Pyrocat-HD & Pyrocat-MC with Efke 25 and Ilford FP4+

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by borgida, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. borgida

    borgida Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hello

    I have tested Efke 25 and Ilford FP4+ in 4x5 sheets with several different developers.

    The best developer I have used, with these films, so far is PMK Pyro. I have found the grayscale gradation to be very good with these two films in PMK Pyro. However, the grain is very large and am finding that the negs lack sharpness.

    I spoke with Photo Formulary this morning and they recommended trying Sandy King's Pyrocat-MC and Pyrocat-HD developers. Have any of you had experience with Efke 25 or Ilford FP4+ with either of these Pyrocat developers? Is the grain very tight and sharp with a smooth tonal gradation?

    My goal is to use a traditional film with a developer that keeps the grain as tight as possible. All the developers I have used, thus far, have made the grain the size of golf balls.

    FYI, the other developers I have tested, besides PMK Pyro, are Ilford Microphen, Perceptol, DDX, and TFX2.

    Looking forward to everyone's feedback.

    Best Regards,
    Ross Borgida
     
  2. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

    Messages:
    2,894
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I develop both films (4x5) in pyrocat using extreme minimal agitation for FP4+ and minimal agitation for PL 25. I don't use PMK so I can't offer a first-hand comparison for grain size, but I don't believe you will be disappointed. I have a tough time finding the grain to focus on with either one.

    Both films have smooth tone graduation, PL 25 being the smoothest IMO.
     
  3. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    PL25 is very nice for skin tones with PMK pyro. Not sure what you have found with the grain size, as Efke 25 has very tight grain in almost any developer I can think of.

    One drawback with PMK is the lack of ability to do minimal agitation, as Alex has said. PMK will give uneven staining when the agitation cycle frequency is reduced too much. Also, shadow values tend to be pretty muddy with PMK. Pyrocat is much better in many respects, but grain isn't as smooth because the general stain tends to block apparent grain. tim
     
  4. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

    Messages:
    3,879
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I am currently developing both of these films in Pyrocat-MC. I use minimal agitation with Efke 25 (35mm, 120 rollfilm and 8x10 sheet film) developed in Pyrocat-MC diluted 1+1+100. The negs show fine, tight grain, high image acutance and excellent tonality.

    I develop FP4+ in Pyrocat-MC diluted 1+1+100 with extreme minimal agitation. The FP4+ negs show fine, tight grain, high image acutance and excellent tonality.

    I agree with Alex that the Efke 25 shows the smoothest tonal graduation of these two films.


    I don't use PMK, so I can't offer a comparison.
     
  5. borgida

    borgida Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Pyrocat Grain

    Are you saying that the grain is tigher in PMK? Or are you saying that the grain is not as apparent in Pyrocat? I want to minimize the grain and get a sharper neg?

    Thanks
     
  6. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    PMK will give the appearence of smoother grain (or tighter, if you will), because the "general stain" acts as a mask to fill in places between the silver grains with density which is not silver, but stain. It is "self-masking" in that it tends to blend the grit of grain with a matrix of stain. This is why shadow values tend to be muddy with PMK, because the general image stain reduces micro-contrast within the thin areas of shadow. I have not found large grain to be an issue with PMK, with FP4 or Efke 25. Which developers have you compared PMK with to say it produces large grain? Larger grain can tend to provide a visually sharper look at times, because the grain adds a gritty sharpness to edges which is not there with smaller grain.

    For sharp images with excellent tonality and excellent shadow values as well (micro-contrast), use pyrocat-hd and minimal agitation. This will give negatives which appear to be "etched" on the film due to edge effects from longer development cycles. In 4x5, both FP4 and Efke 25 will give smooth, sharp images without grain. If you are doing 40" x 50" enlargements, you may see grain, but at 16 x 20 there won't be enough to see (especially at my age). tim

    P.S. Just how large are we talking about for a print size when you say 4x5 and PMK with Efke 25 makes big grain? What light source for the prints?
    P.P.S. Minimal agitation is defined as the first minute of gentle agitation, followed by 10 seconds every three minutes, until full development is realized for a given SBR. This is done (by me) using a diluted amount of pyrocat (1:1:150).

    P.P.P.S. You really have to see the difference between PMK and Pyrocat with minimal agitation to believe it. Please don't take my word for it. Give it a try to see what you think.
     
  7. borgida

    borgida Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hi Tim

    Thanks for the feedback. PMK is the tightest grain I have scene compared to the other films I have tested. I think the Efke 25 is tighter than FP4+ with a smoother gradation.

    I know about those developers that adds grain to edges and I would like to stay away from that.

    In terms of output, and do not shoot me:smile:, I am drum scanning on a Howtek 4500 and printing on a custom diluted hextone carbon inkset. Largest print size I can do is 24x20.

    Already purchased some Pyrocat-HD and Pyrocat-MC from formulary yesterday. Will test next week with Efke 25 and FP4+. Also, I am developing in a rotary processor as well at 75 degrees.

    Am I better of developing this film in PMK or Pyrocat in trays or BTZS tubes?

    Regards
    Ross
     
  8. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

    Messages:
    728
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmette,Ill
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ross,

    I use 4x5 FP4 developed in Pyrocat HD as my standard film. I used to process it in a Jobo and it worked very well. You might want to try using it at 1.5:1.5:100 to make it a lttle more resistant to oxidizing from the constant agitation. I have since switched to using hangers and tanks and minimal agitation. There is a gain in acutance and speed, small, but noticable.

