what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

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slashmaster
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what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by slashmaster » Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:20 am

What's supposed to happen when you process film in fixer well over the recommended 4 minutes? I've got outdated black and white negative which has a lot of haze when processed 8 or 9 minutes in developer then 4 minutes in fixer. What's supposed to be dark is dark but what's supposed to be clear is more of a gray. So I thought I would try 9 minutes in developer and 8 minutes in fixer. This time, what's supposed to be clear is actually clearer (although not as much as I'd like) but seems like maybe what's supposed to be dark isn't as dark? Also seemed like the film had a very slight blue tint this time. Is this what's supposed to happen when you fix longer than normal?

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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by Mana » Sat Dec 12, 2015 4:44 pm

You can try soaking and re fixing again. I've never heard that you can over fix.
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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by nikonr10 » Sat Dec 12, 2015 5:59 pm

Mana wrote:You can try soaking and re fixing again. I've never heard that you can over fix.
Seems to be that its your film stock ! How old is this out of date film /And how has it been stored over the years , To many factors at play ? also how are you loading film into the camera , To many details to cover in a forum post ?

Why don.t you try with some fresh film stock and see what happens ?

As a rule you can not over fix Film/ but you can under fix .

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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by slashmaster » Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:45 pm

Mana wrote:You can try soaking and re fixing again. I've never heard that you can over fix.
Thanks Mana!
Even though it's been a couple weeks since I processed it I can still put it back in?

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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by slashmaster » Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:04 pm

nikonr10 wrote:
Mana wrote:You can try soaking and re fixing again. I've never heard that you can over fix.
Seems to be that its your film stock ! How old is this out of date film /And how has it been stored over the years , To many factors at play ? also how are you loading film into the camera , To many details to cover in a forum post ?

Why don.t you try with some fresh film stock and see what happens ?

As a rule you can not over fix Film/ but you can under fix .
Thanks Nikonr10.


It's 4x negative from about 1985. Still have 4 more 100ft cans. They have condensation stains on the cans and boxes like they've been stored in a fridge. I usually pull the film out of the fridge for an hour or more then load it in the camera while in a closet, at the 50 ft mark I go in the closet again and load the film from the takeup reel directly onto the lomo tank reel, then process.

Oh yeah, I did try processing some fresh tri-x as a negative. The results were the edges had a slight purple haze to it but much clearer than the outdated 4-x. Maybe my fixer is a bit too weak?

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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by Mana » Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:46 pm

slashmaster wrote:
Mana wrote:You can try soaking and re fixing again. I've never heard that you can over fix.
Thanks Mana!
Even though it's been a couple weeks since I processed it I can still put it back in?
Don't see why not? Wouldn't hurt. Try soak it for 10 min water, then fix 10 min. Maybe agitate every minute.
slashmaster wrote:[Maybe my fixer is a bit too weak?
I think if your asking, you should mix some fresh fixer!
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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by Mana » Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:48 pm

slashmaster wrote: Oh yeah, I did try processing some fresh tri-x as a negative. The results were the edges had a slight purple haze to it but much clearer than the outdated 4-x. Maybe my fixer is a bit too weak?
Purple haze on the Tri X sounds like weak fixer or not enough time.
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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by Simon Lucas » Sun Dec 13, 2015 1:14 am

To fix film adequately, place a blank strip of film in the fixer in daylight. Agitate as normal. Time just how long it takes to go perfectly clear. Double that time when you fix your film.

You can repeat this any time you think your fixer is becoming exhausted. When the clearing time is doubled from when it fresh, then it is exhausted.

