View Full Version : TF-4 Fixer - How Well Established?

Andre Noble
15-Jun-2006, 17:18
I've gone on an internet rampage recently regarding troubled processes with Pyrocat HD, Kentmere Bromide graded paper, and Wimberly WD2D+. The one thing they all have in common is highly desireable results when they work right. Another thing they all have in common is that I used TF-4 fixer (at 1+3 strength) in the process when I encountered the problems I usually don't get. I generally use IIford Rapid, Non Hardening Fixer - (and will probably return to the Ilford as I sort out my problems above).

Does anyone have a take on the 'process neutrality' of TF-4 fixer? I hadn't heard of TF-4 until two years ago, and am now starting to wonder if there are some under-recognized qualities, restrictions, or concerns about TF-4 and how it interacts with other parts of the process?

15-Jun-2006, 17:26
I don't think the TF-4 formula is published but if you look at many of the colour fixers they seem to have similar pH etc.

15-Jun-2006, 19:23
I've been using it for years without any problems at all. It is not supposed to be overly different from TF-3, which is published in the Darkroom Cookbook. I use it for 4 minutes at 1:4 strength, as the bottle recommends - and water for a stop (acid stop will quickly kill this alkaline fixer). I have no idea what a stronger mix would do, but I do know that if film is overfixed, it can bleach some of the image. How long depends on the fixer, the film, the dilution, etc. What exactly is the problem you are having with it?

- Randy

Henry Ambrose
15-Jun-2006, 19:26
Seems to me that the only problem that your fixer could cause would be fixing problems for the film development and perhaps with fixing and toning your paper processing. If your film developer didn't work as you wished, the fixer didn't change that. Same for paper development. If your paper toned strangely it might have been the fixer.

Did you have fixing problems?
Did you have toning problems?
Did you otherwise resolve your problems listed above?

I've been using TF4 for 4-5 years with excellent results. It seems to fix fast and well and then washes out easily. That's all I want from a fixer.

Andre Noble
15-Jun-2006, 20:29
Upon troubleshooting problems I was having with Kentmere Bromide prints (after developing in Ansco 130 at 1:1 , Water stop, TF-4 fix, Selenium toning) was that the paper and emulsion would not stand up to the standard dry mount pressing process - 200F, 1 minute. The prints displayed what a few people later characterized as dimensional instability. The post dry mount-flattened prints showed parallel striations in the paper base and a scorched emulsion that would give a 'flaked' look when rubbed against. We troubleshooted EVERYTHING on APUG and it came down to one (or combination) of:

1) 3 hrs I used was too much total soak time for the paper. Manufacturer chimed in and said not to exceed 45 minutes total wash time - and hinted that my excessive wet time of 3 hrs. was source of problem.

2) Paper was actually defective product - others chimed in with similar experiences with some Kentmere papers.

3) Ph of developer and TF-4 fixer in combination with neutral water stop did funky things to paper substrate, and it wasn't a poblem with the paper itself. One or two people suggested this possibility.

WRT Pyro failures: getting prematurely oxidized part A of pyrocat HD, sometimes sudden failure of the developer days after it worked perfectly. Used TF-4 in processes, and it's stored in same cabinet i store grolsch bottles with Pyrocat HD developer A and B solutions.

My main concern about TF-4 is it's potential role in the problems I had with Kentmere paper.

Summer vacation is one week away so much of this I'll have time to sort out.

But I thought I'd ask about your experiences with TF-4 fixer to get some insight ahead of time.

Oren Grad
15-Jun-2006, 20:46
1) 3 hrs I used was too much total soak time for the paper. Manufacturer chimed in and said not to exceed 45 minutes total wash time - and hinted that my excessive wet time of 3 hrs. was source of problem.

That struck me as quite bizarre - not on your part, but on Kentmere's part. Accumulating prints in a holding tray over the duration of a printing session is such a common practice that it's hard to believe they offer a product that can't stand up to more than 45 minutes wet time. That's never been a problem with any FB paper I've ever used, and that includes product from Kodak, Ilford, Agfa, Oriental and Forte.

Andre Noble
15-Jun-2006, 21:21

Some people were faulting me for the three hours too. It's like, 'who babysits prints for exactly 45 minutes in a darkroom session?" Even though Kentmere recommended it, I couldn't manage, getting so caught up in the other things that go along with printing other images.

So this leads me to look at the possible developer pH/fixer pH/selenium toner causes for the paper breakdown. I was hard on Kentmere, but it may have affected some Ilford MGIV Fiber prints I processed simultaneously - I lost track at what point I swithched papers mid-session. but first run, it definitely affected the Kentmere

I would like to find the cause so I can clear up Kentmere, and even make an apology of sorts because their 'Bromide' is such an excellent-looking paper that beats Ilford's offering in appearance, in my opinion.

16-Jun-2006, 06:06
Didn't Kentmere tell you that the paper base is the same as Ilford's? I seem to remember that.

FWIW, I have not had similar problems with either paper - and I don't pay a lot of attention to how long the paper is in the wash. Maybe a couple of hours - certainly longer than 45 minutes. I use Ansco 130 and water stop, too. I do not use TF-4. For prints, I fix in plain sodium thiosulfate.

Tom Westbrook
16-Jun-2006, 07:02
I used TF-4 for a couple of years (Polymax, though) including dry mount @ 200F for 4 min sandwiched between preheated 2 ply museum board with no problems. I changed to TF-2 last winter, since the TF-4 odor was too strong for me. Maybe try TF-2 to see if it helps? It's a breeze to mix and has zero odor.

Keith Pitman
17-Jun-2006, 12:04
A friend had problems with yellow stains on Polymax which he attributed to TF4. He believed that it might have been the combination of Polymax, TF4 and the (Denver) water. The Formulary had never seen this problem and couldn't provide any insights to the problem. He finally gave up on TF4.