prints darkening in fixer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by cjbecker, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    OK, i have been enlarging for a few weeks now and have been using neutol wa, water rinse, and tf4 fixer. It was all good and fine but I ran out of developer.

    Now i’m using photographersformulary 130, water rinse and tf4. Whenever I put the prints into the fixer they get darker. It never happened with the other combination. Why does it get darker? Is it normal. Here are my times

    develop- 2:00
    firstrinse- 0:30
    fix-1:30
    final rinse- 1:00
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    How old is the fixer? Are you fixing RC or FB paper? What dilution is the fixer? What I'm getting to here, need more info.
     
  3. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    My guess would be that your fixer's exhausted. How old is it? How many prints through it? How long since you ran out of developer and got more? How was the fixer stored?
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    your fixer is toast

    mix some fresh, take a clip of film, see how long it takes to clear in the fresh
    then take a film clip and do the same thing the fix you have been using,
    chances are it takes more than 2x the time the new fix takes ... ( means it it is spent )

    formulary 130 is great stuff, you can use it for film too :smile:
    dilute it 1:6 or 1:10 and process for about 6-7mins
    ( prints or film, use it warmish @72ºF for best results ! )

    good luck !

    john
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    OTOH, I would ask is the 30" rinse after development in running water? If not, you are carrying developer into the rinse and into the fix causing development to continue. And, perhaps you are turning your lights on too soon for fixation to be complete.

    So, you are creating a monobath in your fixer and then turning on the lights?

    PE
     
  6. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I had some print dilution TF4 that sat in a jug for a few years :smile:
    that I forgot about and the solution turned a weird darker color.
    Never seen this with fixer.
    Doubt it's related to your issue but how old is the TF4 you're using?


    Could your safelight have been compromised since your previous successful printing sessions.
    If your safelite is closer to the fixing tray and is unsafe it could explain.
     
  7. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Im doing fiber paper. Fixer is brand new. It’s tf4 so it is 1 to 3 from the liquid concentrate. It has only had 3 8x10 prints through it. I takes about 8 seconds for the print to darken up, then its is done and stays. This all happens with the light off and red light on. The Red light has been tested with a test strip.
     
  8. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    PE brings up a good point per ususal.
    How come you're not using a stop bath?
     
  9. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I have never used a stop bath for any developing of film or paper, also not using a stop bath was a recommendation from photographers formualry when using tf4.

    After a few prints running through the first rinse i change out the water.
     
  10. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Some good answers here. Two minutes may be enough time in the developer, but it seem short for fiber paper. Then, 30 sec in just water and into the fix is, IMHO, not enough. I think you're carrying a lot of developer into the fixer, thus shortening it's life.
    I always develop fully, then use an acid stop. I see no problem with this as there may be with film. For fiber papers I would leave a minute. Then fix per manufacturers directions. Ilford recommends one to three minutes depending on the fixer. Then an hour wash, or less with a hypo eliminator.

    In all I'd say, use an acid stop bath and mix some fresh fixer. Then, test your fixer every so often. I use a hypo check product that seems to work well.
     
  11. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I just checked my fixer and it cleared film in 25 secs, which is normal what new tf4.
     
  12. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Your process is pretty much the same as mine using TF4 (2 1/2 min. Dektol/130 -> 30 sec. water rinse ->1 minute fix, as suggested by PF), and I've never experienced anything like this in years of use. But ask yourself, what is different for you this time. Something about the change of developer to 130, perhaps? Chuck it and make up some fresh.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 21, 2011
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Is the rinse after the developer in running water? I have seen soooo many people run into this trap! (myself included when I was in a hurry!)

    It must be running water.

    So tell us, was it running water?

    And, you can use a stop with TF-4 because it is buffered to perfection. That is the so called "sludge" on the bottom among other goodies!

    PE
     
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  15. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Although I've never had any trouble, I've also never been entirely clear on what constitutes the direction, "running water", according to PF. Could you please define "running water" – how that might specifically be accomplished. Constantly moving water in a tray? A siphon in the tray? Hold print under a tap? ???
     
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i use sprint fixer and a standing water bath between my ansco 130 and fixer
    and i have never gotten dark prints ...
    maybe PE is right, try it with running water ... or make a dilute stop bath and see if still happens

    i use running water AFTER my fixer, a water bath tray that i drilled holes through so water
    can escape, i have a siphon hose but i don't use it for my tween dev/fix bath
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    A running water rinse, to be effective, must be roughly the same as the final wash in terms of throughput! Not quite as much as usually only one print is in the rinse at one time. It should be accompanied by agitation.

    PE
     
  18. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Yes, thanks. I am a long time "slosher" and did assume it to imply constant agitation, in tray, with frequent changes of water.
     
  19. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    PE- no I do not do a running water in the first rinse between the developer and fixer. I will start using a stop bath.

    For a test. After I washed it held my finger on the corner of the print. (I am printing 8x8 in the center of a 8x10 so all four corners are white) I held it there so it would create heat on the print, and if any developer was still on it it would turn dark brown/black. After my first wash there was no color changes or shifts. Tell me if this logic is correct.

    You are the one to know, Why would putting the paper in the fixer cause it to get darker?

    PS- Thanks PE for chiming in and helping. I also got some Liquidol to test also, I might make a batch of that and see what it does.
     
  20. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    Hmmm... are any of the other goodies expired Technidol?:D
     
  21. ROL

    ROL Member

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    OK, I'm back from my run, where I do my "best" out-of-the–box thinking, and I have a couple of basic questions for the OP:

    1) Are you saying they appear to get darker during the fixing?

    2) How do you know the prints are getting darker? Are you using IR goggles? My prints always appear darker in my fix than they do in the developer. Why? Because my safelight, and it is a good, bright one, is closer to the developing tray by at least six feet, than the fixing tray. I simply cannot judge them effectively until I turn on the lights.

    3) You say you changed developer. Is it possible you are trying to print, same paper, with the same exposure as with the first developer, and are expecting the same result?

    130 is faster than Dektol and at least as contrasty, but I don't know about Neutol.


    Just throwin' it out there. :whistling:
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, the lack of running water may be the problem, as that developer is pretty potent! As for why, you are carrying developer into your fixer and the fixer is alkaline too! You are turning your fixer into a monobath.

    Your finger test is not quite on the mark. The heat may be insufficient. Not sure, but it just does not look right to me OTOMH.

    Glad to try and help. Best wishes.

    I've had the same problem and debugged this type of problem too many times for others.

    PE
     
  23. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I put the paper in the fixer, for the first 3 seconds it stays the same tones as when it came out of the developer and stop. Then for the next 6 seconds the darks of the paper get darker and the lighter parts get a tiny but grayer, but not as much as the darks change, then it stays the same for the remainder of the 1:30 fix time.

    It retested all the time and such, for the new paper.

    Yes the safelight is closer to the developer then the fixer but I did take that into consideration.

    PE- I mixed up some stop bath and will see if that helps.
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    In fixer?????

    Egad man, what a way to ruin both of them.

    PE
     
  25. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    PE- Can you diagnose why my fingers are making the white shift to a tea/brown/purple color? It only happens right where my finger was?
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Usually, it is the Sodium Chloride in your sweat! :wink:

    That is why you should NOT touch unprocessed film or paper. Although it is more evident with papers.

    PE