Pyrocat HD and BTZS tubes

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by DrPhil, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    So I've been frustrated with my Jobo one time too many. I ordered up a set of BTZS tubes from The View Camera store. Since I am changing my developing method (and getting one that will always work!) I will need to recalibrate my developing time, EI, etc. I've also been wanting to give Pyrocat HD a try. Thus, this seems like a perfect time to give it a go. I will be using Ilford FP4+ in 4x5 sheets.

    Here is what I've gathered so far to use as a starting point.

    ISO=100 for Ilford FP4+
    Pyrocat HD 1:1:100
    I am aiming to print on Ilford MGVI RC and Fiber.

    Beginning with a presoak of 2 minutes
    Temperature is at 70 degrees(F)

    N-1 5:30
    N 8 to 8:30
    N+1 15:00

    No stop bath. Use water instead

    Kodak Rapid Fix for 5+ minutes

    Wash negatives

    This is the basic process as I understand it for Pyrocat HD. I plan to establish my EI and N, N-1, and N+1 times using the methods from Ansel's second book. This is the same method that I have used in the past. However, as I understand it I shoul use the blue channel on my densitometer over the white light channel?

    Now, for my questions.
    First, How does everyone pre-soak with the BTZS tubes?
    As I understand it you load the tubes in the dark and place a cap on the tube. Drop these into the water bath to let them come up to temperature. Fill the second set of caps up with developer. Then, in darkness remove each cap and set the tube up vertically atop each cap filled with developer. At the same time start the timer and drop them into the water bath. Keep them spinning for the suggested time. Then, remove the lids and transfer them to a tray filled with water (stop bath). Finally, remove them from the tubes and place them in a tray of fixer.

    Going back to the beginning, How is everyone presoaking their film? Are

    Second, Sandy King's article calls for an alkaline rapid fizer that does not have a harding agent. Am I correct that my standard Kodak Rapid Fixer fits this requirement?

    Thanks in advance for reading my extended post.
     
  2. Francesco

    Francesco Member

    Messages:
    1,020
    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2003
    Location:
    Düsseldorf,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Presoaking the film with tubes: I have extra caps for all my tubes. I fill the extra cap with water and then, in a changing tent, replace the empty cap with the water-filled cap. When the presoak is done, the empty cap, which now contains Pyrocat, is then replaced back.
     
  3. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Dr. Phil,
    I use the tubes for all my film processing. After the tubes are in the tray of tempered water, with the lights out, I remove the cap and pull the film about half way out of the tube and kind of move the film around so water reaches the back of the film. Put the cap back on and turn the lights back on. I presoak for 5 minutes and use pyrocat hd to develope. Hope this makes sense and works for you.
    William Blunt
     
  4. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dr Phil,
    A good substitute for an acidic rapid fixer is Photographer's formulary's TF4. It is an alkaline fixer which works well.
     
  5. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    WM,

    That sounds a bit easier than Francesco's changing tent method. With my luck I would spill something in my tent. I think I will just turn the lights off in the darkroom.

    Since both of you are using tubes, how rapidly do you spin them around? Do you have a method for consistent agitation?
     
  6. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Dr. Phil
    Spin the tubes slowly to keep from getting too much extra base stain from the pyrocat hd. I use Kodak rapid fix less hardener for 5 minutes.
     
  7. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Am I to understand then that Kodak's Rapid Fixer is Acidic? Sandy King's article calls for an Alkaline (basic) fixer. How alkaline or acidic are each of these fixers? Are there thresholds that shouldn't be crossed? Hmmm. I think I am going to run over to the office tomorrow and grab a pH meter.
     
  8. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    So the kodak rapid fix less hardener must not be too acidic. I wonder if the pH of the fixer affects the stain? Sound like another experiment!
     
  9. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Dr. Phil
    Sandy recommends the alkaline fix but states that Kodak rapid fix works fine. I've never had a problem with fixing and get plenty of "good" stain.
     
  10. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Kodak rapid fixer is not acidic unless you add the hardener. The little bottle that comes in the box. I use it with Pyrocat (the only fixer I can get in Mexico) with no problems or stain reduction. Of course, I dont add the hardener. I have a bunch of those little bottle....hmmm....maybe I should stop by e pay....
     
  11. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2003
    Location:
    Missouri
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Jorge,
    I have a lot of those little bottles too, let me know if you find a use!
     
