Your favorite rapid fixer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BetterSense, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I've been using the Arista Premium Odorless rapid fixer. It's important to me that my paper fixer doesn't smell, because I have such a small dark-closet.

    It seems to me that ammonium thiosulfate is ammonium thiosulfate, so one might as well buy the cheapest fixer available. It seems that the only qualities to buy on are price, capacity, and keeping ability. If capacity and keeping ability are better between brands of fixers, the more expensive ones might end up being cheaper in the long run.
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Ilford Hypam/Ilford Rapid Fixer have been the only fixers I've used since the early 70's. Very economic if you use the 5 litre version, good capacity and keeps well.

    Ian
     
  3. Fred De Van

    Fred De Van Member

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    I have used either NH 5 or Ilford Rapid Fixer since the mid 60's. 80% of it was NH 5.
     
  4. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I've concluded that TF-4 is a huge win over acid rapid fixers: shorter fixing times and easier washing.

    The only thing is, it smells wrong. The smell of (acidic) rapid fixer takes me back to hanging out in my dad's darkroom as a kid; TF-4 just smells like ammonia.

    -NT
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Nathan, the fixing and washing times for Hypam/Ilford Rapid fixer are short too :D

    Ian
     
  6. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Everything Ian has said - except I am a bit of a light weight - I've only been using it since the late 70's :D

    Martin
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Oh, yeah, but not *as* short. Oh, and its capacity is a bit lower.

    I'm squeezing my photography into the little corners of spare time in my life, so for me, the difference between fixing for 3 minutes and fixing for 5-6 minutes is larger than it might appear to those of us who don't have small children. :smile:

    -NT
     
  8. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Amaloco X89 (the fixer formerly knows as X88), nearly odorless, very fast even with Tmax films, very economical.

    It's a liquid concentrate, to be diluted 1+4 bis 1+9 - I always use 1+4, that fixes Tmax films within 90-120 seconds.

    1 liter of concentrate is good for 110 films (or 65 T-Grain films), or for 500 sheets RC or 350 sheets Baryt 18x24cm. That is a little more than Ilford Rapid Fixer, but this soup costs about half of Ilford's fixer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2009
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    That's true TF-4's recommended capacity is less than Hypam's at a similar dilution.

    Hypam 24 rolls 35mm film per litre / TF-4 20 rolls of film.
    Hypam 80 10x8 RC prints per litre / TF-4 60 10x8's
    Hypam 40 10x8 FB prints per litre / TF-4 30 10x8's

    The recommended Fix times are identical for papers, and slightly longer for films with TF-4

    Ian
     
  10. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Kodak's Flexicolor Fixer and Replenisher. Cheap as dirt and just as good, if not better than, Ilford's Hypam, Rapid Fixer, or any other B&W rapid fixer on the market. Yes, I know that the Kodak product is meant for the C41 process, but you are right about fixer being fixer. It needs to dissolve undeveloped silver halides and wash them from the emulsion. In that regard C41 is no different from B&W. $9 US buys you enough concentrate to make 5 gallons of working strength fixer. If you use it at half strength like I do, you get 10 gallons of working strength solution for that money. It has tremendous capacity. It is VERY rapid. Ph is nearly neutral, and it does not go bad quickly. I use it for everything. You cannot use it with a hardener, but no matter. There is very little call for hardening fixers with modern materials.
     
  11. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    AFAIK, there is no industry standard for determining
    capacity. There be no standard then specified capacities
    have no meaning. I believe most fixers run at or close to
    60%. Some suppliers may be 'cutting'. Trust the numbers.

    Of course capacity is dependent upon keeping qualities.
    Real world conditions of use are the test of keeping quality.
    Now I ask you, have ANY suppliers provided information as
    to a fixers keeping qualities under actual use conditions. For
    example rapid fixers go bad just sitting unused. And that
    includes sealed concentrates. How bad, how fast?

