PyroCat HD

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Eric Rose, Mar 24, 2003.

  1. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Well I'm going to loose my Pyro virginity tonight. A local photographer gave me two little bottles of solution A and B for PyroCat HD and 6 4x5 hangers. Gee now I get to develop my own LF negs! I'm so excited.

    Ok here is my question. I have exposed my HP5 negs at the full 400asa rating, placing the shadows on Zone IV ish. Without getting into all the testing crap that I haven't obviously done (but will do) what do the learned developers here recommend for a starting developing time? Also the only fixer I have is the usual Ilford stuff which I think has a hardner. Is this a problem?

    My searching kind of has me leaning to around 13 minutes, but I could be wrong (I often am).

    Thanks,

    Eric
     
  2. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    If you shot a normal SBR scene, try 11 minutes at 1:2:100 at 72 degrees. If it was a high SBR scene (11+), cut it to around 8 minutes. This will probably get you a negative you can work with.
     
  3. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    I only use pyrocat in a Unidrum (not hangers), and I haven't tried it with HP5, but Clay's recommendations seem on par with my times for FP4+. I've found development times aren't super critical, though. By the way, are these negs intended for alternative process (which will need more contrast)?

    As to fixer, I've only used Kodak Rapid, without the hardener added. So I guess I can't help you there.

    Also, with pyro and pyrocatechin developers, be sure to make a print before judging the quality of the negative, because the stain can give different result from what you expect. PyrocatHD won't give much of a stain when compared to say, PMK, but there is a stain nonetheless. Just compare it to a regular negative and you'll see it.
     
  4. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Clay it was recommended to me to use 1:1:100. Why do you use 1:2:100?
     
  5. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    1:2:100 makes it faster working.
     
  6. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Yes, and faster working means less general stain due to the oxidizing developer. In general, I think keeping your times to less than about 12 minutes is good, and one can use dilution changes to get increased contrast. In fact Sandy King, the creator of Pyrocat HD now uses a 2:2:100 (1:1:50) dilution most of the time.

    CH
     
  7. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Does Sandy have his own website?
     
  8. clay

    clay Subscriber

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  9. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Thanks I just emailed Sandy. I will post his reply. Also invited Sandy to our little patch of net here as well.
     
  10. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    This is a reply I received from Sandy King, the creator of Pyrocat-HD. At the bottom are my questions:

    Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 13:54:54 -0500
    From: Sandy King
    To: <eric@dasilvadive-tours.com>
    Subject: Re: Hi there, just tried your Pyrocat-HD and have a couple of questions (gee that's a surprise!)

    Hi,

    Thanks for the report. I am pleased that Pyrocat worked well for you.

    I do not have a personal web site at this time but you can see some further information on pyrocat at http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/PC-HD/pc-hd.html. You can also find at the same site a paper I did on UV printing sources for alternative printing if you are interested, with a few of my images.

    To answer your questions, I have not tested Pyrocat with Delta 400. I am not sure if Clay tested it for the Unblinking Eye article. You might check with Pavel Babushkin at pavel_a_b@yahoo.com. He has started to use Pyrocat and might have already done some tests with Delta 400.

    I recommend the 1:1:100 dilution for silver printing, and the 2:2:100 dilution for alternative printing (platinum, carbon, kallitype, etc.). The reason is that we can get a much higher CI with the stronger dilution at the same development time and for most alternative work we need a negative with a greater density range.

    My favorite film is Ilford FP4+ and it works great with Pyrocat. However, I have also used Pyrocat to good effect with TRI-X, TMAX-100, TMAX-400 and Ilford HP5+.

    I recommend the presoak for all types of processing, but consider it only necessary for rotary processing, say in tubes or drums such as Jobo, BTZS, etc.

    I have been participating in the photo.net site since December and enjoy it. What is the full address of the apug.org site?

    Regards,

    Sandy King
    *********************
    From: Eric
    Subject: Just tried Pyrocat-HD last night.

    And was very impressed with the negs. Will probably print them Wed. night. I've heard so much about pyro I just had to try it for my self. I would like to find out more information on your developer, do you have a website or a posted FAQ anywhere?

    I am sure you get many emails every day from interested photographers such as myself but if I may ask a couple of questions if the above resources aren't available I would really appreciate it.

    1. can you use the Pyrocat-HD with Ilford Delta 400 successfully? If so what would be a good starting time?
    2. the recommendation I was given was a 1:1:100 dilution, but I've heard that you now recommend 1:1:50. Is this true?
    3. I prefer to use 400asa for 4x5, is there a particular brand that favors your developer?
    4. how important is the pre-soak?

