Pyrocat HD: should I reduce agitation?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by skahde, May 5, 2004.

  1. skahde

    skahde Member

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    Hi,

    last weekend I developed Kodak 400TMY in pyrocat HD 1+1+100 for 10:30 min at 21°C/70F , two rolls in a Jobo 1520, 30sec initial agitation followed by 3 inversions every 30sec, followed by rinsing with water (3 times) and fixing in TF3.

    I have done this several times before and liked the results. One of the developers were 400TMY is anything but the ugly duckling it is often said to be. This time the negs came a out a bit to thin and overall a bit flat. Add to this some more general stain than I am used to. I had to crank up the contrast to an unpleasant 75M (about grad. 4), and the highlights look just about right with the midtones becoming unpleasantly contrasty. Maybe I tray graded paper (I have some nice Ilford galerie vintage 1990 sitting on the shelf waiting for such a task) instead of Agfa MCC.

    Taking this aside the developer looked very dark, more dark brown than the usual ruby-colour. With a an old Kindermann-tank i noticed much less discolouration of the developer but this one is much more unpleasant to use (takes only 1 roll, needs long to fill/empty).

    Is it likely the developer got exhausted by oxidation? Should I agitate less? Move to 2+2+100? How do I adjust my developing time in either case?

    thanks in advance

    Stefan
     
  2. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Hi Stefan, Pyrocat will typically tolerate anything from contiuuous agitation to virtually no agitatiion at all.

    It sounds to me like your developer got very oxidized somehow. Maybe your developer temperature went way high - - that could do it.

    Diluted Pyrocat - ready to use -should be a very pale pink or peach color. What color was the working developer just after mixing it?

    The color after development may not change much, or may shift to a yellow or amber color, depending on the film type.

    The only time I've seen it go brown is when I mixed it with water that contained a very heavy load of dissolved oxygen.
     
  3. skahde

    skahde Member

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    Tom,

    thank you for your prompt response. The fresh solution was the usual bright, pale pink. After the development it usually is dark ruby red under my conditions. This time it was even darker approaching brown. As I mentioned, the colour of the developer seems to depend a lot on the tank and reels used. I also have a Hayes stainless reel which fits the Jobo, using this reel the developer comes out yellow, using the Jobo-reels it is dark red.

    The temperature at the beginning was 20,7°C, ambient temperature was 23°C, the tank was placed in an empty bath-tub. I can't think of anything that may have driven the temp higher than usual.

    Any suggestions?

    Stefan
     
  4. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Stefan,
    It certainly sounds like the Jobo reels and possibly the tank have become chemically contaminated.

    For the short term, I recommend that you switch to your stainless steel reel in a stainless steel tank (if you have it).

    I would also contact Jobo and ask for cleaning recommendations for their tank and reels.
     
  5. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I'd be careful when switching to stainless reels. As much as I like them for being unbreakable and tolerant of heat, I have had 'surge' problems with them. Plastic reels have never given me this problem. 'Surge', as many call it, is over agitation at the edges of film and I imagine that it is caused by eddies around the round and smooth surfaces of the steel wire reels. It's wasn't always there, so maybe it was karma. Whatever it was, plastic doesn't do it.
     
  6. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I have never seen any evidence of over agitation with stainless steel reels and Pyrocat-HD. I am currently using minimal agitation (2 gentle inversions per minute) or semi-stand. I have also used continuous agitation with no problems.
     
  7. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I would say wash the reels and tanks with dish soap, if indeed they are contaminated. I use the Jobo reels for 120 and they work fine if you wash them at the end.
     
  8. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    How are you washing the film after fixing?

    Could it be that there is contamination of the developer from chemical carry-over (fixer ?) from the previous developed roll?

    I use the JOBO CPP-2 Processor, and the last step is washing (stated as water, 6X at 30 seconds each) which effectively cleans the tank as well as the film.

    One thing about "stainless" reels - true, they do not break, but they certainly do bend - and if you have ever tried to straighten and realign one, you know what the definition of frustration is. Plastic *can* break (hasn't happened to me yet) but if it doesn't - it will bounce back - and be "straight".
     
  9. skahde

    skahde Member

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    After printing the resulting negatives on Ilford Galerie I am a bit less frustrated. They print nicely on Grad 2 but need considerably more exposure than Agfa MCC with 75M filtration, about a full stop more, though both papers are ISO P 400. My conclusion is that I need extra filtration with the MCC to compensate for the general stain and more exposure with the Galerie to print through it. I know, the stain should not affect printing times but it obviously does.

    I interpret this as to high overall stain and the logical solution would be to cut shorter on the agitation and reduce aerial oxidation. I will certainly not switch to stainless reels as long as I haven't tried harder to solve this problem with technique rather than equipment.

    With respect to contamination I tried the following combinations during the last several months (film, development and agitation all the same):
    1. Kindermann stainless (old type): Yellow Pyrocat after use.
    2. Jobo 1520 with Jobo-Reels: Ruby red Pyrocat.
    3. Jobo 1520 with Hayes stainless reel: Yellow Pyrocat.
    4. AP (plastic, comparable to Jobo): Ruby Red Pyrocat.

    Number 3 shows that only the plastic-reels could be the culprit not the tanks but these are different reels, some in use for years, some hardly ever used others bought just some months ago. I'm flushing tank, reels and everything with 50°C hot water after use and wipe them dry with a clean towel (not a lab-towel which doesn't see the sun but often gets dipped into hypo). Contamination? Very unlikely. I have long enough experience in a field where it is much more troublesome and know how to avoid it and what to look for.

    To me it seems that my kind of agitation introduces to much air into the developer when using plastic reels and I could either change the reels or the agitation. I would prefer the to do the latter.
    Would 10s initial agitation, followed by 3 gentle inversions every minute for 12min be a good starting point for 400TMY in 1+1+100 at 21°C/70°F?

    Stefan
     
  10. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Stefan, your proposed processing procedure sounds very reasonable and should produce good negatives.

    If the spent developer is yellow with the plastic reels, and the stain levels are reasonable, I think you can conclude that your problem was indeed an air induction effect caused by an agitation/reel interaction.

    I also ocassionally use Jobo plastic reels, but with intermittent agitation, and have never seen this problem with them.
     
  11. skahde

    skahde Member

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    Developed another two rolls on sunday as described above: Lowered/absent general stain, nice specific stain, time seems to be spot on. The Pryocat is still red but much lighter.

    Thanks to everyone. I think I can close this case.

    Stefan
     
  12. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Stefan,

    I am just wondering if you are not leaving some of the magenta colored anit-halation backing in the film. In my work with TMAX 400 I have never been able to get rid of this reddish/magenta color with normal processing. What does work for me in remvoing the color is to soak the film, after fixing, in a solution of sodium carbonate, using about one spoon of carbonatge per liter of water. This additional alkaliity will generally remove the stain with a soaking gof 10-15 minutes.

    Sandt
     
  13. skahde

    skahde Member

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    Sandy,

    I found it hard to reliably remove the antihalation dyes from Tmax too. After I switched to two-bath fixing in alkaline TF3 the antihalation dyes are much more easy to remove in the wash and with non-staining developers I can hardly tell if I have 400TMY or APX100 drying in the shower unless I take a closer look. The colour of the film in question also wasn't purple but more like a 320TXP left to long in an used-developer-afterbath, like I did when I tested films for pyrocat.

    Stefan