Stop & Fix in wrong order? on black & white prints

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by RobertT, May 27, 2007.

  1. RobertT

    RobertT Member

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    Hi – I was developing some black & white prints yesterday, (Sat May 26, 1:30 – 5:00 pm) on multi-contrast, resin coated, Agfa paper.

    The chemicals I was using called for the paper to be in the following chemicals for the following times:
    Developer – 60 secs
    Stop - 10 secs
    Fix - 30 secs

    I do not have further specifics on the developer, stop or fix – I was using the facilities of a club I belong to and the chemicals are mixed for us.

    In advertently, I may have interchanged the stop and fix, so that after the paper came out of the developer, I would have placed it in the fix for 10 secs, and then in stop for 30 secs, instead of stop for 10 secs followed by fix for 30 secs.

    So far, some 18 hours later, the prints look fine.

    How would I know if I processed the paper in the incorrect order (with incorrect times) or not? That is, what would be the symptoms of such incorrect processing?

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    Assuming that you adequately washed the prints...and those times suggest that you were using RC paper where wash times are short, you're fine.

    Basically, you let the fixer stop the development and the stop became a superfluous step.
     
  3. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    I would refix in fresh fixer and wash the prints again. The original fix bath should probably be tossed.

    This is a common event in comunal dark rooms - most common effect indicating the fix is contaminated or exhausted is print stains on the print.

    Mike
     
  4. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Robert -

    Stop has two functions. First, it stops development. Fixer will do the same thing.

    Second, developer is basic (it's pH is >7), while fixer is acidic (pH<7). Putting prints into acid stop before the fixer causes the pH of the print to become acidic. Then, when the acidic print is then put into the fixer, the fixer can do its job as its manufacturer intended.

    But if you move the prints directly from the developer into the fixer, you will carry along some of the basic developer. That developer will, over time, contaminate the fixer.

    What that means is that the fixer you were using would have a shorter working life than advertised by its manufacturer. Presumably, since someone else mixes the chemicals in the club darkroom, they will check the fixer and notice the problem before someone else uses it. However, it would be a courtesy for you to tell the darkroom monitor of the problem so that he/she can test the fixer.

    The other issue here is that you only fixed your prints for 10 sec rather than the recommended 30 sec. That might be short, and if they were incompletely fixed, the result will be yellow-brown stains that will show up over time (weeks to months). The fact that the fixer was being contaminated with developer at the same time will aggravate that problem.

    I suggest going back to the darkroom, soaking your prints in water, and then refixing them in fresh fixer. Then, after washing and drying, they will be fine.
     
  5. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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    As others have said, if you want to keep the prints wet them and then refix.

    But I must say that the times you posted (DEV 60 Seconds, STOP 10 seconds, FIX 30 seconds) seem on the short side to begin with even for RC. Actually the stop is ok, but I usually go with 2-4 minutes for developing. I use at least 3 minutes for fix for RC.
     
  6. RobertT

    RobertT Member

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    Hi Jim - I'm just a beginner so I cannot comment on the appropriateness of the times. I will say, though, that the guy who looks after the darkroom is very knowledgeable (probably close to guru even) and very conscientous and diligent, so that they should be fine.

    Thanks
     
  7. RobertT

    RobertT Member

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    Thanks

    Thank you all for taking to the time to reply, and for a special thanks to those who provided extra detail / information.

    I am glad I posted this question because I had overlooked the issue of potential contamination of the chemicals.

    I have contacted the darkroom monitor to advise him of the situation.

    I do not have access to the darkroom so I can not go back there and take the corrective action some have suggested - I guess I''ll just have to take my chances.

    Your assistance has been greatly appreciated

    Best wishes

    Robert
     
  8. RobertT

    RobertT Member

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    Forgot to add - wash time was 15 min

    Hi all - FYI - Forgot to add, wash time (water @ 68 F) was AT LEAST 15 minutes.

    Robert
     
  9. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    In one year your prints will start to brown. You need at least a minute in fresh fixer for RC prints and adding acid to them afterwards in the stop will affect long term stability. Go to a pool store and get de-chlorinator - it is sodium thiosulfate - mix up some in water and soak your prints for a minute or two - then wash for 10 minutes and rest easy - they will be fine.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Maybe. I've read posts saying it is a sulfite. Dan
     
  11. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    [QUOTES=jstraw;473126]
    "...... you let the fixer stop the development ....."

    Me too.

    " ..... the stop became a superfluous step."

    Same here. I've though a one-shot advantage. Dan
     
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I am sure this part of the instructions is wrong. RC paper needs 2-5 mins at most. Some will say 2 mins is enough. I've even seen 1 min being quoted.

    pentaxuser
     
  13. m. dowdall

    m. dowdall Member

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    Fixed the fixer

    After posting here, Robert contacted me about his problem and he got back into the darkroom today to re-fix his prints in fresh fixer. Some good prints of a lovely little girl made by a very proud grandfather.

    As I am the darkroom monitor (though hardly a guru) I feel I need reply to the questions people posted regarding the processing times he used. In the darkroom I have posted a list of the recommended times to process RC, FB and film which Robert followed.

    The developer used is Ansco 130 mixed 1+1. The tests that I have done showed that 1 minute for RC gives good blacks in the shadows without the highlights becoming veiled.

    The fix time is right off of the Ilford Rapid Fix bottle when mixed 1+4.

    The wash time is very long for RC. The reason for this is the fix is used over and over again though it is never used to exhaustion. But want people’s prints to get as much of fix out as possible. In the more than 4 years that I have taken care of the darkroom I have yet to see a print damaged from too much washing, none have split.

    Michael
     
  14. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    It may be either one as far as the chlorine is concerned.

    My fixer is TF4, which is practically neutral. I usually go straight from developer into fix, at least for work prints. If a snip of undeveloped film fails to clear within 30 seconds I know the fixer is getting weak. Lest you be horrified, I use a rinse between developer and fixer for archival prints. I have heard it's not necessary, and maybe not even good to use acidic stop with TF4.

    No print I have ever jerked from the developer before completion has been good. I do not need the stop bath to stop development of the image. If the print has begun to fog, it's too late to stop it.
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    [QUOTES=gainer;475900]
    "My fixer is TF4, which is practically neutral."

    What happened to spoon up a fresh fix? I've even been pushing that!

    "I usually go straight from developer into fix, at least for work prints."

    Like wise. Save for deliberate tests all my prints are of long LE.

    "If a snip of undeveloped film fails to clear within 30 seconds
    I know the fixer is getting weak. Lest you be horrified, I use a
    rinse between developer and fixer for archival prints."

    I can pass on the testing and rinse. The one-shot fix I use is
    established to exceed minimums then used with assurance.

    "I do not need the stop bath to stop development of the image."

    Like wise. Dan