Provblems with fixing TriX

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by demdrys, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. demdrys

    demdrys Member

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    Hello,

    The last 3 rolls of films that I developed exhibit ochre irregular stripes or spots that when in the light turn to a stronger yellowish colour. I thought that it would be a matter of exhausted/contaminated fixer, so i open a fresh tetenal fixer mix it 1+4 and also used fresh HC110 from a new bottle to see if it would be the same.

    So next batch of 3 rolls show the same thing, all of them, others more others less. the images can be scanned and do not appear to deteriorate (yet) although i m sure that with time they will. Yet scanned, the yellowish area shows reduced midtone contrast

    Usually i leave them in the fixer for about 15 minutes. Sometimes invert the tank frequently, others not this much, and in general i didnt have issues as i d leave them for adequate time in the fixer.

    Since this happened again even with fresh chemicals, where should i look for the culprit? I always presoak film for 5-10 minutes and rinse twice. I rinsed the tanks etc with hot water, I always rinse the film between developer and fixer 4 times inverting 20 times each, so that I do not contaminate the fixer.
    What troubles me in general is that those brown areas are irregular and random. other times just on the edges, others running through 2-3 frames of the negatives.

    I have to note that i developed another batch of 3 Fuji Across 100. Everythiong perfect. Then i developed again 3 Tri X s, each with fresh developer, using vinegar stop bath, and then 30 minutes in the fixer agitating every 5 minutes. Agian, contrasting to the Across films, all TriX had again those irregular yellowish stripes when in light. I took one roll, placed it again in the fixer for aother 20 minutes. still the yellow areas remained and when exposed in light they increased in saturation, till they stabilise at a point.

    As you can see in the attached files they can either be wide, or just narrow along the edge of the film. both images are from the same roll.

    any information would be highly appreciated, i ve developed about 200 rolls the past 2 years, and i d get this very rarely, but now this is happening straight with all Tri X and is driving me crazy. I have to mention that i live in Greece and temperatures reach around 40 Celsius. I develop at 20, yet the water tempereature increases gradualy reaching around 23 when i finish development and then stop bath and fixer are at about 29 degrees. Still Fuji Across shows not a single sign of that.
     

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  2. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Subscriber

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    You don't say what kind of fixer you are using. I'm curious as 15 minutes in fixer sounds quite long.
     
  3. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    Fix for 5 min only, double that for TMY2/TMX. Why such long fixing times? Also, try water stop bath only. Also, 6 degrees difference between developer and stop/fix, may be too much. Try to keep that more consistent.
     
  4. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Fix requires more and more efficient agitation than developing and you can not over fix by too much agitation. Agitation works better than time which really does not work at all. The longer you fix the more you need to wash.

    Make sure you use fresh fix.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Tri-X shouldn't need fixing for more than three minutes. Agitate about 25% of the time, so about 15s every minute or so.

    You can certainly use water as a stop bath, or an acid stop bath. I use acid, because I know it clears all of the developer remnants off the film before it goes into the fixer. Kodak indicating stop bath. Very inexpensive. Works great. If you decide to use water as stop, make very sure that all developer is washed off the film before it goes into the fix.

    Like Massimo says above, temperature is very important. Use a water bath to get all of your chemicals (and rinse water) to the same temperature within no more drift than a degree or two, preferably exactly the same.

    Good luck! With some patience and some method you can get this resolved.

    - Thomas
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Thomas is spot on about fixing. I use an acid indicator stop as well, followed by a water rinse before fixing. I believe the intermediate rinse helps prolong the life of my fixer.
     
  7. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I can't say what caused demdrys problem but personally I haven't run into any problems developing film over the last forty years. Panotomic, Plus X, Tri X, Tmax, Ilford Delta's and HP5 all with the same technique regardless of the developer. No pre-soak, mfg's recommended time and temp (@68F) unless adjusting contrast, agitate for the first 30sec then 5sec every 30sec, water stop, Kodak Rapid Fix (for 6min) minimal agtation, hypo clear for 3 min and wash for 45min and Photoflo in distilled water. All chemistry mixed with distilled water. The only temperature I closely regulate is the developer. Our home is air-conditioned but there can be a 6 degree difference between it and the other processes.

