Are you interested in or currently processing black and white film at home? If yes, then chances are, you have heard of the developer 510 Pyro. Invented by Jay DeFehr, the original formula has been modernized, manufactured, and distributed for use by Zone Imaging, a company founded in 2020 by James Lane. The product has even been awarded in 2021 by none other than film community heavyweights, the Silvergrain Classics team.
Now, the company is releasing their second chemical product, Eco Zonefix, an odourless alkaline rapid fixer that comes in powder form. The fixer is formulated to pair well with 510 Pyro and other pyro/catechol staining developers but can be used with traditional non-staining developers as well. It is a fast fixer, with times ringing in from 2-5 minutes depending on the film stock and freshness of the chemicals. There is also the ability to replenish the fixer to make it last even longer.
If this is something that interests you, there’s a limited offer on the table from Zone Imaging to receive a free 1L unit of fixer if you buy one bottle of 510 Pyro before June 3, 2023.
Eco Zonefix is a non-hardening fixer that can be used for both film and paper. The solution arrives for users in two pouches of powder that are then dissolved together into water to make a 1-litre solution. The powder’s shelf life is at least two years and the mixed solution can last more than six months if tightly capped. Capacity starts at 15 35mm 36-exposure rolls, but this can be stretched to 20. For printing, the capacity ranges from 50 sheets of 8×10 resin-coated paper or 25 sheets of 8×10 fibre-based paper.
You may be asking, why is this chemical labelled as eco-friendly? Well, compared to some neutral or alkaline fixers, Zone imaging says Eco Zonefix is “free from borate derivatives, EDTA/DPTA chelating agents, phosphates, acetic acid, and known carcinogens and mutagens.”
It also doesn’t need as much water during the final wash stage and can be transported lightly as a powder solution compared to a liquid one. Finally, with the alkaline nature of the fixer, there is no need for an acidic stop bath which reduces the number of chemicals used in the process overall. Users can opt for a water stop instead.
Another key feature of Eco Zonefix is that it is intended to perform well in hard water, up to 500ppm. Why does this matter? Hard water contains additional minerals that could potentially leave behind residue on negatives after processing. This is why you may see recommendations to use distilled water when processing film at home if you live in a hard water area.
While Zone Imaging manufactures the chemicals in the UK, they work with a researcher based in Vietnam to explore photochemical formulations. With the release of Eco Zonefix, customers don’t have to look elsewhere to shop for a fixer that is compatible with 510 Pyro. Acidic fixers may affect the staining properties of the pyro-catechol developer, so stocking an alkaline fixer of their own is a complementary addition to Zone Imaging’s first offering.
510 Pyro is the king of tonality and fine grain to give the best possible negatives for printing and scanning – James Lane, Founder of Zone Imaging
Add Eco Zonefix into the mix and it sounds like a match made in black and white film developing heaven or at the very least worth trying! To find out where to order some or for more info about the product and company, head over to Zone Imaging’s webpage here.
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