Really need distilled water?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by thegman, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. thegman

    thegman Member

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  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The qualities of tap water vary and can effect things.

    Distilled water takes out those variables.

    It's not expensive so for the first trial I'd suggest distilled.

    Will it really matter? You'll never know unless you try it both ways.
     
  3. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I used to use distilled water for everything, mostly because I got it for free from work.

    Now the only thing I used distilled for is mixing up Xtol and final rinse.
     
  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    As mentioned above, depends greatly on your water source. I use tap where I am as it is generally of good quality and has not yet posed any problems for me.
     
  5. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    If you are concerned about your tap water, run it through a filter. Either a pitcher style, or a faucet mount, will help improve the quality of water you use. I use distilled only for mixing chems to stock strength, after that I use tap water. My final rinse is distilled water with LFN and isopropyl alcohol blend, never any streaks or spots, and rapid dry.
     
  6. Flauvius

    Flauvius Subscriber

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    Hello Rick:

    What is "LFN"?

    Robert
     
  7. Dave Ludwig

    Dave Ludwig Member

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    I would agree with Mark that using distilled water takes out any variables that may be in your tap water. I believe they are simply stating the optimal conditions for using their chemicals. I use filtered tap water and a distilled water rinse for spot free neg's. I believe filtered tap water is just fine, but that is just part of my methodology.
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Its a rinse aid made by Edwal, I like it better than photo-flo, personal preference. It calls for 1 drop per pint distilled water, or 2 drops tap water. It can also be added to developer to eliminate bubbles, cant do that with PF. Also, it doesn't gum up my reels like PF.
     
  9. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I just use distilled water for the Ilfotol or Stabilizer step, the final one for better drying, less spotting hopefully. Once in a while when I have no aged room temperature water I'll use it for other wash/rinse steps too.
     
  10. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    It depends....

    It depends on where you live and what chemicals you're mixing up. Distilled water is more of a sure thing when mixing up chemicals. If you mix Photoflo with hard water, you may have spots. From my observations cities that draw water from rivers and lakes have better water for mixing photo chemicals than cities that use well water.
     
  11. Fanshaw

    Fanshaw Member

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    Some bottled water sold in supermarkets is almost pure water, according to the analysis printed on the bottle. In the UK it is much cheaper than distilled.
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I use filtered water for mixing stock solution but use straight tap water for mixing working solutions and washing. There has been discussions concerning use of distilled water but I have not seen any A/B test using distilled and tap. If you are already happy with the result from your brother's processing and he uses tap, I see no reasons to be concerned.....
     
  13. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    I have a really nice 4 meniscus filter setup and have used the water from it for many years, the pH is consistent. One day for fun, I measured the pH of straight tap water and it's the same pH..yippee, I don't have to wait for the trickle of filtered water. Using tap water, two of my developers clouded and in some other solutions, some gunk precipitated.. I went back to filtered instantly..Evan Clarke
     
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  15. burchyk

    burchyk Member

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    I'm just using same bottled water for cooking and for darkroom needs: mixing fixer, developer and final rinse
     
  16. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    Special developers like the ATP dev suffers from iron ions in the water. Mostly it gives dark spots on the negatives. Normals devs with conventional films does not need distilled water.
     
  17. Edtog

    Edtog Member

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    Take a trip to Halfords and get their distilled water, £3.79 for 5l.
    I use it for developer and final rinse in my b/w and c-41 just to be sure.
     
  18. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Thanks for the answers, I'll probably try some distilled water, or at least bottled water from the supermarket.

    Thanks

    Garry
     
  19. chimneyfinder

    chimneyfinder Member

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    I would stay away from bottled spring water as it may contain too many variables in terms of mineral content and PH. There have been long discussions on this and generally - or every darkroom worker I have met - do not use it. Stick with distilled/deionised for mixing stock and the final rinse.
    I have Pro-co water filter (similar to Amtak) off a hose on my tap , but it does not leave as clean negatives as a final rinse in the de-ionised I use.
     
  20. vedmak

    vedmak Subscriber

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    Hello Rick,
    can you tell me what is it that you use for the final rinse?
     
  21. chimneyfinder

    chimneyfinder Member

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    I forgot to add that in the UK distilled water is quite hard to find and purchase in a reasonable quantity and is quite expensive. The best substitute is deionised water, which is what you get at Halfords, which is cheap.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have had no problems using tap water in California where the water is hard or Virginia where the water is much softer.

    Steve

    Edited: with refreshed XTOL
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2011
  23. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I'm on a well and use distilled water to mix my chemistry and for a final rinse. Here I can get a gallon in my local supermarket that claims to be steam distilled for $0.79. Since I do mostly 120 films one-shot in HC110 and infrequent printing, the cost isn't important enough to experiment too much. Interestingly, I used to see a lot of rusty iron deposits in the toilet tank and such here, but since replacing the well pump a year ago, which replaced the iron well pipe with plastic, a lot of that has disappeared. Might have wished I'd done it sooner, except for the $3K!
     
  24. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    For most developers it doesn't matter.

    However, distilled water can be a must with most water systems when using highly dilute developers.

    If you have already spent 10 quid on the film and developer then a shilling more for a cup of DI water isn't very significant.
     
  25. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    For me I find that the key is the same water rather than any given type. I have water with a Ph of 5, yes acid flows from my taps and I have become quite a good plumber because of it, and it has a lot of deposits in it. I was using distiled water only for some time and then it was mentioned that in the early days of photography they probably used whatever was available so I gave it a shot and used my tap water. Well, I used the same process with no adjustments and it works just fine for me. I did once use distilled water as stop bath with my lousy water in the dev and fix and I got the dreaded purple Kodak negatives, that was the last time I did that, no more mix and match for me.
     
  26. bwfans

    bwfans Member

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    For important developer used for multiple times or stored long term, like XTOL or Diafine, I like to use distilled water. For one time use chemicals I tend to use just reverse osmosis filtered water.

    The well water without filtering it is about 200 ppm (parts per million?). With reverse osmosis filtered it is about or less than 10 ppm. The tap water from some municiples varies from 50ppm to 150ppm.

    I am not sure about affect of hard water. I believe the water from reverse osmosis is still hard water if the source water is hard water. So using distilled water is better.

    For distilled water I believe the cost is less than a quarter per gallon of home generated distilled water. I guess it is 1 or 2 dollars per gallon for distilled water from supermarket.