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  1. #1
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    less fix time = more grain?

    Yesterday while dev-ing a test roll of film my timer died. I decided to cut corners and leave it in the fixer for 3 minutes instead of my usual 7 (dev time was by the book.) After scanning the negs I found a lot more grain than usual.

    Today I did another test roll and left it in the fixer for 5 minutes. The result? Again, more grain than I usually get.

    Am I wrong here or does less fixer time mean more grain?
    Those who know, shoot film

  2. #2
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IloveTLRs View Post
    Yesterday while dev-ing a test roll of film my timer died. I decided to cut corners and leave it in the fixer for 3 minutes instead of my usual 7 (dev time was by the book.) After scanning the negs I found a lot more grain than usual.

    Today I did another test roll and left it in the fixer for 5 minutes. The result? Again, more grain than I usually get.

    Am I wrong here or does less fixer time mean more grain?
    I'm not familiar with every fixing process out there, but in my experience, no.
    7 min seems long though. If anything, over fixing is going to effect the structure of your negative, while under fixing will effect the keeping properties. Perhaps your long fixing times are dissolving things together, and a more normal fix time is keeping more sharpness, and thus, grain structure. IDK.
    That's just my take on it. I would fix using the times and agitation routine specified by the manufacturer, and look to film stock, exposure, developer, and developing times to control grain. (Bigger brains may prevail).
    Last edited by JBrunner; 12-28-2007 at 09:58 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    dpurdy's Avatar
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    Wet time supposedly affects grain.. more wet more grain.. though I have not seen much of it. In my experience the greatest grain increaser is over exposure and over development and old film.

  4. #4
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpurdy View Post
    Wet time supposedly affects grain.. more wet more grain.. though I have not seen much of it. In my experience the greatest grain increaser is over exposure and over development and old film.
    Wherever did you hear that? Do you have a reference or do we have the start of another group of myths here in this thread?

    Wet time has no effect, AFAIK, on grain. There are no references to this in reputable textbooks.

    Fix time has no effect on grain except that acidic fixes carried out too long (over 15 mins to 1 hour probably) can increase grain by dissolving the finer silver particles and short fix time, if not carried to completion, can leave chunks of undissolved silver halide behind which can darken in the light causing the appearance of grain. Overfixing will also cause loss of detail in the highlights due to this 'bleaching' of silver metal.

    But, normal fixes, done to completion (2x the time it takes to clear on average or longer and within reason) will not affect grain.

    PE
    Last edited by Photo Engineer; 12-28-2007 at 11:20 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling

  5. #5

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    Well, actually, I've heard the myth about long wet time increasing grain as well. Where I read it, I can't remember but it must have been several decades ago. Myth or not, it's been out there for a loooooong time.

    I do agree that fix times shouldn't affect grain.

  6. #6
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Shively View Post
    Well, actually, I've heard the myth about long wet time increasing grain as well. Where I read it, I can't remember but it must have been several decades ago. Myth or not, it's been out there for a loooooong time.
    Easily checked - someone should run some experiments.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

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  7. #7
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Are you planning on fixing for shorter than your seven minutes in the future? Or are you planning on continuing with seven minutes? Have you tested your fix?
    Like Photo Engineer points out, the best way to do it is to fix for twice the time it takes an undeveloped piece of film to clear. I do that test every single time I develop film.

    I confess I don't look for grain size either when I fix film, but I would say that based on observation I get consistent grain in my 10" square prints from medium format ISO 400 film. No more, no less. I use Ilford Hypam at 1+4 dilution, and I make sure the fixer is the same temperature as the developer, rinse and stop water. If you have a significant temperature difference between these various liquids you could end up reticulating the negatives.

    How big of a difference do you see? Can you post an example?

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

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  8. #8
    richard ide's Avatar
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    Thanks for volunteering Jim.
    Richard

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  9. #9

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    The current issue of Photo Techniques has an article by Dick Dickerson and Silvia Zawadski that debunks "grain clumping" in long wet times. They basically say wet time has no effect on apparent graininess.

    For my two cents worth, I've found inconsistent temperatures, under/over exposure, type of developer and overly vigorous agitation increase apparent graininess more than total time in solutions. I've produced what I'd consider grainless negatives in semi-stand and other decreased agitation schemes where total processing and wash times were in excess of an hour.

    Peter Gomena

  10. #10
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Actually, the cycles of the moon effect grain more than anything ...

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