Pyrocat and flat scenes....

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Tom Stanworth, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Do you think that this dev is a good'un for flat scenes in need of expansion - what sort of capability does it offer here. I tend to shoot mountain light, water etc and find that compensation is often handy. Over the last while tho, I have started to think that the use of such devs might not provide the best look with flat scenes. I realise that the stain and tanning is proportional, but find that with VC one still needs lots of development with even a bright scene and less with graded. Those rare few flat scenes I have shot while experimenting with Dixactol/Exactol Lux shot ages back look very muddy. I am starting to think that for normal scenes a more aggressive developer might be in order. I just think that unless one is either prepared to use graded paper or develop for a long time and print on a high grade, a conventional dev like HC110/ID11 might be better????

    Any thoughts....I am a little perplexed that for some it is all they use....

    Tom
     
  2. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Tom, I think you're right about using pyro for contrasty scenes; like you I get compensation. The midtones I get with pyro are outstanding; very long scale negs, but I have to dial in about 1/2 grade more contrast than if I used another dev. However, the highlights are controlled and adding 1/2 grade more contrast is not much of a problem. I've also been known to add 20% to dev. times when using pyro to bring up the contrast.

    D-76 may not be your answer. It is known as a low-mid contrast dev. Something a bit beefier like Rodinal might be your dev. for low contrast scenes. But, as we know there is no magic bullet.
     
  3. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Hi Tom,
    Sandy King reported on the Azo Forum that the addition of 0.1 gram of Ascorbic Acid per liter of working developer significantly raises the activity level of Pyrocat-HD. Sandy calls this modification Pyrocat-HD+. I haven't tried it myself, but intend to do so in short order.

    The current weather in So. California is presenting me with lots of opportunities for low SBR photography!
     
  4. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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  5. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The choice of film is probably equally or possibly more important then the developer. In other words if the film is limited in its density range (BPF 200 for instance) then any developer will not afford any more then the film's capacity.

    That being said Pyro developers will give better separation in the higher negative density regions (print highlight values). The pyro developer stain color does become a factor when used with VC materials and the compensating effect on high contrast filtration. That is why I attribute Pyrocat's better print highlight separation when compared to a yellow or yellow green stain like PMK for instance.
     
  6. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    For me, HP5 in HC-110 dil. H (1/2 dilution B) works like a champ. I rate the HP5 at ISO 200 is the light is really flat, then knock off 25% developing time, from 10 minutes to 7.5 minutes. Not a fine grain look, but lots of punch.
     
  7. sanking

    sanking Member

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    My recent tests in comparing PMK and Pyrocat-HD negatives printed on graded and VC papers indicate that you do indeed need a lot more contrast (CI of .70 to .75) to print on VC papers with these staining developers than on graded papers. But to get that contrast with Pyrocat-HD is very easy. All you need to do is change the dilution. I recommend the 1:1:100 dilution for printing on graded silver papers, but if that dilution does not give you enough contrast for VC papers just switch to the 2:2:100 dilution. I seriously doubt there is any scene so flat that it could not be handled with the 2:2:100 dilution with development times of 10-15 minutes.

    One of the extraordinary benefits that you will derive from optimizing your Pyrocat-HD negatives for printing on VC papers is that these negatives will have a density range that is almost perfect for printing on AZO#2 and pure palladium, which also require a negative with a CI of around .75. I had suspected this might be the case for quite some time but had not had any particular reason to test the premise until now since I rarely ever print with silver gelatin papers other than AZO.

    If anyone is interested in knowing what time is required for developing to a CI of about .75 just have a look at the CI charts in my article on pyro developers at Unblinking Eye, http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/PCat/pcat.html. Select from the charts based pm blue channel reading for your film.

