rapid, non-hardening alkaline fixer, questions on formulae

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    On 26 Oct 2006 14:25:37 -0700,

    October 27, 2006, from Lloyd Erlick,

    For some reason I use two per cent sodium
    sulfite as washaid for film, and one percent
    sodium carbonate for prints. Some would say
    not to bother with a washaid at all. The
    carbonate is even cheaper than sulfite, and I
    don't hesitate to throw it away and make up a
    fresh solution during a session. Either
    substance requires something to deal with
    water hardness if there is any. I put a
    quarter teaspoon of sodium hexametaphosphate
    in three liters and that takes care of the
    milky precipitate (calcium carbonate).
    Toronto water is not very hard.

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    website: www.heylloyd.com
    telephone: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Oct 27, 2006
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  2. Claudio Bonavolta a écrit :
    I read again the chapters regarding fix/hardening/washing but
    unfortunately not, all tests were done with acid fix.
    So this is something that could be interesting: will a washaid increase
    the washing speed after an alkaline fix (I think so) and how much (no
    idea ...) ?

    It mentioned a 2% sodium sulfite solution reaches an effectiveness
    around 80% compared to Kodak's washaid. Not bad for such a simple

    Claudio Bonavolta
    Claudio Bonavolta, Oct 27, 2006
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  3. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Digitaltruth Guest


    You seem to misunderstand me. I am not disputing your use of materials
    in any way. I am just pointing out that different people have different
    working methods, and for many people there are significant benefits of
    alkaline processing. I appreciate that you prefer to use an acid fixer
    with a washing aid. I prefer to use an alkaline fixer without a washing
    aid. Our washing times are similar.

    I wouldn't suggest that anyone change a working method that they are
    happy with, but I think its a good thing to provide people with
    information so that they can make their own choices.

    --Jon Mided

    Digitaltruth Photo
    Digitaltruth, Oct 27, 2006
  4. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Digitaltruth Guest

    A wash aid
    I'm not trying to argue with you (honesty!), but I feel it is necessary
    to clarify that Silvergrain Clearwash Washing Aid does not contain any
    of the ingredients you specify. This is not to suggest that any other
    washing aid is inferior; however, the research that has gone into this
    product has been carried out with the intention of improving on
    existing formulas both in terms of lower toxicity, and in terms of
    efficacy. Our product has an extremely long shelf life and excellent

    --Jon Mided

    Digitaltruth Photo
    Digitaltruth, Oct 27, 2006
  5. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Tom Phillips Guest

    Well then we agree. There are pros and cons for
    both methods. But minor differences in my view
    unless one is sensitive to acid solutions, which
    is a very good reason to use all alkaline. However
    all the advantages of alkaline are obtainable using
    a HCA like Kodak's. I don't mind the smell of acid
    fix (rather like it, in fact...) and like it's main
    advantage of stopping developer action immediately
    with no chance of carry over.
    I hopefully it's better quality info than most
    of us get before we vote ;-)
    Tom Phillips, Oct 27, 2006
  6. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Tom Phillips Guest

    Similar ingredients though. Besides being
    a wash aid Kodak's HCA is formulated to
    raise the ph above the isoelectric point
    and also 1) prevent swelling 2) preserve

    Your MSDS states:

    POTASSIUM SULFITE 10117-38-1 30-60%
    TRIETHANOLAMINE 102-71-6 <10%
    CITRIC ACID 77-92-9 <10%
    Other proprietary ingredients less than 2%
    Tom Phillips, Oct 27, 2006
  7. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    Theories have to fit the facts and facts are gathered through
    observation. Observation of the results of an experiment and the
    experiment is the practical application of a hypothesis. With no
    experimentation, no observation and no facts, then one simply has a
    But one can and in fact must note the conditions of the tests. Also
    repeatability if mandatory and it is usually a good idea to have an
    independent corroboration of an experiments results.
    I think we need to clarify that an acidic fixer may not have any
    consequence at all if it does not contain a hardener. The use of
    buffering to extend the stability of a solution is quite common and a
    buffered fixer may well be acidic (perhaps pH 5.5) and not have any
    impact on the retention of thiosulfate and/or thiosulfate complexes.
    Bill has many contributions and I don't doubt the validity of the
    hypothesis the you, he and many others are working on. I'd just like
    to see some hard results in the form of data. Also note that I have
    one other concern regarding the use of much older information such as
    Meese and James provided and that is that the production of
    photographic materials has changed significantly in the last 50~60
    years. How are we to know that this hasn't impacted the interpretation
    of their results ?

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  8. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    I was actually thinking the opposite in that the silver in the
    highlight areas of a print probably has a finer grain and would be
    more dramatically impacted on a percentage basis. Of course agitation
    might also play a significant factor in here as well.

    Note that I've seen some work prints bleach significantly due to
    residual fixer though it usually takes hours. I found the sulfiding of
    the image by the spent fixer to have a neat effect.

    Thanks for the info and do let us know your resultsif you pursue this.

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  9. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    I think that the issue of the argentothiosulfate products is being
    overlooked. Most of us are well aware of the research stating that
    trace amounts of thiosulfate can aid in the permanence of an image
    however residual undeveloped silver can ruin an image faster than a
    room full of cigarette smoke. This is why I've taken to using two-bath
    fixing for films and in fact I also re-fix any prints prior to toning.

