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Thread: Determining PRINT fixing time.

  1. #1

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    Determining PRINT fixing time.

    There’s lots of information and opinions out there about determining the correct fixing time for film.
    There most prevalent is the “clip test” where one takes a piece of film and places it in the fixer and then tracks the amount of time for the film to completely clear. One then takes that time and multiples it by 2 and that is the proper time to fix the film.

    OK, that’s great and that is the procedure I have used for years.

    Now for prints there is no similar procedure that I am aware of.

    One can test prints for residual fixer after washing to determine the correct washing time.
    So, as far as I know there is no way to accurately determine fixing time for prints.
    Yes, I know there is the suggested times that company’s print on the instructions.
    For example, Kodak powered fixer says 5-10 minutes for proper fixing. That’s a big range from my point of view.

    My question is this:
    What do you folks do to determine the most accurate fixing times. For example, if you use a two bath fixing process, do you fix for 3 minutes in the first bath and then 2 minutes in the second bath?

    Thanks for any feedback
    Gary
    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." - H. Jackson Brown

  2. #2
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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    You can determine whether paper is completely fixed by pulling it from the fixer at the time you are testing, rinsing it to remove the fixer, turning on the light to expose it and then dropping it into the developer again to see whether the paper darkens - in other words, whether there was any unexposed/undeveloped silver left in the paper when you pulled it from the fixer.

  3. #3

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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    Papers have thinner emulsions than films, so the time that's good for films will be good for papers.

  4. #4

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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    Normal fixing times for paper are usually indicated on the bottle of fixer. Generally they are between 30 seconds and 2 minutes depending on dilution and paper type.

  5. #5

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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    Formulary makes a residual fixer test for determining if any silver remains in prints. Haven't used it yet (forgot to order last time). They also make a test for testing wash efficiency.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  6. #6

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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    Quote Originally Posted by gary892 View Post
    My question is this:
    What do you folks do to determine the most accurate fixing times. For example, if you use a two bath fixing process, do you fix for 3 minutes in the first bath and then 2 minutes in the second bath?
    With two bath fixing I use the usual procedure.

    > Take nominal recommended fixing time from fixer manufacturer

    > Spend half of the fixing time in the first bath and the the other half in the second bath.

    > (of course) When you detect exhausting condition in the first bath then dump away the first bath, move second bath chem to the first bath, and fill second bath with fresh fixer.

    As second bath remains almost fresh it works as a safety factor to get a perfect fixing without extending fixing time, what would impose a longer washing.

    Remember that the fixer exhaustion depends on how white are your prints, so (with two baths) to get an optimal yield you only need any test to detect near end of life in the first bath.

    A good practice (not often used) is, before moving the print to the second bath, dipping the print in the wash for a few seconds ...in that way we don't move silver from the first bath to the second one, this is to ensure an ultra perfect job, as each wet print may move several ml of 1st bath chem to the 2nd one, this would be specially interesting when first bath is close to end of life.

    Two baths are great !

  7. #7
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    For 30 years I have been fixing prints it pretty much like already described here:
    https://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/A.../archival.html

  8. #8

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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    5 - 10 minutes is vague I agree, perhaps the answer is to not use Kodak powdered fixer

  9. #9

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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply to my question.

    The responses are along the line of what I expected.

    I like Oren Grad's suggestion of fixing, washing, exposing to light then redeveloping to see if anything darkens. I have never thought of that and will give that a try.

    I have used a two bath fix with a water tray between the two for nearly 30 years. A friend of mine recommended that process and I started using it.

    My current times for fixing are: 3 min. first fix, 30 -60 sec. rinse in water tray and the final fix is 2 min. then several rinses before hypo clear then one more rinse, then final wash.

    I am always open to improving my work flow and of course my photography. I am not one who thinks I know it all. I am in a constant state of learning, even after 30-35 years of photography.


    Thanks again for all the responses.

    Gary
    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." - H. Jackson Brown

  10. #10

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    Re: Determining PRINT fixing time.

    There's so many good ways to fix prints, I lean towards 2 bath method when doing a lot of prints.

    If you want good advice look at Ilford's recommendation and follow it to the letter. This process works well when doing a few prints at a time. Short fixing time in Fresh Film strength, non-hardening rapid fixer, use oy hypo clear and quickly washing.

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