    Perhaps his Tri-X stain is related to the film having some prior damaging effect since he reports that the Acros processed the same way did not. My house is on well water which has noticeable levels of iron for which we have equipment for softening and removing the iron. I have an additional filter for my darkroom just in case.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  8. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Thomas,
    my friend...
    you maybe probably should be specific about what type fixer is okay for that short time of 3 minutes.

    If I was using a sodium thiosulphate based fixer I would think 3 minutes might be too short? ? ?
    I would feel safer at arounf 7 minutes.

    Now an ammonium thiosulphate based fixer...then shorter is okay.
    Likewise for the TF4/5 type were 3 minutes should be okay but I go 5.
    Maybe I'm paranoid...
     
  9. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    I doubt if the problem is in the fix. As a teacher, I've seen all sorts of misfortunes befall film. I wonder what developer was being used, and if the T-X was old. I've never pre-soaked film except for pyro development, and 5-10 minutes seems excessive. I had a similar stain one time when a fellow I know gave me a bottle of HC-110. I asked him, unfortunately, afterward, how old the bottle was he said at least 10 yrs. I had a an uneven yellow looking film base and a somewhat weak image. At Brooklyn College we do not pre-soak, we are using Sprint film developer these days, but up until this past semester we used D-76, 1:1, then three fast water bath rinses, fix in Sprint Fixer for 8 minutes, three fast water bath rinses, Sprint Fixer Remover, final wash and wetting agent. When the students pay attention and don't get overly experimental, we get clean printable negatives every time.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    It doesn't look like under fixing to me. It's too even and color isn't right for that.
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    That looks like bad fixing or washing. The fact that it turns color with time when exposed to light is the clue. Only some Silver salt or retained chemical will do that when you are talking about film. That, of course leads me to suspect fixing or washing.

    PE
     
  12. demdrys

    demdrys Member

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    Thank you for all the responses i really do appreciate the input.

    I forgot to mention that i am using fresh HC110 dil B. And i do have to stress that this problem has appeared only the last week. And only in Tri X, not with Fuji Across 100 which turn out perfect.

    I ve trie dwith both fresh Ilford and Tetenal fixers at 1+4.

    15 minutes might sound a bit long, yet this is how i m doing it and never had problems, until now that is. I really cant bring the temperature of all chemicals down, even the developer s temperature is increasing and i m measuring it constantly to compensate, if i see its rising fast.

    When i wash, i rinse for 4 times with water, each time inverting 30 times and in the end i pour distilled water with Photo Flo, and i leave it there to settle for like 5 minutes
     
  13. Monito

    Monito Member

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    For temperature control, I put all the bottles (dev, stop, fix) in a plastic tub and control the temperature of the water in that tub. Either the tub is big enough or I have a second tub for the tank, especially if the water is too deep in the first tub for the tank, etc. You can have a bottle of hot water or running hot water on the side and a pitcher (large beaker) of cold water with ice in it ready on the side too. Then you just add a few ml of hot or cold water to the tub as needed to keep its temperature within your tolerances. I can keep it within a quarter degree C if need be, under less difficult conditions than you face. However, that way should be sufficient to get it all to temperature before starting and keeping it at temperature between agitations.
     
  14. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    It seems to me that you are doing more than you need to. Read my thread on page 1. I should have said that I just dunk in Photoflo (a few drops in distilled water). I don't let it sit. I'm sure you will see a variety of techniques here. Personally I try to keep it as simple as possible and always use fresh chemistry. Although it has worked for you I agree that 15min fix is more than enough but not causing the problem. I don't know how you monitor the developer temperature but I don't think that is necessary either. I start with mine at 68F which I am sure probably goes up a degree or two during development but that would only increase the contrast slightly. I suggest that you try a roll of Tri-X and a roll of a different brand of 400ISO and develop both in the same tank at the same time to see what happens.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  15. Monito

    Monito Member

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    1. Prewash so long is really unnecessary and has been associated with problems. "I've always done it" is not the best reason for doing it. Is there really any reason for you to do it at all? I've never pre-soaked and always read that it is rare for it to be needed (only certain developers or films like Kodachrome). Try a 30 second pre-soak if you must.

    2. I thought it might be loading problems of film touching lower layers and gradually parting in the fix phase, but the tone goes into developed areas that seem equally well developed. Could it be the reverse? Perhaps good loading but really violent agitation, especially in the fixing phase?

