Confused about fixer process of developing Diafine


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Dec 9, 2007
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Hi All,

I'm a total newby looking to run my first batch of Tri-X 400 negatives (for scanning) in Diafine. I had some questions that, despite much searching, I couldn't quite get the answer to. Hope someone can clarify!

1_ What part of the process do I need distilled water for, and in what quantity? It seems like some people use tap water, and others distilled - but I can seem to differentiate when...

2_ The people at Calumet gave me Zone VI Film/Print fixer. This is hardening fixer. I read somewhere that I should use non-hardening fixer instead? I bought this stuff because it isn't supposed to have a strong odor.

3_ With Diafine, do I need to "tap" the airbubbled off of my film while in the canister or will that cause undue agitation?

4_ I'm confused about the fixing step... When I remove the Diafine Mix B from the canister, I don't rinse - I just pour in the fixer... How long and how frequently do I agitate? Can fixer be re-used?

5_ I'm confused about the photo-flo 200 step. I've read that it's best mixed in small amounts and only used once, preferably 2000:1 mixture. Do I put the photo-flo into the canister after fixing and then agitate, or is this step done outside of the canister? How long do I agitate in photo-flo 200?

6_ Can I just hang-dry my negative after that, or must I squeegie?

Sorry for all of the questions folks, but I have yet to find a really detailed description that answers these questions for me...

Thanks so much for this wonderful forum - all the best,
1. You can use distilled water with the developer; however, it is not necessary.

with toners distilled water is frequently used as they can be tricky.

2. fixer with a hardner will not be a problem with film; basically it is no longer important with most films and is not use with papers, especially if one is going to tone later.

3. one always "tap" the canister to bring the air bubbles to the top. needs to be done only after pouring the developer into the tank.

4. you can rinse the film in running water for abaout 30 then the fixer. you agiatate the fixer 5 secs. every 30 seconds for 5 minutes. and yes fixer can be re-used. check some hypo-check and use before using the fixer and when the hypo-check turns milky the fixer contains too much silver.
you can also take the leader from a piece of film and put it in the fixer and see how long it takes to clear, then multiply times 2 to determine the fixing time. when that time is over 5 minutes, it is time for some new fixer.

4.mix the photo-flo with some water in a breaker and then your finished washing the film, pour into the tank and agitate for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

5/ hang the film to dry in a dust free area. if you have used the correct amount of wetting agent you don't need to wipe down. donot use squeegie, altho some folks run their fingers down the film to remove excess water.

have fun.

check ilford's website for a pdf on developing film that might help you.
^^^^Ann said it very well. I use Diafine all the time. I rinse longer than 30 seconds between solution B and fixer, but i think that it might just be old habit.

Wonderful instructions, thank you for taking the time!

When you say "Dust free area" ... is there something special people do to assure this? I think I'll be hard-pressed to find a dust free area in my house. I can find a spot that is somewhat still, but here in dry Northern Cali, dust is a way of life :)

Thanks again,
go to the container store and buy a plastic shoe hanger, don't put in the dividers, just hook up some wire at the top. you can hang the "thing" in the shower from the ceiling using a flower pot hanger, zip it up and away you go.
Ann, you're the best! I actually have one of those "things" upstairs that I haven't used yet, still in the packaging... My new suit won't have dust protection, but I only wear that "thing" for funerals or weddings anyway :)

...and best of all, since I only have one bathroom in my house, this solution will enable me to use it instead of keeping the door closed for hours.

Just wanted to say thanks again for the helpful response. Here are my first two "self developed" images. They required some dust/scratch reduction in photoshop, but otherwise not awful. I'm still learning how to use my rangefinder as well... A bit of a miracle any of them came out :)
f1.4, 30s, Tri-X 400, Diafine, Nikon 5000ED scanned
f1.4, 60s, Tri-X 400, Diafine, Nikon 5000ED scanned
^^^^Ann said it very well. I use Diafine all the time. I rinse longer than 30 seconds between solution B and fixer, but i think that it might just be old habit.

I also rinse longer, but maybe that's just an old habit. It doesn't hurt anything.

Tap water / distilled water, should be fine, depending on where you live and how many impurities are in your water. I never had a problem with city water, but when I had a house with a well, it was really strange to get iron spots and stains from minerals in the water.

Just mentioning that, because the answer depends on your water source.

You can keep the developer in any old clean glass bottle, but add glass marbles to fill in the air space, so you don't have your developer oxidizing and going bad. When you make a new batch, rinse off the marbles and save them for the next time. I used old whiskey bottles (free) because they were brown and didn't let in light, which also shortens the life of the developer. But if you keep it in a cool dark place, it's redundant.

You didn't ask about temperature. The chemicals should all be the same temperature or at least room temp (whatever that is?) for the rinse and fix. If you have warm developer and cold rinse, the film may pucker the grain (Reticulation) and get undesired results. Also the final rinse, you have the tap water already running at the controlled temperature, which you can adjust while you are fixing.

Tap the canister when fixing too! Air bubbles don't play favorites.

Isn't photo-flo nice? All it is, is an product that makes water "wetter", so it doesn't form drops and make spots when the edges dry. You don't need allot, just enough to break up the surface tension.

I used to use a dual sponge, not a squeegie. Now I'd use nothing, because one grain of dirt and you just streaked the whole roll. I'd hang the film from the rafters in the dark room. Those who suggest the bath are smarter, because there's less dust and dirt.

Doesn't anyone use Stop bath anymore?
yes , stop bath is still used,but the question was about fixer and then drying.

however, if one is using an alkaline fixer running water for the stop step is preferred.
... and plain water is always recommended for the stop bath when using Diafine. There's no developing action to stop after the second Diafine bath, and it contains sodium carbonate.

thanks helen i wasn't clear about that when commenting about the use of stop baths. My statement was global intend not specific which was not a wise thing.

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