Potential "muppet" question on water quality?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Sim2, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

    Messages:
    429
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Location:
    Wiltshire UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi there,

    Apologies if this sounds or is a daft question to ask, but...

    Using tap water to mix with print developer, can the chemical quality of the tap water affect how the paper reacts/works?

    Not talking about "sediment" i.e. crud or rubbish debris in the water but the chemical make up of the water - like fluoride in the water. Not specifically concerned with fluoride but any chemical that might be present in tap water and may not be present in "pure" water and if it can affect how a print reacts in the developer.

    Hope this vagueness makes sense, will try to clarify if needed but all responses welcome. :munch:

    Cheers,
    Sim2.
     
  2. Monito

    Monito Member

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nova Scotia,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, water quality can affect the efficacy of photographic solutions. Just very very little unless the water is very bad. If it is potable (drinkable) then don't worry.
     
  3. kevs

    kevs Member

    Messages:
    544
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Hi Sim2,

    Where I live (Northants) is a hard water area. I've never had any problems whatsoever with using mains water to mix developer, stop bath or fixer, toners or other common photo-chemicals. You only need to worry if you mix chems for 'alt' processes, particularly silver nitrate and chems that will mix with it - always use distilled water for these chems. As long as you're using drinking-quality mains water, you'll be fine. :smile:

    Cheers,
    kevs.
     
  4. Matt Quinn

    Matt Quinn Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Location:
    Near Edinbur
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I was brought up in Glasgow where the water is very very soft... Up here in Scotland nobody ever bothers with distilled water for things like car batteries and 'furred up' kettles are unknown... Water filters? You just don't need 'em!

    As a kid I safely ignored all the stuff published in books about filtration etc - and had over the years developed my own slight deviations from published developing times etc... At 18 I got a job down in London and moved down there; took me about three months to figure out why the dev technique I'd been using since I was about 11 or 12 was 'all over the place'...
     
  5. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

    Messages:
    429
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Location:
    Wiltshire UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thanks for the speedy replies to my vague question, appreciated. At the moment not wanting to be more specific in case it prejudices any thoughts and replies.

    Sim2.
     
  6. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    5,451
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It is also very good for making whisky. :smile:
     
  7. Monito

    Monito Member

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nova Scotia,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've used tap water on three different continents for developing and printing without problems. I still have the prints and negatives, some of them over four decades old.
     
  8. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Don't they put chemicals in some commercial product that sequester/counteract impurities that might be present in most municipal and household water supplies?
     
  9. Matt Quinn

    Matt Quinn Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    Location:
    Near Edinbur
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Aye! :tongue: 'tis that! :smile:

    Tell y'all an odd story though... Some of you might know that the "Red Road" flats in Glasgow (as in the title of the film) are actually a real place - or were until recently as they're bieng demolished.

    -And that's where I was raised.

    One night some 'neds' got onto the roof and poured industrial detergent into the water tanks. - Happened to be a night that I was doing a processing run; and I was at the stop-wash stage where foamy-soapy water was coming out the taps!

    The Dev had obviously been done with some degree of contamination in the water - yet it made no difference to the negs. I'd no clean water to do the wash in - wound up taking the tanks in a bucket to a mate's house in the next block and doing a 1-hour wash!

    I think the point I'm trying to make is it depends WHAT the contaminent is!
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,102
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kodak processing solutions for B&W and color have been formulated to work well with either DW or tap water. In fact, when I mixed solutions for tests in the lab, I mixed with DI DW water and with tap water both to compare and test.

    PE
     
  11. thebanana

    thebanana Member

    Messages:
    2,650
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    Manitoba, Ca
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I was going to answer "Kermit", but that would have been wrong :smile:
     
  12. jk0592

    jk0592 Member

    Messages:
    70
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Just to be on the safe side, I buy demineralized water by the gallon at the drug store.
     
  13. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,922
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Photography related "Muppet" question, hmmm..
    Contact Gonzo. He's the photographer Muppet, as I recall. Uses a Speed Graphic. Develops his own. I hear he's quite good.
     
  14. Cruzingoose

    Cruzingoose Member

    Messages:
    203
    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Location:
    South Dakota
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    My tap water (2500 foot well) runs a solid 9+ph and has iron bacteria. It tastes fine and is quite soft. But don't even think of using it in developer solutions, B&W or color. It will just about nuteralize them rendering a very flat barely visable image. Seems to be OK in everything else photographic. It will neutralize car batteries and remove acid corrosion on terminals without baking soda.
     
  15. Monito

    Monito Member

    Messages:
    346
    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Location:
    Nova Scotia,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    pH 9+ is alkaline. Most developers are alkaline, so the water will not neutralize them. (If it interferes with developer chemistry there is some other interaction, but yet you say the water is soft (free of ions).) However, it will tend to neutralize stop bath and fixers which are both acid, as is car battery acid.
     
  16. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,134
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Live Free or
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Your water source is another reason to do your own testing, and why the processing times provided by the manufactures is a suggested starting point. Various components in your water may have some effect on the developer activity. The commercial products from Kodak and presumably Ilford and others are formulated to minimize those differences, but it's still a good idea to test and determine what works best for your conditions.
     
  17. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

    Messages:
    1,043
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Get You tap water to be checked in a lab, don't fall for standards and the myth that tap water across the globe is one and the same thing.
    Usually they measure water hardness according to the amount of Ca2+ and Mg2+, since they are most prevalent divalent metal ions.
    However, iron, aluminium, manganese etc etc can also be present at elevated levels in some locations.
    To measure water hardness in Europe we use parts per million (ppm), in USA, I think is grains per gallon (gpg).
    What PE said about Kodak chemistry sounds very impressive, I hope he didn't meant only the tap water running around the Kodak plant.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,102
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kodak Park supplies tap water in 3 forms.

    1. Regular Rochester tap water
    2. Tap water from Hemlock lake - treated in the Kodak plant.
    3. DW-DI water

    We used all 3. Generally, proper buffering for pH problems and use of sequestering agents even out problems, but there are bound to be exceptions, and even so there are some fluctuations in curves. This is very low on the critical list for B&W but higher for color. The use of Ozone, Bromine or Chlorine to sterilize water is of some significance, and formulas in Europe and the US are adjusted for this difference where it exists. I am not familiar with the exact changes.

    PE
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,970
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You need to ask Dr Bunsen Honeydew.


    Steve.
     
  20. Dr. no

    Dr. no Subscriber

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Fe
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    "grains per gallon" would be liberal madness:whistling:. We use sheckel-weight per cubic cubit here in Texas... it was good enough for the patriarchs.
     
  21. georg16nik

    georg16nik Member

    Messages:
    1,043
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    @Photo Engineer, Thanks a lot, that is valuable information!
    @Dr. no, sheckel-weight per cubic is heaven, Thanks, I didn't knew how it goes :wink:
     
  22. Sim2

    Sim2 Member

    Messages:
    429
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2009
    Location:
    Wiltshire UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Not going down the route of "gonzo" photography :whistling:

    Thanks for all the replies.

    Sim2.