Water quality

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Shmoo, Jul 24, 2004.

  1. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    Like most people, water quality (usually hard tap water) is a problem and most have suggested the use of distilled water (usually at the clearing stages of film dev.). I was just wondering if anyone had used water from a Britta water filter?

    thanks

    Shmoo
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi shmoo -

    i haven't used britta water, but i have a big "whole house filter" on my main waterline.

    it would be very expensive, but i would love to have a diatomaceous earth filter and a cistern, that filter would get *everything* out of the water.
     
  3. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Every night when I dump the water out of the dehumidifier in the basement I wonder if this water can be used for mixing chemicals.

    Jim
     
  4. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I would depend how clean the air was that had been dehumidified.
     
  5. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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    Dave,

    That's what I thought. typical damp (but clean) basement. The water "Looks" crystal clear when I dump it, but I know that doesn't say much for the quality of it.

    Jim
     
  6. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Nope, the Britta filter use a combination mesh/activated carbon system to remove some impurities but they do not remove hardness.

    If you want to remove hardness you need a water softening system that uses ion exchange resins, these system, by their nature also filter grit, etc, etc.

    Since I worked in the industrial water purification industry, I was lucky to have all the deionized water I wanted. Since I moved to Mexico, that is no longer an option, heck, they dont even sell distilled water here, dont know what it is. So I started using drinking water from bottles and that has worked fine. The specs for drinking water are good enough for film developing, you dont need deionized or distilled water.
     
  7. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I can confirm this, I now use bottled water from my local Tesco supermarket. At 18p per litre it doesn't add much to the cost of film developing, but does save on spotting time.
     
  8. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon,

    When I lived in a different community years ago, I found it nearly impossible to mix D-76 using the local tap water. I started using water from a dehumidifier and had no further problems. I'm sure that keeping the collection pan clean is important, but it's worth a try, and it's a lot cheaper than buying distilled water.

    Konical
     
  9. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Jorge, that evoked memories of our hotel in Merida, Yucatan, where there was bottled water delivered to our room as part of the sevice. Our room was on the second floor, overlooking the alley. I awoke about 5:30am to the sound of clinking glass, looked out the window and saw hotel employees filling the water bottles from a hose. I figured I was ok anyway because I was drinking Leon Negra (beer of the conquistadores) - not water.

    I am not advocating beer as a substitute for water in photographic applications!
     
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    If the collection pan is kept scrupulously clean dehumidifier water should be perfect. Think about it, it is water that comes from the air, much like...well, rain. One of the purest kind of water known.

    Tom, if Negra Modelo was able to develop my film and stain it, I would be in trouble...not sure I would finish a developing session..:smile:
     
  11. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Not sure about that - ever heard of Acid Rain? Our Scandinavian contributors may like to comment on the "purity" of water that's washed our air supply.
     
  12. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I’m thinking about this water thing further, whilst I drink my pollutant laden wake-up cup of coffee.
    As far as the photographic process goes I don’t believe water quality is that important! Certainly it has to be reasonably neutral, so that rules out the acid rain. The nearer the Ph is to 7 the better, but provided it’s drinkable it’s o.k. I imagine the important thing here is consistency. As for dissolved solids, apart from making up pyro developer, I don’t know that it’s worth the trouble of using distilled or excessively filtered water for print making – film developing, at least the final wash, needs water free of junk. That’s the only reason I use Tesco’s instead of tap water for my final film wash.
    Incidentally, and on a slightly different tack, I wonder how many of us simple hang our negatives from a line to dry, where they gather airborne dust and debris in the process? Now that’s an area where I could improve, and thereby reduce my spotting time.
     
  13. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    Yeah, I have heard of it...so? just because your rain is contaminated does not mean it is how it started......the process of distillation (essentially what causes rain water) produces the purest form of water, after that, whatever is added by the surrouding environment, it is a different question.
     
