TF-4 fix

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I don't mean to be lazy, but I hear the fixer TF-4 being mentioned time and again, and I can't seem to find out what this fixer is all about.
    Right now I'm using alkaline fix from Fine Art Photo Supply, and am happy with it, but am curious about the TF-4.

    Hints on where to find more info on this fixer are greatly appreciated. I would be equally happy with your own personal experience with it.

    Thanks,

    - Thom
     
  2. eric

    eric Member

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  3. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Thom-

    The only meaningful thing I can tell you about it is that I kick myself whenever I run out. The stuff just makes life easier. No stop bath or hypo-clear with film...and prints fixed with it tone more easily than anything else I've used.

    Give it a shot. I'll bet you'll try to kick yourself the first time you run out.

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  4. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    My guess is that alkaline fix is alkaline fix, but I could be wrong. TF-4 has become "famous" because of Anchell & Troop and the Formulary.

    There was quite a big debate on Photo.net over whether or not an all alkaline process is better than the alkaline dev./acid stop & fix/alkaline HCA process. The all alkaline process seems to make a bit more sense in the fact that the film/paper is not "shocked" by an acid. Plus, an acid fix apparently washes out of film and paper faster.

    I've never counted how many prints I run thru my fix, but the alkaline fix ( I use TF-3 from the "Cookbook") seems to last longer than an acid fix.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Jim,

    thanks for helping out here. I appreciate it.

    Are you sure about acid fixer washing out faster? I don't mean to doubt your info, but I've had other sources tell me that alkaline fixers wash out much faster than ones with a pH below 7.

    Is there any common truth to alkaline vs acid in that regard?

    - Thom

     
  6. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Dave,

    thanks for your insight. I appreciate it, and I might just give this fixer a try, especially since photographer's formulary says it works well for getting rid of the dye in t-grain films as well. Now I'm using two different fixers, one for paper and 'normal' film, and one for t-grain films.

    Thanks,

    - Thom

     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I'm glad that you caught my mistake. ALKALINE fixer is supposed to wash out faster.
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Thom, I'll start out by saying that I develop most of my film (both T grain and conventional) in Pyrocat-HD so am concerned about retaining the Pyro stain image.

    I use a water rinse, post development and no acid stop bath with film.

    I have been using TF-4 for all of my film fixing with excellent results - but I don't like the ammonia odor that results. I also have found that I need to use a post fix soak in a 25 gram/liter Sodium Sulfite solution in order to clear the antihalation die residue from some films.

    I am going to try Suzuki's buffered neutral fixer as an alternative to TF-4. See the APUG Chemical Recipes Section.

    I use M.A. Smith's sodium thiosulfite fixer with acid stop bath for my Azo prints - and have no plans to change.
     
  9. Will S

    Will S Member

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    Am I right that PF doesn't sell this in powder form?

    Also, anyone know how long this can set in a tray before it quits working? I would assume a long while, but have never tried it. I've found that leaving the Ansco 130 in the tray rather than mixing it each time makes it far easier to do a few prints in shorter sessions without fear of wasting chemicals.

    When I started using TF-4 I really noticed the smell, but I switched to the smaller diultion and it doesn't bother me now. My printing closet (which is really a steam bath) does not have any ventilation at all other than the open door, so I notice fumes pretty easily. Now, Kodak Acid stop, that has an odor that can knock down an elephant at 20 paces...

    Thanks,

    Will
     
  10. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Smell is one of the reasons I made up my own recipe :wink:

    Yes, I use alkaline fix. No, I don't always follow my own recipe. No, I've never had problems with anti-halation dye, but then again I don't use T-max...

    If I feel I really need a stop bath (lith printing only), I use citric acid instead of acetic - again for olfactory reasons.
     
  11. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Tabular Fixer

    I've been using fineartsphotosupply Tabular Grain Fixer for all of my negatives;pyro and regular with great results. It goes a long way and gives superb results with pyro negatives. No smell either. You owe it to yourself to give it a try.
    Regards, Peter
     
  12. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    It's made from Ammonium Thiosulfate, which is readily available as a 60% solution. Becasue of that, most formulas that use it start with 60% solutions.
     
  13. dinofilm

    dinofilm Member

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    I switched over to TF-4 about 6 months ago an I've definitely tried kicking myself for not using it sooner. I love being able to use a water rinse. And the wash times are much less than with Kodak fixer. As for the smell....you can decrease the odor significantly by only mixing it with distilled water. I got that tip from the people at PF directly and it works. Something about how the TF-4 reacts to an agent in regular tap water that is not in distilled water. Give it a try!
     
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  15. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Well...I mix TF-4 with 18 megaohm Deionized Water - plenty of ammonia stink remains.
     
