Choosing a staining developer

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Joshua_G, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Joshua_G

    Joshua_G Member

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    Which staining developer would you recommend, and why? That is, what benefits do you think a certain staining developer have over other ones?

    It will be used on 35, MF roll films and 4x5 LF. All negatives will be scanned first, in most cases only scanned and of course, printed. Possibly different developer will be recommended for different format, which is okay with me.
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    PMK?

    I'm not big on scanning, but I really like how PMK performs on traditional full silver films. Plus it is simple to mix, and use, and the stock solutions for me so far seem very stable.

    5mL of my PM stock A, 10mL of my K stock B, 1L distilled water, microwave to get to 70F, since my distilled water jug is almost always around 65 or colder, and away we go.

    It is longer to do than HC, or D76, etc, but it is worth it the way that the highlights don't get blocked up with this stuff.
     
  3. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    There are a lot of PyroCat users in this group (for good reason). It is very versatile, stable, predictable and it seems especially suited where negative scanning will be done (at least with my equipment). A good reason to try it as a choice is the great support that you are apt to get with APUG as there are many experienced, helpful users in here. I've found that if I start an untested film at 1/2 of its ISO rating, I tend to be in the ballpark for easily printed negatives that show good shadow detail without blowing the highlights. I'm needing to do much less manipulation when printing PyroCat negatives and it seems to work well on all formats. I've had best luck with more dilute, longer timed, less agitated routines which takes some advantage of the subtle edge effects capable with the developer.
     
  4. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I've had good luck with the late Barry Thornton's DiXactol catechol-based developer. It is the only staining developer that I have used extensively, so I cannot recommend it over others. All I can say is that it works well for me. It is available through the Formulary.
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'm a big Pyrocat advocate. Like Craig, I shoot my film at 1/2 box speed, for the same reasons. It produces very richly toned negatives that are easy to print, and is wonderful for alt-process printing (my specialty). It produces very fine-grain, very sharp negatives. It is also equally suited to manual or rotary processing development, whereas PMK oxidizes too fast in rotary processing. You'll find on looking at your first negs made with a staining developer that they look flat and thin; you'll get over it and learn to read the negatives for quality the same way you've learned to deal with non-staining developed negatives.
     
  6. aldevo

    aldevo Member

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    I'm another Pyrocat advocate and echo most of what's said here. I think the combination is excellent with Tri-X, HP5+, APX400, etc. and results in very sharp and easily printable negatives, particularly when the light is contrasty.

    You will, however, lose close to 1 stop of film speed vs., say, XTOL. Also, unlike some, I do not consider this developer to be paricularly fine-grained when printing, though it is not objectionably grainy.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    In comparison to say, Rodinal, it is fine-grained. But then about the only thing I can think of that is coarser would be running Dektol at paper strength. Super-sharp, but grain like baseballs.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    In the last 2½ years I've been using Pyrocat HD for 120 and LF and get excellent fine grain, no discernible difference to Xtol. I've recently started using it for 35mm as well. It does give amazing tonality.

    Ian
     
  9. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    Scott -

    Any change to the "standard" Pyrocat formula to run it in a Jobo? Thanks.
     
  10. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    No- I run Pyrocat HD stock. It was formulated for use in rotary processing. I have not yet tried it but Pyrocat MC is supposed to be even better with rotary processing. I've been happy enough with Pyrocat HD in my Jobo that I haven't needed to switch, and not only that, I've got about three years' supply of it I'd need to go through before buying more. :D
     
  11. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I can't say about scanning, but my favorite is WD2D+ from the Formulary. Right now, I'm experimenting with Pyrocat HD because there are so many users here who love the stuff; I'm still nailing down times & EI's, but it sure seems to be good stuff.

    PMK is also a fine dev, but really geared for FB paper. I use mostly RC.
     
  12. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I'm another strong Pyrocat advocate. I use it for both sheet films and roll films. I mix it myself - from scratch and I use Propylene Glycol as the A Solution solvent instead of water - it keeps for years that way.
     
  13. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Subscriber

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    WD2D+ is amazing for Tri-X. Otherwise Pyrocat HD is excellent too with many film.
     
  14. 3Dfan

    3Dfan Member

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    Is that for printing on graded or VC paper? I'm under the impression that the nature of the stain lets you develop less with graded, which I would think leads to faster apparent film ratings for a given development time. I know that Sandy King has written that pyrocat gets full speed.
     
  15. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Depends on what I am doing.

    WD2D+ is well, amazing stuff. A PITB to process with if you are the rotate/ invert three times a minute guy, like I am with Rodinal. You have to agitate 15 seconds out of every 30.

    But when you see the LF negatives... I use it in a Patterson Sytem 4 tank with the film in tubes inside the big tank. 4x5 APX 100, 2x3 HP5. Use the numbers given in the pamplet...

    I do my 5x7 in a rotary tank. I found Pyrocat HD to be the most consistant.
    I have used DIXactol on some 120 films and it looks like it's a fine developer too. Kinda twitchy with the saving of Solution B and whatnot but... it does work nicely (when you don't use solution B first (don't ask)).

    All my 135 is done in Rodinal or 777.


    Haven't tried ABC or rollo, don't see the need.

    I don't think you can go wrong.

    tim in san jose
     
  16. Joshua_G

    Joshua_G Member

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    Thank you all for your replies.

    What dilution do you use, what time compensation and what degree of agitation do you use?

    What are its benefits for Tri-X?
    Do you scan your negatives?

    What are the differences you see between WS2D+ and Pyrocat HD? Do you scan your begatives?

    For what reasons? Do you use the 777 in small tanks, hand agitation? Do you mix the 777 from scratch, or do you buy it ready made? If you mix it from scratch, by which formula? If you buy it, where from?
     
  17. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    Subtle differences. Bottom end on WD2D+ expands the shadow area. There is more there. I would guess you would say that means it increases film speed, but it doesn't affect the midtones or the highlights. Pyrocat HD is a very good developer though. You won't go wrong basing your whole system upon it. I can't scan 5x7 negatives. I will scan a 2x3 (in WD2D+) sometime this weekend.

    777 - gives a different smoky look to my 35mm stuff. I used the formula in the article posted on DigitalTruth. I use small tank, reusing the developer, replenishing from a virgin bottle of 777 I have set aside. You can buy it (I think) from some place in Kentucky.

    tim in san jose
     
  18. Joshua_G

    Joshua_G Member

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    Thanks, Tim. Please update with the results of your scans.
     
  19. celluloidpropaganda

    celluloidpropaganda Subscriber

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    Which staining developers would be recommended for getting good results at 400 with Tri-X or 800+ with Neopan 1600?