1/2 gallon of working fixer, does it matter if it's stored in (2) quart bottles as opposed to a 1/2 gallon bottle ?.
    It might seem like a silly question, but I'm having trouble finding "clear" 1/2
    gallon jugs that are quality made. Seems like a lot are thin glass.


    Jennifer
     
  12. suebrown

    suebrown Member

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    Is this the link you mean? Binbooks

    Not sure which article you're referring to.
     
  13. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    Yes, but I don't know how to link it to here.

    Click on your link
    at the binbooks page at top click photography

    Under conversation topics
    Click Darkroom
    Click Chemical Processes
    Click Fixing

    Whew and the article will come up. If you know how to link it to here that would be good !.


    Jennifer
     
  14. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    It's a very long article, with a lot of tech mumbo jumbo I don't understand,
    but the real life capacity of fixer, etc are easy to understand.

    Jennifer
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    As Sue has likely not the foggiest idea of the quantity of working
    strength fixer needed to process a roll of film, your suggestion
    may be the way for her to go.

    I use fixer one-shot very dilute. I have by testing determined
    the quantity of chemistry needed then dilute to the
    necessary volume. Dan
     
  16. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    ' use fixer one-shot very dilute. I have by testing determined
    the quantity of chemistry needed then dilute to the
    necessary volume.'


    Hi Dan,
    Could you give us more details of your fixing method? How did you determine residual silver?
    Thanks,
    Helen
     
  17. suebrown

    suebrown Member

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    OK, how would I go about using a two-bath method? Thanks.
     
  18. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    That's easy. Example: a 120 kindermann tank takes aprox 450ml.

    You need: 2 - 16oz bottles. Clear glass is nice, as you can see if their clean.
    Keep them in a drawer or box where it's dark

    Label them Film Fix 1 and Film Fix 2

    10 min fix total time....pour in fix1 for 5min
    pour out, and give a water rinse, it cuts down on fix1
    carry over to Fix2

    Pour out rinse, and pour in Fix 2 for 5 min

    Tada that's all there is to it. Just keep track of how much you used it.

    I think I seen your using the Kodak powdered you mix it fixer ?
    If so USE a stop bath or you will kill the fixer sooner. Stop is cheap, compared to fixer.

    Jennifer
     
  19. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Sue,

    Here's what I do - I'm not suggesting that it is the 'right' way, it's just the way I do it. It's fairly simple: you keep two working fixer solutions, say Bath 1 and Bath 2. You fix in Bath 1 for twice or thrice (T-Max) the clearing time*, rinse in one change of water, then fix in Bath 2 for the same time. Bath 1 does all the work, Bath 2 removes the small amount of remaining silver halide or silver-thiosulphate complex from the emulsion - and so Bath 2 is almost fresh fixer.

    Using Grant Haist's table for fixer capacity (which actually applies to acid fixer) as given in the binbooks article (original in Vol 1 of Modern Photographic Processing) you discard the first fixer bath after it has fixed 40 rolls per US gallon. I keep working strength fixer in litre botles, so I discard Bath 1 after 10 films have been fixed (or 5 T-Max films, or a combination). Then I use the old Bath 2 as the new Bath 1 and make a fresh Bath 2. I've been doing that since the early 70's.

    If you are using two-bath fixation, you can use the clearing time as an indicator of the exhaustion of the first bath - the fixer is due for replacement when the clearing time has doubled from fresh fixer. (If you use that method with single-bath fixation, you are in danger of over-using your fixer.) However, that method does not take account of the silver content in Bath 2, so I prefer to stick to the counting method, though I keep testing the clearing time.

    *There is a case for testing the clearing time with film that has already been soaked in water for a few minutes. Experiments appear to have shown that dry film and wet film clear quite differently when immersed in some fixers. Something that can easily be tested once for yourself to see if it is a factor with the film/fixer combination that you are using. It may not be an issue - not many people bother, especially as using dry film has resulted in slightly longer clearing times when I've tried the comparison. Some experiments by others (proper scientists, unlike myself) have shown large discrepancies.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  20. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    Hi,
    Oops, I noticed you do 35mm. I think that uses aprox 300ml.
    Those little club soda bottles that come in a six pack are 10oz. They will hold 305ml to the top. DON'T re-use vinegar bottles !. I tried it and no matter how hard I tried, they still had a residue inside. If your going to re-use bottles go for club soda, mineral water, or a non-staining juice.

