Replenishing fixer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BetterSense, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'm getting tired of mixing up new rapid fixer after I find out my old fixer died. Sometimes I even have to go back and re-fix the last roll just to have peace of mind about it. I'm starting to wonder, why can't I just add a certain number of mL of fresh concentrate to the bottle so that my fixer never goes bad at all? I use replenished developer and add 23 mL of replenisher every roll. Doing the same thing for fixer seems natural.
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,055
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Fixer gets "polluted" by silver.

    Replenishment doesn't remove the pollution.

    Matt
     
  3. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    the replenisher in the C41 process essentially works by dumping out a small portion of fixer and replacing it with some fresh stuff every roll. Personally I use one of two methods. Method 1: use the fixer for one roll of film and dump it. Method 2: mix the fixer in a gallon jug. Use it once, and pour it into a one liter bottle. Use the stuff from the bottle and then dump it. Fixer is cheap. Pictures are worth a lot more.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,095
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Colour processes and RC B&W paper (or film) fixing can use replenishment systems for fixing because the silver content is far less critical for image permanence etc.

    Ilford have a section on replenishing Hypam in their data-sheet. However replenishment isn't recommended for fibre based papers.

    Ian
     
  5. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,435
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    NE U.S.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have some old texts that discuss removing silver electrolytically and reusing the solution. Working out the details would take experimentation though, and probably risks image permanence. Seems easier to test the fix more often and mix fresh as needed.
     
  6. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Try the Ammonium or Sodium form One-Shot

    I use fresh fix each roll. When I was using a rapid fixer
    I added 20ml of the concentrate to the solution volume
    needed. As the fixer is quite dilute additional time is
    required. I found 10 minutes about right with
    a non-iodized film, Acros 120.

    I too had the liquid fixer going bad before finishing the
    bottle so switched to the solid sodium form. If you'd like
    to try the slower sodium form allow a little more time.
    16 grams of the anhydrous will do for most films. Life
    span of the sodium form may be generations.

    As one-shot dilute fixers are very little loaded with
    dissolved silver, washing can be expected to be
    more thorough. All things being equal. Dan
     
  7. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dan's got a point there, but I also believe that for many people his methods are a little extreme. It's not the state of exhaustion that you should be worried about, but rather the concentration of fixing byproducts. When the concentration of these byproducts gets too high, it causes problems. These byproducts are very hard to remove in the final wash, and any left behind will have a deleterious effect on the image. Dan's method virtually guarantees that the absolute minimum amount of fixing byproducts are present to cause problems later on. If you replenish without discarding some portion of the working fixer, these byproducts will continue to build up to a concentration that is considered harmful. For quick and dirty prints for which you have no expectation of longevity, I suppose it doesn't matter. If you expect your work to last for more than a few years at best, replenishing fixer is not the way to go.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2010
  8. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    For what it's worth, I wasn't thinking of prints. My film and print fixers are separate, and it's the film fixer that annoys me. I'm thinking of going to two-bath fixing for film, that way when fix 1 dies, I already have fix 2 ready and at least I don't have to mix up a new batch that instant.
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Even so, there is an upper limit to the concentration of fixing byproducts that should be observed. The figure differs by the type of material being processed, and I'm sure someone on this forum has those figures handy.
     
  10. Philippe-Georges

    Philippe-Georges Member

    Messages:
    729
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    Location:
    Flanders Fie
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Have a look in the attached document, I use the UNILEC works good on B&W FB paper and film too :
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2010
  11. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

    Messages:
    320
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I don't replenish my working solution fix, but I do pour it back into a separate jar through a coffee filter. I'm not really sure if this has any effect on the byproducts in the fix, but I figured it wouldn't hurt.
     
  12. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You can "replenish" B+W fix too. "Replenishing" the fixer is essentially replacing it a small part at a time rather than replacing it all at once. It's also more consistent.

    Two bath is fine, it just takes longer than one bath and toss. I'm impatient. Two bath is the "save every penny" strategy because you can safely use fix to it's limit without archival problems as the byproducts diffuse out in the second fresh fixer. It makes me wonder why color fix takes 6.5 mins if the clearing time is 30 seconds...
     
  13. fschifano

    fschifano Member

    Messages:
    3,216
    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Location:
    Valley Strea
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Indeed, C-41 fixer can clear some B&W films in 30 seconds, but be aware that B&W films need far less fixing than color films. Silver that forms the image remains behind, and only the non image bearing silver halides need to be removed. Color films, both C-41 and E-6, have at least three (four?) separate layers of silver bearing emulsion, and all of the silver halides must be removed, placing a much heavier load on the fixer.
     
  14. dancqu

    dancqu Member

    Messages:
    3,676
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Willamette V
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Why Replenish When ....

    I've not done the arithmetic but believe the method
    I suggested brings dissolved silver levels well
    within 'archival' levels.

    Why replenish when likely the same amount used
    for replenishing will in itself thoroughly fix a roll
    of film?

    With the two bath method the OP would have
    twice as much fix going bad. Used little or
    not at all fixers do go bad.

    If your volume is low and you've a few minutes
    to spare the slow sodium form is the one to use.
    It makes for a quick fix to mix. Spoon up a fresh
    fix at processing time. That's what I do. Dan
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,107
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i have read of people plating out the silver from their fixer using something like the silver magnet ( electroplating ) .
    they use it as their first bath and use a fresh fixer as their 2nd bath ... they say they don't really have trouble ..