    I noticed you on the Photo.Net site today, good to see you. We also have a great forum on APUG.ORG as well. Give us a whirl.

    Take care,

    Eric
     
  11. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Here is the reply to my email to Paval about the use of Ilford Delta 400 and Pyrocat-HD. I asked him if it was ok to reproduce it here and he was happy to let me.

    Hi Eric,

    Yes I’ve tried it and it is actually a very nice
    combination. I am still on a learning curve, but quite
    close to be done with all tests. I really recommend to
    shoot some clouds during sunset to appreciate this
    developer, it is really amazing. Here is what I do
    and you should experiment to try to find if it works
    for you.

    I am doing silver-gelatin printing on graded fiber
    based paper.

    Presoak film for 5 minutes (distilled water).

    Develop in JOBO on lowest setting [around 25 rpm (10
    to 20 is even better) – this is important when I had
    rpm around 40 my fb+f was way up!] @ 70F, amount of
    developer 800 ml, dilution 1:1:100 . Delta 100 @ EI 50
    for 11 min, Delta 400 @ EI 160 for 12 min.

    /You should do your personal film speed test to find
    out real EI of the film with your technique. My
    numbers look lower in comparison with others./

    Use a plain water stop bath for one minute or a bit
    more changing 2-3 times (tap water).

    Use a TF-4 fixer dilution (1:3) for 5 minutes.

    Wash in running water for 20-30 minutes.

    Check out these sites, that’s where I was starting
    from.

    http://www.unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Pyro...at/pyrocat.html

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/PC-HD/pc-hd.html

    Good luck!

    Pavel

    --- eric <eric@dasilvadive-tours.com> wrote:
    > Sandy suggested I contact you about using Pyrocat-HD
    > with Delta 400. Have
    > you tried it? If so do you have any recommendations
    > I could follow if it was
    > successful? Also do you have a website I could
    > visit to gain more
    > information without having to bug you?
    >
    > Thanks for your help.
    >
    > Eric
     
  12. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    Since there appear to be some interest in the correct working dilution for Pyrocat-HD I thought that some of you might be interested in the following comments.

    As noted in my email message to Eric, my general recommendation is 1:1:100 for silver printing and 2:2:100 for alternative printing. This works well for modern films with tabular grain (TMAX 100 and 400) and with medium and slow speed traditional films such as Ilford FP4+. There is nothing sacred about these recommendations, however.

    Some recent tests I have conducted indicate that films with very thick gelatin layers, such as HP5+ and BPF, which tend to develop high levels of general stain, or b+f, with long development times in rotary processing, will benefit by changing the dilution to 2:1:100 (for silver) or 3:2:100 (for alternative). What this does is increase the amount of preservative in the working solution, thereby cutting down on oxidation during development, which as we know is the primary cause of high general stain. The logic is as follows.

    Pyrocat-HD consists of Part A and Part B concentrates. Part A contains the reducers, Pyrocatechin/Phenidione plus the preservative and restrainer. The preservative (sulfite) in Part A serves to control the amount of oxidation. Increasing the amount of sulfite in the working solution reduces the amount of stain, whereas decreasing it will lead to more stain. So you can reduce the stain just by increasing the percentage of Part A in the working solution. You can also decrease the stain by adding a small amount (say about 0.4g per liter) of sodium sulfite to the working solution but I think it is easiest to just increase the amount of Part A.

    Part B of course is the alkaline accelerator. If you increase its amount in the working solution you get faster development times, to a point.

    Increasing the ratio of Part A in the working solution should not be necessary when developing in tray, or when using tabular grain films and slow and medium speed films. However, when developing with rotary processing emulsions such as HP5+, BPF, Forte, and perhaps even TRI-X increasing the amount of Stock A in the working solution may lower general stain, or b+f, and significantly shorter exposure times.

    Hope this all makes sense.

    Sandy King
     
  13. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Thanks for adding the extra info Sandy. Was in the darkroom tonight and followed your recommendations for HP5 and they turned out very nice. At least the negs look nice. Will try and get them printed maybe tomorrow night.

    Had one little oops however. Had 1 litre of working developer mixed up, used 250ml for the rotary processor and the rest in a tank for MF. Made the mistake of developing the LF first, so didn't get to pouring in the developer into the MF tank for about 1/2 hour after mixing. The solution looked a bit cloudy but I figured what the heck. Well the negs came out totally blank! Not even the edge numbers. I guess when they say mix it up just before you use it their not kidding!

    Some have recommended pouring the exhausted developer back into the tank after fixing for about 2 minutes, pour out and then wash. Have you found this to be useful? I tried it on a couple of negs to see what would happen but without printing them it's hard to tell.

