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  1. #1

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    A Rose By Any Other Name ...

    It is unfortunate that the word hypo continues to be used in photography. It is based on the erroneous use of the name hyposulfite for thiosulfate. The misnomer goes back to the early days of the art and is seems firmly entrenched. The problem is further compounded by Kodak continuing to use such terms as Hypo Clearing Agent, Hypo Eliminator, Hypo Test, ...

    I post this because a problem arises when Twitter Brains attempt to shorten Hypo Clearing Agent to hypo in the same manner as the word information has become info. Suddenly a washing aid becomes a fixer!

    APUGers might help by gently proding people to use such neutral terms as fixer, sodium thiosulfate, and washing aid and avoiding the word hypo alltogether.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

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  2. #2
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    Personally I've never committed this gross error. Fixer = hypo, and Hypo Clearing Agent does just what it says: it clears hypo from film/paper. Perfectly logical to me!

    Recently though, I saw that on B&H a couple of clueless people had made this mistake and given Berg Bath HCA a bad rating because of it. I commented to set the record straight.

    One might be motivated to call HCA "Fixer Clearing Agent" instead, but folks might make the same error in calling it "fixer" instead.
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  3. #3
    trexx's Avatar
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    Jerry,

    Glad to see I am not the only one concerned about the use of Hypo. Hypo means under or lower and thiosulfate lowers the temperature of the water it is being mixed in. Earning it's misnomer of hypo. You are right we should strive to use 'washing aid' for the step in the process of washing.

    The resources for learning film processing has changed. Once it was at the side of an old lab rat. Now it is a You-Tube video, made by someone doing their second roll of film. We at APUG should make sure we are clear about these basic steps. Even if not agreeing on water vs acid for the stop. It is still stop.
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    APUGers might help by gently proding people to use such neutral terms as fixer, sodium thiosulfate, and washing aid and avoiding the word hypo alltogether.
    Right on. However, gentle prodding would be less effective than firm insistence and correction as each occasion arises.

    Photography is an art where details count. They can have huge effects and there are many of them. Photographers in control of their art pay attention to details to more consistently approach their envisioned image. Those who don't pay attention get lucky sometimes and think they are great artists.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by trexx View Post
    The resources for learning film processing has changed. Once it was at the side of an old lab rat. Now it is a You-Tube video, made by someone doing their second roll of film. We at APUG should make sure we are clear about these basic steps. Even if not agreeing on water vs acid for the stop. It is still stop.
    Very well said. The problem in this age of the internet is that information is now delivered in specific bites. Years ago when someone wished to start in photography they first read a book on the basics.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  6. #6

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    i think we should start a petition
    and try to get the photochemical makers
    to change the names ...
    im empty, good luck

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by trexx View Post
    Glad to see I am not the only one concerned about the use of Hypo. Hypo means under or lower and thiosulfate lowers the temperature of the water it is being mixed in. Earning it's misnomer of hypo.
    This is incorrect. These names have nothing to do heat of solution...

    The compound used for fixing was originally called "hyposulphite of soda", which was the originally given to sodium thiosulphate, Na2S2O3 (sorry about the lack of subscripts).

    In systematic chemistry, sodium hyposulphite is the salt of hyposulphurous acid.

    Modern chemical nomenclature for some nonmetals, like sulfur, form a series of polyatomic ions with oxygen (all having the same charge) using the following rules:

    The -ate form formula and charge must be memorized for each nonmetal. For Sulfur, the -ate form has 4 oxygens and a -2 charge. The charge will be the same for the entire series. Sulfate is SO4 with a -2 charge.

    The -ite form has one less oxygen than the -ate form. Sulfite is SO3 with a -2 charge.

    The hypo- stem -ite form has two less oxygens than the -ate form. Hyposulfite is SO2 with a -2 charge. However, this form of sulfur is not believed to exist.

    The per- stem -ate form has one more oxygen than the -ate form. Persulfate is SO5 with a -2 charge.

    The -ide form is the monatomic anion. Sulfide is S with a -2 charge.

    There are some regularities in the names of these polyatomic ions. Thio- implies replacing an oxygen atom with a sulfur atom. Thiosulfite is S2O3 with a -2 charge.

    All this nomenclature and formula determinations were being played out in the very early 1800s, as can be seen on page 452 of the Journal of the Society of the Chemical Industry:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=WyE...page&q&f=false
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  8. #8

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    Thanks Kirk. Now we know. So the "hypo" is not just archaic: it's incorrect and always has been.

  9. #9
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    Regarding the name of the rose, I have often read "iposolfito di sodio" in Italian documents, so I went to read my old "bible" and it says: [...] to this effect fixing baths contain tiosolfato di sodio, a very economic salt that photographers call iposolfito, or in the case of some rapid fixers tiosolfato d'ammonio.

    So sodium hyposulfite seems to be (also according to wikipedia) an alternative name in chemistry, but the "traditional" name in photography, for historical reasons. Thiosulfate is the name in the IUPAC nomenclature but photography dates back to before it and the name stick. Kodak obliges to an old tradition, or to the nomenclature which is common in the industry.

    Just for information for the interested, in HTML superscript and subscript are supported with the <sub> tag and <sup> tag but it doesn't seem they pass through the APUG application.

    Na<sub>2</sub>S<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>

    would be interpreted by browsers Na2S2O3 with the numbers in the correct size and position.

    (I thought I saw some option to allow the pass-through of HTML tag but I'm wrong I see it nowhere).
    Last edited by Diapositivo; 08-03-2011 at 07:52 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  10. #10
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    If you are on a Mac you can use the Special Characters window to add subset numbers. I don't know what equivalent is available on Windows PC's.
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