Printing Pyrocat Negs vs Standard Negs.

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by waynecrider, Jun 14, 2005.

  1. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Is there any difference when printing Pyrocat negs as compared to D76 negs as concerns filters and exposure? I did some test strips last night and used the same filter settings and time for both negs of the same scene with the same amount of detail in the shadows, no highlights. (obviously not the thing to do) I was only looking for any differences in grain/detail but noticed that the D76 neg looked sharper to the eye and the Pyrocat strip looked a little flat. I ask what changes (filter, exposure) I need to make in the printing stage for the Pyrocat neg over a neg from a standard developer. Developer was Ansco 130 and film was Fuji 1600.
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    That will depend entirely on the density range of the two negatives and the development methods that you used. I don't think that anyone would be able to answer your question as it is posed.
     
  3. pwitkop

    pwitkop Member

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    My experience with pyrocat vs a traditional (non staining) developer is that as long as the negatives are developed to the same contrast, there isn't any real differance in printing, at least that's how it seems for me. The key, I think and have have been told by people much smarter than me, when comparing developers is ensure the same contrast is reached with each developer. It sounds from your post as though your pyrocat neg may be a bit under developed? Also keep in mind your printing times can change because differant developers develop differant base plus fog densities; I just did some testing with t-max developer and pyrocat, the pyrocat negs had a base fog around 0.08, t-max developer was around 0.2 (with Acros, TMX gave similar results), but that's with any two developers, not just pyrocat. Also make sure your technique isn't involved in the sharpness comparison, I've had it happen to me when comparing differant films/developers that I've had vibration issuses (didn't lock up the mirror) that at first I attributed to the film/developer. Pyrocat negs, for me at least, show very good apparent shaprness.

    Peter
     
  4. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    pyrocat is FAR sharper to my eyes. It may be that if not developed long enough, you get low contrast which makes things look unsharp.
     
  5. Peter Rockstroh

    Peter Rockstroh Member

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  6. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    HP5s lowish contrast does not help if devving for VC materials. I am trying triX which stains a browner colour with less yellow green tinge, which I hope will boost contrast. The difference is only visible side by side and then blindingly obvious.
     
  7. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    A little after I joined APUG (and spurred on by the give and take atmosphere here), I did a fairly exhaustive test of developers (HC110, D76 1:1, XTOL 1:3, Rodinal, PMK, Pyrocat HD, Rollo Pyro, and the WHD2+ something or other pyro developer), all with 5x7 Tri-x 320 and printed on Bergger VCCB to 10x13 inches. One of my goals being to make to make film development as small a piece of my darkroom time as possible, everything was developed in a Jobo with continuous agitation.
    PMK and WHD2+ caused streaky negs in a Jobo. Of the remainder, D76 and Pyrocat produced the best tonal range in my prints, but as Tom Stanworth says, the difference in sharpness was very apparent in my 2X blowups. Pyrocat was clearly superior. It's now become my standard developer.
    That said, I've found that pyro is particularly suited to certain films and does a mediocre job with others. Delta 3200 and Tri-x (400 in 35mm) are much better (in terms of tonal range) in D76 or Xtol than they are in pyro. I wonder if Fuji 1600 is good in pyro?
    Why don't you retry your test with one of the films known to be good in pyrocat such as Acros, FP4+, Tri-x 320 or HP5+. Fuji 1600 is a speciality film and unless you use it all the time, you might want to test with something more "middle of the road".
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  8. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Peter asked: BTW. I picked up a batch of "new and improved" HP5 Plus ??? Is this the same film in a new "plus" box, or is it different (as in the standard Tri-X vs. Tri-X Professional) ?


    Peter if you read the inside of each box you may find different times for the developers. This would be the surest way to see if there were manufactuer differences between the two films.

    Don noted: That will depend entirely on the density range of the two negatives and the development methods that you used. I don't think that anyone would be able to answer your question as it is posed.

