Simplifying my life... buying liquid chemistry; a few questions for you fine folks.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by holmburgers, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Howdy all,

    So for many reasons I'm going liquid. Mainly, shelf life. I don't currently go thru enough chemistry to justify the powder and anything that can make the setup time of my darkroom easier, cleaner and more efficient is a welcome thing.

    My main question is regarding fixers. I've only used classic Kodak Fixer and I'm not familiar with advantages/pitfalls of rapid or non-hardening fixers. Could someone wax poetic on this? I need something that's suitable for paper & film, and it should be noted that I do 4x5" in trays.

    Other than my fixer, here is what I have in mind. If you know of something better/cheaper let me know. And I'd rather give my business to Photographer's Formulary than say, the B&H's of the world.

    Film Dev: HC-110 (was using D76)
    Pap Dev: Liquidol (was using Dektol)
    Stop Ba: Kodak Indicator (same)
    Fixer: ??
    HCA: Edwal 4&1 Hypo Eliminator (was using Kodak HCA)

    Of PF's liquid film developers, is there a HC-110 clone?

    Thanks :D
     
  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    PF's TF-4 is a well-respected fixer. It is, however, an alkaline non-hardening fixer, which can have implications for other parts of the processing flow, in particular for the stop and wash steps. In theory, using a stop bath can be detrimental to the life of an alkaline fixer, although I believe TF-4 is sufficiently buffered that this isn't a problem. (OTOH, the bottle does recommend against use of a stop bath.) If you want to keep using a stop bath but are concerned about this, you can always use it and then use a quick water rinse. There was a long (and occasionally somewhat snarky, unfortunately) thread on the merits of stop baths here on APUG recently. I don't have a URL, but it shouldn't be too hard to find.

    As to the wash step, the directions for TF-4 claim that no HCA is necessary; wash times are supposed to be quite short without it. I don't recall ever seeing any discussions on the merits of this claim.

    Of course, you can test and monitor all of this yourself with appropriate test solutions -- fixer capacity testers and post-processing tests for retained silver and retained hypo.

    As a non-hardening fixer, TF-4 could create complications with tray processing of film, since you might be more likely to scratch your negatives. If you have problems, you might be able to pre-harden the film before development or use a hardener in your stop bath; or you could stick to a hardening fixer. Most hardeners require an acid environment to work, so AFAIK there's no practical way to turn TF-4 into a hardening fixer.

    For paper developers I personally use DS-14, which is a mix-it-yourself formula. A related commercial product is Eco-Pro (formerly Silvergrain) Tektol, which I've also used a bit. I can't really compare it to Liquidol, which I've never used, but the results seem pretty similar to those I got with Dektol, at least with the VC RC papers I generally use.
     
  3. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    My interest in liquid rather than powder is mostly prep time; I don't want to wait for things to cool down or for powders to dissolve. I also like avoid dust, but that could be achieved by doing the mixing of powder chemicals outside of the darkroom.

    I've used the fomafix liquid to make 3l out of 500ml. I make a 2l bottle for prints, and a 1l bottle for film.

    It seems to work as fast as or faster than the kodak stuff. (Judging by the time to clear tmax film, which is a worst case test for film developing)

    Foma's paper developer works well too as a replacement for dektol. I use this with rc papers.

    Just some more choices...
     
  4. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

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    I use Sprint liquid fixer ... great for both film and paper, in different dilutions. Lasts forever. Easy as pie to mix.

    +1 on Liquidol, love the stuff.
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Awesome, thanks guys.

    I think a hardening fixer is the way to go for what I do. Now, does a rapid fixer usually entail non-hardening? I see that Ilford's is non-hardening and that Kodak's is a 2-part with a hardener. So with a 2-part system, I can choose to make it hardening or not?

    And is there any disadvantage to a rapid fixer? If not, saving time seems like a no-brainer.
     
  6. 5stringdeath

    5stringdeath Member

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    Some (not all) rapid fixers have a hardening agent you add if you want to make it a hardening fixer. Myself, I haven't used a hardening fixer in probably 8 years.
     
  7. frednewman

    frednewman Advertiser

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    Hi holmburgers - I've always used mostly Ilford chemistry and like you I prefer liquid chemistries. Ilford has always been very supportive of B&W photography. For the fixer I prefer the Ilford Rapid Fixer.

    Fred Newman
     
  8. JCJackson

    JCJackson Member

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    I see some value to hardening for film. It may help resist reticulation if washing temperature goes funny, and certainly anything that makes negatives even a little bit harder to scratch is a good idea. For paper, I see less reason to harden. It extends wash time, and may interfere with efficient, even toning. The liquid rapid fix with separate hardener would allow you to play it both ways.
     
  9. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I use Ilford Hypam with both film and paper. It is very convenient and economical because it is a strong fixer that lasts a long time. I don't think it's a hardening fixer but I don't care.
     
  10. H. James Wolf

    H. James Wolf Member

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    Liquidol is a wonderful print developer. I use it in a Nova slot processor and it keeps, with an occasional topping off, for nearly a month. As for fixer, I've recently started using Kodak rapid fix, but only because Heico NH5 is hard to find. I still use Heico Permawash with film - not with paper.
     
  11. DLawson

    DLawson Subscriber

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    Both Ilford Rapid Fixer and Hypam are non-hardening rapid fixers. Hypam is recommended as compatible with an added hardener. Rapid Fixer is not recommended for that.

