Reusing Fixer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by SMBooth, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    Can you reuse fixer, the fixer I was looking states you can fix 18 roll per 1L. Does that mean if I use 500ml in a tank to fix two rolls I can reuse the fix another 4 time before tossing?

    Cheers Shane
     
  2. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    For film, you can reuse fix often. I pour used fix in a 20 oz soda bottle.

    Get a bottle of hypo check. When you drop it in, if a white precipitate forms, pour it in your large recycling container and make fresh.

    This is how I use fix: I make a gallon at the time. I put 10 oz of water and 10 oz of fix in a 20 oz soda bottle for film. I put 1/2 L of fix and 1/2 L of water in a 1L soda bottle for prints. I use each until hypo check tells me not to. It seems to last for quite a while.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Besides checking the hypo, look at the directions that came with the hypo. It will tell you how many rolls of film can be processed per batch. The trick is that if is say X*80 square inches, remember that 80 square inches equals a roll of 35mm 36 exposures, or a roll of 120 [half a roll of 220] or one 4"x5" sheet.

    Steve
     
  4. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    A sheet of 4x5 is 80 square inches? Perhaps you meant to say 4 sheets?
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Actually:

    "80 square inches equals a roll of 35mm 36 exposures, or a roll of 120 [half a roll of 220] or one 8"x10" sheet".

    As an example, Kodak's data indicates that Kodak rapid fixer (in 1:3 dilution) has a capacity of 32 (either rolls of 35mm 36 exposures, or rolls of 120 or 8"x10" sheets) for every liter of working solution, when used in tanks.

    In the case of Ilford's Hypam fixer, Ilford's data indicates that Ilford Hypam fixer (in 1:4 dilution) has a capacity of 24 (rolls of 35mm 36 exposures) for every liter of working solution.

    I keep my film fixer working solution in 1/2 liter containers with some scotch tape on the outside. Each time I fix a roll of film, I make a mark on the tape. When 10 rolls have been fixed (and there are 10 marks on the tape), it's time to mix new fix (and replace the tape).

    Hope this helps.

    Matt
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    The other way for judging fixer exhaustion fixer, is how much silver it has had to dissolve in the course of it being used. Imagine you shot all rolls of pure white scenes. Then the negs would be all black. The only undeveloped silver would be from between the perfs if 35mm. This is a lot differnent fixing load than someone who is shooting candles in a coal mine, with almost clear negs as a result. So the exhaustion point on fixer will vary depending on the subject matter.

    I mix fresh fixer, and drop a drip of it onto a film leader, wait 30 seconds or so, then drop the film leader (the part I clip from the start of a 35mm film when loading on the reel) into a small clear glass of fixer. Time how long until the whole of the leader is as transparent as the spot that got the early drop, and write it on the storage bottle for the fixer. I also use this first test to tell me how long to fix; it is twice this clearing time, although I usually fix approaching 2.5x, to the next nearest minute. Don't radically overfix with a rapid fixer; some can actually dissolve away fine details.

    Then when you are getting close to the rated capaicty of the fixer (when known), repeat the leader clearing test. Repeat more frequently if you don't know the capacity.

    When the clearing time is twice the original fresh clearing time, I consider the fixer at capacity of it's ability to dissolve more silver efficiently. It also is a good guide of when it is increasingly difficult to wash out of the media; not so much a deal with film, but certainly with fibre based paper. By the way, I do the same fixer test with my fixer I use with paper.

    I also use the silver nitrate hypo test solution, but I find that it almost always indicates that the fixer has longer to go than my doubling of fresh time testing.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Yup, four sheets. The other three were to the wind!

    Steve
     
  8. SMBooth

    SMBooth Member

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    Thanks for that information guys, it only took me 2L of fixer to realise I might be able reuse it. O'Well we live and learn :smile:.
     
  9. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Never reuse film fix more than 24 hours old. The little black speck on the bottom of the bottle is silver from the previous film that has precipitated out. This will stick to the next film and not even running water will wash it off. There is no home method to filter it out.

    I mix 8 oz, use for 24 hours, and use it up on test test strips for prints.

    Fred Picker from Zone 6 said never pour anything back into a bottle. Experience has told me he was correct.
     
