small tank fixer agitation question (newbie)

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dfbldwn
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small tank fixer agitation question (newbie)

Postby dfbldwn » Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:47 am

I am trying to process B/W 35mm film in a small tank (less than 250mL capacity) and still don't know enough.

Currently I agitate the Fixer the same way I agitate the Developer. In other pursuits in life, I usually have failures when I make wild guesses like this.

What are your recommendations, what are the trade-offs, what are the major issues?

Does Fixer have anything to do with resulting grain-size?

Is evenly fixing a negative as important as evenly developing one?


Ornello
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Re: small tank fixer agitation question (newbie)

Postby Ornello » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:13 am

dfbldwn wrote:I am trying to process B/W 35mm film in a small tank (less than 250mL capacity) and still don't know enough.

Currently I agitate the Fixer the same way I agitate the Developer. In other pursuits in life, I usually have failures when I make wild guesses like this.

What are your recommendations, what are the trade-offs, what are the major issues?

Does Fixer have anything to do with resulting grain-size?

Is evenly fixing a negative as important as evenly developing one?
Agitate fixer vigorously, and use only Rapid Fixer, not standard powder fixer.

dfbldwn
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Re: small tank fixer agitation question (newbie)

Postby dfbldwn » Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:05 am

Ornello wrote: Agitate fixer vigorously, and use only Rapid Fixer, not standard powder fixer.
Please define vigorously ... shake it like a Martini?
Please provide agitation frequency, e.g. continuously, once/minute, every 30 seconds?


Thanks for responding. Your posts in this forum have helped me a lot.

Fotohuis
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Postby Fotohuis » Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:29 pm

You can agitate continuous for the fix process which is going into depletion.

250ml for inverse processing is the overall minimum for one 35mm film and that is in a Jobo 1510 developing tank.

NO, fixer has nothing to do with the grain size result.
It's depending on your film (speed, iso), type of developer, temperature and agitation.
Push processing will also give more grain, while pull processing is also minimizing grain.
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dfbldwn
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Postby dfbldwn » Fri Jun 20, 2008 1:46 pm

Fotohuis wrote:You can agitate continuous for the fix process which is going into depletion.
Excellent information. Thanks!
Fotohuis wrote:NO, fixer has nothing to do with the grain size result.
It's depending on your film (speed, iso), type of developer, temperature and agitation.
Push processing will also give more grain, while pull processing is also minimizing grain.
Again, thank you.
Fotohuis wrote:250ml for inverse processing is the overall minimum for one 35mm film and that is in a Jobo 1510 developing tank.
Ouch! I thought the stainless steel 8oz. (really, 240mL or less) with single reel was the standard tank every beginner used. I know it is small, but even Xtol 1+1 will still contain more than the minimum 100mL Xtol required to develop a 36 exposure roll.

Are you saying that, due to Fixer depletion, there is a chance the reaction between the negative's unexposed silver and the Fixer may not go to completion in such a small tank?

Fotohuis
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Postby Fotohuis » Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:20 pm

No there is a minimum amount of concentration you need.
The same is valid for each developer.

For film fix the amount of silver ions should be less then 2g/ltr. fix. Till that limit you can safely fix your film. Fix time=clear time x2 for classical cubical films.
Fix time=clear time x3 for Tgrain type films. The iodide is blocking the fix process earlier so your fix capacity is also less.

There is a simple test with Potassium Ioded (KI) to check the amount of silver ions in the used fix solution. There are commercial kits available to check this simple titration in an accuracy to be certain to be on the safe side.

A stop bath will also prolong your fix capacity.
"De enige beperking in je fotografie ben je zelf"

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dfbldwn
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Fixer depletion

Postby dfbldwn » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:41 pm

@fotohuis
You are generous with your good information.

Ornello
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Re: small tank fixer agitation question (newbie)

Postby Ornello » Fri Jun 20, 2008 4:32 pm

dfbldwn wrote:
Ornello wrote: Agitate fixer vigorously, and use only Rapid Fixer, not standard powder fixer.
Please define vigorously ... shake it like a Martini?
Please provide agitation frequency, e.g. continuously, once/minute, every 30 seconds?


Thanks for responding. Your posts in this forum have helped me a lot.
You cannot over-agitate fixer. Yes, vigorous agitation means shake it. Development agitation is gentle, simple inversions.

bowzart
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Postby bowzart » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:34 pm

One thing that i'd suggest is to take a bit of fixer and a scrap of film and watch it fix. One problem that beginners sometimes have is understanding what film looks like when it is not fixed. If you do understand that clear means clear, if for some reason you haven't noticed that the fix is getting saturated, you will be able to tell right away if there is a problem by the appearance of the film.

Since your film is in the tank, and you can't see it as long as it is, it is doubtful that you will know what the time it takes to clear is, so how could you know what 2 or 3 times that time would be? This time changes, lengthens, as the fix ages. What I do, is to open the tank at a certain point when it seems to me that it ought to be ready to check if it is, and if it is not clear, I put it back in and change the fixer right away. If it is clear, I put it back in for awhile anyway.