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  10. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    Again, I'd like to see a little corroboration of this hypothesis. Have
    you discussed this with the IPI ?

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  11. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    However it has the same net effect in breaking the bonds of
    thiosulfate with the emulsion.

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  12. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    Gaaaaaahhhhhh !! Print curl !! Boy is that one thing I don't miss !!

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  13. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    I'm wondering if they didn't use carbonate which was quite readily
    available then. Unfortunately in today's "New & Improved" society
    carbonates getting more difficult to find in the grocery stores. It
    seems that like most darkroom practitioners, most people using a
    detergent prefer liquid concentrates over powders.

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  14. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    I'm all for making an informed choice. Unfortunately I find little
    hard information and a significant amount of supposition. Thankfully
    we have some contributors that actually know a good deal about
    chemistry and have donated their time over the years.

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  15. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    John Guest

    An interesting approach. Citric acid as both a chelator and buffer ?
    It would appear to stay in solution well even in cooler climates and
    it should degrade well in the environment.

    John S. Douglas
    Photographer & Webmaster
    Legacy-photo.com - Xs750.net
    John, Oct 29, 2006
  16. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    dan.c.quinn Guest

    Is not the 2 cent at home sulfide for residual silver test,
    the ST-1 test, as good as an IPI 500 year test? Off hand I
    can't think of any reason why it should not be. Although the
    ST-1 will not test as low as Zero silver it can show Zero stain.
    A drop, not much, but all that sulfer in a small spot.

    Unless there are about us other contributers which will
    show some signs of deterioration with less silver left in the
    emulsion than that test will indicate, I would not worry. Dan
    dan.c.quinn, Oct 29, 2006
  17. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Digitaltruth Guest


    I am all for producing and publishing as much data as possible. We are
    a small company trying to bring good products on to the market at a
    time when all of the larger companies, with the exception of Ilford,
    are reducing their traditional b&w chemical ranges, or closing down
    operations altogether.

    Apart from Ilford/Kodak/Fuji, all of which are large corporations with
    significant research and publishing budgets, I think we are doing a
    pretty good job in terms of providing useful data. In fact, some/most
    of the other manufacturers in this field publish almost no technical
    data about their products; whereas we go out of our way to provide as
    much technical information as we can. As you suggest, there are
    contributors in this forum with considerable expertise in photo
    chemistry, and I welcome any constructive input. I truly believe that
    the Silvergrain range of chemistry is equal to or better than any other
    photo chemicals on the market. If you or anyone else with suitable
    expertise would like to perform independent side-by-side testing with
    similar products, please let me know directly.

    The research and testing of Silvergrain products has been carried out
    by Ryuji Suzuki, and while admittedly not independent, it has been
    conducted in a genuinely scientific manner. Additional field tests were
    carried out by a number of independent sources with a range of
    scientific and non-scientific backgrounds.

    I recognize that you are making a slightly different point though, and
    that what you really want is a great deal more scientific analysis of
    the theory and application behind fixing and washing procedures. I'm
    not sure if anyone will ever produce this kind of research though. As
    you and Tom have both pointed out, the net effect of the processing
    sequence on the material is the same: whichever way the film/paper is
    fixed and washed, the chemicals are removed. The points which Bill
    Troop and others make about the advantages of alkaline processing may
    be difficult to prove, or moot, yet they are backed up by theory. But
    we don't market our products based on theory: all of the information
    we have published is based on real world and scientific testing, and
    our washing times are easily verified.

    I like the idea of using as few chemicals as possible in my own
    darkroom, so by eliminating acetic acid and only using a washing aid as
    an optional step, I feel as if everything is simplified and more
    efficient. Knowing that the Silvergrain chemicals are formulated and
    buffered in a way that will improve both the shelf life and the tray
    life, as well as being more resistant to carry-over, provides me with
    more assurance that the solutions are going to work well even if I
    haven't used them for a while. Those are simple real-world advantages
    for me. For someone else these factors may not be so important, but for
    me those are good reasons to use the products.

    --Jon Mided

    Digitaltruth Photo
    Digitaltruth, Oct 30, 2006
  18. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Tom Phillips Guest

    A lot of fixing :)

    I'm not sure why a two bath fix would be
    needed for films, especially with t grain
    films. Twice the clearing should suffice.
    I simply fix tmax until the dye is nearly/
    completely gone. If the fix fails to do
    this in 7 or so minutes, I discard.

    For prints I test rapid fix at reg. intervals
    using a test strip and also use precipitate
    tests. It's amazing how little time (in fresh
    fix) is needed to fully remove silver. In film
    strength fix, which I use, can be only 20-35
    sec depending on the paper. I discard well
    before exhaustion though, and the discarded fix
    is then used for work prints until exhausted.
    Using a two bath method is very good for
    extending the life of the fixer, but with film
    strength fix I don't see this as needed. OTOH
    I don't really mind being a little "wasteful"
    to ensure my fix is fresh. I also occasionally
    check my process with ST-1 tests.
    Tom Phillips, Oct 31, 2006
  19. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Tom Phillips Guest

    My dry mount press dispatches print curl forthwith :)

    Actually, I get very little print curl with fb...
    Tom Phillips, Oct 31, 2006
  20. Shakti V. via PhotoKB.com

    Tom Phillips Guest

    I believe Kodak's HCA also has citric acid?
    Tom Phillips, Oct 31, 2006
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