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  1. #1
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    Economical Blix (bleach) for C41 and RA4

    I've taken up film color photography and printing recently and process C41 and RA4 with some regularity. I found a great product for the Blix, it was a universal blix with two different dilutions for film and paper. However, it appears I have bought the last one in existence (Paterson Universal Bleach-fix if anyone can find it) from B&H.

    So now I'm looking for an economical solution for the blix. Kodak wants me to buy about a million different bottles to accomplish this. Bleach for C41, bleach starter for c41, fix, and blix kits for RA4 (all of which will cost me over $100 with shipping as opposed to the $6 I payed for the universal 1/2 liter concentrate bottle). I find this quite stupid since A its all the same stuff with different dilutions, and B I don't know why they want to separate the Blix.

    People have told me there's a problem with deterioration when you mix the bleach and fix but I have a liter I mixed from a tetenal c41 press kit in mid-January I kept in a plastic container that worked fine this week.

    If I do decide to seperate them, is there a way to get cheap bleach? Fix is fine because that's cheap, but can someone point me in the bleach direction? Should I mix it myself or can I find it for less than an arm and a leg? (would it be possible to just buy the C41 bleach and fix and then use those for the film but then take some of it, mix it together with different dilutions and use it as blix for the RA4 prints? my volume isn't very high, a few liters a month...)

    I will be mixing a non-rehalogenating (right word?) bleach with my high school to do a B&W reversal for super8 but I'm not sure on the economics of that...(try ordering sulfuric acid online)

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    Last first. Sulfuric acid is battery acid isn't it? 31% IIRC. Wonder over to places that sell auto supplies then just dilute it to what you want. Wait for the others to correct me -)

    Colour bleach and fix is best bought in 5 litre mini-lab jugs. Fuji-hunt makes or at least did make stuff that didn't need a starter. I'm fairly sure Kodak does to. I don't think the bleaches are the same. See if you can find a local supplier for minilabs. Or a friendly mini-lab owner that will add to their order. No point ordering this stuf from normal consumer photo shops unless you've got no choice.

  3. #3
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiberiustibz View Post
    I've taken up film color photography and printing recently and process C41 and RA4 with some regularity. I found a great product for the Blix, it was a universal blix with two different dilutions for film and paper.
    Forget BLIX. Go to dedicated bleach and fix. For fix just use the cheap "universal" stuff--- perfect for B&W, colour, film and paper.
    "Universal" (C-22) bleach is potassium ferricyanide based-- not possible for a blix since ferricyanide and thiosulfate salts don't mix well. Compared, however, to "modern" bleaches its more powerful but also less environmentally benign.
    Using modern bleaches there are some "minor" but significant differences between C-41 and RA-4. RA4 bleach is also "weaker" than C-41. Given that the bleach is the most expensive part but can be re-used (if not mixed into a BLIX), replenished and even rejuvenated its cheaper to use specific and separate bleaches (at most shared between C-41 and E-6) and fix.
    So now I'm looking for an economical solution for the blix.
    BLIX is not economical. The capacity of BLIX is defined by the fixer. Fixer has much less capacity than bleach but is also extremely cheap.
    Kodak wants me to buy about a million different bottles to accomplish this. Bleach for C41, bleach starter for c41, fix, and blix kits for RA4 (all of which will cost me over $100 with shipping as opposed to the $6 I payed for the universal 1/2 liter concentrate bottle).
    You don't need starter.

    People have told me there's a problem with deterioration when you mix the bleach and fix but I have a liter I mixed from a tetenal c41 press kit in mid-January I kept in a plastic container that worked fine this week.
    C-41 bleach is Fe-EDTA based and **can** be mixed with fixer. That's what BLIX is. From any modern bleach and a fixer one can make BLIX. Its the cheaper (and "obsolete") C-22 bleach (ferricyanide) that one can't mix (falls apart within hours).
    If I do decide to seperate them, is there a way to get cheap bleach?
    Since the shelf-life of bleach is measured in "epochs" there is no reason not to get some surplus from a mini-lab...
    I will be mixing a non-rehalogenating (right word?) bleach with my high school to do a B&W reversal for super8 but I'm not sure on the economics of that...(try ordering sulfuric acid online)
    Its a high-school (and this is a public forum) but the most economical (albeit not ecologically acceptable) is a bleach based upon potassium dichromate (the same stuff once used as glass cleaner in nearly every chemical lab on the planet). Its a Chrome-IV so absolutely NOT to bring into the high school. Its, however, re-usable and re-usable and re-usable.. and also works better ***if*** correctly handled (by a trained and qualified technician), re-used and correctly disposed of. Potassium permanganate based bleaches can work but its much trickier to get good results (more prone to damage emulsion) and since not reusable can more costly to use.
    Chemical sources? In almost every town there is a chemical supply company. Most high schools in the U.S. have established relationships with a source--- talk to the chemistry department. Most of the chemicals you might need here should already be part of the stock of any high school department. It might be wise to ask one of the chemistry teachers if they'd mind helping out.
    Edward C. Zimmermann
    BSn R&D // http://www.nonmonotonic.net

  4. #4
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    Once Ferric EDTA is mixed with Hypo they begin to react. In fact, Hypo on its own is reacting with air and just speeds up when mixed with Ferriic EDTA. Therefore the mixture is not stable. This mixture is a weak oxidant and is not strong enough to fully bleach and fix film if mixed at the right concentrations. FeEDTA can only be made at about 60% solution to start with and the same is true for Ammonium Hypo. So, mixing the two dilutes them by 50% if you use 1 part of each. This decreases effectiveness.

