What fixer do you recommend?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Henry Alive, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

    Messages:
    197
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Once in a while, I get some scratches in my negatives, and I am almost sure that they appear when I clean them with a brush (Adorama brush). Is there a fixer able to protect the surface of the film? I always work with Tetenal Superfix Plus for developing Tmax 400 B&W film, 1:9 concentrations, during 10 minutes. Is this a good choice?
    Thank you,
    Henry.
     
  2. R gould

    R gould Member

    Messages:
    430
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Jersey Chann
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Henry, I have used a lot of the tetenal superfix plus, it is available at very good prices and I get it in 5 litre batches and I have never had any problems, it is as good as the Ilford product but better priced, however, I would suggest you use it at higher dilutions for film fixing, 1/4works for me, 3 minutes for normal films, and 6 for Tmax films,
    Richard
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,378
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Why are you cleaning them wit a brush? Is it to remove dust? Have you tried a canned dust removal spray or an anti-static brush? I think the problem is with the brush or how the film is handled. I have used Kodak Rapid Fix without the hardener for very many years with no problems. I placed a filter over the ac vent in my darkroom and have very little dust. I also keep my negatives in archival sleeves.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  4. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,378
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Location:
    florida
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Just a couple of other thoughts -- scratches could occur in the camera, when winding on to the developing reel or from the negative carrier if you are doing your own printing.
     
  5. VaryaV

    VaryaV Member

    Messages:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Scratches can also occur from Photoflow and squeegee burrs. Try one of those little rubber blowers with the glass tube, that's what I use. It doesn't leave drops like sometimes the canned air does.
     
  6. hpulley

    hpulley Member

    Messages:
    2,214
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Location:
    Guelph, Onta
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Photoflo can also leave what look like scratches that are just streaks. Re-rinsing and drying removes them.
     
  7. mikendawn

    mikendawn Member

    Messages:
    57
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    Location:
    Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have NEVER had photo-flo scratch any negatives... The only scratches I've ever had is carelessness when loading the roll of film in the can with the light trap door closed, when I should have it open when spooling.. Oops! Don't make that mistake often, or at all really anymore, but previously I had..

    The only Fixer I use is Ilford-Rapid fixer.. Simply because I like Ilford! I will support that company, far more then the nonesense that Kodak has decided to do! Jerks :smile: filing for Bankruptcy protection.. (sort of).. :smile:
     
  8. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    2,612
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, N.Y.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Don't mean to hijack this thread.

    PE posted once that if you mix Photoflo potent enough to make a lather, you've used too much. My experience was it would dry with splotches and I would scratch the film when wiping.

    Back to Fixer recommendations..
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,244
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Then don't do that. :smile: Seriously it's best not to touch negatives with anything but air. If you use a brush you must be vary careful that it doesn't pick up any grit. Some developers produce more softening than others.

    Years ago when emulsions were softer it was fairly general practice to use a hardening stopbath such as a 3% solution of potassium chrome alum. Films are treated for 3 minutes with constant agitation. This bath does not keep for more than a day or so and must be made up fresh.

    An acid alum stopbath provides a bit less hardening but may be easier to obtain.
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,420
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't think there is anything wrong with your fixer. What you need to do is stop touching the negatives with anything. Never squeegee wet film with one of those film squeegees or your wetted fingers, or photo chamois or sponge, NOTHING. when the film comes out of the can after processing, including wetting agent, shake the crap outta the reel to remove any excess water, then hang to dry in a dust free environment. Use a puffer or canned air to remove any dust prior to enlarging, or anti-static machine. I run an air cleaner constantly in my DR and don't have any problems with dust, hence no scratched film. It's a good idea to check your camera for rough spots and any other gear your film may come in contact with.
    If you are concerned with the emulsion being soft, use a tanning developer such as Moersch Tanol, or Pyrocat-HD. They toughen emulsions better than adding a hardener to the fix or stop, and give the added benefit of masking grain.
     
  11. Henry Alive

    Henry Alive Subscriber

    Messages:
    197
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ok. I want to thank your comments.
    Henry.
     
  12. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,480
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In spite of various warnings to the contrary I routinely clean negatives with brushes and even an antistatic cloth and have NEVER scratched one with either. You have to be more careful with the cloth. If you're really scratching them with a brush something is wrong.

    Modern films are factory hardened and really shouldn't need a hardening fixer, but I use it anyway for film. I use Kodak Rapid Fixer, mix per instructions (including the part B which is the hardener) for film, same strength minus the hardener for paper. But I've used non hardening fixer and still can't imagine scratching a negative with a brush. I'd echo the suspicion that you are getting the scratches somewhere else.

    Wet film is very, very soft, especially as it starts to dry. As the poster above, I'd never use a squeegee on wet film, ever. It's best to use nothing to wipe it with, just wetting agent and hang up (and, like others said, not too strong - no more than half recommended strength) but I have rinsed my fingers well with water and gently run a roll between two wet fingers to get most of the water off, without ever scratching the film. If you had something gritty on your hands that could be disastrous though so the advice above about not doing it is the safer approach.

    One problem with wetting agent is that it should really never get on your reels. Over time it will make them sticky and hard to load (plastic reels, which I use - probably not good for stainless either but easier to clean off, I'd think.) I remove the film from the reel and gently place in a wetting agent bath. One has to be careful when doing this, though.