Trying to pull ei800 out of hp5 w/Pyrocat

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by kwmullet, Jul 6, 2004.

  1. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I've got some HP5 that I shot at ei800 that I'm trying, roll by roll, to get decent results out of with Pyrocat. This is 35mm, btw.

    Basic workflow is one short, constant agitation waterbath to get the antihallation layer off. (with hp5, I don't see anything in the water afterward, so this may be superfluous). Next, I presoak in a second waterbath for 10 minutes to fill the emulsion with water. Lately, in development, I've been trying minimal agitation. I'll put the film into Pyrocat HD that I've mixed just before I went dark, agitate for 30 seconds, then let it sit for 10 minutes. I start inspection before each agitation, starting with the second agitation (20 mins). I'm coming up with what seems to me to be some huge developing times, though.

    The first roll of this ei800 batch, I mixed Pyrocat at 1:1:200. After an 90 minutes, I gave up trying to get more density and ended up with thin and marginably useable negs.

    The second roll, I mixed at 1:1:100. I got somewhat more density after "only" 50 minutes of minimal agitation, but still.

    Also, in my research tonight, I've run across posts that longer development in Pyrocat results in more grain -- something I'd like to avoid.

    Another thing that occurs to me is that maybe things like stand, semi-stand and minimal agitation require larger volumes of developer. Each time, I was processing one roll on a stainless reel in a 2-reel tank with 400ml of solution. My solution temperature ran about 80 deg/f. each time.

    I'll continue to search around, but I sure would like to find a way to make these ei8i00 rolls work with Pyrocat.

    Alternatively, if I don't get good results with the next roll, I'll try doing a DBI / minimal agitation run using xtol.

    Another thing that occurs to me is that the stain (even the (more visible) stain with Pyrocat) is providing necessary density that I can't see and that before I process another roll, I should print a few frames and draw conclusions from that.

    Other factors I neglected to mention above:

    - I'm using Kodak rapid fix, film strength, for 2-3 minutes. (no hardener)
    - I'm using HCA for ten minutes.
    - On the second, somewhat more pleasing roll, I re-soaked the roll in the used Pyrocat while I was cleaning my tanks and such. I did this after the HCA but before the wash. I'd remembered that a developer re-soak can restore some of the stain removed by the fix.
    - What I'm wanting to see that I'm not seeing what I look at the finished negs is more detail in the darker (lighter on the neg) tones, like the shadows, hair, etc.

    I've got some Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner, but I've got reservations about toning a stained neg before I read more on whether it's advisable.

    Any thoughts before my next run would be helpful.

    Thanks,

    -KwM-
     
  2. lee

    lee Member

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    Kevin,
    Quite possibly the problem is HP5+ and not the Pyrocat-HD. It is a known medium to low contrast film that has a difficult time responding to increase in development that translates into increased density. There are other films out there that do a better job of "pushing" the exposure range. EFKE is one that I would recommend. It is available from J&C Photography. Maybe Sandy King will weigh in on this.

    lee\c
     
  3. lee

    lee Member

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    I just re-read your post and if I understand you what you are not seeing is in the shadow areas. In the clear areas? If that is true then more EXPOSURE is needed and not more DEVELOPMENT. HP5+ is marginally a EI200 film. Exposing at EI 800 and developing in any developer will probably not give you the results you need.

    lee\c
     
  4. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    Kevin
    Im by no means an expert and my experience is minimal when it comes to darkroom work.
    But I shoot almost exclusively ilford film in 35mm and a majority of it is HP5. Ive found that HP5 gives me marginal negatives when pushing to 800 and developing in TMAX, Ilfotec DD-X, and D-76. honestly Ive never gotten "great" results from any attempt at it.
    Although Ive gotten fairly good results with delta 400 pushed to 800.
    not sure if that will help but I just thought I would share my experience so you know you arent completely alone.
     
  5. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Hrm... not the answer I was hoping for but it rings true. Looks like I might have to re-classify HP5 as my medium-speed film, or hell.. maybe after checking out EFKE, I'll end up moving wholesale to that. I've never used it before.

    I've used Delta3200 and I remember not being wild about it, but I don't remember why. Also, I've never processed it myself -- so I'm always open to blaming the lab. :smile: I've never used Delta400 before. I have this dim memory that normal processing of Delta3200 in Pyrocat yields an ei of 800.

