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Thread: Alkaline Fixers

  1. #1
    thefizz's Avatar
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    Alkaline Fixers

    With all the reported benefits of alkaline fixers, I’m curious why most manufacturers are only selling acid fixers.

    From what I’ve read, alkaline fixers have the following advantages:

    No need for HCA bath after fixing.
    Shorter wash times.
    Works better with film staining developers.
    Higher capacity.
    Allows one to keep ph level from changing significantly.

    With all these benefits, how come alkaline fixers are not more widely available? Or are they not as good as made out to be?
    www.thephotoshop.ie
    www.monochromemeath.com

    "you get your mouth off of my finger" Les McLean

  2. #2
    mono's Avatar
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    That´s exactly what I have found, too!
    And I will give it a try with prints and film. And I will also try water instead of acid stop bath to keep the whole line alkaline as suggested in the Film Cookbook and Darkroom Cookbook and elsewhere.
    Sounds promising.

    PS: Lovely images on your site!
    ________

    Regards
    Folker

    MonoArt - fine photographs

  3. #3

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    That is all correct! Another adavntage as it washes more easily is that we don't have unpleasant surprises when we bleach a print prior to toning it. With acid fixers, one may discover "invisible" stains once the print is bleached:-(((

  4. #4
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I've been using TF-4 exclusivly for film for the last two years. I love the shorter fix times, shorter wash times, and longevity of the chem. The only thing I dont care for is the amonia odor even when mixed with distilled water, which PF says wont happen(or at least be minor).
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  5. #5

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    I've always wondered that myself. When I first started using alkaline fixers, I had to stop and think to myself "Where has this been all my life?!" I was not fully convinced until I had worked with it for quite some time. Now, of course, I just love it. I used the TF-4 for a long time until Photographer's Formulary developed the newer fix, TF-5, which has no ammonium smell to it, and is fully dissolved in the bottle.

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I'm considering switching to TF-5 for my paper fix. I'm sticking with TF-4 for my film. According to what I've read, TF-5 is better for fiber prints than for film. I have been using Silvergrain Clearfix Neutral for prints, love it , no odor and fast clearing times and shorter wash times. I'm really sold on Formulary's chems, top quality and decent pricing.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  7. #7
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Rick;

    TF-5 works for film or paper both as does TF-4.

    Alkaline fixes cause more swelling of the emulsion which can lead to defects in soft films or papers. Properly hardened film and paper emulsions will work perfectly. Many manufacturers prefer to take the safe route and supply acidic fixes which will work with even very soft films and papers.

    OTOH, Eaton in his book, reports that very soft coatings can suffer from blisters in acidic fixes if a carbonate developer is used. I have never, in my 60+ years in the business, seen this problem with any commercial product though, only with my own handcoated materials if I process early and only when paired with using Dektol.

    PE

  8. #8
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    Is the rule
    Metol (D76) based developers served better by an acid fix
    Phenidone & Citric type served better by a Alkaline based fix?

  9. #9
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Bruce, that is not a rule, a hypotesis, or a theory. It is a myth made up out of smoke and mirrors!

    PE

  10. #10
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Thank you for the info PE. I am really hooked on TF-4 but can't go the smell in trays. I'm going to try TF-5 for that, I dont use the same fix for film and paper as it is(its a personal thing). I used to, but somewhere in my experimenting with new products that changed(dont recollect when or why). Who knows, I may end up using TF-5 for everything if I like it.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

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