PMK: silver vs stain

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by couldabin, Jul 5, 2005.

  1. couldabin

    couldabin Subscriber

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    I'm a new convert to PMK, so this is probably a silly question but I'll ask it anyway: What are the qualitative differences between density from silver and density from stain?

    Hutchings recommends returning the film to developer for two minutes after fixing, which intensifies the stain. So far I haven't done that because the negatives already appear to be plenty dense. In fact, I guessed they were overdeveloped (I was prepared for negatives that looked thin) but they printed much more easily than thinner negs developed in HC110. (I'm working in 4x5.)

    Should I be developing less before fixing? If I cut back on the time and then return the negs to developer as Hutchings recommends, how will the resulting negative differ from the ones I am getting now?
     
  2. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

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    After bath

    I am pretty sure that returning the film to the spent developer is no longer recommended as it was found to simply increase the density of the entire negative and there was no benefit. I never did and I had negatives that were very nice to print.
     
  3. lee

    lee Member

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    Couldabin,

    I used PMK for over 9 years and loved it. Hutchings recommendation of returning the film back to the spent developer has been changed to DON'T do this. This just allows the overall stain to increase and makes it harder to print thru.

    The reason I quit using PMK? I started to use Pyrocat-HD. This is a much superior developer in my mind. YMMV.

    lee\c
     
  4. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    If I were using PMK, which I am not, and was producing negatives that are easy to print, I would leave well enough alone. Why argue with success?
     
  5. garryl

    garryl Member

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    That's exactly what Ethol said to the inventor of Acufine when he offered them the formula.:sad:
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Yes, and Ethol was right. Better to spend your money on D76.
     
  7. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    The difference will show if you print on graded paper and VC paper from the same negative. The stain will give considerably higher contrast on graded paper. Stained negatives make it easier for users of alternative processes which make use of one form or another of printing out paper who also want to make good prints on VC paper. The printing out papers are self masking and require a high contrast negative. They see the yellow stain as if it were silver, so for them the stained negatives have high contrast.
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Couldabin
    I use the spent developer for the stain with no problem.
     
  9. couldabin

    couldabin Subscriber

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    Thanks!

    I appreciate the feedback. I thought I had read somewhere that returning to developer was no longer recommended, but wasn't sure ...

    It's a wealth of knowledge you all carry around ...

    duane
     
  10. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    If the negs are very dense, you could determine if it is due to overdevelopment by considering the contrast. If they printed well on whatever normal paper you want to use, the contrast is right. If development is about right, maybe you're seeing the wonderful effects of very generous exposure (either deliberate or accidental).

    As has been mentioned, the effect of PMK stain with VC papers is quite large, but it might depend on the colour of the stain. My stain was olive, not very green, but I've seen internet images of PMK negs that were extremely green. According to an email from Gordon Hutchings on pure-silver several years ago, the quality of pyrogallol varies a lot. You can get fairly pure lab versions, and some lower quality technical versions. He said that purity made a difference.

    I have used PMK with 120 size film both with and without the second soak (used developer or clean fresh metaborate) and could not really tell the difference by looking at the negs. I got no excessive FB+F either way, using an ordinary inversion tank with not much air in it. Fog is an issue with dev methods that expose the PMK to more air.
     
  11. magic823

    magic823 Member

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    I took a workshop from Gordon two years ago and he no longer recommends the 2nd bath after the fixer. I understand from talking with the Formulary that Gordon is working on an update to his book "The Art of Pyro". There was some discussion about getting lots of us to help him run his curves.

    On that note: I'm headed back over to the Formulary in late August sensitometer & densitometer in hand, to work out a film test procedure to run curves and photomicrographs of different films and developers. Bill Troop is staying there this summer working on some new developers, so I'll hopefully get him to help me fine tune the procedure. Any film suppliers listening want to donate film for the cause?!
     
  12. couldabin

    couldabin Subscriber

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    Exposure

    Good point, John. I still have a lot to learn about PMK's characteristics so I'm not certain of this but I think I'm developing more than the exposure warrants. The contrast in the negative is good but the scene was also fairly flat (open shade). I dare say that with direct sun the negative would have been too contrasty. Perhaps this is about right for flat scenes, and shorter development times would put high-contrast scenes in the right range. I look forward to experimenting with this ...

    duane