  12. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Jorge, that is the kind of info I was looking for. Thank you.
     
  13. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,405
    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2003
    Location:
    Norwich, UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    DrPhil

    What you have documented here is pretty much what I currently use. I have homemade BTZS tubes, using Pyrocat-HD (1:1:100) on FP4 5x4 sheets. I use ISO 80 (but still need to redo my personal film speed test with Pyrocat) and print on Ilford papers for now. My standard dev time is 8mins @20c. Negs are wonderful.

    My presoak technique consists of filling a spare cap (150ml approx) with dist water and substituting it in darkness onto the tube. I shake the tube vigourously for 30 seconds and then place in the tray, rotating it by spinning gently every 5 seconds for 1 second. This allows me to do a cycle on 4 tubes and keeps a constant agitation. Tubes are just stopping by the time I return to them. Initially I start each tube 30 sec apart so I have time to drain and put on caps full of developer before the next tube is ready.

    Some advice from my experiences.
    Number your tubes to help when the lights are on
    Don't mix dev times in the same batch i.e N and N+1 as you WILL loose the batch rhythm.
    Keep neg handling in tubes to a minimum. Anti halation dyes come out in the pre rinse, any left over (rare) comes out in the fix.

    I use stop bath because I have it. I fix under low light in trays

    Good luck

    Phill
     
  14. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Lets send them all to Robert Kennedy so he can harden the gelatin on his glass plates...:smile:
     
  15. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One thing I've read about the film and proper wetting with tubes, there is fiberglass window screen made which you can buy at any hardware store in bulk. You can cut it with regular scissors easily. There is a recommendation for cutting screen which is slightly longer than the film itself, so you can grasp the edge of the screen to pull out the film. This is easier because handling of the film is reduced and removing the screen pulls the film with it. The solution is able to circulate more readily behind the film for proper wetting of both sides..
     
  16. Photographica

    Photographica Member

    Messages:
    109
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Dr Phil,
    The staining action on your film continues after fixing well into the wash process. If your fix is an alkaline base then you will get good wash stain -- TF4 fits this well. If it is not, i.e. Kodak's Rapid fix, put the film back into the spent pyro developer (alkaline) for a couple of minutes just before your wash.

    This second dunk into the developer will just adjust your film emulsion towards the alkaline side of things so you get maximum staining effect during the wash.

    Bill
     
  17. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I would not recommend putting it back in the spent developer unless you want an increase in overall stain, not proportional stain, which is the great advantage of most pyro developers and specially pyrocat HD.
     
  18. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville,
    Shooter:
    Large Format

    Returning the film to the used developer. As Jorge points out, any additional stain you get from this procedure will be general or overall stain that serves no useful purpose and only leads to some incresase in exposure times.

    Gordon Hutchings originally descrdibed this procedure in The Book of Pyro but my understanding is that he no longer recommends it.

    Sandy King
     
  19. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Everyone,

    Thank you for taking the tie to answer my questions. Now, I have a few more.

    I will be testing everything using Ansel's methods; however, I am curious to see someone's BTZS curves for FP4+ in 1:1:100. Specifically developing time vs. N and EFS vs. N. I wonder how different these will be from my estimate using Ansel's method.

    I am leaving for vacation and won't have my enlarger fixed before I leave. Thus, I can't use the BTZS methods to make curves myself. I would be interested in what the BTZS curves say before I leave.
     
  20. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Tell me what kind of printing process you will be using and I will send you my BTZS development data for FP4+.

    Sandy King
     
  21. DrPhil

    DrPhil Member

    Messages:
    169
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Negative size is 4x5. VC silver gelatin paper. Ilford MGIV RC and Fiber to be exact. Using a Cold Light Head (currently with a busted bulb!).


     
  22. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

    Messages:
    4,813
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Location:
    Greenville,
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Here is what I would suggest, assuming development in tubes with gentle but constant agitation at 72 degrees F, using the 1:1:100 dilution of Pyrocat-HD. I don't actually test for VC papers so the following recommendation was derived by extrapolation from graded paper data. But it should serve well for initial tests.

    N-1, or SBR 8.5, 5:45 minutes
    N, or SBR 7, 8:00 minutes
    N+1, or SBR 5.5, 15 minutes.


    Sandy King