I'm intrigued by all the goodness I hear and see written about alkaline fixers. So I'm thinking I might try either mixing my own TF-3 according to Anchell & Troop, or buy premade stock TF-4 from the Formulary.
But which one? It seems to be a toss-up pricewise, and the TF-3 I guess I could mix as I go, keeping bulk chemicals instead of stock. But then the stock TF-4 has a pretty good shelf life, anyway. The Formulary claims TF-4 is good for "some" films... are there any current films it decidely shouldn't be used with? Any developers? I don't tray develop, I do all my 4x5 in a CombiPlan, although one of these days I will find myself a cheap jobo on ebay.
Is either one skin-friendlier to handle?
I've only used TF-4 for a few months - sheet & 35mm film in tank/can & prints in tubes. Film has been Forte 400, Agfa APX 100, Ilford Pan F & HP5. Haven't seen any problems.
I think (?) the differences are minor between the two.
So, from my viewpoint, it's a matter of price/convenience.
I've been using alkali fixers and water stop mostly with Kodak films and Kodak/Ilford papers without any problems.
One cost difference may be in shipping. With TF-4, you are also paying to ship the water it is mixed in.
An alternative I have just began trying is TF-2, which uses sodium thiosulfate rather than ammonium - I have plenty of sodium thiosulfate, so using this film fixer is simply an attempt to reduce the number of chemicals I have around.
Well there is a third choose>
Formulary does sell Fixer 24. It is a sodium
based, non hardening,powder mix kit. FYI- haven't tried it myself.
Not having ever used TF3 or 4, I am curious as to the smell, if any, of these fixers.
Do they smell of ammonia?
If so, how much?
I've always disliked the smell of the Ilford Rapid fix I am currently using and would like to find something that is a bit less odorous.
It's usually NOT the ammonia that you smell, it the acid. There are several odorless fixers. The two that come to my mind are Kodak F-6 (a mix your own from scratch) and Edwals Quick Fix. Kodak replaces part of the Boric acid content and Edwal uses citric acid instead of acetic acid.
Yes indeed, it is the acid smell that I dislike in the Rapid Fix I am using.
However I was wondering about the smell of TF4 and TF3 since they both seem to have a fair amount of ammonia in 'em.
I use TF-4 and the ammonia smell really isn't that bad. I smell it just enough to know its there, and I usually have to put my head right over the tray to smell that.
Hello, it is acetic acid and Ammonia that you smell. The trick is to keep the Ammonia from leaving the solution(I lack the correct terminology here-evaporation I guess?) and to stop using Acetic Acid. Or at least to limit it. If you are using a traditional Acetic acid stop bath you will of course smell that, and most store bought rapid fixers use acetic acid among other things, so with those you have the acetic acid plus the ammonia.
TF-4 is a proprietary formula so I don't really know what is in it and I have never used it so I can't really say much about it. TF-3, however, is what I use for fixing film. I prefer an alkaline rapid fixer and that is what this is, but it does produce an ammonia aroma, though not as strong as some rapid fixers. If you are not using a staining developer for your film then you can add about 3 grams of Citric Acid to the fix tray and you will prevent the ammonia smell. For Paper I use the TF-3 and always add the citric acid. When I built my darkroom I went to a great deal of effort to provide for fresh air intake and an exhaust right at my sinks. Then I started using the TF-3 with citric acid added for processing paper and I never even bother to turn on the exhaust system because there isn't any aroma at all.