    3. Washing by inverting 30 times is not the way to do it. The thing with washing is you need diffusion and that takes time.

    I've got negatives and prints I washed decades ago that are perfectly clear and unstained. Here's how I learned to do it and have done it because it is much more water wise than continuous flow and more consistent and more dependable:

    I rinse the fixer off the film and then put it in water for five minutes, knocking it a few times to dislodge bubbles and then letting it stand. If I'm around, I will give it a lazy spin occasionally, if at all. Every five minutes I drain well and refill with fresh water. After six changes (30 minutes) it is done.

    4. Soaking for five minutes in PhotoFlo is a bad idea. It just needs one minute. Long soaks in PhotoFlo have been reported to yield bad results, especially if your temperatures are high.
     
  16. demdrys

    demdrys Member

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    once again thank you very much for taking your time to answer,

    the tub is a bright idea actually, i should try it

    i ll skip the presoak and i ll use diffusion instead of agitation for washing and i ll let you know how it goes. I had no idea about photoflo, good this is clarified.

    btw i m using a wine precision electrinic thermometer and as soon as i agitate for the minute, insert it in the tank from the light proff bore that you pour the water and get the metering this way in like 15 secs, then lid back on and continue as usual
     
  17. Monito

    Monito Member

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    I don't bother measuring the developer temperature in the tank. That really slows things down. If you keep the water bath within tolerance, then the temperature in the tank will be good.

    The main thing is to work consistently every time. The main thing to avoid is to have temperature controlled by ambient conditions. A water bath solves that.

    The thermometer can be in the water bath continuously, untouched. Agitate for 5 seconds by doing two inversions, replace tank in water bath, consult thermometer readout, add water if needed plus or minus (scoop out if water bath is too full), and by then it is time for the next agitation (every 30 seconds). 25 seconds is enough to monitor the bath and adjust. I spend more time watching the clock than adjusting. Alter the procedure to use times and agitation cycles that you are more used to.
     
  18. Monito

    Monito Member

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    It is possible that with high ambient temperatures, a good case can be made for a pre-soak of a minute or two in water that has been kept in its own bottle in the water bath. This would get the tank and reels and film all down to the temperature that the developer will be coming in at, so that one more variable is eliminated for the all important crucial development step.
     
  19. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Show me where a film manufacturer says to presoak film in water. They don`t . Except for sheet film which gets hand interleaved agitation to prevent sticking. Sheets in drones, rotary processor, or hangars do not get a presoak.

    Both Kodak and Ilford have nice instructions on their websites on how to develop film. Read and follow them.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Ronald;

    I have posted a Kodak pictorial guide by Kodak in which they use a pre-wet step. In addition, others here on APUG have tested a prewet and have shown that it does no harm and in fact can improve results. I suggest that you read those threads.

    PE
     
  21. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Subscriber

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    Thomas, that's not necessarily true as it depends on the fixer. If the OP is using a powder fixer then, by Kodak's own recommendation, fix time could be 5-10 minutes.
     
  22. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Subscriber

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    Now we know that you are sometimes using Ilford fixer (and we are assuming a modern form) then we can definitely say that 15 mins is far too long. If you are using fresh HYPAM or ILFORD RAPID then fix should be achieved within 2-5 mins. (as Thomas has suggested). But if you are using the powder Ilfofix II then you need 4-8 mins.

    Secondly, Ilford themselves recommend this eco-efficient rinse-agitation method to wash film fixed with Ilford Rapid :

    1. fill with water. 5 inversions. dump the water.
    1. fill with water. 10 inversions. dump the water.
    3. fill with water. 20 inversions. dump the water.

    All this assumes you are not using a hardener which I would guess you're not. One last suggestion would be to follow the instructions supplied with your chemicals, and less of the improvising:wink:

    btw. Has anyone even established that the extended fixing time might actually be causing the symptoms?
     
  23. Monito

    Monito Member

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    Interesting. Is that to be used with a washing aid (hypo clearing agent)? Or sufficient on its own?
     
  24. mr.datsun

    mr.datsun Subscriber

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    On it's own, according to Ilford's FACT SHEET for Rapid Fixer, dated August, 2002.
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    That's true. I live in my own head sometimes and automatically think that everybody uses a rapid fixer. Standard fixers take about twice as long as rapid fixers.