Use no stop bath!

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by rick_jones|5, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. A poster whom I greatly respect recently stated "use no water or stop bath and go straight to the fix. Either has the effect of diluting the developer and increasing grain". Once the image is formed at the development sage I just don't understand how a water bath or acid stop bath could effect the grain. Is this something I should be able to see in an 8X10 print from a 35mm negative? Before I start experimenting I would appreciate some input from folks a lot more experienced than I.
  2. I've never used stop bath, but always use a water rinse between developing and fixing. I've never seen a problem with grain in this process and don't really see how there could be.
  3. Development is not the only part of the process that can affect the appearance of the grain; washing in too hot water, for instance, is said to influence apparent grain size.
    That said, I also do not use stop bath, just a water rinse before fixing. No problems.
  4. With the old process camera and lith films and papers; skipping the stop bath would ruin the fixer radically quicker.
    This is with Kodagraph developer and Rapid Fixer. One kept track of the square footage thru the process; and the dates to determine when to dump the fixer into the silver recover tanks.
    If one cheated and didnt use a stop bath the prints might all appear fine even after washing and dried. Then one would get a call from the local courthouse and have to redo the plat maps months later; as they would get brown spots.
    In the two instantances this happened a new employee had disobeyed strict rules to use stop bath; and thus created a several thousand dollar job-redo; time and money lost.
    Thus two employee got fired for cause for this jackassery; skimping on an old archival process; turning out work that failed in time. Work that had to be redone at a costly expense.
    Both employees had clear rules to follow they chose to be cocky and ruin the process; thus they were fired for cause.

    It is ok to fart around can not use stop bath if its your own amateur stuff.
    If its a pro lab and you do this; consider the bosses issue with rework costs; customer goodwill over brown streaks; or getting fired for cause for not following rules. Consider what happens if you skip part of a process that is 50 years old and works. Consider that if you artist photographer teacher got away with dropping stop bath in their process; it might not work with stronger lith developer. Consider that the old lady at the courthouse wants the images to last along time; like the ones we did in 1955 that are not brown yet.
  5. I agree with Kelly on this. For god's sake, stop bath is dirt cheap, so why not just use it? Why dilute/contaminate one's fixer before it's time. And what is saved by not stop-bathing? What is at risk if one does not? For a few cents a gallon, I stop-bath.
  6. I always use a stop bath because I want to be able to repeat a good print. So I develop for 1 min. (RC) and 2 min. (Fiber) untill I get a print I like. With Stop bath, I am certasin that once the print is in the stop, development has ceased. If I come back months or years later and I want to print the same print, I am confident that the result will repeat. That is the purpose of Stop Bath. If repetition is not an issue, then water is fine.
  7. Both methods seem to work well with photographers of all abilities. This arguement, like rectangular or square format, film v digital, will rage forever.
  8. Without knowing the context I can't say for sure, but that sounds like really bad advice. Processing is a process, and each step has to be considered as part of the whole. There's a huge body of both chemical knowledge, and practical experience, that says the stop bath performs an essential function in a traditional alkaline developer/acid fixer system, and the smart worker won't succumb to popular notions that there's something "bad" about it. OTOH, if you're using an alkaline fixer system like Photographers Formulary TF-4, you would typically use several rinses of fresh water, not an acid stop bath. In any case, you'd never go directly from developer to fixer. IMO, the grain argument referred to is nonsense. If you want fine grain, fine tune your processing so you use the shortest development times consistent with producing an excellent print.
  9. I always use stop bath. When I take my monthly shower I immediately jump out if my wife gives me a bar of soap!
    Seriously, what's wrong with stop bath?
    Doesn't neutralizing the developing chemicals make sense so as the fixing chemicals can perform without being attacked?
  10. I've always used a stop bath with no ill effects.
  11. I hesitate to admit that I seldom use stop bath, because I don't want others to KenRockwell me: IOW, take every word I say as gospel without giving it any critical thought.
    With development times shorter than 10 minutes (other than with Diafine), I do use stop bath. Timing is critical with short development times. Even an extra 30 seconds of slowed development due to using a water rinse can make the difference between negatives that are perfect and negs that are just a bit too contrasty and grainy. And when printing I *always* use stop bath.
    But since I prefer more leisurely development times and tend to gear my dilutions toward that, yeh, I'll confess, I use water rinses. Fill the tank, agitate aggressively, lather, rinse, repeat. And push processing is already breaking all the rules anyway, so what if I use water rather than stop bath after developing for 20 minutes to two hours?
    Bad Lex. No biscuit for you.
  12. But RINSE though correct?
    I'm with you....I keep my Dev times longer and always use a Water rinse for the Stop.
    Then TF4 Fixer.
  13. Seems some folks above are talking film and others prints. Film I just use a water bath (or two) and prints I use a stop bath.
  14. Lex confirms my point that you have to look at the whole process. His dilutions are tolerant of less neutralization, and he's successful with just a water rinse. Failing to use a proper stop bath with stronger brews brings to mind a UK phrase I once heard, "scary biscuits"!
  15. I must not have framed my question very clearly because only one poster got the point of my post. An earlier posting to another question asserted that using a water or acid stop bath between the developer and fix HAD THE EFFECT OF INCREASING GRAIN. It was therefore suggested the film be moved directly from the developer to the fix. I just didn't see how that could effect the grain but wanted to hear from others on the subject. Because that post was made by someone I really respect I chose not to dismiss it out of hand and so opened this thread. Sorry for all the confusion.
  16. The tales I have heard about not using stop bath long ago were directed to grain; and maybe sharpness using dinky roll and 35mm films.I have heard alot more tales and preaching than seen any real data; thus maybe its more like bigfoot or UFOs; or Scully and Mulder stuff.
    Other related issues are type of fixer; PINHOLES; spots on negatives
    PINHOLES have to be retouched out with a lith process camera negative.
    Some folks do not like acid fixers either
    Obvously with the process camera with 2x to 4x enlargerments using asa 6 films this not an issue; ie grain.
    Some of us have used just water as a shot stop at times; ie an emergency.
    The purpose of stop bath is to halt development and not ruin fixer.
    Maybe this question is like hair color; one skips the Saturday bath and thus has one day more on the hair?;but one has more BO and thus has issues with ones girlfriend or wive Saturday evening; ie one stinks.
    Skipping part of a 150 year old process such as a stop bath can be explored; maybe one has a minor gain and a loss too.
  17. I've never had problems with grain, even though I use stop when I develop film. But I've never done a direct comparison. And I am inclined to stay with what has worked for me - unless I see convincing evidence to the contrary.
    Perhaps those who have demonized stop bath have controlled tests that they could share. Otherwise I'd chalk it up as an urban myth.
  18. When I do use an acid stop bath. that is with and development time under 10 minutes as lex said I use plain white vinager diluted with water to make it about 2% . But I use Water rince for Diafine and any thing over the 10.
  19. I 've always used an acid stop bath and continue to do so. However, with some developers with a high carbonate content, the carbon dioxide produced when they come into contact with an acid can cause microscopic disruption of the emulsion. Since I use Rodinal, which uses potassium hydroxide as the alkali, then it's no problem. Other than that I have no evidence that an acid stop can have any significant effect on grain.
  20. jtk