    So what I am interpting here is, is that if the density ranges are the same on both negs that they should print with the same filter and look exactly the same regardless of the Pyrocat stain? Because if that is the case, then yes there is a possibility that the pyrocat neg was underdeveloped. But on inspection, as I don't have a densitometer, and don't plan on buying one, I had to go by detail/density in the shadows and it was a judgement call. I thought the fact that I am using a dichro head may have something to do with printing thru the color of the pyrocat neg?

    My negs btw were both shot at the same time, a sequence of 6 frames, same speed and aperture on manual.

    Tom noted: pyrocat is FAR sharper to my eyes. It may be that if not developed long enough, you get low contrast which makes things look unsharp.

    If that is the case then yes it must be underdeveloped. There were no times for Fuji 1600 in Pyrocat to go by. I got a good looking neg at 10min, 70 deg, 60 sec initial agitation and 10 sec every minute. I'll try adding 20% to the time and see where it takes me.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  9. Peter Rockstroh

    Peter Rockstroh Member

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    Thanks for the feedback.
    Tom, I work with Ilford because it is the only reasonably reliable local source for film. Kodak may or may not have film at times, or (this is rich) may or may not find the film in their warehouse. Acros or Efke are unknown and the Fuji salesperson didn´t even know there was Fuji B&W film.
    Wayne, I´ll read the box (why didn´t I come up with this idea ?). According to the local Ilford guy, HP5 and HP5 plus are exactly the same thing.
    Pyrocat definitely produces the sharpest image of the 3 developers tested on the same film. I´ll print the negs on graded paper tonight. As Tom Stanworth suggested, VC paper might not be the best testing material.
     
  10. Will S

    Will S Member

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    For 120 HP5+ I use 18 min @70 degrees with EI of 200 and semi-stand (90 secs followed by 10 secs of agitation every 3 minutes) Water fix (or very very dilute acid) Make sure you give 5 minutes pre-soak. 17 minutes might be better for you depending on your enlarger/preference for higher/lower contrast.

    Best,

    Will
     
  11. Peter Rockstroh

    Peter Rockstroh Member

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  12. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    So I hear that Pyrocat negs shouldn't be printed on VC papers. Well, that settles that, and now I know why.
     
  13. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I can not agree with that statement. Negatives develped in any staining developers must be developed to a higher contrast if they are to be printed on VC papers than for graded silver papers. What I have found is that for VC papers the 2:2:100 dilution of Pyrocat-HD will give better results than the 1:1:100 dilution. Well, perhaps not better results but development times are much shorter.

    The why of this is fairly complicated but it is primarily due to the fact that the stain causes significant shouldering in the highlights. Depending on film and scene this is a very good thing or a very bad thing. They key is to read enough to understand what is happening so that you can take advantage of the characteristics of this type of developer.

    It is important to bear in mind that if films are not developed to the right contrast for the printing process, whatever that may be, the result will be flat prints lacking in apparent sharpness, regardless of the developer.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2005
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  15. Peter Rockstroh

    Peter Rockstroh Member

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  16. sanking

    sanking Member

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  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Wayne
    I use Hutchings Pyro formula as well as D76 for a lot of the work I do, personally and for others.
    I have found from day one that if I have a well exposed , well developed 120 film in D76 my starting pack may be grade 1 or 1 1/2 depending upon the original scene.
    For a well exposed, well developed 120 film in Pyro my starting pack may be grade 2 1/2 or 3 , sometimes 3 1/2 depending upon the original scene.
    I attribute this to the yellow green stain on the pyro film which has a flattening effect.
    This has always been my observation .
     
  18. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I am just curious why you would not just develop the film with PMK for a time that would calibrate to print with a Grade #2 filter on VC papers? Would this not give you a greater range of latitude in printing than printing with a flat negative that needs a 2 1/2 or 3 1/2 filter for normal contrast scenes?

    Sandy
     
  19. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Thanks Bob. I can see this perhaps being my case. My Pyrocat neg was a very decent, real middle of the road looking one, being not thin or dense.
     