  10. Alessandro Serrao

    Alessandro Serrao Member

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    Stop bath can be reused if it's acetic acid based with indicator.
    Can the black specks in the fixer filtered out with coffee filters?
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    A bit over the top. There are funnels with screen filters that would take those particles out.

    Steve
     
  12. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I've never noticed particles at all. I use 1+4 diluted Hypam until it stops working; usually several dozen rolls.
    Do you have anything to back that up with? It was my understanding that you could fix for any reasonable amount of time and not have to worry about the silver image. I sometimes leave my film in the fixer for 15 minutes or more and never worried about it.
     
  13. randyB

    randyB Member

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    Well, in 40+ years of developing and fixing b&w film I've not heard this one before. I guess it could happen but it has never happened to me. I don't understand how the silver can precipitate out when it is dissolved in an acid. I mix my fix per instructions and discard when the hypo check precipitates.
     
  14. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I'd imagine if you fix for 30 minutes or more, you might have issues.

    And I have 20 oz of working fix in an old diet coke (nectar of the gods) bottle that I keep for however long it takes me to exhaust it. I've never noticed precipitate in it until I drop a bit of steel wool in there.
     
  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I think you should tell both Ilford and Kodak about this, because it is inconsistent with all their instruction sheets.:rolleyes:

    See the attached Kodak documentation, which indicates that in tanks working strength Rapid Fixer lasts for one month (without use) and has a useful capacity of 32 8x10 sheets per liter:

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e103cf/e103cf.pdf

    Matt
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2009
  16. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i am not sure how accurate this is ..
    when i processed and printed film and paper for a portrait photographer
    i kept careful notes regarding how much film ( deep tanks ) and
    paper went through the deep tray.
    we didn't throw out fixer after 24 hours, ever ...
    deep tank took 500 or 700 sheets of 5x7 film ( sorry i don't remember, it was nearly 20 years ago )
    and paper was when the fixer test told us to change it.

    film and prints were made this way by the woman i worked for, since the 1930s,
    and i printed some sheets of film that were processed in the 40s when i was there.
    i have seen portraits ( engagement portrait ), from the early 60s ...
    none of it went bad, and none of the fixer was discarded after 24 hours ...
     
  17. CBG

    CBG Member

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    Doesn't sound useful to me. I reuse till hypo check says stop.

    Sure, maybe for ultimate quality when there's an unlimited budget - just use everything once? But for the rest of us mere mortals, reuse.
     
  18. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Yes, you can reuse fixer. And you can use it for several days, as long as it remains clear and does not accumulate suspended crud. Opinions vary, but I would throw it out after a week or so, just on general suspiciousness. But different fixer formulations have different capacities, and you need to be sure that you do not exceed the capacity for the particular fixer you are using. The capacities the manufacturers list on the bottle are often optimistic (some more so than others), and I would cut them in half to be on the safe side.
     
  19. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Why the waste? Can't you tell when film is insufficiently fixed? I don't worry about my fixer until I pull film off the reel at 5 minutes and notice it's still a bit foggy-looking. It goes back in the fixer for another 5 minutes or so and then I mix up a fresh batch for the next roll.
     
  20. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I too use fixer one-shot. When using rapid fix I'd add
    20ml of concentrate to 480ml of water then use that
    500ml to fix one 120. I knew though how much
    time with what agitation was needed to
    thoroughly clear the film. Dan
     
  21. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    Never reuse film fix more than 24 hours old. The little black speck on the bottom of the bottle is silver from the previous film that has precipitated out. This will stick to the next film and not even running water will wash it off. There is no home method to filter it out.

    I've had this happen to me and as a result all fix goes down the drain (!) after my developing session is over. Since it can be weeks between sessions I'd rather make up a new batch of fresh fix. I don't have a lot of money to burn but a 5L jug of fix lasts a long time for me, including all the paper developing I do as well.
     
  22. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    "Black Specks"

    A question for the chemistry experts out there.

    The only time I ever experienced this problem was when I had to buy cheap fixer in a pinch. I have never experienced this using Kodak Fixer (powder), Kodafix or Polymax fixer (I think it's the same thing as Kodafix) even though I re-use fixer agressively and extend it's life with a USII Silver-Magnet.

    What would Kodak be adding to the product to avoid this issue?

    TIA,

    Neal Wydra
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    OR more importantly, leaving out!

    Steve