Boiling water to lessen impurities? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

Hi All.

Thanks for those who responded to my posts.

My materials; paper is almost a year old and the chemistry probably a few months or so. I did a check on my equipment and I have checked the ideas that one responder had about alignment of enlarger, leaks, etc. Everything passes on that. I'm thinking maybe it could be the water? Will boiling water take out most of the impurities? Buying water is alot, like $3.00 a jug here for an average brand, evian being more. I mixed new fixer up and I still get the same results, unevenness, patched results. My print results are lifeless in detail and tone. Im not able to do the zone system test in with my materials, the consistency is totally off on the zone tests as well. I have also replaced the enlarger lamp and I still get the same results.

Here is what I'm using: HC 110 (dil b) Indicater stop bath Rapid fix by kodak hypo clear by kodak photo flo-2000 dektol 1:2 for the printing.

Processing is with regular water, no filtering: Development of tri-x 320 rated at 200 ISO

presoak: 1:00 constant agitation 5:30 minutes at 68 degrees +/- 0.5 deg Initial agitation at first 30 seconds, then 4 inversions every 30 seconds Stop: 30 seconds continuous mild agitation 1/4 oz to 16 of water Fixing: 7:00 with fresh bath same agitation as with film developing rinse: 1:00 continuous Hypo clear: 2:00 constant mild agitation, 1:4 dilution Wash: 10:00 from sink, mild pressure, refill and empty rate about 12 times per minute at 10:00 Photo-flo 1:200 at 1:00, mild agitation for 30 seconds initially then a 30 second rest period.

film is then removed from reel then hung in a dustfree spot in the bathroom, drying is done by air, usually a good 2 hours for air dry.

Printing: Omega b66 enlarger with ph140/75w bulb. Printing for a grade three contrast, no filtering in drawer. Paper is Ilford multi 3 vc glossy paper.

Printing in dektol for 2:00 continuous tray agitation. factorial development is applied after a certain amount of print developed per solution. Stop: 30 seconds 1/4 to per 16 oz of water. Fixing: 3:00 minutes in rapid fix 1:7 dilution no hypo clear all rc wash: 5 minutes 65 - 75 degrees refill rate of wash bin is two times per minute.

drying: hair dryer on medium, full dry in 90 seconds.

I have tried reducing the grade of the paper and get complete deadness in the tones.

If anyone has any suggestions to this problem that would be reat.

Thank you all for your time in reading this letter.

Robert D.

-- Robert D. (, June 11, 2001


Mysteries are great fun, unless you happen to be the one with the problem! Do you know anyone who will loan you a "good" negative, or do you have anything shot in the past that you know prints well. I'd see if you can still make a good print from a known good neg. That will at least insure you're working on the right end of the problem. Some of what you describe could be subtle camera motion or focus problems- they rob snap and contrast before you notice actual blur. Your processing sounds fine. I'm not a fan of presoaks, but lots of people do it without issue. What kind of tank do you use and exactly how do you agitate? Full inversions? Time per inversion? What does it sound like? Is the tank completely full or partially full? How big a tank? Does your water smell or taste funny? If you draw a quart or so into a clean glass jug, does anything settle out of it? How much deposit do you get when you boil it? Is it hard to get soap to lather, or hard to rinse it off? Does anything settle out of your Dektol? Could you have gotten a bad batch of HC-110? (hey, anything's possible) Has anyone ever broken a mercury thermometer in the area where you store your film or paper? Do you store anything else with your film and paper. Lots of questions, admittably to get ideas going.

-- Conrad Hoffman (, June 11, 2001.

Bubba, dont buy Evian! that stuff is more expensive than gasoline... go to the supermarket and buy distilled water, cheapest brand probably your supermarket has their own brand.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, June 11, 2001.

It seems to me that boiling water drives off only volatile impurities, at the same time reducing the volume of the water and thereby increasing the concentration of the solid impurities left behind. If you boil, you probably should filter, too - maybe with coffee filters.

-- Keith Nichols (, June 12, 2001.


