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Thread: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

  1. #1

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    Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    I'm in need some fresh chemicals, so on a whim I picked up a small bottle of Ilford Rapid Fix instead of my usual Kodak, basically because
    1. It's a liquid so it should be easy to mix.
    2. I want to be comfortable with options as recent Kodak/Alaris chemicals, D-76 in particular, has disappointed me with a regatta crud floating in the solution.
    3. It was cheaper than the Kodak Fixer---hey, it's the holidays and I've got a lot of expenses right now.

    Apparently one can lift the label to read the mixing instructions, but my label is unliftable.
    No big deal, I went on line and got the data straight from the horse's (Ilford's) mouth.

    Here are my issues

    1. I learned that it's a non-hardening fixer---that's new to me---does it matter that much for negatives? I know non-hardening is preferred when it comes to toning prints, but I won't be using this on prints (see below)
    2. Recommended wash time for fiber based paper is 60 minutes under running water. This is a no go as we're under drought restrictions here when it comes to water usage.

    So my Ilford Rapid Fix is only suitable for (my) negatives in my corner of the world. I'm good with that, but I wanted to ask any Ilford Rapid Fix users here what their practical experiences are with Ilford Rapid Fix.

    Thanks in advance.
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  2. #2

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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    Itís all you need. Hardening fixers are more or less from a bygone age and should really only be potentially useful if you are using delicate emulsions. Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford film emulsions are hardened during manufacture. Iím less certain about other stuff - Foma etc.

    If you are under water restrictions and printing FB, a hypo clearing agent which will make washing much faster. See Ilfordís FB paper processing instructions with hypo clearing agent for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    I'm in need some fresh chemicals, so on a whim I picked up a small bottle of Ilford Rapid Fix instead of my usual Kodak, basically because
    1. It's a liquid so it should be easy to mix.
    2. I want to be comfortable with options as recent Kodak/Alaris chemicals, D-76 in particular, has disappointed me with a regatta crud floating in the solution.
    3. It was cheaper than the Kodak Fixer---hey, it's the holidays and I've got a lot of expenses right now.

    Apparently one can lift the label to read the mixing instructions, but my label is unliftable.
    No big deal, I went on line and got the data straight from the horse's (Ilford's) mouth.

    Here are my issues

    1. I learned that it's a non-hardening fixer---that's new to me---does it matter that much for negatives? I know non-hardening is preferred when it comes to toning prints, but I won't be using this on prints (see below)
    2. Recommended wash time for fiber based paper is 60 minutes under running water. This is a no go as we're under drought restrictions here when it comes to water usage.

    So my Ilford Rapid Fix is only suitable for (my) negatives in my corner of the world. I'm good with that, but I wanted to ask any Ilford Rapid Fix users here what their practical experiences are with Ilford Rapid Fix.

    Thanks in advance.

  3. #3
    multi format
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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    hi John
    what Michael said, get some perma wash, it will save you water and time.

    have fun!
    John

  4. #4
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    ďYou often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.Ē
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  5. #5

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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...r-wise-washing

    Might give you some information.

    The soak and dump method has worked for many.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  6. #6

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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    Hardening fixer is helpful if there are differences in temperature during processing (especially if wash water is too warm during warmer months)... I have seen results from pro labs where hardening was not used and slight changes were leading to softening where frilling and reticulation could begin easily... And if film is wiped or rewashed, there was usually some damage or effect... And films could have a strange wave or flatness issue without being hardened... And film emulsions dried with heat can melt or distort if way too hot... I have seen others negs in the lab that the prints show an indistinct (or mushy) look, especially from summer processing...

    Full (chrome) or formalin hardening is not always needed, but there are other degrees of other hardeners one can brew up...

    Steve K

  7. #7

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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R View Post
    Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford film emulsions are hardened during manufacture. Iím less certain about other stuff - Foma etc.
    All photographic emulsions are hardened. The only question is, by how much. There are distinct differences here and indeed it appears (subjective assessment) that Foma's film and paper tend to be less hardened than e.g. Kodak's. In any case, a hardening fixer is not necessary for film. It won't hurt either, but it serves no particular purpose in normal use of the material.


    Concerning washing: there's no reason why Ilford's fix would require more or more extended washing than e.g. Kodak's. In fact, comparing an acid hardening fixer (such as Kodak's) with an acid non-hardening fixer, the latter would logically do fine with shorter washing instead of requiring longer wash times. This is mostly relevant for paper and only if the emulsion isn't already hardened to such an extent that additional hardening makes no discernible difference anymore. Sorry, I can't comment to what extent this will be the case, but what still stands is that there's no reason why Ilford fix would require more washing than Kodak's. That one manufacturer gives different wash times can have several underlying reasons which don't necessarily relate to the fixer itself, but rather stem from acceptable trace silver and fixer residues in washed prints, tested paper, nature of the wash routine (especially temperature) etc.

    If water consumption is a concern, consider a wash regime that uses no permanent stream of water but rather relies on staged washing where a fixed and potentially very limited quantity of water is used, with agitation, and changed a couple of times. Wash tests have been performed many times over the years, some of this data is easily accessible online, and quite informative. 'Wash curves' clearly show invariably that (1) a perfect wash doesn't exist and (2) there is a very distinct/extreme law of diminishing returns. I.e. the majority of the washing happens in the first stage of the process, with the remainder of the process serving to reduce remaining traces only marginally. How this qualitative description works out quantitatively depends of course again on the wash regime, materials and process parameters. More agitation = better washing, higher temperature = faster washing, more changes of water = better washing...all within certain limits and there are dependencies between these (and other) parameters. Finally the use of a wash-aid, typically sodium sulfite, has been proven to be very effective indeed and can cut water requirements roughly in half if memory serve. It is indeed perfectly feasible to wash with very high effectiveness while using only a very minimal amount of water. It does take some effort (agitation) and attention to detail, and as such it's a more involved process than just having the paper drift in a tray with a permanent stream of water going through it, which is of course the easiest but also the most wasteful method.

  8. #8

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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    Thanks guys!
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  9. #9

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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    The amount of washing you need depends heavily on the time in the fixer and if you tone or not. The Ilford page on optimum permanence has all the details: https://www.ilfordphoto.com/ilford-o...nce-fb-papers/ If you go the shortest route, you can get away with one five-minute wash before the wash aid and one five-minute wash after. If you tone, you need a longer final wash (30 min.).

    FWIW, I use Ilford Rapid Fixer at the weaker, "print" dilution (1+9), use two-bath fixation, use hypo-clear and wash for 60 minutes. That doesn't mean I use a whole heck of a lot of water. A low-flow archival washer uses little water in 60 minutes. If you turn off the flow and let prints soak for part of the time, then dump and fill the washer, you can save even more.

    Test the efficiency of your washing with a test for residual hypo (Kodak HT-2) to streamline your workflow.

    Best,

    Doremus

  10. #10

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    Re: Ilford Rapid Fix considerations

    Let's not mix-up film and FB paper... Different requirements as film base is non permeable to chems, but paper base can catch/release chems + thiosulfate compounds (slowly)...

    Research each separately...

    Steve K

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