With Kodak's tmax films, there is a pinkish color to the base. Kodak suggests removing the color with a sodium sulphite solution. If you have ever used a sulphite solution you'll know how messy they are, and it is a lot of trouble anyway. Most people leave it in to fix until the color is clear, too.

You can overfix film, especially if you are using ammonium thiosulphate fix (rapid fixer). Some time over is usually ok, but don't leave it in a half and hour! If you do happen to overfix, that would show up as bleaching in the shadows. We work hard for that shadow detail, so erasing it is not a good thing.

kcf
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Postby kcf » Mon Jun 23, 2008 12:12 pm

I fix for 3 and a half minutes as per the instructions on the bottle (Sprint). When the silver exhaustion droplets turn white in the fix, I toss it.

I've never looked at film for clarity during fixing. I assume what I am doing is enough. I assume fix times do not have to be lengthened for Sprint, that they remain constant for the life of the working solution since the bottle does not tell me otherwise. I assume the working solution to be good for the same length of time each fix (3 1/2 minutes) until the fix is exhausted. [/quote]

bowzart
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Postby bowzart » Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:22 pm

If it is working for you, I can't argue with that, but the assumption that fixing proceeds at a constant rate regardless of the saturation of the solution is in error. Unfortunately, it is hard for either mind or language to deal with complexity, and the manufacturers have to say something. Also, I don't think most people want things to be anything but simple.

You can easily see the difference if you want to. If you open a tank and take the film out for inspeciton immediately after pouring the fix in and giving it a bit of shake to be sure the emulsion is saturated (or have used a stop bath with agitation first), and do this both with brand new fixer and again with fixer that has seen quite a bit of use but still tests ok, the difference will be dramatic. I do this every three months because I demonstrate it in my courses. I want the students to know what incompletely fixed film looks like. If they don't (and this happens) sometimes the disasters that follow are incredible.

For example, once we had a nice young woman from Moldova working as an assistant (because of eligibility for financial aid, not because she was qualified). There was a serious language barrier, so it was hard to help her understand the instructions. She saw the recipe for mixing photo flow - 1 film can / five gallons of water - and mixed fixer the same way. Somehow, nobody noticed until they tried to print! Some people had cut film into strips, unfixed. What a mess! They could refix and usually it was ok, but washing and drying all those little strips was really horrible.

Having worked in labs where we handled customers' films, sometimes very important professional clients' films, believe me, I learned that assumptions MUST be checked thoroughly and must never be taken for granted. Working on your own for yourself alone, it is less critical to conform to that kind of discipline, unless, of course, you value your work very highly.

kcf
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Postby kcf » Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:33 pm

What is the difference between adequately fixed film and inadequately fixed film?

And how does not fixing enough affect the negatives and prints?

bowzart
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Postby bowzart » Mon Jun 23, 2008 7:17 pm

kcf wrote:What is the difference between adequately fixed film and inadequately fixed film?

And how does not fixing enough affect the negatives and prints?
If the film is fixed, it is clear, with no opaque or translucent areas. Inadequately fixed film would be gray and not clear if not fixed at all, or could have a foggy, filmy look, even a kind of iridescence, if partially fixed. Frequently, this fogginess seems more pronounced in the center of the film strips, if roll film.

Try taking a piece of film and just watch it fix in a tray. After a period of time, the grayness will disappear and the film will be clear. Ideally, at least according to the old timers, you would then give it the same amount of time longer. Of course when it is in the tank, how will you know when that magic 2x clearing will be done? You won't. So, familiarize yourself with what film looks like when not fixed. As I may have said, I check the film, and if it is not clear, put it back and check again after awhile. When it is clear, then I give it more time, then wash it.

If the film dries and turns out not to be clear, ie you have negatives that aren't completely fixed, you have live silver halide material (the sensitive stuff) still in the negative. Printing through this will be impossible, or if possible, difficult and the results, if any will be ugly. Also, if not refixed soon, the film is still being exposed to light, and will eventually turn dark.

If you have film that hasn't been completely fixed but has been dried, very often you can put it back in the fixer, completely fix it, and you may have normal negatives. However, it is by far better to do it right the first time.

kcf
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Postby kcf » Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:00 am

Thank you, Bowzart. I did check the film I was fixing last night for clearness as opposed to just removing it when the time was up. I am in the habit of checking for fog when I take it out, but I didn't know inadequate fixing could be a culprit of fog or that it was even possible to inadequately fix film.

The Sprint bottle advises not fixing more than a minute or so beyond recommended time. That would be the rapid fix working solution. That is another reason I've always confined myself to the recommended time.

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Postby darkroomphotography » Thu Aug 14, 2008 5:13 am

After stop bath, wash the film with clear water, just to remove every drop of stop bath.
Then fix the film at least for 6 minutes with continue normal agitation.
If you want archival (the best) fixer, after the first fixer, wash again the film, and fixer again, the same time, but this time with a fixer that include hardener.


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