View Full Version : Water Quality
Having not been anywhere near a darkroom since I was at school, I'm about to dive in and start developing my own film. I pretty much have everything sorted but there's one thing I'm curious about which I don't recall reading about anywhere...
How important is water quality? I live in an area where limescale is a big problem. Is this likely to have an effect on chemistry and developing times or will it just be a problem with washing and streaky deposits on negs if I'm not careful? Or should I just play it safe and use distilled?
I would use distilled to mix chemicals, but I would think that for all other routine processing chores, your tap water should do fine.
Doing a final rinse in water with a bit of PhotoFlo or similar surface relaxant should eliminate and streaking.
Living here in New Mexico where the water is hard with a pH of 8, I use tap water for mixing put do use distilled for the final Photo flo rinse. Haven't seen any problems yet. I did use distilled for mixing my Diafine just because of the extended use qualities of this developer.
Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll start with distilled just to be on the safe side and do some experimenting on some scrap film.
Another option is water from a dehumidifier, if you live in a humid area and have one. In the summer I stockpile the output from the dehumidifier, and filter it for particulate matter before using it. I use it for all steps, so if I had a lot more volume I might use it just for developer, fix and final rinse (w/ Photoflo or other wetting agent), and tap water for stop and wash. Of importance is consistency. If you use distilled then decide to switch to dehumidifer output, or even tap, the developing results might be significantly different. See http://www.mironchuk.com/HC-110.html for thoughts. The bits about water quality, temperature, agitation, etc., are not specific to HC-110. I recently processed a roll of Pan F Plus at 73degF with agitation for the first 30 seconds, 1 inversion at 1:30, and one inversion at 3:30, with a total of 5:30. Tonal range looks good, but I've only taken a cursory look at this point.
Interesting idea. I hadn't considered that but the only time I've had a dehumidifier was when I had a pipe leaking for an entire month while I was away from home. Next time it happens I'll keep some of the water!
you can use tap water without detriment in quality, you may see some bubbles when you mix he acid stop bath though.
Distilled water for a final rinse (1 or 2 changes of water) should help avoiding streaks and deposits, as photo-glow would.
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