I always have been fascinated by photography.
But with the introduction of the digital camera it all became too easy, too predictable …to me.
So I forced myself to go back to the roots of real analog photography.
Not just by making the photograph itself, but by controlling the entire photographic process.

This brought me back to the middle of the 19th century, to the amazing Collodion wet plate process.
And every single day I feel challenged to refine and improve myself.

For my website please visit : www.alextimmermans.com

Alex Timmermans

"You don't take a picture, it's given to you"

zondag 11 september 2011

Three fixer test

Recently I bought Amaloco x-89 rapid fixer as I was wondering if it would work with Collodion. Well it did, and I was surprised by the result.
Is it a scientific test. NO !  but I tried to show you the differences using three different fixers.

The result ? Well they are close to each other. The KCN gives a bit more yellow look.
Can you call it warmer ? Maybe, but the differences are really close.
Different kind of varnish will have much more influence on the color than the fixer itself

The other two show a little bit more magenta/red tone. But again, it's close.

Just one remark. It looks like the KCN also has a bit influence on the exposure ???!!!
It looks just a tad brighter.

If you make two identical pictures (which is almost impossible with collodion) and you lay them side by side you might notice some difference. But when showing just a single plate for me it is almost impossible to tell wich fixer was used.
So, do you really need KCN to get the famous "coffee and cream" color?. NO!
They only downside is when using a rapid fixer or hypo is that you need a longer washing time for your plates as these two chemicals dissolve less easy in water.
So when working in a studio there is no need at all to use KCN

From left to right
1. Amaloco x89
2. KCN fixer
3. Natrium Thiosulfat (HYPO)

First I pre cutted a plate so it was easy to break it after the developing stage.

 Three fixers. from bottom to the top : Amaloco, KCN, Natrium
After developing 

Again, from left to right : Amaloco, KCN, Natrium Thiosulfate
Plates were still wet.

When dry the difference is even closer.

6 opmerkingen:

  1. In 50+ yers will see the real perfomance of each fixer :)

  2. Great test! So no real difference after drying??? And what about the fixing times?

  3. hello Arjen,

    Hypo and Amaloco were much slower. maybe 3-4 times slower. So if you want to go for speed KCN is the way to go.


  4. Alex- I think some of the difference (or lack thereof) you're seeing may be due to the medium, or to the particular recipe for your collodion that you're using. When I was learning wet plate, we shot a bunch and fixed with hypo until I was comfortable with the process, then switched to KCN. There was a noticeable difference in color between hypo and KCN - the hypo was very cool, producing an almost blue silver tone. It was even more obvious on trophy aluminum than on black glass. The KCN images were definitely warmer and had more of the "vintage" feel people think of when viewing period original wet plate images. We were using the Quick Clear formula that Quinn Jacobson published in his book.

  5. Scott,

    these plates were made with the quick clear formula !
    What is the definition a vintage feel ?
    Today i bought myself a few old ambro's for my collection. As you are collecting them also you also know that the colors vary very much.
    I looked at about ten ambro's on my desk and they were ALL different in color. From almost pure silver up to yellow.


  6. vigneting is what makes corner plates darker, not the fix. Excellent test and even scientist survived! Ha!