    Before I started using Pyrocat I used PMK for about 2 years. I found Pyrocat to have significantly finer grain and more sharpness. I use VC paper and I think the highlights print better with Pyrocat. Pyrocat also works much better in a Jobo. It doesn't oxidize nearly as quickly, and the negatives have a much lower level of base fog.

    Richard Wasserman
     
  9. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,725
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    I'm curious to know how to get coarse grain out of FP4+. I use mostly 35 mm and can't find the grain in an 8x10, and I have very good enlarging lenses. Let me in on your secret.
    Some who have used PMK or other pyro soups are not happy with the color of Pyrocat MC. Sandy uses it with good success in printing processes that need UV density. I have used the same recipe as Pyrocat MC, but substituting pyrogallol weight for weight for the catechol, and I use semistand development with no sign of unevenness. I use it 1:1:100 with the same carbonate B as for Pyrocat.
    I think you will like the Pyrocat MC, though. I can't even get grain out of 35 mm HP5+.
     
  10. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,190
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Tim - I'd be interested in your minimal agitation time and temperature range for FP4 in Pyrocat? Thanks.
     
  11. borgida

    borgida Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    FP4+ Grain

    Hi Pat

    Thanks for the feedback. I basically take the negative and look at it with a 10x loupe. There you can really see the grain. Also, I scan the negs with a Howtek 4500 drum scanner and I zoom to see the grain to match the grain to the micron.


    Best Regards,
    Ross
     
  12. ongarine

    ongarine Member

    Messages:
    156
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Location:
    Avesa-Verona
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Very interesting the variation Pat Gainer suggests.
    I made the same with a perverted Pyrocat with Hydroquinone instead of Pyrocatechin with orange stain....
    Is the negative obteined with this formula similar to PMK or the color of stain is different?
    Developing times are similar to PMK or Pyrocat MC?
    How we could name this new creation? Pyro-Pyro :smile:
     
  13. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

    Messages:
    3,226
    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2003
    Location:
    Eight miles high
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Time for some better living through chemistry!
     
  14. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,725
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    I just wrote Pyrogal MC on the bottle. The color is like PMK. I use it like Pyrocat with the K2CO3 alkali, usually diluted 1:1:100, and have had no problems with HP5+ developed 24 minutes at 70 F with agitation at 0, 8 and 16 minutes. I have so many versions of Pyrocat in my darkroom that I sometimes have to do eeny miny. My Daddy also taught me to "spitter-spider". He was an English Professor, so knew about such things. You spit a blob in your palm, say the mgic words "Spitter,spitter spider, I'll give you a drinkk of cider if you tell me where my (whatever you're looking for) is." Then with two fingers of the other hand you smak the ball of spit and follow the biggest blob.
     
  15. 3Dfan

    3Dfan Member

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Yuck! I think I'll stick with flipping coins.
     
  16. haryanto

    haryanto Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    May 2, 2005
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I use FP4+ and TMY never found big grain in negative in both PMK and pyrocat MC, and I can't see the difference accutance both PMK and Pyrocat negative, almost has the same sharpness, both of them have beautiful tonal separationsl in highlight
     
  17. PepMiro

    PepMiro Member

    Messages:
    84
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Location:
    Andorra
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Grain with FP4+ and Efke25 in 4x5 sheets? I can't understand. How big are your enlargements?
     
  18. MikeK

    MikeK Member

    Messages:
    557
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Location:
    Walnut Creek
    Shooter:
    Large Format
     
  19. sper

    sper Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Location:
    I live in Mi
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What does "full development is realized for a given SBR" mean? What is SBR?
     
  20. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    sper, I'm using "full development" to mean that for a given sbr, development is finished. The sbr number is a value which relates a paper's scale to light in the scene and development time, as a function of print contrast. SBR is "scene brightness range" in BTZS terminology.

    Full development can vary, according to the amount of contrast you want to see in a print. Some prints may require greater contrast than others, so I use the film's contrast to determine a print value.
     
  21. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

    Messages:
    1,670
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think that you have set up a requirement that no film/developer combination could pass. If you are using 4x5 film then grain is immaterial as it will not appear in any reasonable size enlargement viewed at its proper viewing distance. You should be inspecting prints of the magnification you wish to use. With LF negatives you should be more concerned with gradation.
     
  22. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,725
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2002
    I agree with Gerald (I usually do), even with 35 mm these days. Maybe it's my 79 year old eyes, but if I can view an 8x10 print at 12 inches with my reading glasses in place and only think about subject and gradations, I don't look any closer. In other words, I abhor grain sniffing as we used to call it. If grain steers me away from the essentials, then it's probably not a very good photograph to start. You have to know that the usual rules for such things as hyperfocal distance do not apply to prints viewed at other than the distance for proper perspective.
     
  23. borgida

    borgida Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    After all the testing, here is what I found out:

    Efke 25 is the best film in terms of gradation and tight grain. Efke 25 worked best in Pyrocat MC. PMK Pyro and Pcat MC had the same gradation but MC had much better definition.

    Pan F seems to work best in PMK Pyro.

    Regards,
    Ross