    Ammonium and sodium thiosulfate, alone, are odorless.
    I'm not in the same rush some are and my volume of
    work is low. So, I use the solid, good for ever
    concentrate, sodium thiosulfate. Dan
     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's highly unlikely that Flexicolor fixer is any better than Hypam, but then equally it may be no worse either, unlike a developer the fixing process is in theory to finality, but in practice all rapid fixers are capable of dissolving developed silver causing image bleaching if a negative or print s is left too long. Of course it might well be more economic compared to the smaller sixed bottles of Hypam..

    Ian
     
  13. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Only 24 rolls of 35mm? Just asking but it seems it should be more in line with the 8x10 quantity you mentioned of 80 as there is less film to process in a 35mm roll, 24 ct than there is in an 8x10 sheet.
     
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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There's much higher levels of silver in photographic film, rough in the order of 4 times, so that matches those figures.

    Ian
     
  16. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Cool, Ian. Thanks.
     
  17. cmo

    cmo Member

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    Are we all talking about the same thing?

    24 rolls of film in 1 liter working solution which was made by diluting a concentrate 1+4 means that 1 liter of concentrate is good for 120 rolls. For T-grain films it's a lot less. of course.
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Yes 1 litre of Hypam/Ilford Rapid fixer concentrate makes 5 litres of working strength fixer at 1+4, so at 24 films per litre will fix 120 rolls films in total. You can dilute 1+9, double the fix times and you get half the capacity per litre of working strength solution. I regularly process those numbers of films in Hypam, and have done since the early 70's with no problems whatso ever.

    On the other hand a litre of TF-4 concentrate is diluted 1+3 so will only process 80 rolls in total, 50% less.

    Ian
     
  19. wogster

    wogster Member

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    There is no industry standard, that said, Ilford tends to use conservative numbers as quality was always the goal. Some other companies (I don't know which ones) may be less conservative in that economics is the goal.

    The best way is to use the clip test, start by always using clear bottles, 1L pop bottles are good for fixer. First look at it, if there is anything floating in it, discard and make fresh.

    Put a small amount in a tray or dish, clip the tongue off a 35mm roll, and put one drop of fixer on the emulsion side, wait 30 seconds, you will see a definite spot starting to form, drop in your dish of fixer and time how long it takes for the spot to disappear. This is your clear time. Do this with fresh fixer and write down the clear time on the bottle. Each session you do the test again, when it takes twice as long, discard and make fresh. You can determine your own fixing time, it's at least double the clearing time.

    As for shelf life, Ilford says ....

    2 years for a full bottle of concentrate...
    6 Months for an opened bottle of concentrate...
    6 Months for a full bottle of working strength...
    1 Month for a partly used bottle of working strength....

    I would assume that you can use the same techniques as for developer to keep the bottles full.
     
  20. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    The clip test as described is perfect for determining both the fixing time for fresh fixer and for assessing when the fixer should be discarded. However there is one crucial factor missing. The type of film used for the initial test should be the same for all subsequent tests. Different films show different clearing times. Test with something like TMax and you're looking at 3 - 5 minutes clearing time with fresh rapid fixer. Foma films can clear in as little as 60 seconds.
     
  21. wogster

    wogster Member

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    You are correct of course.
     
  22. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    The same fixers that I use.
     
  23. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    OK, I clearly need to reexamine this subject, as I switched over from Ilford Rapid Fixer to TF-4 based on a set of impressions that appear all to be wrong! Thanks for alerting me to it...

    -NT
     
  24. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    I've used TF-4 from the get-go. Terrific shelf-life and it works equally well for paper, pyro negs, and regular negs...
     
  25. GJA

    GJA Member

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    Formulary TF-4

    The life is outstanding (six months once it is mixed, more if you dont mix it) Its fairly cheap and easy to use since its a liquid.

    It smells a little but less if you use distilled water, and i keep the trays covered.

    It is non-hardening, the same as most fixers that can be used for paper, but means that you need to check if your film has hardener built in. It is also supposedly non-reducing, although im not really sure since i have never run tests,or seen any to prove this. This means in theory it should leave your blacks a little blacker!

    Finally, you can order direct from Formulary.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2009
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sprint speed fixer.
    they are a site sponsor as well ..