What fixer do you recommend?
Once in a while, I get some scratches in my negatives, and I am almost sure that they appear when I clean them with a brush (Adorama brush). Is there a fixer able to protect the surface of the film? I always work with Tetenal Superfix Plus for developing Tmax 400 B&W film, 1:9 concentrations, during 10 minutes. Is this a good choice?
Henry, I have used a lot of the tetenal superfix plus, it is available at very good prices and I get it in 5 litre batches and I have never had any problems, it is as good as the Ilford product but better priced, however, I would suggest you use it at higher dilutions for film fixing, 1/4works for me, 3 minutes for normal films, and 6 for Tmax films,
Why are you cleaning them wit a brush? Is it to remove dust? Have you tried a canned dust removal spray or an anti-static brush? I think the problem is with the brush or how the film is handled. I have used Kodak Rapid Fix without the hardener for very many years with no problems. I placed a filter over the ac vent in my darkroom and have very little dust. I also keep my negatives in archival sleeves.
Just a couple of other thoughts -- scratches could occur in the camera, when winding on to the developing reel or from the negative carrier if you are doing your own printing.
Scratches can also occur from Photoflow and squeegee burrs. Try one of those little rubber blowers with the glass tube, that's what I use. It doesn't leave drops like sometimes the canned air does.
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Photoflo can also leave what look like scratches that are just streaks. Re-rinsing and drying removes them.
I have NEVER had photo-flo scratch any negatives... The only scratches I've ever had is carelessness when loading the roll of film in the can with the light trap door closed, when I should have it open when spooling.. Oops! Don't make that mistake often, or at all really anymore, but previously I had..
The only Fixer I use is Ilford-Rapid fixer.. Simply because I like Ilford! I will support that company, far more then the nonesense that Kodak has decided to do! Jerks filing for Bankruptcy protection.. (sort of)..
Don't mean to hijack this thread.
PE posted once that if you mix Photoflo potent enough to make a lather, you've used too much. My experience was it would dry with splotches and I would scratch the film when wiping.
Back to Fixer recommendations..
"Print with #3.5 and burn with #1.5." B.J. Confucius
Then don't do that. Seriously it's best not to touch negatives with anything but air. If you use a brush you must be vary careful that it doesn't pick up any grit. Some developers produce more softening than others.
Originally Posted by Henry Alive
Years ago when emulsions were softer it was fairly general practice to use a hardening stopbath such as a 3% solution of potassium chrome alum. Films are treated for 3 minutes with constant agitation. This bath does not keep for more than a day or so and must be made up fresh.
An acid alum stopbath provides a bit less hardening but may be easier to obtain.
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I don't think there is anything wrong with your fixer. What you need to do is stop touching the negatives with anything. Never squeegee wet film with one of those film squeegees or your wetted fingers, or photo chamois or sponge, NOTHING. when the film comes out of the can after processing, including wetting agent, shake the crap outta the reel to remove any excess water, then hang to dry in a dust free environment. Use a puffer or canned air to remove any dust prior to enlarging, or anti-static machine. I run an air cleaner constantly in my DR and don't have any problems with dust, hence no scratched film. It's a good idea to check your camera for rough spots and any other gear your film may come in contact with.
If you are concerned with the emulsion being soft, use a tanning developer such as Moersch Tanol, or Pyrocat-HD. They toughen emulsions better than adding a hardener to the fix or stop, and give the added benefit of masking grain.