Originally Posted by Rick A
Two bath fix with film strength ammonium thio. rapid fixer, each bath for 60-90 seconds at the most, one single sheet at a time, constant agitation in both. Move to a holding water bath, then a two minute soak in perma-wash.
archival, a minimum of fixer uptake into the substrate, and easier on the wash cycle (25 minutes in my salthill crosscurrent with 3 changes of water...)
Big mistake papers don't develop to finality, over development leads to base fogging and general muddying of the highlight areas.
With Bromide papers you should ideally be developing for the time it takes to reach a good black dmax, with warmtone papers development times and exposures vary depending on the degree of warmth you require, sorter exposure and longer development gives cooler tones.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
Quoted for emphasis.
I wouldn't be so quick to judge the TF-4 fixing regime. If the graying is only occurring with one kind of paper, the Fomabrom you specified, logic dictates it may just be that paper. Does it happen with other types (not sizes) of paper?
I have only seen something like you are observing with old, very out of date, low contrast graded (#2) papers. I use TF-4 (1 - 2 min.) with moving water rinse, followed by a water bath hold, batched selenium toning and eventually HCA. Wash is at least 1 hour in all cases. Your 10 - 30 minutes seems a bit short, particularly for fiber. No issues except with the papers mentioned.
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I think it's a combination of underfixing and not using a stop bath. There really is no good reason not to use a stop bath, and it's incredibly inexpensive all things considered.
It should not affect the outcome that quickly, so I don't blame quickly graying print borders on the washing, but one hour wash is probably a minimum, unless some type of wash aid is used, in which case follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Recommendation: Use a two bath fixer regime, one minute in each. Use a proper stop bath. Wash longer.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
Do you mean TF-3 perhaps instead of TF-4?
Anyhow, a water bath is ok, but then use a running water rinse when you are done with the bath. Different purposes!
Also make sure you fix well.
It's too early to tell but I made 3 prints:
1: Developer to running water rinse 1 Min. Fresh TF-"4" 1 Min.
2: Developer to Citric Acid Stop 1 Min. Running water rinse 1 Min and TF-4 1 Min.
3: Developer to Citric Acid Stop 1 Min. Running water rinse 1 Min and TF-2 1 Min.
All prints got at least 30 minutes in a archival washer, two minute Ilford Selenium Toner, another 30+ minutes wash and drum dried.
My immediate observations is using the Citric Acid Stop Bath is a benefit or at least less taxing on the fixer. When taking the print from the Stop Bath there is no residue left on the print. It feels clean. The print that was fixed in TF-2 had finger smudges. That is probably cured with a HCA but I don't think a longer wash would have helped.
I'll post tomorrow regarding the graying down.
Thanks to everyone for sharing your insights.
Best of luck, Bruce! Hopefully you'll get the issue sorted out...
I had something like the OP's problem (FB Ilford), but it appeared more slowly (weeks) and less consistently. I was sure that my fixing was adequate, but I suspected my water rinse was inadequate. I use neutral, not acidic fixer. I didn't want to use acetic acid stop bath, because I didn't want carry over of acid into my fixer. So I now use dilute metabisulphite on the assumption that it will be more compatible with the fixer. This has cured the problem completely.
The downside: one of the two main reasons I use neutral fixer (I used alkaline fixer when Agfa Universal Fixer was available here in Australia) is lack of SO2 given off. Now metabisulphite does the same thing, so I've had to make better ventilation arrangements.