  20. waterlily

    waterlily Member

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    My experience is that the color of the stain does make a difference. I use a two filter system: 47 blue and 58 green for VC papers. I have the Aristo cold light head that is very blue. Maybe V54 or something. When I used to develop in Rollo Pyro, which has a yellow/green stain, I had to use a time ratio of about 4:1 blue to green. But with Pyrocat, the ratio is almost reversed: 4:1 green to blue. The density of the negatives is about the same on the blue channel of a color densitometer. I think that since the color of the negatives developed in Pyrocat are almost the opposite of the color of the light source, I may get more effective density that I would with another light source, which may account for needing to use more time with the "soft" green filter. I use the 2:2:100 solution and find that the negatives work well for Azo as well. Sandy King may be right that the VC papers need more contrast. This has been my experience as well. His recommended times for different films tested have been close for my purposes. YMMV.
     
  21. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I use 2:2:100 for VC. I find a rough 1 1/2 grade difference between VC and graded. I am not sure what effect this extra development has on grain. one would assume then that a ned printing on graded (less developoed) would be finer grained and offer better resolutions and sharpness than one more developed for VC. I aim to print on grade 3 on VC giving the option of graded if I choose. If I go for G2 VC, I will not be able to use G2 graded as it will be too contrasty.
     
  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Sandy

    I not sure how to answer your question. I have been using Hutchings formula for my clients and myself. the conclusion I have came to that this is the case to *bump up the filter *to print a pyro neg. I believe that Hutchings book says this as well.
    I have literally seen every film exposure, development time compensation on a Jobo that one could imagine using Hutchings Pyro.( In almost every case a grade 3 filter or 2 1/2 is best suited for the image.
    From college days I have assumed that a assumed *good negative* that has been processed in a non staining developer like D76 a good starting filter pack is grade 1 or 1 1/2 give or take.
    As you may be aware I am dealing with a client base that is varied and from different skill sets, but I have always noted this increase of required filter.

    Probably the most underated factor of Pyro *tannin* developer is the fact that as development occurs there seems to be a hardening effect that happens around the silver that stops migration in the highlights. This is what I believe to be the single most important factor why one would use a Pyro developer. I believe this is the reason that the highlights are sharper with pyro as well with the extended development times the highlights seem to stop develping or migrating . Shoot a room with a bare light bulb in the scene and overexpose for the shawdows and drop process. If you use two different developers pyro and D76 , my experience tells me that the pyro neg the bulb will be more defined and as well you will have captured more shadow detail.


    When I balanced in for Pyro there were major learing curves and yes we did plot the curves ect. But since 94, I and others at my shop have been experimenting with Mr Hutchings concoction and have used his book as a constant reference. We have tackled many problems with Pyro, it is as he stated in his book a developer not for the feint of heart. His warning is real and it has taken years for our shop to iron out the bugs. We have done countless print shows that were developed in pyro and believe that it is a very potent weapon in the developer selection process. I have spent a lot of time looking at negatives on light boxes and projecting on a easel and frankly I can only argue my points on this level. I have a technicion on staff who can plot and keep in balance any process required. * but sadly he couln't make a show print if his life depended upon it.*

    Sandy, I have rambled on , and to answer your question , bluntly I do not know why I am using a higher filter for pyro negs over d76 negs , just that when I am making prints this is always the case. I would love to have a conversation with Mr Hutchings on this and talk to him about our methods and see if they match his as I have ran a lot of pyro in this shop and through daily experience I have noticed certain differences between pyro and d76.

    Others , yourself included may have a more scientific outlook on this and I respect that. But from a day to day observation I have always found the above to be true.

    One last observation. Pyro in my estimation sucks if you want to push process. exp underexpose and overdevelop. Why I am not sure
     
  23. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I was always under the impression that it is good to develop for a grade 2 print (your paper of choice, VC, graded, azo, etc.) which then gives plenty of latitude for expressive printing. I've switched from PMK to pyrocat, mostly due to murky shadow values with PMK. Highlights were never a problem, but shadows were.

    I wonder how many people actually test a film - developer - paper combination to find out how things work? tim
     
  24. lee

    lee Member

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    Tim,

    I do. I also switched from PMK to Pyrocat and will not go back. This is a very nice developer for vc paper.

    lee\c
     
  25. Will S

    Will S Member

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  26. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    If you have developed any properly exposed film with any developer to the proper contrast, they all print the same with very close times.