    Those green french name mineral water bottles hold 810ml to the top
    Bottle is marked 750ml
    Kdeem white grape juice bottle, clear glass 710ml to top
    Bottle is marked 22oz

    All the bottles I mentioned will accept a 28/400 cap. Poly-seal caps do NOT
    work on these bottles. A simple test is put a couple of teaspoons of baking soda in the bottle, few ounces or so of water, cap it and shake it up good.
    If it don't seal, you'll know it !. Some bottles will seal with the poly-seal but the seal is the cone shape in the cap, and this will slip inside, and just the thin lip will seal which is not always reliable.


    Jennifer
    Does anyone know where I can get
    a job testing bottles ?.
    I HAVE experience :smile:
     
  21. Dean Williams

    Dean Williams Member

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    dancqu, the reason I suggested that Sue use her fixer undiluted is because that's how the manufacturer intended it to be used. Not because I thought she didn't understand that it could be used "highly diluted"...it cannot. The stock number she gave for the fixer she has on hand is for Kodak powdered fixer. It's mixed according to directions on the package, and used as mixed. Diluting this fixer even 1+4, (not a high dilution when compared to other fixers), would have one fixing films for half an hour or more, and who knows how long for FB papers.

    I too, would like to hear your testing methods for determining fixing times for "very dilute" fixers, how you tested for residual silver, how long materials are fixed, and what brand of fix you are using. Suggesting that fixers can, or should, be used at a dilution higher than the manufacturer's recommendation deserves some documentation, in my opinion.
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I did point out to the OP that I use the diluted fixer one-shot.
    At start the fix is fresh; new fix. Times for film and paper in S. or A.
    Thiosulfate have been about what one would allow when using a usuall
    fix. As it turned out there was'nt much to the conventional wisdom with regard to long fix times when using very dilute fixers. I don't have any
    well used but still good fix on hand to compare.

    Assurance of a good fix with film is the usuall clear colorless base
    and an iodide test of the used fix showing some remaining capacity.
    I suppose one could make a double size solution and with another
    roll of film do a twice clearing time test.

    There are three tests for paper; the iodide test on the fixer, the
    sulfide or KRST test on the paper, and the post fix/wash
    redevelop test.

    I'm not a fixer peddler. I'm just pointing out that fixer can be used
    at nearly any dilution just as long as there is enough of what does
    the fixing, in the solution. I use all chemistry one-shot and that
    works very well with the one tray used when printing. Dan
     
  23. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    'Assurance of a good fix with film is the usuall clear colorless base
    and an iodide test of the used fix showing some remaining capacity.
    I suppose one could make a double size solution and with another
    roll of film do a twice clearing time test.'


    Dan,

    From your description, I presume that you don't require archival standards. The two criteria you mention do not ensure that there is no complexed silver remaining in the film. Is that a fair assessment? Your tests for paper are also only qualitative rather than quantitative.

    I am interested to learn a few more details - like typical dilutions, volumes at working strength and times.

    Thanks,
    Helen
     
  24. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Archival standards. I've just looked at Dr. Gudzinowicz post at
    www.binbooks.com which includes G. Haist's table of commercial and
    archival safe fixer capacities.

    There are errors in that table which Dr. G. may have introduced, typos?,
    while posting. I don't have Haist's book. You might take a look at the
    doctors post to confirm.

    Ilford has another standard. I'll study Martin Reed's coverage of
    the subject and then get back to you. I'm about to start a new series
    of fixer experiments.
     
  25. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    A standard is some maximum level of silver per liter and some
    maximum level of residual silver left in the paper or film. What you
    are saying is that the standard darkroom tests I've mentioned
    are in no way quantitative and imply they are of no value
    when evaluating the fixer, film, or print. So now we've
    no way of knowing. What do you suggest?

    I suggest that in fact the mentioned tests are very quantitative.
    I doubt there are any tests purely one or the other. A hint of color,
    a barely perceptable haze, zero stain, coupled with the iodide test
    which is a titration method for quantitatively determining the
    amount of silver present, each of those tests contains
    usefull information and all togeather a LARGE AMOUNT.

    Dilution and volume examples:
    For Pan F 120; 20 ml of 60% A. Thio. in 500 ml total, 1:24.
    For paper 8X10; 1/4 oz of same in 250 ml total, 1:31.
    I've also the above information for S. Thio. Dan