    Stop is necessary with very short development times...Ethol 90 for example (90second development).
  21. An earlier posting to another question asserted that using a water or acid stop bath between the developer and fix HAD THE EFFECT OF INCREASING GRAIN.​
    Why not do a test and answer this question yourself? Develop one roll of film using a stop bath and another going straight to the fix. That's how anecdotes are proved or disproved in science.
  22. I think Thomas hit it right. So much re: grain depends on the the film, developer, EI, agitation, length of time in the dev, etd., that IMHO, the grain produced by stop bath is secondary.
  23. Maybe under extremist or laboratory observations this might be noticeable, but I cannot see it impacting the average viewer. In all of my readings, I have never seen a crucial, immediate warning about stop bath composition before. It's not like a "vinegar and water" or "just water" decision is going to ruin the image.
    I think if you build the picture with overall strong composition and semi-decent processing, this kind of thing won't bother the end result much. Good luck, though. Standardization and testing are the keys to darkroom troubleshooting. J.
  24. If you develop manualy and dev. times are more then 6 - 7 minutes, given film was not exposed extreme accurate for extreme accurate and repeatable results, stop bath has little importance and if any will prevent pollution of fixer with dev. rests. Most of fixers today are acid anyway. If film was not rinsed well after dev. the rests of chemicals may react with fixer and towards the end of bath capasity you may start geting not very clean negs, which some folks may see as less grany or sort of creative cool. Well exposed and processed 35mm neg on TMX should normaly give you 20X24 full frame dark room traditional print with no visible grane seen from 2m distance in good light.
    There may be some small variations between TMX and DELTA material compared to TP, TX, FP5+&Co. best guarantee is to use native chems all the way and within their specified capasity.
    But, hey, if you really respect somebody..
  25. It's amazing that Kodak, Fuji, or Ilford never issued any warning about using Stop Bath and its affect on grain. I can't believe it was because they would have lost market share for a product, acetic acid, that could be purchased in any drug store.
    In all those years I shot film, thousands of rolls of Tri-X and Plus-X, I never had any problems. Every studio I worked in required stop bath when processing B&W film. There was a high demand for quality. Taking short cuts were not allowed.
    It seems someone would have noticed a problem during more then a century of professional darkroom work. This late in the game for a well established process makes this conversation rather humorous from my perspective.
    Have a happy holiday whatever it may be.
  26. My buddies at APUG might have a take on this subtle issue
  27. jtk


