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View Full Version : tf4 fixer rocks like a hurricane!



jp
5-Feb-2012, 19:58
I used Kodak fixer and Kodak rapid fixer for about 20 years and didn't see any need to deviate from that.

A couple years ago, I started playing with a little fomapan 100 film. It's more fragile than my usual kodak film choice. It got pinholed easily in the Kodak fixer, so I tried the fomafix fixer, and didn't get any better results. Read the tf4 and tf3 fixers were good for the sort of issue.

I got the tf4. It fixed the pinholes, and turned out to be a really nice FAST fixer. I can slap in a sheet of 8x10 fomapan 100 and within 15 seconds, it's cleared. I still fix it for the recommended time of course, but it's faster than anything I've ever used. tmax 400 fixes probably 2-4x faster than Kodak's fixer.

The only oddity is that you are not supposed to use an acid stop bath with it. That's not a problem, as I've been using pmk and pyrocat-hd, which also don't want an acid stop bath. 2 changes of water is fine.

BarryS
5-Feb-2012, 20:12
Completely agree on TF-4--best damn fixer ever invented. The capacity is amazing and it has a great shelf life, too. Only problem is it costs a fortune to ship across the country. I wish Photographers Formulary had a a dry powder version. I did manage to buy some when PF had their free holiday shipping--that saved a lot.

cdholden
5-Feb-2012, 20:24
With trying to economize, would it be safe to inversely adjust fix time in the ratio in which it's diluted beyond recommendation?

Gem Singer
5-Feb-2012, 20:34
Formulary TF5 is even better. It's a clear solution. Not super-saturated like TF4. No need to shake the container before using.

It is also an alkaline fixer. Washes out quickly. and is okay to use with Pyro development.

Acid stop baths and acid fixers tend to reduce the stain from film developed in Pyro.

ic-racer
5-Feb-2012, 20:49
I can slap in a sheet of 8x10 fomapan 100 and within 15 seconds, it's cleared

...and the HT-2 is...??

tgtaylor
5-Feb-2012, 20:50
+1 for TF-5. Plus it cost less than TF-4!

Thomas

jp
6-Feb-2012, 03:42
Barry, B&H sells it, for more shipping options.

I'll try tf5 sometime too, but haven't had a problem mixing tf4.

David R Munson
6-Feb-2012, 03:51
Living abroad, I miss being able to (realistically) get my hands on TF-4 easily. As soon as I need chemistry in Chicago, though, I'm ordering some Formulary stuff.

Those of you using the TF-5: what are the major differences between TF-5 and TF-4? I'm going to look at the data sheets and all, but from a practical standpoint, what's the skinny?

BarryS
6-Feb-2012, 06:45
I tried TF-5 and didn't like it much. The actual capacity and working solution shelf life isn't nearly as good as TF-4. I've also had it form an odd precipitate on multiple occasions. I'm using up the rest of mine as a one-shot solution. The TF-4 stock should be swirled before making a working solution--I don't see that as a problem.

Jan Pedersen
6-Feb-2012, 06:55
I'm with Barry on this. I used a couple of bottles of TF5 but went back to TF4 again.
Keeping properties of TF5 is not good and it exhaust a lot faster especially with film like TMY400
TF4 is good stuff.

Peter Gomena
6-Feb-2012, 07:32
Ditto Jan's experience. I returned to TF4 after trying TF5 for the same reasons.

Peter Gomena

Roger Cole
6-Feb-2012, 07:45
I've never used it, but the listing at PF says it doesn't need a hypo clearing agent. True?

Mark Sampson
6-Feb-2012, 08:11
The alkaline nature of TF-4 means that a hypo-clearing agent is redundant.

Roger Cole
6-Feb-2012, 08:35
Just wash prints as if they've been conventionally fixed and hypo cleared?

I'm having a problem believing all this. Costs about the same as acid rapid fix, more capacity, no hypo-clear needed, why does anyone still use acid fixers then? Particularly with fiber based prints it would seem this would be a no-brainer.