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  15. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    IIRC, acid rain is what happens when there are things such as SO2 in the air that the rain is falling through. CO2 is always there. The accumulated effect on some building materials and on automobile fenders is apparent. I think that if you can breathe that air, the acidity as far as photo processes are concerned is not great. If your humidifier or rain water is too bad, you can taste it. pH may be below neutral, but very little of the photo chemical goes into countering it. At least, it is not likely to cause the cloudy solutions and precipitates that hard water does. Chlorine and fluorine are not friendly to developers that have ascorbates, but you won't find those halogens in humidifier water that comes from breathable air.
     
  16. Stan. L-B

    Stan. L-B Member

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    Yes! I use Britta water filtration when working away from home, living and travelling in my RV in remote areas. I carry distilled water for mixing, and use the Britta filtered water for washes. It seem to work very well for me, no nasties on the film after drying. I do use a little wetting agent in the final wash.
     
  17. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    Thanks for all the input. It's sort of amazing how many problems we all have with water. It almost makes you afraid to take a bath or drink coffee, much less mix chemicals and clear film!!!

    Thanks again!
    Shmoo
     
  18. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I live in a hard water area and had really bad problems with particles (calcium carbonate or something else) being left on my negs during processing. I got hold of a Britta jug filter and now put all film processing and washing water through it (after mixing it to 20C in the sink). No more particles.

    The downside is that it does add significantly to the length of time the prep-process-wash cycle takes; a major drag as it's my least favourite part of photography and, as a DDX user (Ilford *why* won't you do it it smaller bottles than 1 litre?!!), tend to batch process anything up to about 15 rolls at a time...!
     
  19. RJS

    RJS Member

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    Dr. Richard Henry, M.D. Ph.D. , unfortunately no longer with us, in his book "Controls in Black and Whit Photography" indicates that water quality doesn't make all that much difference. This is a teriffic book, and anyone seriously in b&w photography-processing etc. will find a great deal of very useful information.He did the research, and tells how to replicate it. Very very few of the so-called 'authorities' do that. Mostly they repeat others without checking. Oh well!
     
  20. Louis Nargi

    Louis Nargi Member

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    That water from the dehumidified is pure distilled water. It is the condensate from the air in your basement or other space because it leaves behind all the other ellements and just pulles the moisture from the air. I been using it for years, just run it though a coffee filter to get out some particals that may have fallen in the water.
     
  21. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    "As far as the photographic process goes I don’t believe water quality is that important!"

    You haven't talked with the Kodak tech guys about Xtol, have you?
     
  22. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    An aside:

    Anyway, what's this 'pure water'? A powerful solvent of almost everything it comes in contact with.

    That raindrop originally formed on a condensation nucleus - a speck of something that isn't water - before they started to pick up gaseous impurities. Water vapour doesn't just condense on its own when the air is over-saturated, nor does an airborne water drop freeze when the temperature falls below 0°C / 32°F. Apart from anything else, that dehumidifier/aircon condensate contains the invisible sub-micron particles floating round in the air. Distilled water may have impurites carried by the steam from the boiling water. It's all quite clean, but it isn't pure, and neither is driven snow.

    This is of no relevance to the purity required for photographic processing, just an observation on the behaviour of water and the idea that rainwater, condensate, single-distilled water etc can be truly 'pure'. Well, the idea interests me, if no-one else.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  23. captainwookie

    captainwookie Member

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    Fortunately, my tap water is good quality, or at least enough for Budweiser to use the same source. I mainly use distilled in the final rinses to prevent spotting. Though with color I use nothing but distilled, it seems to be very finicky when it comes to water.

    Anyway, has anyone else considered just building a still? If a hillbilly in West Virginia can do it, if figure that I might have a chance.
     
  24. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    About water:

    A wise danish man onde said:

    "I will not drink something a long-haired hippie once walked on..."
     
  25. mark

    mark Member

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    Lets all remember that Edward S Curtis, ansel adams, and the kolb brothers washed their negatives in streams. Granted they were much less polluted then but I know for a fact the Kolb brothers used some seriously mineral tainted water that was flowing from a crack in the side of the Grand Canyon, it was some seriously hard water too. You can see the minerals embadded in their plates. their negatives are still around and in pristine condition unless you stored them like the Kolb brothers. In a big stack where the weight ended up cracking the bottom plates.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  26. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Is that supposed to be an indication of quality?

    :tongue: