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  1. #1
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    Lith Printing: Fixer kills highlights/too much contrast

    I have been doing some lith printing lately and enjoy the effect quite a lot when it works. I've read several books dealing with the subject, including Tim Rudman's. They all claim that upon fixing the print will lose a little from the hilights and contrast will increase a bit. My experiences have been quite different!

    In the twenty or so prints I've done my experience has been that no matter when I pull the print, if it's before the appearance of any blacks or after, if it's FB or RC paper, if the developer is fresh or diluted with old, that when the print slides into the fixer (Ilford Rapid-Fix 1:9) within a couple of seconds the hilights disappear, sometimes entirely, the warm colors fade to white before my eyes, and the contrast goes through the roof and makes the whole thing look like a graphic-effect (line art style) lith print with none of the subtleties of anything I've seen.

    The books mention that your normal fixer should be fine but to only use it for the recommended time. The Ilford lists 1min. for RC and 2min. for FB, but this happens to me in a few seconds.

    This is frustrating because I am seeing all of the wonderful potential with varying colors, delicate hilights, you name it - just like in the books, right up until fixing. Then in a few seconds I end up with something completely different.

    Has anyone had this experience? I've done searches but can't come up with anything.

  2. #2
    George Papantoniou's Avatar
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    What kind of paper do you use? And which lith developer ?

    I have used different (lithable FB) papers in Moersch Lith developer and then fixed them in Hypam with no problem. In the fixer, the highlights do lose some density, but it usually comes back when they dry (!!!). The contrast shift is never that big...

  3. #3

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    Try not using rapid fixer. Does the book say any fix? I thought it mentioned no rapid fix.

  4. #4
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    I've been using Cachet lith and Ilford Warmtone papers with Maco developer. Everything is there up until fixing: nice creamy tones, delicate hilights, you name it. It all goes downhill quite rapidly in the fixer.

    Quote Originally Posted by George Papantoniou
    What kind of paper do you use? And which lith developer ?

    I have used different (lithable FB) papers in Moersch Lith developer and then fixed them in Hypam with no problem. In the fixer, the highlights do lose some density, but it usually comes back when they dry (!!!). The contrast shift is never that big...

  5. #5
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    I triple checked to be sure and didn't recall seeing anything about rapid fixer. But I don't have any of them in front of me. I believe they all just said to use what you normally lose.

    That would certainly make sense, if over-fixing causes loss of hilights and extra contrast, then if rapid-fixer is not recommended it would probably just accelerate that process.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena
    Try not using rapid fixer. Does the book say any fix? I thought it mentioned no rapid fix.

  6. #6
    Ole
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    Rapid fix bleaches the highlights, acid rapid fix bleaches even faster.

    This is one of the reasons why I don't use acid rapid fix - for anything.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  7. #7
    Bosaiya's Avatar
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    That makes so much sense. I really should have tried that first!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    Rapid fix bleaches the highlights, acid rapid fix bleaches even faster.

    This is one of the reasons why I don't use acid rapid fix - for anything.

  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    You have just discovered one of the secrets of lith printing. Now all you have to do is figure out how to compensate.
    My suggestion is to pull the print earlier , when the image emerges and is still super flat, the timing is critical but let the fix do the work and watch what happens.
    I assume you are using a paper that is not noted for its lith characteristics. ie Ilford warmtone.
    If you use Oriental G4 or Macoe RF2 or Sterling Lith , you will be able to pull in the developer when it looks good.
    Hang in there just pull the print sooner and get use to what it looks like in the Dev . This is a bit difficult but if you hang in there and try this a whole new world of lith printing is open to you.
    Absolutely nothing is wrong here with your fix, just a bit of patience and you will get it.

  9. #9
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    By the way , there is nothing, I say nothing wrong with your fix, you have just stumbled like I did on a very cool technique. lets see where you go with it.

  10. #10
    Ole
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    If is use a sodium thiosulfate-based fix, there is hardly any bleaching at all. That means I can pull the print when it's ready, which makes lith printing a lot less frustrating
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

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