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  1. #1

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    How long to keep fixer?

    I had access to chemicals through a photo club for the last while. Now I want to do more development at home.

    I have HC110 which is easy to make and I'm ok using it.

    How long does normal film fixer stay alive? How careful should I be about oxygen? Is there a more stable alternative formula? Does change of fixer influence results?

    Thanks

    Andrey

  2. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Hi Andrey.

    Most photo chemistry has a data sheet that has been prepared by its manufacturer. Those data sheets usually include recommended life estimates.

    What fixer are you using or considering?
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #3
    Jesper's Avatar
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    You can use a piece of film to test the fix. If you develop 35mm films you can use the film lead that you cut off. The time in the fix should be about twice the time that it takes for the lead to become clear.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    What fixer are you using or considering?
    The club had a kodak film fixer. It worked fine for me.

    I just wanted something that doesn't expire fast for home use, because I won't use it in gallon volumes.

  5. #5

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    The manufacturer will tell you the capacity of the fixer. Keep track of how many rolls and prints you run thru it and do not exceed this recommendation unless you use a two bath system. Acid fixer will go bad with time and undergoes what is called sulfurization. The solution will turn milky as it begins to throw down sulfur. It must then be discarded.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    The manufacturer will tell you the capacity of the fixer. Keep track of how many rolls and prints you run thru it and do not exceed this recommendation unless you use a two bath system. Acid fixer will go bad with time and undergoes what is called sulfurization. The solution will turn milky as it begins to throw down sulfur. It must then be discarded.
    how long does this take to happen?

  7. #7
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    Unless you're talking about years, fixer and stop bath generally don't "go bad" with time the way developer will. They just expire with use, like the sulfurization Gerald C. Koch mentioned above. If you're using standard or rapid acidic fixer (sodium or ammonium thiosulfate), you'll notice that when first mixed, it has a sharp, acrid smell. With use, it'll gradually start to smell more sulfurous.

    As for capacity, a commonly used fixer, Ilford Rapid Fixer, has a listed capacity of about 24 rolls of 35mm film per liter of working solution. Again, unless you're talking about years, it shouldn't matter how long it takes for you to run that much film through it. You can store working fixer in a plastic bottle with a tight-fitting cap, just like most photo chemicals. More impermeable materials, like glass or PETE plastic, would be of course better, but you don't have to be as concerned as you would with developer.

  8. #8

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    if you have access to the same UNUSED fixer you have+use, see how long it takes to clear a 1x1"square piece of film
    when it eventually takes 2x that original time to clear the film your fixer is no longer good.
    just remember that (original) number and always use the same film to do your test ..

    have fun!
    Ես այլեւս չի պատասխանելու իմ էլեկտրոնային փոստով
    եթե դուք պետք է ինձ դիմեք ինձ միջոցով իմ կայքը կամ բլոգում

  9. #9

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    The sulfurization of fixers is dependent on the temperature. Fixer should be stored in a cool but not cold environment. This will extend its life.
    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

  10. #10
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    It takes literally many years before sulfation will occur, and by years I mean "most of a decade". Even after sulfation has begun and there's a nice layer of white precipitate at the bottom of the fixer bottle, the fixer will still work though somewhat more slowly. If you do the clearing test and fix for twice as long as the clearing time, your negatives will basically be fine. If there is precipitate, you'll want to filter it out with a coffee filter in order to not get spots on your film though. Once the fixer starts to smell strongly of rotten-egg gas (instead of mostly vinegar), that's a sign that it's decomposing and will start sulfating soon. That begins after about 2 years in the cupboard in my experience.

    You don't need to protect fixer from oxygen in the way that you do developers (which are reducing agents and therefore very sensitive to oxidation). Just keep it in a sealed bottle in the cupboard, nice and cool but never frozen.

    FAQ for fixer capacity with normal use.

    Because fixing is to-completion and should leave nothing in the film, it doesn't matter which brand or type you use, and they're all based on thiosulfate. They all do the same thing and leave your film in the same state, i.e. with all undeveloped halides removed. Some are faster (ammonium) or slower (sodium) than others, some are easier to wash out of FB papers (alkaline fixes) but those are basically the only relevant differences. For film use, it doesn't matter which you pick as long as you follow the instructions for the one you're using.

    A 1L bottle of rapid fixer makes 5L at 1+4, which has a max capacity of 60 to 100 rolls. Say you shot a roll of B&W per month and did no wet printing, 12 rolls a year. It'd take you 5 years (at 12 rolls/L if you shoot all T-grain films) to 8 years (20 rolls/L, nominal capacity with traditional films) to use your 1L bottle to capacity; at 5 years it will be fine and at 8 years it will be definitely starting to go off but should still work OK. Those 1L bottles are pretty cheap (under $15 here in ripoff-land) and maybe you could share one with someone nearby who similarly shoots very little? Either way, the cost of fixer ($10-$15) is generally irrelevant next to the cost of the film ($500?) you process in it. If you end up chucking half out after a decade because it went off, who cares?

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