    Also, films contain iodide and restrainers no present in paper, so films leave a residue in bleach, fix or blix solutions that can stain or harm papers. Reversal films have a huge load of silver and are much harder to bleach.

    All this tells us is that film bleaches must be very concentrated and do exhaust rather rapidly compared to paper bleaches. No manufacturer of color film has sold a film blix commercially, only 3rd party manufacturers.

    You do not need any starter with any bleach, blix or fix.

    PE

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    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    Than I guess this is complete garbage? http://www.adorama.com/KKFCBSG.html

    The bleach I will be mixing with components from my highschool to process reversal movie film is a Potassium Dichromate bleach...I seem to have both my photo teacher and the chemistry department on board with this...

    Kodak sells an RA4 blix... http://www.adorama.com/KKRABFR10L.html This would be simpler because I'm fumbling with trays in the dark.

    I thought to make a blix (although I haven't) you used twice the concentration to mix them together so you had the same dilutions as before...I guess not.

    Since the dilutions for my blix were different, I wouldn't use it for blixing the paper after the film, I mixed seperate bottles for each.

    Ok. Looks like I'm going to have to stay with the mini-lab jugs.

  6. #6
    edz
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiberiustibz View Post
    Than I guess this is complete garbage? http://www.adorama.com/KKFCBSG.html
    Its not garbage. Its about starting for use in automatic replenishment. Its put simply a means to turn new bleach into something more like bleach after its been used. This way one can have consistent levels of activity over time.

    Kodak sells an RA4 blix... http://www.adorama.com/KKRABFR10L.html This would be simpler because I'm fumbling with trays in the dark.
    That's RA (Rapid Access) process stuff. Its about reducing the time from development start to finish.

    Ok. Looks like I'm going to have to stay with the mini-lab jugs.
    You wanted economy and that's the way.. and as a side effect. Its even the better solution--- just takes another step or two and a bit longer process time.
    Edward C. Zimmermann
    BSn R&D // http://www.nonmonotonic.net

  7. #7
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    RA4 blix is intended for color paper! It is not intended for color film at any concentration. Color paper is essentially a Chloride emulsion, which is easy to dissolve and the paper contains probably less than 1/3 of the silver that a color film does. The film has 10% iodide emulsions which are hard to bleach and fix.

    I was the lead engineer in blix development for color paper, and also worked on a film blix for which I have a patent. Kodak never implemented the latter, but they still use my original formula with tiny modificaitons for the RA4 blix.

    I repeat, you don't need a starter for bleaches, blixes and fixes.

    PE

  8. #8
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    RA4 blix is intended for color paper! It is not intended for color film at any concentration.
    I know. I'm doing RA4 printing as well. My highschool and most schools seem to avoid it due to "deadly toxicity" but I think it's quite cool and don't appear to have died yet. If you read my original post I was asking if there was some way to use one for another or vice versa because I'm using some universal blix right now.

    I repeat, you don't need a starter for bleaches, blixes and fixes.
    OK. Photo Engineer-what is this and what do I use it for? http://www.adorama.com/KKFCBSG.html

    Its not garbage. Its about starting for use in automatic replenishment. Its put simply a means to turn new bleach into something more like bleach after its been used. This way one can have consistent levels of activity over time.
    So the starter is to take bleach and make it more like bleach? Perfect, since it wasn't bleach to begin with.

    Replenishment...wait, what? I'm completely lost. I'm being told that there is a starter (which I know for a fact there is as I have given a link to it) and also at the same time that you don't need it. It would be sort of silly to produce a starter if you don't need it.

    To me it looks like this: The bleach is an AB mix formula in which some components will degrade if mixed (like potassium dichromate and sulfuric acid) so they're stored seperately and mixed together during dilution before use to make the solution usable and to prevent needless degredation during storage. Am I missing anything?

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    Dear Tiberius;

    I was a member of the original blix/bleach team at Kodak. Starter was only a consideration for seasoned deep tank processes. Starter is a salt solution made to mimic used blix. In single use situations, used solution is an oxymoron.

    You are missing a lot which includes a lifetime of process design work and many patents. But, OTOH, you do what you wish. You may contact me any time for information.

    PE

  10. #10

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    Hello Tiberius,

    You don't say what system you are using for C-41 - small tank, drum, etc. Since Kodak does not have a "home" C-41 kit any more (as far as I know) it can be a bit confusing choosing the right size and type of individual chemistry. I suspect you are using single use rather than a replenished system. It would be well worth your time to do a search on APUG for blix, C-41 chemistry, and B&W reversal. Also Kodak has excellent technical information in .pdf format.
    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/busin...calsMain.jhtml

    for example.

    If you are determined to use blix, B&H has Tetenal Universal Bleach/Fix http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ch_Fix_15.html

    Somewhere on APUG, PE gave a list of the Kodak chemicals to buy for C-41. Here is a link to Kodak's FAQ.

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/servi.../faq0802.shtml

    I am presently using the Unicolor Kit CAT:10123 from Freestyle, because it is cheap, can be easily shipped to my location, and I am using it for non-critical negatives for immediate scanning. It is a stop-gap measure until I can haul back the Kodak chemicals in June (I live in a remote location). I don not recommend it for important negatives. These topics have been discussed extensively on APUG and elsewhere.

    Potassium dichromate and sulphuric acid are quite stable combined and the mix is re-usable (for B&W reversal). Permanganate is not

    If and when you have done your homework, and still have questions about the how's and why's of it all, PE is your best source of information.

    Good luck. Digging up the information is a bit of work, but it will pay off in the long (and short) run.


    Cheers,
    Clarence

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