Non-hardening fixer

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by craig_shearman|1, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. My local shop was out of Kodak Rapid Fixer yesterday so I picked up a bottle of Ilford Rapid Fixer. When I got it home, I realized that is does not include hardener. It's active ingredient is even something other than traditional hypo. If I use this with film, do I risk that my negatives will be easily scratched? I know there are non-hardening fixers but I've been used Kodak Rapid Fixer for so long I don't recall ever using a non-hardening fixer.
  2. I have been using the Photographers' Formulary Rapid Archival Fixer which has no hardener either, and I have been careful, but it seems many films nowadays are fairly 'hard' even without the hardener.
    Like your Ilford, it's a paper fixer, but works just fine for film as well. It is recommended for T-Max films, but I have used it with no problems for Plus-X, Tri-X, Ilford, etc.
    Just use caution and all should be well.
  3. I can't remember the last time I used old school fixer with hardener - probably in college during the early 1980s. Since then I've used only rapid fixer, mostly Ilford Hypam. No problems with scratched negatives using Kodak and Ilford films, but I try to avoid handling the emulsion and never squeegee. Even Efke R100, which some folks report as being soft, hasn't shown any scratches. But that's the only Efke film I've used.
    But if you plan to try b&w films other than Kodak or Ilford, check with Robert Vonk or someone else who has experience with Efke, Rollei branded films, etc., for recommendations about hardening fixer.
  4. According to the MSDS, both Ilford and Kodak use the same main ingredient in their rapid fixers: ammonium thiosulfate. So I guess I don't understand your comment "It's (sic) active ingredient is even something other than traditional hypo."
    Are you are referring to sodium thiosulfate? It was used as the first fixer. But I'm not aware of its use in any "rapid" fixer.
  5. I have never used a hardener and never have had an issue with scratching using Agfa, Ilford and Fuji. Sleeved twenty year old 67 negs scan clean.
  6. The only films that aren't hardened in manufacturing are the "classic" Efke films. Non-hardening fixers give you shorter washing times.
    You can, of course, mix Kodak Rapid Fixer as non-hardening by not adding the hardener bottle's contents.
  7. I've used Ilford Rapid Fixer (Hypam) for almost thirty years and never used a hardener except for those occasional films which are 'soft'. Practically all modern films are tough enough not to need a hardener.
  8. Thanks for all the responses. I'll use it and not worry.

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