Two fixer questions

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by nsurit, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I have some fixer (Ilford rapid fix) that I have been using for several months and have tested it with Hypo check before each use. I'm getting ready to develop 6 rolls of 120 this morning and as I was pouring the fixer noticed a bunch of black particles in the fix. I tested it and it test OK, however it was sent to the recycle container. Had I filtered it through a paper filter would it have being OK to use?

    Next I mixed up the last of a 1000 ml bottle of the Rapid fix and noticed it was full of crystals and figure I might sit it in a warm water bath, stir it and get them to go back into solution. This might have worked however it wasn't happening very fast, so it too was relegated to the recyle container. Would it have gone into solution had I heated it up a bit more and would it have been OK to use?

    I had a new bottle of Rapid fix and really was resisting dumping the $2 or $3 worth of crystalized fixer. The images are important and I didn't want to risk using something which had the potential screw up the negatives. Should I have just "manned up" and heated the heck out of it and gone for it?

    Bill Barber
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Fixers tend to drop colloidal silver out of solution as blackm bits, they normally have no ill effects but are best decanted off or filtered out. Don't shake a used fixer bottle prior to use.

    Somtimes concentrates of rapid fixers do have some slight crystallisation or trace of sulphur at the bottom, this is quite normal but I'd just filter out and use as normal. It's only an issue where there's excessive breakdown of the fixer and by then yopu can smell thesulphur.

    Ian
     
  3. yeknom02

    yeknom02 Member

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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but....

    Black particles should be silver that has prematurely precipitated out of solution. I think I'd heard the terminology "sulfiding out." I've worked with fixer like this just fine, but I never use the full bottle and the sediment stays at the bottom. I would think that if there's a miniscule amount, it would be taken care of in the final wash.

    I also have had white crystals in my stock fixer. I have no idea what they are, but I usually filter them out if I can. I have no idea whether this has any adverse effect.
     
  4. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Considering the environment, I suspect the black crystals are silver sulfide, but they might be silver. I don't know about the white stuff. my first suspicion is sulfur, but hypo, silver complexes, and sodium sulfite are other possibilities. Sulfur is usually pretty amorphous, not crystalline. In any case, I would not particularly trust the fixer. Testing the time to clear a small piece of film would be enlightening. If the film clears in a minute or so, you could probably filter the remaining solution and use it - maybe. Has the fixer been subject to cold? How old is it? How used is it?
     
  5. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    I have been using a couple of 5 gallon bladders of Kodak Royalprint fixer for about 5 years, and I think these were stashed in a photo lab for however many years before that. My basement comes close to freezing sometimes. The fixer smells strongly of sulphur, and there is crap floating around in it. But this stuff is absolutely bulletproof. If it clears a film leader, well there it is.
     
  6. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    If you had done a film-clearing test in fresh fixer instead of using Hypo-Check (or in addition), you would have a way to compare the activity of your used fixer to freshly-mixed.

    It's really easy and more accurate than Hypo-Check to use the film-clearing test. Toss your fix when clearing times in the used fix are double that in fresh fix. That's it unless you are using two-bath fixing, in which case you would toss bath one (the one you are checking) and replace it with bath 2 and mix a new bath 2.

    Bottom line, try the film-clearing test, you'll like it.

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com