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Thread: Alkaline Fixers

  1. #11
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    Okay PE.
    I must've digested some info improperly.

    I better find the thread and reread it.

    I thought for sure I read here that M-HQ developers did better in an acid fix but I cant remember the exact reasoning.

    Here I was assuming I'm actually starting to grasp some simple chemistry

  2. #12
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Rick;

    Try a stop bath with TF-4. It pretty much eliminates the smell.

    PE

  3. #13
    thelawoffives's Avatar
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    I would like to piggy-back on this thread with some quick questions:

    1) Is there any downside (other than smell) to using alkaline fixers with modern emulsions? What about older-style emulsions?

    2) When developing older-style emulsions (such as the Efke films) can I just add a hardener to an alkaline fixer, or are there other things to be aware of?

    3) Does anybody have hardener suggestions for adding to an alkaline fixer? Commercial products would be preferred, but I am curious about home-made formulas.

    4) I can't tell from the PF site in what situations one would use TF-4 vs TF-5 and vice-versa, can anyone shed light on this?

    5) I know that it is recommended by Steve Ancell to do away with acid stop bath when using alkaline fixer, but what about HCA? Is it necessary?

    6) How bad is the smell of TF-4, and does it linger? If I am developing in a small apartment, am I likely to upset my wife? To give a personal gauge, I like the smell of stop bath and acid fixers, but really hate the smell of bleach.

    Sorry about tossing in all of these questions, but I have been reading about alkaline fixers for the last few days, and this seemed like a good thread to get some of these questions answered!
    Bill Henderson

  4. #14

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    I don't think TF-4 smells bad. It certainly isn't an overwhelming or penetrating thing.

    Concerning the use of HCA: if you are using a two-bath fix with an adequate wash, by all accounts of people who know much more about this than I do, this will be sufficient. But sodium sulfite is cheap, and one tablespoon in a liter of H2O is all you need. You can let it soak while you go get dinner. If you plan on toning, the clearing bath is a nice insurance policy.

  5. #15
    Athiril's Avatar
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    I just use E-6 fixer on all my film now :P

  6. #16
    FiatluX's Avatar
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    Concerning oldschool Efke/Adox CHS, after changing to an alkaline fix (moersch) I have noticed far less, actually no pinpoints and black spots in the emulsion, directly compared to before when using rapid fix. I don't add hardener and use an extremely dilute acid stopbath.

  7. #17
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thelawoffives View Post

    1) Is there any downside (other than smell) to using alkaline fixers with modern emulsions? What about older-style emulsions?
    There can be if a stop bath isn't used there's a greater risk of dichroic fogging particularly with prints.

    2) When developing older-style emulsions (such as the Efke films) can I just add a hardener to an alkaline fixer, or are there other things to be aware of?
    To use a hardener a fixer must be acidic and have additional buffering to help maintain that pH, The difference between Ilford Rapid Fixer and Hypam is additional buffering in the latter allows an optional hardener to be used.

    3) Does anybody have hardener suggestions for adding to an alkaline fixer? Commercial products would be preferred, but I am curious about home-made formulas.
    As above

    4) I can't tell from the PF site in what situations one would use TF-4 vs TF-5 and vice-versa, can anyone shed light on this?

    5) I know that it is recommended by Steve Ancell to do away with acid stop bath when using alkaline fixer, but what about HCA? Is it necessary?
    Can't help with Q4. You don't need to use a stop bath with any fixer for film processing provided you give a good wash/rinse instead, there's a long thread about this.

    For printing though a stop bath is advised because carry over is more considerable and dichroic fogging from un-neutralise developer in fibre based papers is an issue. While a water rinse instead would be possible with FB papers it would need to be.

    A HCA has two functions with an acid fixer it has a pH of around 8 so is midly alkali which aids washing but the sulphite also helps remove residual silver thiosulpate complexes particularly in Fibre based papers. So can still be beneficial, but it really depends on your fixing regime.

    6) How bad is the smell of TF-4, and does it linger? If I am developing in a small apartment, am I likely to upset my wife? To give a personal gauge, I like the smell of stop bath and acid fixers, but really hate the smell of bleach. !
    With the alkaline fixers I've used there's sometimes been a very slight smell of ammonia, just detectable once diluted, this goes with use as a little stop bath gets carried over into the fixer. Ammonia is't as sharp a smell as the Chlorine given off by Sodium Hypchlorite bleach.

    Some alkaline fixers are barely alkaline, in use they may have a pH in the 6 - 7 region which technically is on the acidic side of neutral, others may start higher hence the free ammonia.

    Fixers like Ilford Rapid fixer and Hypam have a pH of 5.2 to 5.4 that's not significantly acidic when you realise lack coffee has a pH of 5, Ciric acid 2.2 (2%) and Acetic acid stop bath 2.9.

    I've not used a hardening fixer with EFKE/Adox films for a few years now, they were in fact the first of the modern thin coat films rather than old style emulsions. EFKE have now hardened the emulsions slightly so they are very significantly better than when I first used them in the early 1970's.

    You may want to keep using them with an acid fixer, alternatively you can use a hardening stop bath or a developer like Pyrocat HD which has a tanning (hardening) action during development.

    Ian
    Last edited by Ian Grant; 06-18-2011 at 04:12 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #18
    Philippe-Georges's Avatar
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    The cheapest neutral-to-alkalic industrial made fixer is FUJI's UNILEC for C-41, but it works as a marvel on B&W too, can be rejuvenated and it lasts very long.
    The down side: it comes in 20 lit. jugs...
    "...If you can not stand the rustle of the leafs, then do not go in to the woods..."
    (freely translated quote by Guido Gezelle)

    PS: English is only my third language, please do forgive me my sloppy grammar...

  9. #19
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leicam5 View Post
    The cheapest neutral-to-alkalic industrial made fixer is FUJI's UNILEC for C-41, but it works as a marvel on B&W too, can be rejuvenated and it lasts very long.
    The down side: it comes in 20 lit. jugs...
    It's working pH is 6.7 although fresh solution is pH 7.5.

    Ian

  10. #20
    thelawoffives's Avatar
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    Regarding Efke/Adox films, some of your comments here lead me to believe that the emulsion is not as soft and delicate as I have come to believe. If I exercise care when handling the wet negatives, do I really need to introduce a hardener at some phase of my process? I don't want to make it sound as if I am opposed to hardener, rather I am going through a process of experimenting with different fixing routines/methods/agents, and I am trying to determine the impact of the variables on the process.
    Bill Henderson

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