less fix time = more grain?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by IloveTLRs, Dec 28, 2007.

  1. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    Yesterday while dev-ing a test roll of film my timer died. I decided to cut corners and leave it in the fixer for 3 minutes instead of my usual 7 (dev time was by the book.) After scanning the negs I found a lot more grain than usual.

    Today I did another test roll and left it in the fixer for 5 minutes. The result? Again, more grain than I usually get.

    Am I wrong here or does less fixer time mean more grain? :confused:
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm not familiar with every fixing process out there, but in my experience, no.
    7 min seems long though. If anything, over fixing is going to effect the structure of your negative, while under fixing will effect the keeping properties. Perhaps your long fixing times are dissolving things together, and a more normal fix time is keeping more sharpness, and thus, grain structure. IDK.
    That's just my take on it. I would fix using the times and agitation routine specified by the manufacturer, and look to film stock, exposure, developer, and developing times to control grain. (Bigger brains may prevail).
     
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  3. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    Wet time supposedly affects grain.. more wet more grain.. though I have not seen much of it. In my experience the greatest grain increaser is over exposure and over development and old film.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Wherever did you hear that? Do you have a reference or do we have the start of another group of myths here in this thread?

    Wet time has no effect, AFAIK, on grain. There are no references to this in reputable textbooks.

    Fix time has no effect on grain except that acidic fixes carried out too long (over 15 mins to 1 hour probably) can increase grain by dissolving the finer silver particles and short fix time, if not carried to completion, can leave chunks of undissolved silver halide behind which can darken in the light causing the appearance of grain. Overfixing will also cause loss of detail in the highlights due to this 'bleaching' of silver metal.

    But, normal fixes, done to completion (2x the time it takes to clear on average or longer and within reason) will not affect grain.

    PE
     
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  5. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    Well, actually, I've heard the myth about long wet time increasing grain as well. Where I read it, I can't remember but it must have been several decades ago. Myth or not, it's been out there for a loooooong time.

    I do agree that fix times shouldn't affect grain.
     
  6. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Easily checked - someone should run some experiments. :smile:
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Are you planning on fixing for shorter than your seven minutes in the future? Or are you planning on continuing with seven minutes? Have you tested your fix?
    Like Photo Engineer points out, the best way to do it is to fix for twice the time it takes an undeveloped piece of film to clear. I do that test every single time I develop film.

    I confess I don't look for grain size either when I fix film, but I would say that based on observation I get consistent grain in my 10" square prints from medium format ISO 400 film. No more, no less. I use Ilford Hypam at 1+4 dilution, and I make sure the fixer is the same temperature as the developer, rinse and stop water. If you have a significant temperature difference between these various liquids you could end up reticulating the negatives.

    How big of a difference do you see? Can you post an example?

    - Thomas
     
  8. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    Thanks for volunteering Jim.:D:D
     
  9. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    The current issue of Photo Techniques has an article by Dick Dickerson and Silvia Zawadski that debunks "grain clumping" in long wet times. They basically say wet time has no effect on apparent graininess.

    For my two cents worth, I've found inconsistent temperatures, under/over exposure, type of developer and overly vigorous agitation increase apparent graininess more than total time in solutions. I've produced what I'd consider grainless negatives in semi-stand and other decreased agitation schemes where total processing and wash times were in excess of an hour.

    Peter Gomena
     
  10. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Actually, the cycles of the moon effect grain more than anything ... :wink:
     
  11. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    laughing out loud on that one david, thanks i needed a good chuckle today
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If anyone is an expert on this subject it would be the team of Dick and Sylvia. I think that we have the definitive word from them.

    PE
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Micro reticulation which is also better known as grain clumping is usually the result of poor temperature control and inconsistent temperatures between the Dev, Stop-bath, Fix or wash water. Its caused by rapid shrinking & expansion of the emulsion.

    Ian
     
  14. argus

    argus Member

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    And women should not be allowed in darkrooms when menstruating! :wink:
     
  15. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Wanna get some weird stuff? Get your silver stuff contaminated with Pt/PD or vice versa.

    Ian's statement sounds more likely than something to do with fixing times.
     
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  16. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I might just do it too. :smile:

    Personally I don't think wet time matters (within reason; maybe a week in water might matter, but 22 minutes instead of 14 won't matter, I bet).

    What I think I will do is do two rolls of film with the same test subjects - identical films, of course. I'll give each a water bath so it's apples to apples. One will get a couple of minutes in the water, then on to development. The other will get a couple of hours in the water bath, then on to development. If this doesn't show a difference then for all practical purposes, wet time is irrelevant unless you are doing day-long stand development.
     
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Long wet times could easily lead to a greater probability of grain clumping occurring as the emulsion will be softer, particularly if wash water temperatures are not controlled properly an often a neglected area fo temperature control.

    Ian
     
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  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I feel we haven't quite answered the OP's question except to imply that he can't trust the evidence of his eyes or, more likely I think, that as no-one else has seen this phenomenon then maybe something was different about his process to anyone's else's. He mentions seeing the extra grain after scanning. Can I ask you OP: Did you scan each neg batch on all the previous occasions and on the other occasions with longer fix times you haven't seen this phenomenon or is scanning a departure?

    Can you look alternatively look at neg grain under a grain focuser as used for an enlarger? Is the phenomenon still the same? Could it all be connected to the scanning in some way?

    Just some thoughts.

    I appreciate how frustrating it must be to be in a minority of one.

    pentaxuser
     
  19. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Men as well! :D
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    While doing homework for a post by Patrick Gainer, I found a chart in Haist, Vol I, P 565, which shows the effect of extended times in the fixer for two films. The times were 5mins, 30mins and 60mins. Effectively, anything much over 10mins IMHO would be bad. Since he shows only the 3 widely spaced times, the actual rate is not evident, and would have to be quantitatively determined.

    PE
     
  21. snallan

    snallan Member

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    To ILoveTLRs, what sort of tests were you runnung with these films?

    As you scanned the film, I am wondering whether you are seeing more real grain, or whether it is grain aliasing giving larger apparent grain.
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Many people use Rapid fixers like Hypam / Ilford Rapid Fixer, or Kodak and other manufacturers equivalents. Its easy to see/demonstrate how even a few minutes in fresh fixer can alter the final density with prints, particularly warm-tone papers, it's far harder to spot what's happening with films.

    The Haist tests are possibly just the tip of the iceberg as some fixer formula are faster/stronger and more aggressive than others. May & Baker (Champion) Amfix is one that springs to mind, it's an excellent fixer but times need to be kept to a minimum to prevent the fixer attacking the silver and bleaching the image.

    Ian
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Ian;

    That is why I am working on my Super Universal Fix. Stay tuned. :D

    PE
     
  24. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    I fix according to the recommendations. I looked through all my referrences and could not find anything about long fixing/wet times and grain. But from The Negative pg. 191: "Excessive fixing must be avoided, since it can lead to sulfiding of the silver, and the fixer may begin to bleach the image by removing silver as well as the unreduced halides. This bleaching is first visible in the low density areas."

    I don't pretend to know what "sulfiding of the silver" means---is that the bleaching process mentioned?
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Chuck;

    Sulfiding and bleaching are not the same thing.

    Bleaching removes the image, but sulfiding it means that the tone changes, like toning and the image looks different in different parts of the scale.

    PE