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).
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.
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.
Clay it was recommended to me to use 1:1:100. Why do you use 1:2:100?
1:2:100 makes it faster working.
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.
Does Sandy have his own website?
Not that I know of, but you can check out the article on www.unblinkingeye.com. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org He is very helpful with questions.
Thanks I just emailed Sandy. I will post his reply. Also invited Sandy to our little patch of net here as well.
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
Subject: Re: Hi there, just tried your Pyrocat-HD and have a couple of questions (gee that's a surprise!)
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 email@example.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?
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.