Remove stain from PMK Negs?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by marcbanka, Aug 7, 2005.

  1. marcbanka

    marcbanka Member

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    So I guess I should know better, but I had been using PMK Pyro with very nice results for several months. Almost all of my negatives were sharp and very easy to print, with dodging and burning for emphasis and not to attempt to control blown out highlights etc. Life was good.
    Then I found that I was hurting my negs by flip flopping ph from dev to stop to fix. So I bought into the TF-4 fix, water stop system. I didn't think there would be any discernable difference in the negatives, except for maybe bit sharper? and generally happier and healthier.........So, I shot some important films and processed in the new style. Since then, I've read the posts regarding increased general stain using PMK and TF-4. Its all true. The general stain is quite significant! I've thought about plugging my enlarger into a 220 volt outlet to produce enough light to print through them:smile:) The lack of contrast is yet another issue. If I push the contrast high enough, the print almost looks posterized. Otherwise, its just mud. (Fortunately, I also shot some Delta 3200 and developed in D76, so I do have some nice prints)
    All of the PMK/TF-4 films are HP-5 in 35mm, 120 and 4x5.
    So the question is; Can I somehow bleach the stain from these negs? If not, what is the best way to print them? Would I do better with graded paper, so the yellow/green stain won't lower the contrast? Will this give me better tonal separation?
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    From what I understand, I don't believe that there is a way to bleach the general stain from your negatives. This is due to the fact that the stain resides in the gelatin of the emulsion, is not silver based and thus is not affected by any of the conventional photographic bleaches with which I am familiar.

    The general stain has the affect of increased neutral density and thus should have no effect other then lengthened printing times if you printed on graded paper. Whereas the stain color will have an effect of lowering contrast either locally or generally on VC materials.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A good slightly acidic sulfite bath will help - that's the reason for using alkaline fix with staining developers.

    I also find it much easier to print stained negs on graded paper.
     
  4. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    If you can live with the increased printing times from the general stain, you may be able to increase the contrast enough to get good prints by using some method of negative intensification -- either bleach/redevelop intensifiers, or selenium toning of the negative. Test first on images you don't care about (you know, the one with camera shake or where the subject's eyes were closed), naturally, since these are irreversible processes...
     
  5. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

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    That's why I don't use the alkaline routine with PMK. I don't see any significant benefit to overall stain. I use the same routine as if I were using D-76, with excellent results. Too bad about your film.
     
  6. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    "Would I do better with graded paper?" I would expect so.

    Incidentally, lots of people use PMK, water stop and alkaline fix and it works fine without lots of general stain. Did you do anything else different this time?

    Ole has suggested a way of bleaching the stain. It might be worth doing this process only partially. With luck you might remove most general stain before losing some of the image stain.
     
  7. marcbanka

    marcbanka Member

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    Thanks to all who replied. After reviewing a few earlier negs, I found that I had used the alkaline fix and water bath with out heavy general stain, so I'm not sure the reason for it to be so heavy this time. The only other thing I can think of is the water temp., had been 69f, now 72f. Although I adjusted the develop time, is it possible it makes the staining more active. Also, a lot of the shots were with backlight, so thicker negs in general. Maybe?

    Anyway, I remembered I had a small pack of Ilford Gallery graded paper. Grade 2, so I gave it a shot. I felt it would be better, but was not prepared for the degree of improvement. If fact, it was astonishing! Negs that were printing grade 4 1/2 and still muddy, with poor tonal separation, printed beautifully on grade 2 paper. No need for additional contrast! And the skin tones are wonderful, creamy and smooth. Also, because I was able to use white light for enlarging, the printing times weren't all that long.
    I slept well last night:smile:

    I will remember the other suggestions, and try them out at some point. Its good to add new tricks to the basket. And again, I thank all of you for the help.
     
  8. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Hutchings says temperature as high as 80 F can be used.
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Higher temperatures will increase the rate of oxidation of the pyro, which again can increase the stain. The question is whether the shorter development times will counteract this - it could give more, less or the same stain. But since oxidation also occurs during the "unproductive" time when there's no film in the developer, my guess is that there will be an increase in general stain with increased temperature.