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  1. #1
    Willie Jan's Avatar
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    develop with tab water or distilled difference

    I was just wondering if someone has done a test in the past with

    development of film in tap water versus distilled water.

    Tap water can contain calcium or some chloride. How can this effect the negative???
    Would it be visible on the print in some way.

  2. #2

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    Tap water can contain all kinds of little particles. Is your tap water from a well or municipal water system? Richard Ritter tells me he get's different developing times in Vermont vs Pennsylvania. Why? The tap water. Tap water can be inconsistent from month to month from the same municipal water system. There could be any number of little contaminates that could react with either the film emulsion or the developers. The one thing I remember from high school chemistry is USE DISTILLED WATER when mixing chemicals.

    When I consider how much I spend on film, chemicals, paper, food, gas, lodging, cameras, lenses, meters etc to get my images on film, I'm sure as hell not going to skimp on the $0.95/gal it costs me to use distilled water for my presoak, developer, fix, toner and final, photo-flo wash. It takes me little over a gallon to process 8 8x10 films. Money very well spent in my book. My washers run on good old Chesterfield, VA tap water.
    John Bowen

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    In most cases you won't get any differences, the only developer I make up with de-ionised water is Pyrocat HD, that's making the stock solution not the final working strength developer.

    Commercial developers are designed to work with tap water and usually contain Calgon or similar to help in hard water area. If your tap water is heavily chlorinated boil it first.

    Ian

  4. #4
    RobertV's Avatar
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    Indeed Calgon or Photoplex (sometimes with EDTA) is in a commercial developer to get rid of the (Calcium) salts.
    On high diluted developers it can have some shift of the pH.

    Small particles in the tap water can be filtered out. In a regular tap there is already a fine filter.

    By boiling tap water you have less oxygen in the water, there will be less chlorine and less calcium salts so this is not a bad idea at all. High concentrate calcium salts can be a problem in the wetting agent step. The cause of drips and stripes on the film.

    So depending on the water quality and type of application you can use demi-water.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Jan View Post
    I was just wondering if someone has done a test in the past with development of film in tap water versus distilled water.

    Tap water can contain calcium or some chloride. How can this effect the negative??? Would it be visible on the print in some way.
    Tap water can contain all kinds of things -- it's not just calcium and chlorides, but also everything in the pipeline, from iron, copper, lead, scale and particulates of a huge range of sizes, and much else, including various biologicals.

    The tap water where I live is excellent. Clean, soft, even tastes reasonably good. In the process of trying to clean up my film (had lots of tiny crud, and I really hate spotting) I systematically went through my process eliminating one potential cause at a time. Once I got down to using all my chemicals one-shot about the only thing left was water quality. So I made a run where I mixed everything from steam distilled water. The improvement was dramatic which was quite surprising.

    I continued on in the fight against crud. At this stage nothing touches my film, or the film side of any processing equipment, but distilled water or chemistry mixed / diluted with distilled water. All washing of film, all washing of equipment is done in distilled water. All chemistry is used one-shot. My film is pretty darn clean now. It doesn't take that much water either -- less than 6 liters of distilled water in addition to the stock chemistry for me to process 10 5x4 sheets in a run.

    I should also mention that certain developers are sensitive to certain things in the water. XTOL for instance is rumored to be sensitive to dissolved iron. The rumor says this is one of the main causes for "early XTOL failure." Since switching to distilled water, I've used XTOL that's 12 months old (six months beyond Kodak's recommended keeping time) with fine results.

    Unless steam distilled water is truly expensive where you live, it seems a no-brainer to me to mix your chemistry in distilled water.
    Bruce Watson
    AchromaticArts.com

  6. #6
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    Hey there, Willie. I have never compared the two and I probably should use distilled for processing film and prints. However, all have used is tap water from my municipal supply. The only test I run on the water is to taste it before I use it. If it doesn't cause me to lurch from chlorination (and it seldom does) I do not hesitate to use it.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
    DE Darkroom

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  7. #7

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    I think if you are making up your own developers from component chemicals it would probably be best to use distilled water (the cheap stuff you can get in gallon bottles at the supermarket). If you are using pre-packaged commercial developers, using tap water is just fine, as they have "buffers" in them to compensate for variations in local water quality. I have been using tap water for over 40 years with fine results.

  8. #8
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    35 years, never a problem with tap water to mix chemistry (US Great Lakes region). I do use distilled for the photoflo, but mostly out of superstition.

  9. #9
    Anscojohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willie Jan View Post
    I was just wondering if someone has done a test in the past with

    development of film in tap water versus distilled water.

    Tap water can contain calcium or some chloride. How can this effect the negative???
    Would it be visible on the print in some way.
    ******
    At one time, it was stated that if the water is o.k. to drink, it is o.k to mix chemistry. Our views of what is safe drinking water have changed, I suppose; especially by the advertisers for bottled drinking water.

    For decades I have used air conditioner water, collected during our humid summers, filtered, then used for mixing my developer and my wetting agent bath.

    A true photo chemistry expert advised that there can be molds and spores in AC water; thus my practice is not a good one. I have now taken to boiling said collected AC water for five minutes, in a stainless steel container before filtering and using it.

    Moreover, since I (as a general rule) use D23 developer and DK25R replenisher, the vagaries of the water supply are not much of a problem for me. I find my results quite consistent, despite the caveats of those who insist that only fresh, one-shot developer mixed in distilled or some such water is the to royal road to developer consistency.
    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  10. #10
    clayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    I continued on in the fight against crud. At this stage nothing touches my film, or the film side of any processing equipment, but distilled water or chemistry mixed / diluted with distilled water. All washing of film, all washing of equipment is done in distilled water. All chemistry is used one-shot. My film is pretty darn clean now. It doesn't take that much water either -- less than 6 liters of distilled water in addition to the stock chemistry for me to process 10 5x4 sheets in a run.
    While I don't disagree that it's a good idea to use distilled water for anything involving a solution (dev, stop, fix, etc.) - exactly what advantage would distilled water have for interim phases? For instance, stopping with a water bath or rinsing/washing? I'd figure that as long as the water is in transition it's not really going to affect the film. At the last stage, then one could use PF+DW on the final rinse.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

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