    Glenn, Happy Whatever to you, too!
    I don't use stop bath because my development time is usually above an hour and my developer's highly dilute (stand processed Rodinal 1+100) ... I rinse at developer temp before fix at developer temp.
    Certainly, with a tank processing line (as opposed to 500cc Nikor tank/reel), I'd use a stop.
    I lurve vinegar but prefer it balsamic, with olive oil.
  28. I have not developed a film for some years but please remember the critical factor is ensuring all liquids are at the same temperature.
    Too many of my previous friends would just slosh a stop bath medium into a measure of tap water with no attention to the temperature or strength of dilution. But even then, I would very much doubt if this would lead to a change in grain but would most probably lead to reticulation which is often mistaken for grain if it occurs in a minute strength and which can also be repeated if you rinse in running tap water immediately after the developer bath.
    Always use a stop bath but ensure it is not in an aggressive strength, check your temperatures and ensure your procedures are repeated identically and your results should be fine.
  29. At one time the use of an acid stop bath was thought to cause pinholes on the negative. With modern film this is never a problem. The stop bath is a good idea in order to preserve the life of the fixer.
  30. I don't use acid stop with EFKE and ADOX films for this reason. they are real old school films but look great in Rodinal. I got pinholes with some I used recently using acid stop.
  31. If the specific question is whether there's a difference in grain between stop bath and water, I'd say, nope, not in my experience. Even with pushed film I've seen nothing to indicate an effect on grain. And I've never experienced the pinhole effect or other peculiarities in emulsions.
    Years ago, as a reporter/photographer, I usually shot Tri-X at 800 and souped it in HC-110 dilution B, because it was quick. Sometimes I'd warm up the solution to speed things up to meet deadline. I always used a stop bath because timing is critical with short development times. Later, when not under deadline, I used a similar technique without the stop bath, just using water. No difference in grain.
    Same with other combinations of films and developers. There may be a peculiar combination of a certain film and developer that might possibly react oddly to stop bath, but these are usually anecdotes based on individual experience rather than official statements from the manufacturers. (Which, incidentally, includes my own anecdotal observations, so don't take my word as absolute.)
  32. The moral of this story is...... Do what works for you.
  33. Use stop bath for more consistent results. And dilute it properly. Some people will mix too high a concentration of bath resulting in too high an acid concentration that will damage the emulsion. Dilute it properly and you will be fine.
  34. There was a thread about the use of over use of water. I think thats what is the basic arguement here. If you don't stop your film you are using more water than you would if you stopped your film. I use stop. Saves me wasting fix which is water soluable. This could go on for years. Use what you think you need and MERRY CHRISTMAS
  35. Pinholes with stopbath and Rodinal - interesting! Pinholes are supposed to be caused by the interaction between carbonates and acetic acid generating small carbon dioxide bubbles in the emulsion. Now Rodinal doesn't contain any carbonates, so, err, what's the explanation here? Could it be a case of manufacturing emulsion fault and coincidence?
    Personally, I have NEVER, in over 40 years of experience, seen any emulsion pinholes that could be put down to the use of a stop bath. Probably because the use of carbonate alkalis in any decent film developer ceased about 50 years ago. Also, any reasonably modern and scientifically formulated film developer (which Rodinal isn't BTW) has a buffered pH low enough not to cause any noticeable reaction with a properly made up stop bath.
    I don't think the continuation of development in a plain water rinse should be ignored completely. After all, this is the principle of one method of compensating development. I've noticed a definite increase in negative density whenever I've substituted a water wash for stop-bath. However, as long as your developing regime is consistent, I don't think that an acid stop bath is absolutely essential, but some sort of wash between developer and fixer is a must if you're going to re-use your fixer.
  36. "Personally, I have NEVER, in over 40 years of experience, seen any emulsion pinholes that could be put down to the use of a stop bath. Probably because the use of carbonate alkalis in any decent film developer ceased about 50 years ago. Also, any reasonably modern and scientifically formulated film developer (which Rodinal isn't BTW) has a buffered pH low enough not to cause any noticeable reaction with a properly made up stop bath."
    Joe, try mixing up some D2D from The Darkroom Cookbook, use an acid stop bath. You'll see blisters, not just pinholes.
    The use of carbonate in a dev makes one undecent?
    Rodinal isn't scientifically formulated? How about Ansco 42?

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