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  1. #1
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    Do I need a wetting agent?

    I'm new to analog photography - I've been developing and printing my own film for a little less than a year. In this time I've developed about 20 films without using photo-flo or similar, since I originally decided to use the simplest process I could get away with while finding out whether I would enjoy analog photography. I rinse using tap water and hang the negs at about a 45 degree angle to dry and have never had a problem with drying marks.

    Now I'm about to place an order for paper and chemicals for the next six months and am wondering: should I include Ilfotol (which is the only wetting agent available from the local distributor I'm ordering from)? On the one hand it seems to me that my process is working as it is, so why change it? On the other hand, it may be that I've just been lucky so far and I may be taking an unnecessary risk. On the third hand (!) some users report that adding a wetting agent to the process appears to cause problems...

    Yes I've read lots of threads on wetting agents. No they haven't really helped me to make up my mind!

    In case other aspects of my process are important, I'm developing 120 format Delta 100 in ID-11 (1+1) using a Paterson tank. I print mostly on MG4 RC paper but have also recently starting using Ilford MG Art 300 FB paper. I use HCA when printing on FB paper.

    Thanks
    Andrew

  2. #2

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    If the proces is working then indeed why change it. I use the Ilford equivalent of Photo-flo - Ilfotol, in the final rinse just because I live in an area where the water has a medium density of lime. That helps to stop marks and rings on the negatives. Ilfotol I find will work out a lot cheaper than Photo-flo for doing the same job.

  3. #3
    mablo's Avatar
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    In my view wetting agent is not a must have but it can really make a big difference in your negatives. It sure did with mine. Also consider using a stop bath. I myself ignored stop bath for many years. Then a good friend gave me a bottle of it (one bottle lasts a lifetime) When I compare my old no-wetting agent, no-stop bath negs to my current negs I can see a big difference.

  4. #4
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mablo View Post
    Also consider using a stop bath.
    I am currently using a stop bath for both film and print development.

    Thanks
    Andrew

  5. #5
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Do I need a wetting agent?

    I don't use it anymore but only because the water here is good and my negatives dry without spotting. It's not an expensive purchase so you can try it out and see and it lasts quite awhile. Just be careful as too much will make your negatives sticky when they dry requiring a rewash.

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    You can get by with using distilled water for the final rinse for reducing spots with film, but a wetting a agent almost guarantees spot free drying. I've been using Edwal LFN for years with nearly perfect results. My formula for final rinse is: 500ml distilled water, one (1) drop LFN, one capfull of 91%isopropyl alcohol. This is reusable and lasts for several months. LFN is also usefull if you have any problems with developer foaming, and reduces bubbles by adding one drop to the dev.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  7. #7

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    You can, and should, not cave in to long lasting commercial/marketing myths. Just use one or two drops of common dishwasher liquid soap! It does precisely what we need. No problem whatsoever.
    Just enough to create a few bubbles with vigorous agitation. Using a lot is also not a big problem, you might just get too much bubbles and not enough liquid on the film surface. Again, vigorous agitation. Distiled water woud be nice, but again, in most places tap will be equivalent. Yours sure seems like it.

    Best regards!
    Ricardo Canelas

    My web place
    www.ricardocanelasphoto.pt.vu

  8. #8
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Dish detergent contains fragrances and amino acids to help disolve fats, and shouldn't be used on film.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  9. #9
    ann
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    I am with Rick on this one . I find LFN much better than Kodak's version.
    http://www.aclancyphotography.com

  10. #10
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ann View Post
    I am with Rick on this one . I find LFN much better than Kodak's version.
    Unfortunately Edwal products are not available in South Africa. In any case, I would like to order everything from one source to minimize the shipping costs (about US$ 20 per order). Since I'm using all Ilford products, and the only wetting agent the distributor stocks is Ilfotol, that pretty much determines my choice if I decide to use a wetting agent....

    Thanks
    Andrew

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