    Thanks,

    Eric
     
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  15. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    Thanks for the extra info. I just ran out of Pyrocat-HD and mixed up some more yesterday, and the next round of negatives will get 2:2:100 instead of my normal 1:2:100. I mostly shoot FP4+ and APX, and really like the results I get with Pyrocat-HD in my contact printing. When I get a chance, I'll share my results if I find anything interesting.
     
  16. sanking

    sanking Restricted Access

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    When developing with Pyrocat-HD I do not recommend pouring the exhausted developer back into the tank after fixing, nor do I recommend any kind of post-development alkaline bath. Any additional stain that may result from this kind of treatment is mostly general stain, or b+f, and does nothing to enhance the printing qualities of the negative.

    My post-development procedure is:

    1) Stop bath, in water with several complete changes, or in an acetic acid stop bath diluted to about 1/2 normal strength.

    2) Fix in an alkaline fixer such as TF3 or TF4 for 4-5 minutes.

    3) Wash for 15-20 minutes in running water.

    Sandy King
     
  17. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Thanks again Sandy. For some reason I seemed to have a mental block around pyro. It seemed so exotic. The mystery has been pushed away and now I'm a devotee.

    I'm glad to see someone using APX as it is one of my favorite films. However in the past I have always found it to be to contrasty when developed in Xtol.

    Eric
     
  18. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (EricR @ Mar 27 2003, 08:58 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> I'm glad to see someone using APX as it is one of my favorite films. However in the past I have always found it to be to contrasty when developed in Xtol. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Contrasty APX (or anything else) isn't bad for me, I just use Azo and alternative processes! But, I really like APX with pyro... too bad it isn't in 8x10.
     
  19. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Someone was telling me that Agfa was going to disco APX in 4x5. I hope this isn't true! What have you heard?

    I first got on to APX in MF as it singed with my blad. I am hoping the pyro will give me a bit more tonal range than Xtol or HC110. It's probably the sharpest film I have ever used.

    I'm going out this weekend to shoot some old buildings (ya wanna come Aggie?) with the APX and then process in pyro. They say it should be a sunny day so we will see. I will use the 1:1:100 ratios as I am projection printing.

    Eric
     
  20. michael9793

    michael9793 Subscriber

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    Speaking of using pyro with a jobo processor. I have never heard of pyrocat-hd. where can you get it.
    Also I have understood that if you are going to use a drum like the jobo to use the Rollo Pryro Kit.
    CAn anyone help me this?

    Mike
     
  21. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    ..
     
  22. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Michael,
    The developer Pyrocat HD is mixed from individual chemicals that may be purchased from Artcraft or Photographers Formulary. The recipe for this developer may be found on Unblinkingeye.com. It is listed under the heading Formulae. There is also an article on the Unblinkingeye site that was written by Clay Harmon in which he covers testing of this developer with several different films. Hope this is some help to you. Good luck.
     
  23. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    As to the status of APX: I'd probably be the last one to hear about it. I'm not "in the know" on these kind of things. I've got a good stash of sheets and 120 rolls, tho.

    As to Pyrocat-HD: Read the articles at unblinkingeye.com:
    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Pyrocat/pyrocat.html
    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Pyrocat2...2/pyrocat2.html
    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/PC-HD/pc-hd.html

    Pyrocat-HD works great in rotary processors. You do have to mix it yourself, but it's very easy to use. I like it a lot, it's my developer of choice nowadays. No need for a nitrogen burst system or any additives to prevent rapid oxidation and extra fog.
     
  24. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    There is a guy in Quebec that sells PyroCat-HD in powder form. Two tubs, 1 for A and 1 for B. I am trying to get the address and prices. Once I have this I will post here. From what I hear it's REALLY cheap.

    I did my 4x5 negs in a Beseler tube on the rotary platform. Seemed to work fine. No scratches and even development.
     
  25. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I was just on my way to the darkroom and thought of this...

    A few questions on Pyrocat-HD:

    At 1:1:100, the total concentration of pyrocatechol will be 0.05g/liter, plus 0.0002g Phenidone. This is less than a fifth of the lowest concentration in any other developer formula?

    On unblinkingeye it is said that 100ml water plus 100g Potassium carbonate makes a 100% solution, which is clearly rubbish. Things like this tends to make me sceptical...

    I don't have K2CO3 at the moment, so will have to use the Sodium equivalent. Will this make a significant difference? I intend to add the Na2CO3 to the water, and not bother with a stock solution B.
     
  26. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I would suggest you email Sandy King directly and see what he says. I'm not a chemist so have no idea about that sort of thing, however the 1:1:100 formulation I used produced very nice negs with HP5.