    I use the latter because it comes in 1 liter bottles and Hypam's smallest is 5 liters. I'm not sure yet (just started the switchover) how long it takes me to use a liter, but I suspect I wouldn't use 5 liters in the 6 month recommended life for an opened bottle.
     
  12. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Kodak Rapid Fixer seems like a great product. Concentrated, fast, hardening or non; what's not to like? (besides the cost of shipping a liquid)

    Side note: Kodak's website is worthless with regards to finding out any information regarding their products. I'm tempted to drive to Rochester.....
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I've had very good luck with Ilford Hypam fixer. It's inexpensive too, but only comes in 5liter buckets, which makes shipping an interesting proposition. Perhaps you have some place around the corner you can buy it locally?

    - Thomas
     
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  15. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    What would I add to Hypam as a hardener? I might be able to find some in Kansas City.
     
  16. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Ilford Rapid Fixer. It is non-hardening. The nice part is it will fully fix a sheet of fiber based printing paper in 1 minute, which can cut down on the archival washing sequence (if you follow the right sequence and use a hypo clearing agent like Ilford Washaid (also a liquid concentrate).

     
  17. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I used to buy Hypam in 5L jugs at my local store. They no longer stock it though so I will have to figure out something else.
     
  18. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've never used a 2-part product (fixer with separate hardener), but that's my understanding. Kodak does have a rapid fixer with built-in hardener, but I don't recall its name offhand. I did buy a bottle once and it worked fine.

    In terms of the final result, AFAIK there's no disadvantage to a rapid fixer, and in fact I've seen suggestions that there are advantages. Specifically, I've seen claims that rapid fixers do a better job with T-grain films than do non-rapid (sodium thiosulfate) fixers. I've never seen any actual data to back this claim up, though, so take it with a grain of salt. There can also be wash-time implications, but these interact with the presence of hardeners and other factors, so it's best to take wash time on a fixer-by-fixer basis. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations, and test for retained silver and/or hypo to be sure you've got it right.

    Some rapid fixers have an ammonia odor. This is most common with certain alkaline products, such as the mix-it-yourself TF-3. (The commercial TF-4 also has an ammonia odor, but it's not as pronounced.) Many people dislike TF-3 for this reason, particularly for use in open trays. Acidic rapid fixers are unlikely to have a strong ammonia odor, so if you're sure you want one that's hardening, this shouldn't be an issue for you, since these fixers are necessarily acidic.
     
  19. lns

    lns Member

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    I use Ilford Rapid Fixer for film and paper. For paper, you can use it in a 1+4 or a 1+9 dilution, which allows you to choose either faster fixing or more economy.

    I don't want a hardener. First, I don't need it. Second, it's not made of the friendliest chemicals.

    -Laura
     
  20. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    You can get Ilford Rapid Fixer in Kansas City (Overland Park), but I'm not sure about Hypam. You can also get Kodak Rapid Fixer there.

    Dave
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Does this help with Kodak chemistry:

    http://wwwcaen.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/chemistry/paperBWmain.jhtml?pq-path=14025?

    I'd like to try Liquidol, but buying liquid chemistry from Photographer's Formulary isn't as easy as buying directly from a store. I'm able to buy Kodak Polymax-T paper developer from Glazer's in Seattle, or sometimes locally, and I really like it.

    The problem with the Kodak Rapid Fixer is that in the quantities I'm interested in, you must buy it with the hardener, and the bottle of hardener results in Hazmat charges for shipping. Otherwise, I would still be using it (I'm Kodak loyal) rather than the Ilford Hypam or Ilford Rapid Fixer I'm currently using.
     
  22. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    <Posted via APUG mobile wap service..> (Logic-Joe)

    I use Hypam, but I decant it into one liter glass bottles. This gives me the choice to use added hardener, and extends the shelf life almost "forever" from all I can discover.
     
  23. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    i understand that hypo eliminator and fixer remover
    are different things, and that the eliminator is not
    suggested for modern/current films and papers
    because it does more harm than good.
    hardeners they say do more harm than good as well
    and it is more difficult to get a good clean wash seeing
    the hardener traps in the emulsion the things one may be trying to wash out ...

    sprint fixer and fixer remover are great...

    the sprint photochemistry is a "system" and if you use all their products
    dev, stop, fix, fix remover ... you know when the chemistry is bad/done
    when the stop bath turns/indicates. it is helpful seeing their speed fixer does not
    indicate with hypo check accurately .

    good luck !
    john
     
  25. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    I use TF5 from PF's with a highly dilute stop bath for 4x5 and 5x7 in trays with good results.TF5 does not have the as much ammonia small as TF4,it clears Tmax 100 color stain the best of other fixers I'v used.
     
  26. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    And is there any disadvantage to a rapid fixer? If not, saving time seems like a no-brainer.

    I may have missed it, but I don't think that anyone mentioned the potential for bleaching by ammonium thiosulfate-based fixers, which probably includes all of the contemporary ones. The instructions for the Kodak 2-part rapid hardening fixer that I used in the 1970s explicitly warned against over-fixing of prints and films, because of this bleaching effect. (They were right, too...) Moving fixed prints to a plain-water holding try solves that problem, however.

    One disadvantage to hardening fixers for paper is that they make print spotting with dye quite a trial; this is the main reason that I went from Kodak fixer (the powder stuff) to the Michael-and-Paula-Smith recipe, and more recently, to TF-4