As previously stated, boiling water will not help, however capturing the steam and allowing it to condense will result in distilled water. While you could make your own distilled water, it's much cheaper to buy it; I've seen it sold for less that $1.00 a gallon.


-- Pete Caluori (, June 12, 2001.

Robert, This lack of uniformity you mention seems a lot familiar with 120 films I've developed over the years for some different clients, and once or twice, for myself. In all the cases, film was old and/or exposed to high humidity situation, such as being used just after been out of the fridge. On these cases, paper and emulsion seem to develop some estrange reaction wich affects resulting image. Have you tried your methods with some other film? Good luck.

Cesar B.

-- Cesar Barreto (, June 12, 2001.

I haven't tried other film yet, just tri-x. When I first bought the film i didn't refrigerate it till later some time. Then i removed it and it's I'd say about a good month maybe that it hasn't been refrigerated.

This is great. I appreciate these feedbacks. I do feel more at ease knowing that the water isn't much of the problem. I will stick at 68 degrees though to stay within the modest ranges of times.

If it's unavoidable I maybe could use the 75 degrees or higher and cut the ratio of the mixture, I'll have to experiment on this.

-- Robert D. (, June 12, 2001.

Experimenting is mot the thing to do if you are trying to find the reason of your problem. Stick to the most simple procedure and try to respect the rules. Use distilled water for the preparation of all your chemicals AND for the fimal rinse of your film. If you cannot get any distilled water, get a simple water filter that will at least remove the solid impuruties of your tap water and some of the chemicals used for sanitary reasons. DO NOT use water that is sold for drinking, it also contains several other things apart H2O... Use Photo-Flo or Agepon before drying your film, this will help you avoid drying marks...

-- George Papantoniou (, June 13, 2001.

So there is a difference between distilled and purified drinking water? If that's the case I may be going after the wrong item.

I have heard of filtration systems like Brita and so forth, would these be a good alternative to filtering?

Thanks for your time.

-- Robert D. (, June 13, 2001.

Drinking water (particularly anything that tastes halfway decent) has a lot of minerals in it. Try drinking some distilled water and you will know what I mean.

For mixing developers (film or print), it is best to use distilled water or filtered water. I just bought a gallon of distilled water for $0.59 at Kmart. The Brita water pitchers with filter work fine. I wouldn't worry about the water for any other solutions, except for the final film rinse, which should be distilled water mixed with Photo-Flo wetting agent.

-- Michael Feldman (, June 13, 2001.

Having worked in a biology lab, and mixing many different chemicals into solution, I would suggest using the distilled (aka deionized) water. As said before, you can purchase the water relatively cheap.

In the research laboratories. It was mandatory all solutions were made with AT LEAST double distilled water (taking distilled water and distilling it again). Distilled water still has traces of minerals or particulate matter... not good when the solutions are to be used in experimental data which are eventually published. The double distilled water, however, was provided by the university and was not to be wasted.

Many research laboratories used the extra precaution of nano-pure water (not to be confused with purified water through a filter). Basically the same as double distilled water, the nanopure water also is free of dissolved gases such as CO2, Nitrogen, etc... that distilling doesn't address (distilling can separate solids from liquids or liquids from liquids, not gases from liquids).

Basically, I use the regular distilled water and it works great. I know you can purchase the nanopure water, but it's very expensive stuff.

-- floren (, June 14, 2001.

Distilled water can be cheaply obtained if you have a condenser clothes dryer.

I had a very pleasant surprise after my wife convinced me that buying a expensive european clothesdryer was a good idea (I think it was a payback for the hassy kit). Anyway when the guy came to install it, he showed us how to work the dryer (it can do all kinds of amazing things) and he mentioned that the moisture is collected to prevent the house from steaming up.

Turns out that the "waste" water is distilled to a purity that it can be used in car batteries (or the home darkroom).

Now when I need to process some film, I put on a load of towels, get a couple of liters of distilled water and I'm away.

-- James Hine (, June 20, 2001.

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