Tom Keenan
6-Feb-2012, 08:43
PF says that the TF-5 does a better job of clearing the magenta from T-Max films. Any comments on that? No experience myself but I've ordered some TF-5.
Thanks
Tom Keenan

Robert Hall
6-Feb-2012, 09:00
The alkaline nature of TF-4 means that a hypo-clearing agent is redundant.

Could you explain to me how the alkalinity makes HCA redundant?

thx

Sal Santamaura
6-Feb-2012, 09:02
Another advantage of TF-4 over TF-5, for those of us whose trays are not near plumbing, is its great buffering capacity. It's easily capable of dealing with prints that go from developer to a still water rinse, then into the fixer, without becoming quickly exhausted. This despite the instructions requiring a running water rinse for that intermediate step.

ROL
6-Feb-2012, 09:03
– 1 TF5, I went back to TF4 for precisely the reasons already mentioned.

BTW, one of the oft overlooked attributes of a fast fixer like TF4 is that, particularly with fiber papers, washing times are significantly reduced. Classic two fix strategies are unnecessary as long as exhaustion capacities are observed. Once the unexposed silver is fixed, it is fixed, without excessive absorption which only needs to be washed out for print longevity. This can be critical with some papers like the no longer available fiber Kentmere bromides, which began to lose emulsion if washed for much longer than 45 minutes – a true Catch-22 scenario. Necessary sink space is also reduced when only one tray becomes necessary for full fixation.

I use TF4 for both film and paper, easy peasy.

ROL
6-Feb-2012, 09:13
Another advantage of TF-4 over TF-5, for those of us whose trays are not near plumbing, is its great buffering capacity. It's easily capable of dealing with prints that go from developer to a still water rinse, then into the fixer, without becoming quickly exhausted. This despite the instructions requiring a running water rinse for that intermediate step.

FYI, the "running water" rinse was addressed by Photo Engineer (who helped develop TF5) over at APUG. He insists upon it so as not to exhaust the alkaline fix. The question then became exactly what is a "running water" rinse? Moving water, as in normal sloshing agitation, is adequate if replaced often. I typically dump and replace the 3 or so gallons in my large ~28x34 trays every 4 or 5 prints or when it changes color significantly (from the developer).

jp
6-Feb-2012, 09:18
PF says that the TF-5 does a better job of clearing the magenta from T-Max films. Any comments on that? No experience myself but I've ordered some TF-5.
Thanks
Tom Keenan

Tf4 does a normal job at removing the magenta. I haven't tried tf5, but don't have a problem with what tf4 does. Some magenta is removed in fixing, the remainder comes out while washing. I think some magenta comes out in developing too. I like to see magenta come out during washing. It's sort of progress indicator of the washing in an otherwise boring process. No magenta doesn't mean perfectly washed, but magenta does mean not well washed.

Doremus Scudder
6-Feb-2012, 09:20
ROL,

Sure, you can get a quick fix, and to "archival" standards with TF-4 or any "film-strength" rapid fixer with one bath. The downside is capacity. Unless you like to waste a lot of fixer, two-bath fixation is still the best bet. Capacity for most ammonium thiosulfate fixes for optimum permanence is only about 10 8x10 per liter according to Ilford. With two-bath, you can double that easily (approx. 40 8x10 for two liters, and then you can replace the dead first bath with the second and do it again, for even more savings).

I think capacities from the Formulary for TF-4 are based on a bit higher acceptable level of residual silver than Ilford's. It would really be nice to know to what standard their "20 rolls per liter" recommendation is based on ... and, despite 2-bath fixing being archival standard, they don't even mention it. The info from them seems a bit sparse...

Maybe PE or others more knowledgeable than I in this area would care to chime in.

Best,

Doremus

www.DoremusScudder.com

ROL
6-Feb-2012, 09:39
ROL,

Sure, you can get a quick fix, and to "archival" standards with TF-4 or any "film-strength" rapid fixer with one bath. The downside is capacity. Unless you like to waste a lot of fixer, two-bath fixation is still the best bet. Capacity for most ammonium thiosulfate fixes for optimum permanence is only about 10 8x10 per liter according to Ilford. With two-bath, you can double that easily (approx. 40 8x10 for two liters, and then you can replace the dead first bath with the second and do it again, for even more savings).

