Try using plain Hypo (480g Sodiumthiosulfite in 2000ml water) or Kodaks F24. I just started using ABC after using PMK for awhile now, and the staining properties of ABC are very different. In fact, at first, you'll swear that there was no staining at all. The ABC formula produces a higher contrast negative, so be aware of that fact before deciding to use ABC instead of PMK.
I tend to like high contrast subjects, and for that reason, I'm probably going to go back to PMK.
With PMK and VC enlarging paper, I use between a 2 and 3 filter. With ABC, 0-0.5 filtration. I'm not too happy about sitting on the far end of the filter spectrum. Not much room for flexibility.
I am not an ABC pyro user, but I use PMK pyro almost exclusively. Yes, an acid fix will prevent full stain development, but a two-minute bath in an alkaline solution (the used developer works extremely well) after the fix corrects the problem. For what it's worth, I have stopped using alkaline fix after having fogging problems. I use a standard rapid fix without hardener (Ilford Hypam or Universal Fixer or Kodad Rapid Fixer) and fix for three times the clearing time of the film in fresh fixer. The fixer is discarded after the clearing time doubles. I often use weaker dilutions than is normally recommended and use the fixer one-shot, with appropriatlely longer fixing times as determined by a clip test.
The use nof an acid fix enables you to use a conventional stop bath, which, for me, seems to prevent the fogging problems (stripes of higher density on my tray-developed sheet film) that I had using the alkaline fix and water stop. I suspect that the carried-over developer was still active enough to affect the the film, and that the portions immediately exposed to the fix, i.e. the corners or a strip at the side or top resulting from the sheets not being stacked exactly on top of each other, were fixed faster than the covered portions, which then got a bit more development. The developer cannot be active, even if carried over, in an acid environment.
The negatives from the fix have some stain, but appreciably more after the two-minute bath in the used developer.
Of course, you have to find what is best for your working methods, but you should be aware that conventional acid fixers are a possibility.
Hope this helps. ;^D)
You might want to try Barry Thornton'd "Archivix" - an alkaline fixer developed for use with DiXactol and other staining developers.
There is a pretty good discussion about this on Michael's site about this--
jdef, for what is worth I use rapid fixer and have had no problems. If you loose some of the stain you can always put the film back un the spent developer. Or you can put the film in a bath of sodium metaborate. I actually have found that using a second "staining" bath causes too much overall stain. In my process I just do a sodium metaborate pre bath, developer, water stop bath and rapid fixer without the hardener. It works great for me.
I may add that rapid fixer with the hardener is much more acidic and might remove some stain. But without the hardener it works great. So next time you buy rapid fixer just dont add the little bottle with the hardener and you will be fine.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (jdef @ Oct 5 2002, 03:10 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>stopped in a weak acetic acid bath, and fixed in Rapid Fix without the hardener. The negs look a little thin to my eyes, and I don't notice an obvious stain.</td></tr></table><span id='postcolor'>
Dont use acid for the stop bath, water will do. To visual inspections the negs look thin, but they should print ok.
I'm surprised that your HP5+ negs appear thin when developed in ABC for around 8 minutes. I pull mine at that time as well, and they are more on the side of dense than thin. I rate my film at 320 but expose for my ZoneIV. My developer has a temp of 70°.
On normal VC enlarging paper, I use between grade 2 and 3 to get a good print when developed in PMK, BUT with ABC, between grade 0.5 and 1.