When mixing B&W chems: distilled/rev osmosis water or not? Other rants too.
I had a simple question about water when mixing your own chems. Do you need to use distilled/reverse osmosis water when mixing any and all chems? It seems to me that you do, since pH can vary widely from one city to another and you're dealing with acids & bases here. The directions for the chems don't mention anything specific.
Other rants below, optional reading:
Anyway, about me if you want to read on and comment. ~20 years ago I had photo I & II, so I know my way around a darkroom. Basically I haven't done any darkroom work since then. Despite the convenience of digital, I prefer to shoot film. Don't know why, but I've decided that forking over ~$10 -12 for 12 exposures on 120 film is excessive so I'm developing my own film and scanning it. I have a changing bag, but I've taken a 1/2 bath and plugged up all the light to have a place to load/unload my film. Since I'm starting again, I'm keeping it simple. Here's what I'm using:
Ilford Rapid Fixer
Paterson System4 3 reel tank (2 rolls of 120/220)
My bathroom kinda stays around 68 so I don't need too much in the way of temp control (I think). Last time I had to bring the temp up for the developer so I rinsed a silverware knife under warm water and stirred the developer in the graduated tube until 68F. I like the Paterson since it's plastic and there's little chance of that problem I sometimes have with the metal reels (film touching) and I *hope* the plastic means there's little temp variation. So far I haven't used a tempering bath.
I've only developed 3 rolls of 120 so far and seem to have good results.
no, you can use regular water for the basic chemical. Only with toners do i use distilled water, and with photo -flo or LPN
i wouldn't worry about the plastic tanks shifting temperature during the development process.
if the water temp changes drastically; i.e. during the summer, just mix the tap with some cold water and bring it to 68. we have to do it all the time here in the south.
Ditto the above. Most tap water is ok except for special cases. Myself (being frugal) I collect the run off water from my AC unit during our humid summers and store it. I use that, filtered, then heated in a large pyrex measure in the microwave for mixing my film developer chemistry. I use it filtered for my final rinse in Photo-Flo. My african violets like that water, too.
John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
I use water filtered through a Brita filter since we use it for drinking water anyway. I have used tap water for anything and everything and never had a problem I was aware of, but then the water quality is very high here.
I use distilled water for mixing my developer and I've had less "mysterious problems" with finicky developers. It may be black magic, but it's cheap black magic. I also mix my photo-flo in distilled water to avoid any mineral deposits on my film--the water is pretty hard around here.
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Most prepared developers, include a water conditioner, like calgon (Sodium Hexametaphosphate). If you mixed your own, there might be more concern, but most don't worry about it. I use distilled when mixing stock solutions.
I just use my tap for mixing solutions. It works fine. I just take a drink before I get started to see if there's too much chlorine in the water (city). If so, I wait a couple of days.
Most film chems you can use tap water, but the pyro's specify distilled. For all paper chems, tap will do.
I get all sorts of crap embedded in my film, so now I use distilled water exclusively. It used to be cheap but a hassle, but now it's expensive and easy!!!
What happened was I used to use jugs of distilled from the grocery store. It had a nasty plastic taste when I drank a bit to taste it, but I finally stopped getting sediment spots on my negatives.
Then, I found out the local water guy sells 23 liter jugs delivered for 7 bucks (northern canada, no competition) so that was actually cheaper per liter. My GF picked up a cool little water cooler at walmart, even has a little fridge in it, for about 125 bucks it has a boiled water spigot and a cold water spigot too! Problem is, the water cooler distilled doesn't taste like plastic at all. In fact, it tastes fantastic! No more chlorine taste! It even tastes a hell of alot better than the spring water.
So we drink alot more water, and I've completely given up on coffee and it's rare that we buy soda.....but we go through about 5 jugs of distilled a month, mostly as beverage.:rolleyes:
The really good thing is that I don't have to wipe my negatives, or use photoflo anymore. I just fill the tank with distilled after the rinse, wait five minutes, and pour that out, and the negatives dry with no water spots.
***note*** I did still get some occasional crud on my negatives from the rinse water, until I started using a brita mounted on the tap for the rinse water.
I use filtered tap water.
If you are worried about hard water, use prepacked chemistry which has addenda to get around the problem.
The pH of your water supply is totally unimportant, as it is unbuffered and has no buffer capacity. Developers and fixers are highly buffered and are not affected by the pH of the water in which they are mixed provided it is normal city water.