    And of course, even if you are not now printing on AZO #2 or with palladium you might want to do so at some time in the future, and if that moment every comes you will have negatives of exactly the right DR to do so.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2005
  8. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Sandy,

    Thanks for the link. I'm primarly a color-landscape guy, but I've been shooting some Efke PL100 lately (although I haven't processed any of it yet) and was curious about staining developers. Your article answered a lot of questions I had. I'm looking at purchasing a Jobo CPE processor in the next couple of months - I need quicker turnaround times for my E6 than sending them to California - and your Pyrocat-HD looks like a good fit for processing the Efke.

    Thanks again,
     
  9. Steve Sherman

    Steve Sherman Subscriber

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    Tom
    I'm not sure how much effort you want to put into gaining negative contrast but here goes. I have always shot in similar lighting conditions as you refusing to shoot when the sun is up yet using Azo which has a significantly longer scale than silver. Sandy King turned me onto Semi-Stand developement which causes a marked increased in negative sharpness. This increased sharpness translates to a higher contrast index within the negative. This causes a number of elements to change, the biggest I believe to be the ability to print on softer contrast papers even though negatives were made in soft light. If you want a different look to your work this technique is worth exploring.

    There is an extended discussion on the Azo Forum which began just about a year ago next week. Look it up if you are so inclined.

    Regards, Steve
     
  10. sanking

    sanking Member

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    At the time I did the pyro article I had not tested Efke PL100. Since them I have and you can find recommended times for AZO #2 with Pyrocat-HD in a recent thread on the AZO forum. These times should give good results with #2 silver VC papers.

    BTW, I am heading to Mexico tomorrow for a couple of weeks so this will be my last posting here on apug.org for a while.

    Sandy
     
  11. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Thanks all. I am in the process of nailing down what I like to use. I have done this for printing papers and paper devs, but not yet film devs. I love Pyrocat where cloud, water, mist etc are present, but it isn't (so far) working for me elsewhere, but obviously need to experiment. I am not averse to using another dev all together if it is easier (as blowing out flat scenes is not a likely problem) and confess to being amazed by the performance of Aculux 2 on a variety of films - stunning tonality and incredibly easy to print. I will experiment with pyrocat further and may go for the 2:2:100 concentration to cut times. As I have elected to use minimal agitation (2 min intervals so far) for acutance and local contrast, this makes even more sense....as it will if I use it on 10x8 and print alt process in the future, which I intend to to eventually. So far I have found that about 16/18 mns is likely to be a fair starting point for normal scenes on VC and that is getting too long for me; just a pain. I am aiming to get a normal scene to print on VC G3. That means that G2 graded is still open to me and there is still plenty of scope for higher contrast up the range if I need it.

    I posted as I was just getting concerned that my dev times for VC were getting ridiculously long and seeing as few others have reported these problems, I started to wonder If I was getting something wrong!

    Seeing as I have nothing better to do (once car operational again) I will do some testing to really get to know pyrocat!

    JDEF - Sounds interetsting and next time I order some chems and teh scales come out, I might just make some up!
     
  12. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Tom, if you are shooting in low light and want short times with good separation of values, try Efke 25 if you aren't in a big hurry with shutter speed and there isn't a lot of wind. This film and pyrocat will expand readily in flat light, in fact, you may find it a bit contrasty for your tastes. It is sharp, slow and very fine in rendering detail.
     
  13. Leon

    Leon Member

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    tom - i generally use fp4 in pyrocat hd 1:1:100 for approx 16 mins at 4 inversions every three mins. As i typically have a range of SBIs on the roll, I generally dev for my N time and use the VC filters to print to the required contrasts. I'm not finding things too muddy at all.

    A while ago I shot some hp5 in awful light - overcast and flat-as-a-pancake. My usual time using the above dilutions and methods at about ei 200 is 18 mins, I pushed it to 24 mins and got fine negs that printed just right at vc grade 2 1/2 or 3.
     
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  15. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    I guess I was finding myself concerned about those long dev times....thinking, "this cant be right"...guess it is. I may well start to try 2:2:100 to reduce them to something sensible.
     