    Hopefully Sandy King will chime in as the final word on things Pyrocat WRT the best way to pull maximum speed out of the rolls of HP5 I've already exposed.

    Anyone know about using KRST with Pyrocat negs? Does it negatively affect the stain or just add more density in the visual range?

    Barring further insights, I'm sorta inclined to just press forward doing minimal agitation DBI at 1:1:100, re-soaking in the used developer after I go light, then toning in KRST 1:10 or so for 10-15 minutes. I think the major pitfalls of doing that would be increased grain and chemical fog.

    I'm also thinking that soaking in the used developer should probably go after a brief post-fix rinse, but before the Hypo Clearing Agent, right?

    -KwM-
     
  6. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Lee is right, IMO. If you haven't enough exposure in the shadows to record the detail there, tweaking the development is not going to help much.

    Soaking in the used pyrocat to increase overall stain is probably not going to work well - and why would you want to? What you need is shadow detail - not overall stain.

    You might try semi-stand development for 16 to 20 minutes at 70F with a 2:2:100 dilution of Pyrocat (I do this with Kodak TMY 400). That should raise your maximum densities a bit.
     
  7. lee

    lee Member

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    Why not try pyrocat-hd in 2:2:100? This is what Sandy recommends for alt processess that need extra density. (Azo Platinum and the like) I have never heard of soaking pyrocat-hd negs in spent developer. It was a part of the process for PMK pyro but has since been not recommended for PMK. PMK and Pyrocat-HD are not remotely the same formula. In the old PMK processess one was told to remove the film from the fixer and place directly into the spent developer. After 2-3 minutes remove and wash without KHCA. I don't know what would happen to the film if that is done to the Pyrocat-HD neg most likely nothing.

    <<Kevin said, "I have this dim memory that normal processing of Delta3200 in Pyrocat yields an ei of 800.">>

    This is my understanding also. I read in another forum that someone had good luck with D-76 at 68f for 14 minutes with HP5+ shot at EI 800. You might try this and see if it meets your requirements. YMMV.

    lee\c
     
  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I agree with previous comments by both Lee and Tom. I think you are under-exposing the film and in the best of curcumstances HP5+ is a poor candidate for push developing. A better film for this would be TMY (Tmax 400), but to hope for a real gain of one stop in effective film speed is probably expecting too much.

    Finally, semi-stand development will produce maximum effective emulsion speed but don't expect a real increase in effective film speed of much over 1/4 stop. Unfortunately most of the film speed is built into the emulsion and developers and type of development play a relatively minor role in increasing EFS.

    Sandy King
     
  9. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Don't believe everything you hear about film speeds.

    Yes, HP5+ is a low contrast film compared to some. In 35 mm, it has no antihalation dye in the emulsion. The base has a neutral density of aout 0.2 which has no grain, cannot be removed, but causes only a little more printing exposure. I would not hesitate to use it at 400 with proper metering.

    Why saturate the emulsion with water? I don't remember Sandy King recommending that. Try printing with graded paper rather than VC, and use grade 3. If there is any detail in the shadows, it will show. If there is some detail, you can use a technique of bleaching and redeveloping to add more dye image. Use a rehalogenating bleach. A teaspoon of potassium ferricyanide and a teaspoon of potassium bromide in a pint of water will do the trick. You will know when bleaching is complete. Rinse well and redevelop in a rather strong pyrocat solution in room light to completion. In fact, you can use a teaspoon of catechol and a teaspoon of sodium carbonate in a pint of water as a redeveloper if you wish.
     
  10. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Thanks Sandy and everyone who posted on this. I'll look forward to any more posts that come into this thread, but I think I'll work through the rest of the rolls on this job by doing minimal agitation with 2:2:100, HCA and lose the soak in the spent developer.

    The 10-minute presoak is just because I'm paranoid about bubbles sticking to the emulsion during long periods without agitation, and about streaking from jets of developer flowing through the sprocket holes. I figure if the emulsion is nice and saturated, I might reduce the liklihood of both. Also, during agitation, my reel doesn't leave the solution. I just stick a couple of fingers in the core of the reel and move it up and down beneath the surface of the developer for thirty seconds, then rap the bottom edge of the tank to dislodge any bubbles. Of course, the reel does come out during inspection, but I agitate afterward, so hopefully that does its part to reduce bubbles on the film surface.