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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by richard p. t. » Sun Dec 13, 2015 2:42 am

Hi Slashmaster et al,
is it possible to over fix? In workshops, I usually tell people a resounding 'no'. However that isn't quite true. But what I want them to grasp is that all the processes in photography other than the first time a film hits a developer, are processes 'to completion' - ie., they do their job until they have no more job to do, beyond which, they have nothing more they can do.
The developer has developed (or 'reduced') some of the original silver halide into metalic silver. The job of the fixer is to dissolve away the silver halide that remains. I am no chemist, but I can say the fixer works by converting the remaining silver halide into a number of complex thiosulphate silver compounds. Apparently just which complex thiosulphate silver compound forms depends on how much silver is already in the fixer. When there is a lot of silver in the fixer (when it has already been used a lot) some of the complex thiosulphate silver compounds formed can be insoluble. The image will still look clear (the silver halide will be dissolved away) but there may well be a problem with the longevity of the image. Beyond that, the fixer will get to a point where it ceases to dissolve the silver halide at all - the image won't clear.
Thiosulphate is a silver solvent. I don't know if there are more, but there are two thiosulphate compounds used for fixers - either Sodium thiosulphate or Amonium thiosulphate. The latter I believe is the thiosulphate in products called 'rapid fixer'. Also, according to kodak you need to use Amonium thiosulphate with ECN, but you can substitute Sodium thiosulphate with ECP (colour print). I THINK that Amonium thiosulphate is needed when there is a greater proportion of Silver iodide in the emulsion (Silver iodide being the other main Silver halide used in photography in addition to Silver bromide. Silver chloride is I believe hardly used these days at all. It was used in 'printing out' papers which are no longer made).
Anyway, thiosulphate can eat into the thin silver in the highlight areas of an image. Amonium thiosulphate I believe has a greater propensity to do this. I think this is the main reason for not over fixing. Also, certainly with fixing photographic papers, but perhaps also with acetate, though probably not with polyester based film, the longer you are in the fixer, the more fixer itself will absorb into the base, the longer it will need to wash to get that fixer out. Having said that, I have never noticed a problem with over fixing of films (but 'noticed' is the operative word here).
One other thing about over fixing: Kodak says that with colour films, over fixing can cause the cyan dye to go into its 'luco' form. This is its 'invisible' form. They say this can be corrected by putting the film back in the bleach.
Back to your film, if there is a hazyness, there is one of two possibilities that come to mind. Either the haze is developed silver. This would simply be fog due to age. Or if its not developed silver, it is undissolved silver halide from inadequate fixing.
Find out. Take the end of your piece of hazy film and dunk it in some fresh fixer for a minute or two. Wash and let it dry. Can you see a difference in the amount of haze between where it was refixed and where it wasn't? If so, its silver halide and you have under fixed the film and simply need to do it again (yes, you can do it again its no problem). If not, then its silver and its base fog.
hope that helps or is of some interest
cheers,
richard
I run Nano Lab - Australia's super8 ektachrome processing service
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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by slashmaster » Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:32 am

Thank you Mana, Simon Lucas and Richard p.t.

I just finished doing what you guys told me to do and took pics. Mana, I tried soaking the film in water a little over 10 minutes then put it back in the fixer. I agitated once a minute for 10 minutes then took the lid off to check. Couldn't see an impovement, so did it for a half hour, still couldn't see an improvement. Gave up after an hour but cut a short piece off and left it in the bottle over 24 hours. https://www.facebook.com/ShildFilm/phot ... =3&theater
Still have yet to see an improvement. I guess once you stop fixing it's very difficult to restart? Oh yeah, tried this with the tri-x I already processed too, can't see an improvement on it either.

I thought maybe my fixer is bad so I put a fresh piece of film in and it went clear although with a purple tint https://www.facebook.com/ShildFilm/phot ... =3&theater

Here is one out of the bottle after I washed off the fixer it's as clear as it's gotten so far. It seems less purple than when it was in the bottle. So Richard, are you saying that if I did an even better job washing the fixer off it would be even clearer?https://www.facebook.com/ShildFilm/phot ... =3&theater

Oh yeah, one more thing, here is my bottle of developer after processing about 150 feet of film. Looks dirty, is it ok to keep using developer like this?
https://www.facebook.com/ShildFilm/phot ... =3&theater