  16. WarEaglemtn

    WarEaglemtn Member

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    I have had really good luck popping contrast using Sandys earlier recommendtaion of 2+4+100 for the Pyrocat HD. Then I process until it looks good & it has made a difference in scenes with 1-3 stop range.
     
  17. AlanC

    AlanC Member

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    Tom,
    you are not alone in experiencing long dev times with Pyrocat HD. When I first tried it, at 1:1:100, with 5x4 HP5 and Bergger 200, I started at 10 minutes tray developement for scenes of normal contrast. This was way too little. To get negs that printed on grade 3 vc I had to go to 15 minutes with 2:2:100.
    In 35 mm, using Trix,HP5 and Foma400 (a superb film) exposed in bright sunny contrasty light, I use 2:2:100 for 10minutes at 20degrees C. with one inversion every 30 seconds. Films rated at 200.

    10 minutes is a convenient time, but 15 minutes is rather long and I too have wondered about changing developers.

    Alan Clark
     
  18. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Alan,

    I love HP5 and appreciate its lowish contrast at times, so I guess this film is a candidate to struggle with gaining contrast under flat conditions with this dev. Ditto for Bergger, which I gather is not recommended for low SBRs. I am settled to use Efke 100 in 10x8 and definitely need to stick to something in 5x4 (it would certainly be APX100 in all if they had not pulled it in sheet)- probably come back to FP4 plus and Acros quickload for travel once I've run out of TMAX readyload. These films normally produce great contrast. I remember developing some HP5 sheets in Exactol Lux taken in South Africa under contrasty bright conditions. I developed as per reccomended times for this film and still had to print on VC Grade 4 1/2 -it ended up looking great, but boy that was close. I'm going to keep experimenting, but am concerned that if my times keep climbing, grain might become an issue in 5x4. As I'm sure you've found, there is a lot of Zone 6 cloud here in the UK and grain just stands out in it! I'm also going to get myself some more Aculux 2, which seems to produce lovely negs -I wonder if it too compensates somewhat as I have had excellent mid tone contrast with tame highlights from some Spain shots so far. So it'll either be pyrocat for everything or for constrasty stuff with Aculux for flatter scenes.

    Tom

    Tom
     
  19. AlanC

    AlanC Member

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    Tom,

    I certainly agree with you about HP5 being lowish in contrast. In 35mm when I have exposed it to the same subject, and given the same dev time as TriX and Foma 400, the highlights were disappointingly flat. (I like a gritty contrasty look in my 35mm pictures! Have now settled on Foma for this look, but am still trying it with different developers.)
    But I don't want to imply that I have found HP5 to be a really low contrast film. When I was experimenting with Pyrocat and 5x4 film I exposed quite a few sheets of HP5 to the same subject as Bergger 200, then developed them for the same time in the same dish. Each time the Bergger came out with noticably lower contrast.

    Alan Clark
     
  20. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    HP5+ is not recommended for use with Rodinal at 1+50 because it will not achieve a CI of 0.65 at that dilution. That is plenty for many of us, but not enough for some self masking printing processes. The dye image of PMK and Pyrocat can add to the silver image as we know, but the development needed to get a combined silver and dye image of sufficient contrast may lead to excess B+F, hence very long printing exposures. Now I've forgotten the point.

    Well, let me take this opportunity to say that one of my daughters erased all my email inbox from April 2002 to the present, which includes a lot of valuable data. If any of you would like to be on my email list or have personal inquiries I have not answered, please email me at pgainer@rtol.net.
     
  21. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Tom

    Thanks for your info for Acros and PMK. The Acros negs have just the sort of contrast which I think you are looking for. The ones I have developed tonight are better than the FP4 shots, not that the latter are exactly bad!

    I used 120 APX100 on another greyer day (6x12 rfh) and quick visual inspection of these indicates that I am going to have to work to get the sky to come up as desired, despite orange filter. My preferred subject matter is similar, in this case Coniston last week.
     
