Film developing gut check request... FP4+ and Pryrocat-HD

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by monkeytumble, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. monkeytumble

    monkeytumble Member

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    It's been thirty years since I've developed B&W film and I've decided to do it again. I do not want to open the best film and developer debate again, but I just want to know if film developer combination that I'm thinking about starting out with should give me good results. And, what a good development time should be for 120 roll and 35mm roll films. I'm thinking about starting with Ilford FP4+ film and Pyrocat-HD developer.

    I would also appreciate any recommendations regarding type of stop, fix, clearing, and wetting agents you like.

    Thanks,

    Jay Decker
    Kennewick, WA
     
  2. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    I too use Pyrocat-HD, but with TMY. I don't use a stop bath, I use a rapid fix (TF-4 from Photographers Formulary), no clearing agent with TF-4 and Photo-Flo.

    I'm sure others will recommend other things, but if my memory is correct, Alkaline fixers like TF-4 are recommended with Pyro developers.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Jay, IMHO FP4+ and Pyrocat is an excellent Combination. Check this APUG thread:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/40908-fp4-pyrocat-hd-help-please.html

    I use a 5 min presoak in tempered (distilled or deionized) water before developing.

    I use a tempered water rinse instead of a stop bath

    I use a non-hardening alkaline fixer (TF-4 or equivalent) No Fixer clearing bath is needed with TF-4.

    After washing the film, I rinse it in distilled water with no wetting agent.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2008
  4. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I can only second the opinion that Pyrocat-HD and FP4 is a stunning combination. They work really well together. If you print on graded papers, you want to retain as much of the image stain as possible, as it aids contrast in printing. In order to retain the most of the stain, alkaline fixers are recommended. TF-4 is mentioned, a great product that is available from Photographers' Formulary. I recommend mixing the concentrate with distilled water, as it minimizes odor.
    The beauty of TF-4 is that it easily washes out of the emulsion without the aid of a wash aid. It also has enormous capacity and can be used over and over again.
    One more thing - use water as stop bath. It helps preserve the life of the fixer, and it maintains the pH to keep it as consistent as possible for the film without jumping into acid pH in the stop stage.

    I hope that helps.

    - Thomas
     
  5. pwitkop

    pwitkop Member

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    I use fp4+ in 4x5 with pyrocat-hd with excellent results. I've used it in a jobo (cpe2) which only has a fast rotation speed with no problems, and have recently started using dip and dunk tanks. I've always used a water stop and tf4 fix and also ilford rapid fix, both with excellent results.

    Peter
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Well I use Pyrocat HD with Tmax100, Tmax400. and also FP4 & HP5, using 120 & 5x4, and get excellent results with all the film.

    I use a water rinse followed by Ilford Hypam fixer, which I've been using for over 30 years, maybe I should try TF-4 but I don't think its really necessary.

    Ian
     
  7. Matus Kalisky

    Matus Kalisky Member

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    What mixing of the Pyrocat HD and developing times and agitation do you guys use to develope your FP4+ (or HP5) ? What is you EI with the given developement procedure?
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My N (normal) dev times for PyrocatHD and Tmax100 & 400, FP4 & HP5 are all around 15mins, 1+1+100, 20°C, inversion agitation continuous for the first 30 seconds then 3 inversions every minute, I use all the films at half the box speed.

    Ian
     
  9. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I have used PMK, Pyrocat, and WD2D+. I wound up prefering PMK (no after bath), for rather eccentric reasons having to do with my printing style, but my Pyrocat negs were very satisfactory.

    That said, I get better results with 35mm using HC110. Personally, I wouldn't recommend a Pyro developer for 35mm, as the stain effect doesn't mask grain very well with the small negative, and Pyro developers do not produce fine grain. I use Pyro for MF on up. Doesn't hurt to try though, you may be perfectly happy, as it's all subjective.

    TF-4 is a great fixer. If for no other reason, it clears easily and quickly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2008
  10. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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    I use Pyrocat HD with FP-4+ in both 120 and 4x5 with stunning results, it's my favorite combination. I dilute the Pyrocat 1:1:100 and develop for 12 minutes plus or minus, depending on the contrast of the scene, and rate the film at 64-100 EI. Also, water rinse and a neutral fix.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  11. monkeytumble

    monkeytumble Member

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    Thank you for the responses. Ordered the FP4+ film, Pyrocat-HD developer, and TF-4 fixer today...
     
  12. lee

    lee Member

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    just to muddy the water a little more. I use FP4 and pyrocat hd 2:2:100 68F at 9 min I presoak for 5 min and I am using a Unicolor drum and motor base. Sort of a poor boy's jobo. I use water to stop and I use regular Kodak Rapid Fix without the hardner. I wash for 20 min and photo flo hang to dry. It is a lovely combination.

    lee\c
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I found that my development with FP4+ needs to be treated a bit differently than most. But I overexpose the film by a full stop and shoot at about EI 50.
    Then I develop in Pyrocat-MC (almost identical to -HD) at 1+1+150 for 16 minutes at 70*F. I agitate for the first entire minute, then once every three minutes. This has worked really well for me, but may produce thinner negatives for others. I like bright light, though, and if I was to shoot in low light, I would probably use the same time at the 1+1+100 dilution.
    Like Ian, I use Ilford Hypam fixer. I used to use TF-4 and I probably retained a tad more image stain, but I don't really care. The best thing about TF-4 is its capacity. It lasts forever. The problem is I have to order it from Photographer's Formulary. I can get Hypam around the corner, and it works great.
    - Thomas
     
  14. monkeytumble

    monkeytumble Member

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    What are the advantages to using drum processing machines? If I really get into this, why would I want to consider drum processing?

    Just trying to learn...

    Jay
     
  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Jay, Lee doesn't say what he's processing in his Unicolor drum, but it may well be sheet film. Drum/rotary processing can be very economic and consistent for 5x4 and larger sheet film, and allows you to work in daylight rather than tray processing in the dark.

    Any cylindrical inversion type developing tank can be used on a motor base, the previous owner of my 2nd Jobo 20000 tank always used it this way, I've always preferred inversion agitation as the edge effects are better, but then my tank is usually full with 12 sheets of 5x4 film, or a few rolls of 120.

    If I use the Jobo's or the Unicolor & Paterson tanks I have for 10x8 sheet film then inversion is not economic due to the high volume of developer needed, so like Lee I would either put them on a motor base or roll the tanks by hand, this way I need 1/20th of the volume of developer in the tank, for good even development.

    You might notice Lee is using Pyrocat at 2+2+100 instead of the more common 1+1+100 dilution, this helps to cut the development time, which helps the work-flow if your processing a number of sheets of LF film individually. So typically a dev time approx 9 mins @ 2+2+100 gives similar results to 15 mins @ 1+1+100.

    Ian
     
  16. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Muddying the waters even further, I've stopped using staining developers...

    I have found that since I print on both fixed grade paper and VC paper, the stain only serves to make the contrast on the two too different for me. If I should decide to print a (LF) negative on some process which requires higher contrast, I get better results by bleaching and redeveloping in a staining developer.

    I've settled on Ilfotec HC as a good all-round developer with good capacity, long life and pleasing results.
     
  17. cahayapemburu

    cahayapemburu Member

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    Drum processors vary in sophistication and design, but the best of them automate the process to a high degree, controlling time, temperature and agitation with the precision required for processing chrome film, and they do so using the minimum required chemical quantity. I processed a lot of film in a lot of different ways before getting a drum processor, but I wouldn't want to go back now. Perfectly processed film has become standard for me and I can turn my attention to more creative matters.