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Thread: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

  1. #1

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    How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    While developer activity is temperature dependent, how important is fixer temperature? Since I always make up working solutions of developer and stop bath at the beginning of a printing session, I have good control over their temperatures, but since I often re-use fixer from a storage container in my unfinished basement darkroom, it is at ambient temperature, which tends to be below 68F. Since I just finished a printing session, I was curious. (I have prints made over a 40-year period, and have not had any staining, so in all likelihood I can empirically answer my own question with a "not much" but was interested in the correct answer from someone who knows.)

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    Dang it...I was about to answer, but you tossed in that last bit about wanting a correct answer from someone who knows...
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    Very for film processing, variations in temperature can cause excessive graininess with some film, others may be fine.

    When I shoot in Turkey/Greece I find it easy keep my process within+/- 0.2ºC by working at the ambient water temperature (it takes no effort), when in the UK it's harder but does mean consistent high quality results.

    Ian

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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    It needs to be in the ballpark when developing film, otherwise you can get reticulation of the emulsion from a rapid temperature change. A few degrees isn't going to do it. And reticulating paper isn't easy.

    Like so many chemical reactions, I am sure warmer means a more rapid reaction, but I have never heard a suggestion that times be changed for paper to compensate for cooler fixer. I think with certain hard to clear emulsions you might notice it taking longer on film.

  5. #5

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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    Chemical reactions are slower at cooler temperatures. I once read that fixer becomes pretty much useless below 16° C/61° F. Unfortunately, I can't recall when or where I read that. Maybe someone "who knows" can comment :-)

    Michael

  6. #6

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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    If you look at publications such as Ilford's blurb on their rapid fix, it gives a 40 degree swing on acceptable temperatures. With no time adjustments. The lower end is around 60F.

  7. #7

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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    Kodak had mentioned in their photoguides long ago to keep all solutions within a +/- 2 deg range...

    Steve K

  8. #8

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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Kodak had mentioned in their photoguides long ago to keep all solutions within a +/- 2 deg range...

    Steve K
    +1!! I try to keep them pretty much at the same temp. Reticulation is not pretty!

  9. #9
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    Kodak had mentioned in their photoguides long ago to keep all solutions within a +/- 2 deg range...

    Steve K
    For ºF +/- 2º however for ºC +/- 1 is better and that includes the stop-bath and wash.

    Ian

  10. #10
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: How Critical is Fixer Temperature?

    Quote Originally Posted by IanG View Post
    Very for film processing, variations in temperature can cause excessive graininess with some film, others may be fine.
    This is my impression as well. When I first started processing film, I noticed a lot of variation in grain from one batch to the next. I had only been paying attention to developer temperature. From that point on I used water baths to get all the chems to within 1° and never had the problem again. This is hardly a scientific test, but suggests that at least in some circumstances temp variations can cause problems.

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