  16. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I have used the TF-3 formula (Similar to TF-4, see Anchell and Troop's Film Developing Cookbook) for many years, but recently switched to Ryuji's formula referenced by Tom.

    Why? Well, for one thing TF-3 really stinks, literally if not metaphorically. But, more importantly, my work with films like Efke PL 100, which have fairly fragile emulsions, made me realize the importance of not having these emulsions swell any more than necessary in processing, which causes them to become even more fragile. A high pH fixer encourages emulsion swelling. TF-3 works at a pH of around 9, whereas the Suzuzuki formula works at much closer to neutral pH, and little or no odor.

    Sandy
     
  17. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    I've been using TF-4 and loving it, both for film and paper. I too have been trying to kick myself for not doing it sooner.

    The odor doesn't bother me that much, but I do notice it during a printing session (I have very poor ventilation in my dark space). I'll have to check out the buffered neutral one though - sounds interesting.
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Everybody,

    thanks for your input and wisdom. I now feel like I have to try TF-4 fixer, especially if using films with prehardened emulsion. I am curious about making the leap to Efke film when I run out of stock, and will then consider the choice of fixer again.
    It appears as if TF-4 is superior when using Pyro, and since I'm about to start testing Pyrocat HD for sheet film, the choice seems logical to me.

    Thanks everyone!

    - Thom
     
  19. MSchuler

    MSchuler Subscriber

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    > I also have found that I need to use a post fix soak in a 25 gram/liter
    > Sodium Sulfite solution in order to clear the antihalation die residue from
    > some films.

    Do you need to process the film any differently after this soak? Also, how long do you keep the film in this solution?

    Thanks!
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    > Do you need to process the film any differently after this soak? Also, how long > do you keep the film in this solution?

    It appears as if the sodium sulfite solution is used after the fixer, so it wouldn't affect the actual developing phase.
    I would imagine it would be kept in the solution until the dye has cleared. Since the film has been fixed, I think this can be done under illumination so you can see when it's done. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    - Thom
     
  21. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    25 grams/liter of sodium sulfite is a very good Fixer Clearing Bath and is also effective in removing residual antihalation die. Fix the the film normally and then soak it in the sodium sulfite solution for about 5 minutes. Just wash the film normally after soaking it in the sodium sulfite solution. Most (if not all) of the antihalation die will come out in the wash step.

    If you like, you can buffer the sodium sulfite solution by adding 5 grams of sodium bisulfite.
     
  22. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Beat a dead horse AGAIN

    So it's OK to spend money on a fixer that smells up your darkroom and does not remove the antihaltion dye. Fine-go spend your money where you like. The Tabular Fixer that FineArtsphotosupply sells will fix your negatives; including Tabular in 4 minutes with no smell. I have not seen ANY residual dye left after using this fixer. Works great for Pyro too. I just sent Tom Hoskinson a bag to try out for himself. Maybe he will be kind enough to make a post after using. After several hundred 4x5's,5x7's and numerous roll films I'm not even curious to try the TF-4 even though I have free sample sitting on my shelf from P.F. I also have not seen any scratches on my PL100 and that's with tray development.
    Sometimes someone DOES come up with something better. All the hype in the world wouldn't even tempt me to use TF-4; especially after reading these posts.
    Regards, Peter
     
  23. photobackpacker

    photobackpacker Advertiser Advertiser

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    Oh, come on, Peters - tell us what you Really think :wink: I have been using Kodafix on my Tmax sheet film and it works great but 10 minutes is a long run. I will have to try your Tabular Fixer.

    For paper, I use the F6 formula with 1/2 of the recommended alum. What little odor it has is actually bordering on pleasant.
     
  24. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Thanks Peter! I will indeed post my comments after using it.
     
  25. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Superfix

    JDEF- I have no doubt that the superfix will do the job but as I like to do photography and try to keep my mixing to something I can't buy why bother? Besides chemicals are not that cheap so if I get what I need in a bag and mix it up in 5 minutes why not? I do buy my sodium thiosulfate in bulk and mix in a little nabisulfite for my prints. This takes me exactly i minute as I just use a premeasured cup and dump in the tray. It's good to know the formula is available so thanks for the tip-off! As usual APUG is the beat source of information short of personal experience that I know of. It's because of guys like you and Tom and many others that I'm making better prints with less fuss. I'm always interested in what you have to say; I was just hoping to share this so others would find out what I already know.
    Regards, Peter
     
  26. jmailand

    jmailand Member

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    I always thought the benefit of this fixer was the elimination of Hypo Clearing Agent bath for Fiber prints. One less step, one less tray. Am I wrong in belieiving this is true. So far none of my prints have turned yellow.