Tips – Fixer

Ah man its been so long since I posted on here…sorry if anybody was actually following it…!  This evening I wanted to share a few tips that I have picked up when developing y black nd white films.  I say share, I’m not sure who, if anybody else is reading this so its more likely just for my own reference…!

Anyway, when I first started developing I was using Ilford Rapid Fixer.  Well actually I still am.  But I was one shooting it.  Mix it up, use it for a session – which could be as little as one roll of 35mm, and then throw it out.  I realised fairly quickly that this was a ridiculous waste of both chemical and money so I started looking online about how many times you could reuse it before the chemical composition became exhausted.

You would not believe the debate that rages online about this across the various forums…!

Anyway, the best piece of advice I found, and would like to give to you actually came from one of my tutors at uni.  All you really need to do is drop in a cutting of undeveloped film into your fixer solution and watch it clear.  Those little leader sections that you cut off your film each time?  I keep them in a little tin –

I know from either experience or from the Massive Dev Chart (look it up, i’ll post about it another time maybe) what the clearing (fixing) time should be.  If you know say that your HP5+ should clear in 5 minutes for example then drop a piece of it in your fix, and check it in 5 minutes.  If its clear, your fix is good.  If not then you can wait until it is, noting the time taken and fix your roll accordingly.  Personally i’ll throw it out once it starts going past the correct guide time.
I hope this is of some use to somebody?  Let me know in the comments if you have any further thoughts.

Speak soon.


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