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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by richard p. t. » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:24 pm

stopping and starting fixing isn't a problem.
your films are fully fixed. the base colour you can see is just the colour of the film base plus fog. That is normal.
Very few black and white films have an actually clear base. Black and white print stock does. Adox super 8 does. Fomapan R100 I think does. 7363 hi con does. But negative stocks don't and Kodak Tri-x and Plus-x reversal don't and neither does orwo UN54. Sound neg also doesn't have a clear base.
What you are seeing is just base colour plus fog.
cheers,
rt
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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by richard p. t. » Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:26 pm

As for washing, no, you won't see any difference with a short wash or a very long wash. Even with a wash that is very inadequate the film will still be 'clear' (ie the densest areas will be base plus fog).
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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by slashmaster » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:41 am

richard p. t. wrote:stopping and starting fixing isn't a problem.
your films are fully fixed. the base colour you can see is just the colour of the film base plus fog. That is normal.
Very few black and white films have an actually clear base. Black and white print stock does. Adox super 8 does. Fomapan R100 I think does. 7363 hi con does. But negative stocks don't and Kodak Tri-x and Plus-x reversal don't and neither does orwo UN54. Sound neg also doesn't have a clear base.
What you are seeing is just base colour plus fog.
cheers,
rt
Richard, thank you so much for the advice!.

I've got some very real world pics I want you to take a look at. I'm trying to do a digital to film transfer, these are my first 2 attempts. I'm trying to push the brights brighter and darks darker. Filmed this off my monitor with a Bolex at 8fps and f-2.8 been thinking about what to try next. I'm thinking if I use an external motor to film even slower but process in developer a minute or 2 less I'll get a better image? https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... ploaded=13

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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by richard p. t. » Tue Dec 15, 2015 3:59 am

I looked at your images there. I think you are using bw negative film and processing in a normal neg developer like D76 or similar.
To get a 'normal' amount of contrast, you will need to use a much higher contrast film/developer combination.
If you want to stick with 'direct' processing (just dev and fix), rather than reversal processing, then I still think you should use something like Tri-X or UN54 and process in D19. If you can't mix D19, using Dektol (which is prepackaged) might be enough. Note that Tri-X doesn't have a clear base like print stock. It has a slightly grey base. But it is nonetheless a normal stock to project with.
If you went the other way and did a reversal process, your problem would be the opposite - you would be asking how to reduce contrast. You'd do that by reducing the contrast on the monitor.
cheers,
richard
I run Nano Lab - Australia's super8 ektachrome processing service
- visit nanolab.com.au
richard@nanolab.com.au

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Re: what's supposed to happen when you overfix film?

Post by slashmaster » Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:03 am

richard p. t. wrote:I looked at your images there. I think you are using bw negative film and processing in a normal neg developer like D76 or similar.
To get a 'normal' amount of contrast, you will need to use a much higher contrast film/developer combination.
If you want to stick with 'direct' processing (just dev and fix), rather than reversal processing, then I still think you should use something like Tri-X or UN54 and process in D19. If you can't mix D19, using Dektol (which is prepackaged) might be enough. Note that Tri-X doesn't have a clear base like print stock. It has a slightly grey base. But it is nonetheless a normal stock to project with.
If you went the other way and did a reversal process, your problem would be the opposite - you would be asking how to reduce contrast. You'd do that by reducing the contrast on the monitor.
cheers,
richard

Yes, that is bw negative processed in d-76... Maybe for my 4th attempt I'll get D19 or Dektol but I want to see what happens when I fully crank the monitors contrast first. Didn't know tri-x doesn't have a clear base, that explains why the edges didn't come clear when I processed it as a negative like I was expecting.

By the way, one thing about this film that is a lot better than I was expecting is the registration. It's the best I've ever gotten! I guess the slower the camera films the better the registration becomes? Maybe it will be even better when I try filming even slower? Anyway thanks for all your help. I'll post more pics like that sometime soon:)

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