  22. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Acros really is a different fuil in pyro devs, ceasing to become a TMax'alike and really having invisible grain AND edges. I love it, but at £50+ for a box of quickload, it is is for posh hols or when someone else is paying! So far, I far prefer it to Tmax, which seems weird as I have heard so many techie tests saying it is so close to Tmax why pay more for the Fuji - I dont agree. I do feel that because of the ultra fine grain, they only come alive when enlarged a fair bit, remaining a bit toothless when small and a million miles from showing grain - again pyro helps here. On the whole tho I prefer traditional films (where I am able to load darkslides without dust problems etc) and feel that FP4 Efke PL100 are about thes best all round options. I just need some good weather in NW (broken cloud, scattered showers, intermittent sun) to get me out shooting again for some more experiments.....now that a Berlebach is on the way, I cannot wait to try 10x8....but dont fancy any film tests with that stuff!

    Tom
     
  23. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Agree Acros pricing is ridiculous. I have now only used 5 sheets of my "free" 20 sheet QLoad box from the Robert White Velvia QL offer. Nevertheless these sheets leap off the lightbox with real zing, over the other films which have all been in PMK.

    It works out at 4x price of Ilford films and over 3x that of Kodak Readyload Tmax and then you have to try to add space around the edges for that stupid little hole in the corner!

    Like you I still expect to be lugging around lots of darkslides unless they have a serious rethink about the price. It is after all a good time and opportunity for them to push this film as a superior alternative to the Ilford emulsions.
     
  24. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Anyone not familiar with pyrocats abilties to hold highlights, have a peek in the technical gallery (in a few minutes). See APX100 pyrocat test sun on water....I certainly used reduced development as I was testing the film/dev and the normal scenes needed grade 4 (see APX100 pyrocat test Inlet). Even so the sun on water printed at grade 3 (tone etc added in PS, otherwise faithful). 'Inlet' is muddy even at grade 4 and would need lots of hard work in the darkroon. I think I also underexposed...prob forgot filter factor for No 11....

    Tom
     
  25. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

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    Tom
    Another thought is to try the Prescycol dev tested in B+W by Les McLean. I personally didn't find the review too helpful, feeling that smaller pictures and less narrative would have made way for more factual info and/or more inclusion of another trial image; but it did show good seperation in the mid to high greys which you are after, better than PMK in fact.
    I appreciate getting yet another developer is potentially a pain, but it is made by the chap who is now manufacturing Barry T's products. More importantly it seemed to work straight out of the box (or bottles). I intend trying it at some stage, but until my curiosity gets the better of me, have another lot of PMK to get through first.
     
  26. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

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    Personally, I feel that I just need ot get times/concentrations sorted for Pyrocat HD, as the problem I have is the same as I had for B Thortons devs - they need quite a bit more development when VC papers are used and the image was lowish in contrast - Its not the dev's fault, it would appear that I have more work to do!. In all respects pyrocat is the equal of Exactol/Dixactol, but perhaps a more ideal blend of the two, tho perhaps not for smaller formats where Exactol Lux was perhaps finer grained. At the stated times for Exactol Lux/Dixactol , I personally found that anything but a reasonably bright contrasty scene produce muddy prints on VC apart from the highest grades. I used the standard times when shooting very contrasty stuff, printing happily on G3 VC! If dev time was increased much with Dixactol, grain was incredible - I have a 120 film (maco 820C) that looks like 35mm HP5! I have printed the Exactol negs on 3 different enlargers, all with the same results. Even after doing rigid film tests us ing distilled water etc, I found I needed more development, however, times were certainly lower than pyrocat HD - Perhaps the stock solutions were a bit more concentrated? I would guess that Presyscol is not going to be far different from Exactol Lux/Pyrocat, especially as BT said that about 80% of Dixactol users had swithched to exactol....

    Tom