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  1. #11
    Pioneer's Avatar
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    Fixer Testing

    Mixing was done with a one gallon water jug. Water heated to 85 degrees F. Once mixing was complete and the powder was dissolved I decanted the solution into a 5 liter container that had contained the same fixer solution.

    Fixing was initially done at 5 minutes, which was traditionally good. I have been using this same fixer, sometimes mixed from dry, sometimes purchased in liquid form, for the last two years with no problem.

    I am usually pretty careful with my solution temps when developing but I am not quite as careful with the fixer temps. My water temp could be dropping below 68 degrees by the time I get to that step so I'll pay a bit more attention in the future. However, to be completely honest, I have not noticed any problem before this, and the Kodak fixer certainly did not seem to be adversely affected.

    I have done a bit of testing since I discovered the problem. After coming to the conclusion that the fixer was not working properly I upped the fixing time from 5 minutes to 7 minutes and then to 12 minutes. I could see absolutely no change in the appearance of the film.

    I contacted Freestyle and they will replace the dry fix. I have another bag that I will mix again and try. That bag was manufactured in February 2012. I didn't hold onto the other bag but since they were purchased at the same time then it may have been from the same batch...or not. Before I do this mix I will do a full rinse of the 5 liter container on the assumption that there may be something causing contamination. Not sure what that would be but better safe than sorry.

    I do like the idea of doing a clip test, I hadn't thought of trying that yet. If I can't get this fixer to clear an unexposed strip of film in a reasonable bit of time then I have to assume it is a bad batch.

    I did have 12 ounces of some Kodak Rapid Fixer that I bought quite some time ago so I was able to recover and re-run the film. It doesn't appear that anything has been lost. But this also has booted me out of my complacency and I am going to take a look at some other fixers as well. I think I'll order up that some of that Eco-Pro fixer and give it a try. But I also ordered up another gallon of that Kodak Rapid Fixer to have on hand. Certainly not odor free, but it did work.

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate your ideas and suggestions.

    Dan

  2. #12

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    Freestyle is very good about following up on issues with their products. I contacted them last year with a question about one of their branded chemicals. They didn't really know the answer so followed up with the company who manufactured the product and called me back a day later with a detailed answer.

  3. #13
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    Just thought that I would close the loop on this.

    First, the fixer. I tried the clip test and, after 20 minutes, the film had not yet cleared. I decided that the fixer was bad although I am still not completely certain why.

    I then dumped the fixer, rinsed the 5 liter container, and mixed up the 2nd bag using the exact same process I had used in the past. I used new mix to fix some 35mm film and everything worked just like it always had before. The film cleared at 2 minutes and by adding another 3 minutes I feel that everything is back to normal. The only possible answers have to be either some unknown contaminant in the 5 liter container (unlikely), a bad batch of powder from the manufacturer (again unlikely, but possible) and finally, an unknown screw up on the operator's (me) part (certainly the most likely possibility and the one that I have to go with at this point.)

    Finally, from Freestyle's perspective, Marvin worked with me by e-mail to help eliminate potential issues and finally called me personally on the phone to issue the credit to my card for the fixer. I know that no company can be perfect but Freestyle has consistently provided me with excellent customer service and I recommend them highly.

    Thanks to all your suggestions, and thank you Freestyle. I am off and developing once again.

  4. #14
    dances_w_clouds's Avatar
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    If all companies were as good as Freestyle the world would be a better place...;o)

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
    I had a bit of a problem with my fixer the other day.

    I have been using Arista Premium Odorless Fixer, both dry packs that I mix, and Liquid. Nothing special about it but it has been pretty reliable so I have seen no particular reason to change.

    A week ago I mixed up another one gallon batch from a package of dry fixer following the directions as usual. However, this time something had to have been different somewhere.

    All the films I have developed with this batch have been under-fixed, coming out of the wash with a milky grey appearance. I have since re-fixed them using some other fixer I have so the film is fine.

    My question has to do with this fresh batch of fixer. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do to troubleshoot what happened. I have done this numerous time before this with no problem until now.

    Any brilliant ideas??
    Hi Pioneer,
    have you ever thought of using fixer one-shot?
    Just to boil it all down to a minumum of variables.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandro Serrao View Post
    have you ever thought of using fixer one-shot?
    Just to boil it all down to a minumum of variables.
    Unlike developers, you can't (or at least shouldn't if you want lasting results) use diluted fixer, which means using fixer single shot is a somewhat costly proposition, and certainly not necessary IMHO. One thing that is recommended frequently, though, is two stage fixing, and it gives you the extra benefit that the likelihood of both fixers gone bad is much much less than that of one fixer bath.
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

  7. #17

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    Rudeofus: lemme ask you this question. What does it cost more, losing precious pics or using the fixer one-shot?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandro Serrao View Post
    Rudeofus: lemme ask you this question. What does it cost more, losing precious pics or using the fixer one-shot?
    Alessandro, lemme ask you this question: what costs more, a quick clip clearing test before fixing or tossing out perfectly good fixer after each film roll?

    The nice thing about the clip test is, not only does it tell you whether the fixer works, it even tells you how long it takes. It will also catch fixer mixed from defective powder or concentrate.
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

  9. #19

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    Fresh fixer (one-shot) has also the advantage of not ruining films because of impurities and silver deposits in old, but still working, used fixer.

  10. #20

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    Alright boys, no fighting in the back seat!

    There is no reason you can't have your cake and eat it too in this case.

    I always use fixer one-shot, or better said, one batch, when I develop film. My strategy is to simply not mix more fixer from concentrate than I need for a particular amount of film.

    On occasion, when I'm just developing a couple of sheets, I'll toss a tiny bit of still-active fixer. Usually, though, my fixer amount is tailored to the amount of film.

    In order to have enough solution for smaller amounts, I simply mix a weaker dilution. Rapid fixers work fine for film in the so-called "print" dilution (1+9 for Ilford products) and higher. For just a few sheets I mix rapid fixers 1+19.

    The trick is to first be sure of the minimum amount of fixer concentrate needed. Ilford and Kodak both provide this information, usually in ml for fixing a 36-exposure roll or 8x10 sheet. Lets say I'm processing four sheets of 4x5, which equals 1 8x10. I then measure out 25ml of fixer concentrate (the amount needed for four 4x5 sheets) and, since I'm using 5x7 trays, I dilute it 1+19 to make 500ml of dilute fixer solution.

    Since my fixer is much weaker than the recommended dilution, a longer fixing time is required. The good old clip test comes to the rescue. I do a quick clearing test and then triple the clearing time to arrive at my fixing time. (I think tripling the time is better than the usual doubling for a couple of reasons: first, the fixer exhausts during fixing, and the fixing time is always increasing. Second, film can easily be fixed longer without adverse affects and I like the safety factor.)

    Once I have my fixing time (which is usually 6 minutes or so at this dilution), I process and toss all the chemicals except for the Kodak Indicator Stop Bath, which I save and reuse (I do toss citric acid stops, however, since they don't last).

    I have similar schemes for greater volumes of film: 50ml of concentrate mixed 1+9 for up to 8 films, 100ml concentrate mixed 1+9 and used two-bath for 18 to 36 sheets (with a fresh second bath after sheet 18), and 200ml concentrate mixed 1+4 for batches above 36 sheets, also used two-bath.

    Once you have figured out your schemes and tested for adequate fixing (residual silver tests) with them, then it's really easy to deal with, no fixer gets wasted (in fact, with the two-bath schemes, it is actually more economical) and no mixed fix sits around going bad in a bottle.

    Best,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com

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