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Thread: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

  1. #1

    Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    In this day and age of having to pay (sometimes dearly when I open up my monthly bill) for our water that we use to wash film and prints and the constant drum beat in our society of being "efficient" in the use of natural resources, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to share our personal experience with the tools that we use to accomplish this objective and let the audience benefit from this information. Not sure if this is a subject that has been collected previously. Maybe the next time you are washing prints and/or sheet film measure your water flow rate and share this information along with the specific equipment you are using and how long it takes you to accomplish your wash.

    I will start. This afternoon I washed some 11x14 and 8x10 negatives in an Inglis dedicated sheet film washer and in the process I calculated a water flow rate of 1 Gallon Per Minute. My wash time is 15 minutes so my wash cycle per format used 15 gallons of water, which I felt was pretty reasonable all things considered.

    If nothing else it will give me some factual information with which to defend myself as an "efficient" analog photographer that takes these issues seriously.

  2. #2

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    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    It depends on how I'm processing. If I'm processing in a daylight tank, like a JOBO or Paterson film tank, I use the Ilford archival wash sequence, which requires about 2 liters/ 8x10 sheet, or equivalent. By this method I could wash more than 50 8x10 sheets in 15 gal of water.

  3. #3

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    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    I use a jobo or motor base with 10 cycles of 1 liter fill and dump per 2-8x10, 1-11x14 or 12-4x5. No hypo to be found on the negs. My print washer (versalab) uses way more water so I forgo a shower if I know I will washing prints to make myself feel less guilty plus it keeps people away from me when I need to concentrate in the darkroom
    Regards
    Erik

  4. #4
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    For low volume film and print development, washing sequentially in several trays (perhaps many trays for fiber paper) uses less water than the above methods. After a few sheets have been washed in the first tray, they are moved to the second and the first tray dumped. The second tray will be the first tray for the next series of sheets. Work RC prints hastily processed thus in three trays are almost all good 35 years later. Negatives get a final bath in distilled water with Photo-flo. By that stage the negatives don't contaminate the final bath, so it can be used for the entire darkroom session. One must be careful to avoid contamination with tray washing.

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    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    Michael,

    you've brought up a very valid point. Water prices(at least where I live) aren't going down, and even if there was an "unlimited" supply of clean, fresh water, its still good practice IMO to use ones materials as wisely and efficiently as possible. The past few months I've been saving ~$2/day to get one of these Inglis film washers(8x10), but since I've been using rollfilm a lot lately, I have dipped into that savings pot to purchase film to feed the Hasselblad . Not much, but enough to set me back 2mo or so...

    On another note,
    could anyone who owns an Inglis cross-jet film/print washer make up some sort of video and post it online? I'm not usually one to buy things unless I can see them in action(if possible), but since its kinda spendy $$$-wise, I'd like to get a clearer picture of what it does exactly, differently than other washers.

    anyone willing to make a short(say 1-2min) video?

    thanks

    -Dan

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    Large format film in-drum wash:
    one min rinse
    one min Permawash
    three changes of 500ml at 1 then 2 and finally 3 minutes (total 6 min and 1500ml)

  7. #7

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    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    For prints I use a washer made from a kit from Fine Art Photo Supply and a ten gallon aquarium. As I process print they go into the washer which is filled with fresh water at the beginning of the session. After my printing session concludes, the prints soak for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes I drain the tank and refill. After another 45 minute soak the prints are squeegied and placed in the dryer. A typical darkroom session will have ten to fourteen 8x10 prints or eight 11x14's. For what it is worth, the instructions that came with the washer recommended two 30-minute soaks, but that proved inadequate atleast for fiber based paper.

    For negatives I use a Jobo 3010 which I let water trickle into the open tank for 30 minutes; probably ten gallons of water as this is a slow trickle. Like another poster, each negative is dipped in PhotoFlo/distilled water and then hung to dry.
    Bill McMannis
    Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will not go back to work.

  8. #8

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    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    Permawash, like ic-racer said.

    It cuts the film wash time down to almost nothing.

    - Leigh

  9. #9

    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    OK. Let me play Devils advocate. Have any of you tested your wash times for residual fixer on your film or prints or have you just called it good because no problems have been encountered?
    Last edited by Michael Kadillak; 25-Sep-2011 at 19:42. Reason: typo

  10. #10

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    Re: Washing Film and Water Consumption - A Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Kadillak View Post
    OK. Let me play Devils advocate. Have any of you tested your wash times for residual fixer on your film or prints or have you just called it good?
    In my case, no. As I explained I increased wash time (from 2x30' to 2x45') because I did not like the way prints dried down with the two shorter saoking sessions. Increasing the time delivered better results, but there may still be residual fixer on the paper.
    Bill McMannis
    Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, he will not go back to work.

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