    Cheers,

    -KwM-
     
  11. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I ran the rest of that batch 2:2:100, with minimal agitation and development ran about an hour. I think they might be inside the useable envelope, or at least as salvaged as one could have expected. I've got several more film runs to do before I get into printing mode, but once I do, I'll post some scans of one or two of the best final prints in the run.

    Thanks again for the help, everyone.
     
  12. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

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  13. fhovie

    fhovie Subscriber

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    I push HP5 to 1600 all the time - I don't use Pyrocat though - I seem to have the best luck with D-76 - 15min at 70F - agitation first 30 seconds and 5 seconds per 30 seconds thereafter. Shadow densities do suffer - but I generally meter for them at zone 3 or 4 so there is almost always something printable in the shadows. I prefer the grain of pushed HP5 over Tri-x although I believe Tri-x is probably the winner in "pushability"
     
  14. Dr.Kollig

    Dr.Kollig Member

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    I used Tmax for HP5+ at 1600 now I prefer Delta 3200 at 1600 in Xtol for that. A two bath developer like Diafine or Tetenal Emofin should take care of highlight density. The problem from my point of view is not HP5+ but using a pyrocatechine developer, as I never had success to get good speed from them.
    I remember we did HP5+ at 800 in Rodinal 1:100 for 80 mins, as diluted Rodinal gives 640 ASA on HP5+ on 1:50 for 18-20 mins.
    Just for information I use a diffuse enlarger and require higher contrast.
     
  15. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I used to have problems with PX. I used a prebath of water with a tiny bit of wetting agent for a few seconds and got rid of bubbles. Saturating the emulsion with water may not be what you want. The developer must diffuse into the emulsion, perhaps against osmotic pressure which tends to make dilute solutions more dilute. IMHO, a short prebath as above will counteract wetting problems which are mostly due to surface tension.
     
  16. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    This seems quite sensible. I'm about to do another run. I'll just do a 10-second or so prebath instead of 5-10 minutes and see how things go.
     
  17. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Alas I can't suggest times for Pyrocat, but I frequently expose HP5+ up to 1600.

    I use fresh DDX at 20 deg C:
    9.5 minutes for 800 or
    12 minutes for 1600.

    Agitation is inversion 6 times (10 seconds) in every minute. No pre-soak. If I need additional contrast I make the inversions a little more aggressive (almost cocktail shaker). I find over exposing by 2/3 and under developing usually nails good negatives.
     
  18. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    here is another approach when you want the characteristics of a more conventional developer as well as the stain image of Pyrocat or PMK. Develop the filem in the conventional devloper, fix it and wash as usual, then bleach in a rehalogenating bleach and redevelop to completion in the staining developer. This retains the shadow detail or whatever curve shape you were after and adds a stain image proportional to the original silver image. This procedure is effective for intensification also, when you underdevelop either in a conventional developer or a staining developer. I use the term "conventional" even though in the days of Hurter and Driffield, pyrogallol was the conventional developing agent.
     
  19. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I ran the remaining rolls of that ei800 hp5 in Pyrocat 2:2:100 using minimal agitation and reduced my presoak to 20-30 seconds, and got much better results than the first couple of runs. Thanks very much for the suggestions.

    Now of my new question. I'd start a new thread, but this issue was already somewhat brought up in this one, so I didn't think it warranted the overhead.

    I'm about to restock film for a trip to California. I'd like a high-speed (indoor) film, and a lower speed (outdoor) film. Ideally, I'd like to push the higher-speed film to 800, but if that kind of speed ain't built into the film, I can accept that. [an aside: I wonder if any 4-inch roll aerial films are Pyrocatable with ei800 or more? Hrm...]

    I've never ordered from JandC before, and I keep hearing people talk up their film and pricing, so I figure now's the time.

    Is JandC classic 400 the film to try and get 800 out of?

    For my outdoor film, what are the opinions here of Efke pl25 v. pl100? I plan on doing 90%+ of my shooting hand-held with the graflex and grafmatics, either shooting people at wide apertures or things/places at small apertures.

    Ever since I got the new footswitch for my development by inspection, DBI has been going a lot better/easier. I keep seeing what looks like several stops of what looks like flashing or glare on my outdoor stuff. I'm going to take the graflex outside and see if I can see any bellows leaks later today. Hopefully, it's not a problem with the grafmatics. That would be harder to fix, I'm thinking.

    -KwM-
     
  20. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Another way to check for bellows leaks is to put a light source such as a bare bulb inside the bellows in a dark room and look at the outside. You could use a night light fixture that you could put in through the lensboard.