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  1. #1

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    How to know if my Fixer is still Oke, is there a quick and dirty method.

    Hello,

    I have a question which I hope some of you can help me with.
    Once a month or so I like to work in my darkroom.
    It's a basic set up with the basic tools.
    I use 3 baths and 90 percent of my work I print on PE paper from Ilford with Ilford chemicals.

    What I would like to know is if there is a 'Quick and dirty method' whit the basic darkroom tools to see up front if my fixer is still usable/reasonable quality.
    (I don't require the highest standard of archival quality)

    Hope you can help.

    Greetings Wietse

  2. #2
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    hypo-check, its a small bottle, you only use a drop or two so it goes a long way. cloudy precipitate forms when fixer is exhausted.

    There are also formulas for diy version as well, you can do a search for it, but at $4-5 a bottle its not much of an expense if you compare it to the amount of film or paper that potentially may be wasted with bad fixer.

    You can also do a clip test with a bit of film, and time it. for paper its a bit different as fixer is more dilute.

  3. #3

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    Machery-Nagel make Ag-Fix test sticks, it looks as if they have taken over from Tetnal who used to make them. You dip one in the fixer for a second then wait 30secs then compare colour change to a scale chart. You check the silver content and ph. Very simple and quick but they are quite expensive but they come in tubes of a 100 which at one a month will last you eight years.

    Tony

  4. #4
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    tetenal test stripsor a clip test.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  5. #5
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    Question for the experts: would a clip test with film work or are the chemistries of film and paper too different for this to be a good indication?
    "There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs" (Ansel Adams)

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.roos View Post
    Question for the experts: would a clip test with film work or are the chemistries of film and paper too different for this to be a good indication?
    A clip test with a small bit of film will work as a crude guide, even dilute the film will need to clear quite quickly under 30 seconds if it's a Rapid fixer, a bit longer if Sodium Thiosulphate based.

    If in doubt use two bath fixing the old bath as the first and fresh for the second.

    Ian

  7. #7

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    Here's what I do when I need to do a quick test.

    I have ends of exposed and undeveloped film saved up. These are "clips" of leaders from 35mm films I developed in the past.

    Take this film and dip it into a solution of fixer and leave it there. I also have a timer going when I do this.
    Keep watching and pull it out when the film becomes transparent. It may not be obvious as the transition is gradual so pull it out every now and then.
    I know fresh rapid fixer will 'clear' the film in 30 to 45 seconds and regular fixer will do the same in about 2 to 3 minutes.

    When it takes twice as long to clear, I declare the fixer exhausted.

    Just as an added note, my fixer lasts 6 months or even longer. I keep tabs on how many sheets of 8x10 paper or rolls of film I processed. I've NEVER had fixer go bad before 6 months or number of sheets/rolls exceeds manufacturer's specifications. Unless you have a reason to doubt your fixer or you have a history of issues, I don't think you'll need to worry about it that much.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  8. #8
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    It depends on what (film or paper) you're using the fixer for in terms of what is good enough.

    For film, the fixer is permitted to contain a very high level of silver ions as long as it has plenty of activity left in the thiosulphate; you can test this yourself just by measuring clearing time of a piece of exposed & undeveloped film.

    For paper, you need to have activity but also a low level of silver in solution. Even if the fixer is active, having silver in solution means you'll deposit it in the paper backing (for FB) and get poor print longevity. This is the reason for the 2-bath fixing recommendations and if you want a test for this, you need a "residual silver test".

  9. #9
    LJH
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    Chemicals are (relatively) cheap. IMO, using fresh chemicals for each developing session is a small price to pay to guarantee the greatest chance of good negatives.

    I'd hate to risk images for small $$ savings… At once a month, you're not going to be too far out of pocket if you mix fresh chemicals for every session.

  10. #10

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    What tkamiya said. Good fixer lasts a long time.

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