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Old 4th May 2022, 08:29 AM
rouleur rouleur is offline
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Default Alkaline fixer with RC paper

Are there any advantages with using alkaline fixers with RC paper? Ilford Rapid fixer will fix in 30 seconds, and wash in 2 minutes so is capacity the only consideration?
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Old 4th May 2022, 10:29 AM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Interesting question, rouleur, but based on what I know, I'd have thought that the answer is very little if anything as the fixer does not get embedded in the fibres as it does with FB paper

The "very little" might be covered by cost differences between Rapid Fixers and alkaline fixer but I don't there is an advantage with alkaline here either

Mike
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Old 4th May 2022, 12:56 PM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is offline
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I doubt there are any real advantages with alkaline fixer on RC.

Both fixing and washing times are sufficiently shot as to be none issues.

Question - what advantages were you looking for ?

The other thing to consider - if alkaline fixers offered a significant advantage over conventional rapid fixers - then Ilford & Co would make alkaline fixers their standard fixer.

Martin
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Old 8th May 2022, 07:46 AM
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paddy paddy is offline
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Can you still get alkali fixer, I still have some fotospeed stuff left but probably gone off now
Itís best with film, but probably not important for RC paper, I would use it on fibre though
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Old 8th May 2022, 10:22 AM
Stocky Stocky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paddy View Post
Can you still get alkali fixer, I still have some fotospeed stuff left but probably gone off now
Itís best with film, but probably not important for RC paper, I would use it on fibre though
Alkaline or neutral fixer lasts well. Acid fixers are subject to breakdown as evidenced by white or yellow precipitate of sulphur.

Agfa FX-Universal (pH around 7) from 2005 is still pristine.
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Old 13th May 2022, 11:36 AM
JOReynolds JOReynolds is offline
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I don't bother with a stop bath - never have done. Acid fix stops development quickly and effectively, without staining. Its pH, easily measured with litmus paper, is a rough-and-ready way of assessing its effectiveness as a fix. This applies to both film, RC paper and fibre. I suspect that alkaline fix is absent from catalogues is because it has no particular purpose, so no-one buys it, so there's no point in stocking or advertising it.
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Old 13th May 2022, 10:57 PM
Stocky Stocky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOReynolds View Post
I don't bother with a stop bath - never have done. Acid fix stops development quickly and effectively, without staining. Its pH, easily measured with litmus paper, is a rough-and-ready way of assessing its effectiveness as a fix. This applies to both film, RC paper and fibre. I suspect that alkaline fix is absent from catalogues is because it has no particular purpose, so no-one buys it, so there's no point in stocking or advertising it.
For fibre based paper, an acid stop bath can be useful in avoiding staining.

There have been alkaline fixers available mainly in the USA, but a fixer to be optimum doesn't need to be significantly alkaline. Close to neutral is fine. So C-41 fixer for colour negative processing is excellent. Mostly it's very slightly acid like Kodak Flexicolor (pH around 6.5). It used to be cheaper than mainstream "black and white" fixer but with the decline in colour film use and the collapse of Kodak it's harder to obtain. There's a Fuji version but the price advantage isn't there (at least here in Australia).

For what it's worth, neutral fixer smells a lot less which might be a good enough reason to use it.
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Old 14th May 2022, 08:21 AM
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skellum skellum is offline
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RC paper is designed to be hardy and easy to use, so I take full advantage of that.
I don't use stop with RC paper, and fix in Hypam 1+9. Prints then get thrown into a holding tray with fresh water to be batch-washed at the end of the session.
Four or five changes of tepid water in the tray, then hung to dry. I have prints 35+ years old handled this way looking fine.

Fibre paper is very different. Ilford stop bath for 1 minute, fix 1+9 for 2 minutes, then drain, rinse to remove surface fix and into holding tray.
All my fibre prints are treated with Kodak Hypo-clear. I've found that skimping on either the stop or wash-aid increases the chance of staining considerably. Bearing in mind the cost of FB paper, and the time it takes to wash, I can't see any point cutting corners. When using FB paper the last hour of one of my printing sessions is just washing.

Alkali fix is something I hear more and more about. Initially in reading about staining developers, where alkali fix was claimed to preserve the stain better. All I can say is that using PMK and Hypam together my negatives have all the stain I could want.
What advantage could be gained from using alkali fix with RC paper I can't imagine. Perhaps the question should be, what 'problem' do we think Alkali fix is addressing?
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