Where to buy chems in Philly and Flexicolor fixer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Tim Gray, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    In the past I've ordered my liquid Ilford chems from B&H or Freestyle, but I'd like to start buying in larger quantities. For printing, I've been using Ilford MG dev, stop, and rapid fixer.

    I'm fine ordering the big jug of Ilford MG dev, but can't seem to find the stop in the big size. And I can't seem to find anyplace that carries and will ship the gallon jug of Kodak indicator stop.

    As far as fixer, though Ilford rapid fix is available in the big jug (and B&H will actually ship it), I'm thinking of moving to Kodak Flexicolor fixer since it's a 1/4 of the price and I've read it is perfectly acceptable for use with B&W film and paper.

    Any thoughts of where I should order, or buy in person (I'm right south of Philly). Also, any thoughts on switching to Flexicolor fix for my film and paper needs?

    Thanks!
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    In Philadelphia, you can order and/or buy most of that stuff at Calumet. They've got a store downtown. I've never heard of anyone using Flexicolor fixer for b/w materials - it may be possible, but I have no direct or indirect knowledge of success or failure using this combination. My inclination would be NOT to do this because I have no idea of the impact on the archival qualities of your b/w materials.
     
  3. chriswawak

    chriswawak Member

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    Calumet really isn't downtown, it's over on Delaware ave in south philly. It's pretty hard to get to by public trans, and doesn't have good hours if you work a day job... Also, the last time I bought film there, it was dusty and nearing expiration. Meh.

    Just outside of Philly east of the Ben Frankin Bridge in Merchantville, NJ is The Darkroom Studios. They're one of the last REAL independent photo shops in the Philly area. That's where I go for all of my chems and supplies. They have pretty much everything, from 1L up to the big cubes. Their stock is fresh, and they're really nice guys. They've got a full rental darkroom as well.

    I could probably order from Freestyle, but I much prefer using the expertise I can get at TDS.

    As for your fixer question, I bet asking the guys at TDS would be a great way to figure out what you should do -- they've heard of EVERYTHING. Give 'em a call and then report back!

    If you do end up going there, let me know. I like to show up with a 6-pack once in a while to share with the darkroom rental folks while we print.
     
  4. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I've not dragged my fat little body down there yet (it's a bit of a drive from my location), but there is the Camera Shop in Bryn Mawr that appears to still carry some traditional stuff. That should be accessible by train on the Paoli line. I'd suggest calling before going through too many hurdles to get there.

    DaveT
     
  5. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Thanks guys. I'll give both locations a call...
     
  6. amuderick

    amuderick Member

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    The Camera Shop in Bryn Mawr is very friendly. They can probably special order anything for you. Calumet is a pain to get to either by car or public transit. They do have a larger selection in-stock though. I'll have to check out the Darkroom Studios next time I need something.
     
  7. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    I've been using flexicolor for a few years now, and it's tray life is on par with TF-4. It's also slightly alkaline. I picked up two five gallon bags and maybe five gallon jugs for free, from a photo store that was dropping all wet processes. They were happy I saved them a trip to the dump. I really recommend calling stores in your area to see if they have it laying around. Flexicolor is almost like a well-kept secret, maybe it's the "color" part that throws people. It's fixer. Dilute 1+3.
     
  8. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I've been using it for a few years on B&W materials, both paper and film, and it works fine. Comparing the oldest prints and negatives I have using Kodak's Flexicolor fixer vs. work processed with conventional B&W fixers shows no differences. Flexicolor fixer is nothing more or less than a nearly neutral ph, non-hardening, rapid fixer. According to Kodak's documentation, the ph of a working solution should come in between 6.0 and 7.0, making it slightly acidic to neutral. See page 2 of Kodak's documentation here: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/cis61/cis-61.pdf. I've read that C-41RA fixer is not suitable for B&W work, so choose carefully when and if you decide to try it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2008
  9. HowardDvorin

    HowardDvorin Member

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    Here is another vote for The Darkroom Studios. The give service with a smile and are on top of things.

    HowardDvorin
     
  10. chriswawak

    chriswawak Member

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    Quick note -

    TDS is closed on sundays now, but still open monday thru saturday. I bought a big stack of paper chems and got a bunch of trays for cheap.
     
  11. Skorzen

    Skorzen Member

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    Just a note that the camera shop in Byrn Mwar has cleaned out most of their darkroom supplies etc. they still have some stuff but the darkroom section is about the third of what it was.