Weird Q: Photoflo?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ezwriter, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. ezwriter

    ezwriter Member

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    Been using the same mix of Photo Flo for about 8 months, still soapy.
    Does this stuff ever 'wear out' ??
     
  2. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    unless your was is100% good, it must accumulate fixer over time. don't use it beyond kodak's capacity recommendations. i mix it 1+1,000 with distilled water ,and it seems to last for a long time that way without leaving drying marks.
     
  3. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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    I didn't know that anyone reused this stuff.I use it "one shot" and I've had the same bottle for years,if I reused it it would last longer than plutonium.
     
  4. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    It can last a long time, but then again, it's probably cheaper than the water you're mixing it in. I have had occasions where something precipitates out if it (fixer residue or stuff in the local water?) and I'll throw it out and mix new.

    PS: I don't mix at 1:1000 like Ralph, but probably half the recommendation, about 1:400. Precision is not critical with this stuff.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2012
  5. iulian

    iulian Member

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    I have quite a lot of lime in my water supply, so I use it 1:200 in distilled water (mostly 120 Acros, Rollei or Foma). Not a trace of a spot on any of my negatives, so I won't reuse it. The fact that I load two 120 films on a spool helps with the economy of developing, but that's the only corner I'm willing to cut. (50% savings is a lot, anything else is just not worth it)
     
  6. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I'll reuse it for one session (usually 3 or 4 rolls of film) then dump it.

    I mix it with an eyedropper. I have a spare film canister that I don't have a lid for. I fill that with clean water then drip in a few drops.
    I have occasionally forgotten to dump it out after I'm done and discovered it when I go looking for my spare to mix up a new batch. I have reused it with no problems.

    The stuff is so cheap and you use so little of it per batch that you can just dump it out.
    I'd say it's worth it just to prevent the risk of cross contamination.
     
  7. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    It is alarming to think that it is expected to leave significant fixer in the film after washing - just a trace amount is supposed to be beneficial admittedly (no link, but I do recall something about that).

    I have a rinse tank where I make up demineralised water and a tiny amount of Ilfotol (Ilford washaid) for each session. On the occasions when the tank has been left more than a couple of days it smells musty, though without visible growths in it. Mouldy film is not something I want so, after a day, I always use a fresh mixture. Possibly the Kodak product has some sort of anti-microbial stuff in it?
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i just finished a bottle a few months ago that was purchased in the 1980s ...
    i've never reused it, just a drop or 2 in whatever i have the film washing in
    i bought a bottle last year to replace it - silly me ..
    i think i will bequeath it to my kids when i die in 50 years ...
     
  9. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I learned to keep a small container of distilled water into which a capful of isopropyl alcohol and 1 drop of Photo Flo is added during each developing session immediately before giving negatives a final rinse. I keep it for quite some time, then dump and make up a new batch.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    No, but it is a wonderful environment if you are trying to grow mould.

    It is best to use it for no more than a day, then toss it.

    In case it isn't obvious, don't mix up large quantities all at once.
     
  11. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    I was taught to mix up only what was going to be used that session and to throw it out after use. We were sternly warned against reuse of photo flo.
     
  12. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I only use for a short while and discard. Also, I find that mixing to directions causes Newton rings when I print. I dilute about 4X what is recommended and it works well.
     
  13. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    It grows stuff. I'll reuse it for a day (could be 8-10 rolls processed) but not keep it overnight. Made that mistake only once.
     
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  15. HowardDvorin

    HowardDvorin Member

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    I had the same experience .
     
  16. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    if your photo-flo is really accumulating fixer -- guy, ur not rinsing your film long enough. Foto-flo is the final rinse AFTER thorough washing purely to get cleaner negs.

    I put a "smidge" -- maybe 1/6th of a cap ful, into the developing tank at the end of the rinse, soak negs for 30 seconds, hang to dry, toss.
     
  17. heterolysis

    heterolysis Member

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    Typically, I will dump the water from the rinse and then add 2-3 drops of photoflo to a 20oz tank and fill it, adding a little extra water after it's full/shaken to wash some of the extra suds away.

    Ratio-wise, it's probably less than 1:1000, but I've never had any issues. I think 1:1000 is a good, safe bet as long as you rinse well enough beforehand. The stuff is used so sparingly I've never gone through a bottle before its printed expiration date. And while I can't imagine it ever going bad, it's so cheap you don't need to worry about using a little excess every time.
     
  18. tomfoo13ry

    tomfoo13ry Member

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    I mix 2 liters at a time and use it one shot as needed. I've heard a lot of stories of nasties growing in the solution but I haven't encountered it myself...and since I have to learn everything the hard way, I'll continue that practice until I do. :D
     
  19. Photo-gear

    Photo-gear Member

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    I also have precipitates after some 12-15 processing. I am used to lightly shake the solution under the light, just to see or not the precipitates.

    Good idea to reduce the dilution. Mine was 1:200 as Kodak recommends.
     
  20. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    At the university, I mix up a gallon and the students dunk their film in it after washing. It stays on the counter (w/lid) for a few days until it just starts to get cloudy. We have done this since at least 1978 when I took my first class there...and probably the 20 years before that. I recommend that the students see-saw the film through it, but some dunk the reel w/film into the tank.

    No problems -- unless someone mixes it up a little strong.
     
  21. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Gosh, Vaughn ... I thought that up thar in the woods folks would be fermenting it for microbrew.
    It takes me at least a decade to use up a bottle of Photoflow. It doesn't take more than a few drops
    at a time. And kept too long it will breed Saprolegnia (water mold, just in case you want some of
    that authentic aged taste in the hooch, Vaughn ... prints some labels like "Saprolegnia Silver" and
    some place like Beverages & More could probably sell it.
     
  22. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    So that's what it is! :smile:
     
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Yep. That can be controlled with a little real Listerine (thymol) in the blend. But don't know if mint
    flavor will make a neg print different than regular flavor! Or you can filter the water thru a coffee
    filter and risk lint from that getting into the water. Just so much easier to mix up fresh each session
    and not worry about all this other stuff.
     
  24. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I have filtered the goobers out but, in the long run, I find it to be faster, easier and just as cheap to toss the stuff out and mix up a new batch.

    Now, I hardly ever mix batches. I just drip a few drops into a small beaker of water and stir.
    Faster, easier, probably a lot cheaper and no goobers.
     
  25. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    The university darkroom (125 students/semester) has been working off the same bottle of Photo-flo here for well over a decade. But it is a gallon bottle...and is the Photo-flo 2100. Yes, mixed 1:2100 for use.

    I take 7 oz of it and mix it to make a gallon of stock solution. The stock solution is then mixed at 1 oz per gallon for use. I doubt I will get thru the original gallon of 2100 before I retire.
     
  26. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Has anyone tried using other sources of surfactants for film drying? I know dish detergent is frowned on, but they sell industrial wetting agents at gardening centres for getting water into high-silicate soils. Anyone tried that?

    For those of us without access to a lifetime supply of Photoflo-2100, it might become an interesting question soon. My previous bottle of Photoflo-200 was $3.99 (2009) and I've got 25% left. Concerned at Kodak going bust, I bought a new bottle last month: $12.99. I don't reckon I'll be able to buy any more at any price in Australia as the shops say it's discontinued and I got the last bottle from my local store.