I think capacities from the Formulary for TF-4 are based on a bit higher acceptable level of residual silver than Ilford's. It would really be nice to know to what standard their "20 rolls per liter" recommendation is based on ... and, despite 2-bath fixing being archival standard, they don't even mention it. The info from them seems a bit sparse...

Maybe PE or others more knowledgeable than I in this area would care to chime in.

Best,

Doremus

www.DoremusScudder.com

Knowing your much published views on 2 fixes, that certainly didn't take long. Like shooting fish in a goldfish bowl.

Peter Gomena
6-Feb-2012, 11:55
I once fixed 80 rolls of T-Max 100 in 1 gallon of freshly-mixed TF4. It was exhausted by the time I finished, trust me. The last few rolls were on the edge.

Peter Gomena

Doremus Scudder
7-Feb-2012, 02:42
ROL,

No disrespect intended! And, of course, I was thinking largely of fiber-base paper when I wrote the above post.

The thing I wanted to point out is that there is "fixer capacity" and there is "fixer capacity." TF-4 is no different; the capacity, especially for fiber-base prints, has to do with the amount of residual silver acceptable in a print, which is directly related to the permanence of the print.

For example, Ilford gives a capacity guideline of 40 8x10-inch prints for their Rapid Fix (notice, this is regardless of dilution). However, when one reads further in their data sheet one finds that this number is for a "high level of image permanence ... for commercial use" and that the target maximum silver concentration in the fixer should be 2 g/l.

Reading further, one finds that "for prints that need maximum stability for long term storage [read, optimum permanence or 'archival,' the standard most fine-art photographers wish to process to] a the maximum silver level in the fixer should not rise above 0.5 g/l." This translates to approximately 10 8x10-inch prints per liter (again, regardless of the dilution). (I'm quoting from the Ilford data sheet; emphasis mine.)

The problem as I see it is simply this: Many read Ilford's 40-print capacity and take it to be for optimum permanence. I imagine the same thing is going on with the capacity recommendations for TF-4.

Unfortunately, the TF-4 data sheet makes no mention of the standards for residual silver in the fixing bath that the capacity recommendations are based on. It would be really helpful if we had more information from the Formulary about this. In the absence of any more details, I think we can safely assume that TF-4 capacities will be similar to the Ilford and Kodak counterparts. After all, it is not the fixer components themselves that determine when a fixer bath is "exhausted" for a given standard, but the concentration of silver thiosulfate compounds in solution in the fixing bath. This, really, has much more to do with the material used than the fixer itself.

Applying the Ilford standard to other products (TF-4 in particular) means that for a truly "archival" fix for fiber-base prints and using a single-bath method, we'd better think seriously about discarding the fix after a throughput of only 10 8x10-inch prints per liter.

Of course, we can certainly do this and be assured of having prints that are really well-fixed for optimum permanence. This seems to me, however, like a real waste of fixer when the capacity for two-bath fixing to the same archival standard is more than double that.

Now, if there are space/time constraints that make two-bath fixing impractical, then, by all means use the one-bath method. It just costs you a bit more for chemicals.

Nevertheless, I think it important that people do not read the TF-4 recommendation of "about 30 8x10 prints" per liter, or the Ilford and Kodak recommendations of about 40 8x10 prints per liter for fiber-base paper and assume that those numbers are to be used when processing for optimum permanence or "archivally." They are given for "commercial use" which translates to less permanence.

Washing may be faster with TF-4 due to its alkalinity, but that is another issue from residual silver in the print.

Sorry this got so long, just wanted to clarify and not have you think I was flaming.

Best,

Doremus

Fred L
7-Feb-2012, 05:09
...This can be critical with some papers like the no longer available fiber Kentmere bromides....

I know it's been hard to find but this is news to me, if indeed true. Attributions ?