From what I have been reading on APUG I think the time has come to take the advice of many and try a Pyro developer on my 5x4 FP4 negs.
I currently use a simplified zone system, FP4+ film and develop by BTZS tubes. Printing is done using a LPL 7452 diffusion enlarger. With this in mind I have a number of questions which I would like be grateful for your feedback on.
1. There seems to be a multitude of Pyro's out there. What is a good one to start with for the film I am using?
2. I can't develop by inspection due to the fact that I don't have a darkroom available at home. Will the tube development affect the outcome
3. As I develop at home (in the bathroom) is the staining tendancy of Pyro going to cause a divorce
4. Are the results still 'effective' on the enlarger light source that I am using
PMK is my pyro of choice these days. PMK is getting quite low marks here and at other sites for staining. I don't have those issues. If the stain is great I can just print thru it. PMK is very budget wise also. It last for ever. I don't think that the BTZS tubes will affect the outcome. It will stain all it comes in contact with. I cleaned my bathroom sink with a powder called Comet. I would put the powder on the stain and let it sit for a while (like several hours) then I would wipe it up and everything would look good. This works with stains on porclean from selienum toner also. The results are definately "still effective" with a diffusion enlarger lamp.
The use of BTZS tubes wiht PMK may well affect the outcome by giving you uneven staining. This unwanted consequence has been well-documented in the literature and is something to be concerned about. It should be of some interest that Phil Davis, who invented the BTZS tubes, does not recommend them for PMK. There are no doubt some people who have gotten good results with PMK in BTZS tubes but it is also a fact that many others have encountered problems.
I used PMK as my primary developer for many years with tray processing, but when I switched to rotary processing in BTZS tubes and drums I started to have a lot of problems with uneven staining on the back oif the film, and later I realized that my case was not unique because there were a lot of other people experiencing the same kinds of problems. It was because of these problems that I developed Pyrocat-HD, which I believe solves all of the problems of unven staining of PMK (and Rollo Pyro).
1 Pyrocat HD..and I have tried most of them. It is the easiest tanning developer I have used with no uneven stain at all.
2 not with Pyrocat HD, depending ont he formula you are using the tubes affect the result to a greater or lesser degree.
3 Perhaps! if you get pyro on the grout between the tiles you will be sent to the dog house for eternity.....If you use the BTZS tubes it is easier to control splashing, so just be careful.
4 Of course...!
Sounds like it is a matter of tweaking your process, but the Gordon is now saying PMK and Jobo's work well together (bear in mind, this is second-hand)
Apparently Gordon is in the process of revising several aspects of his recommendations regarding PMK developer.
I strongly second Jorge's experience with Pyrocat. I have tried PMK for a very short trial (did not buy the general stain as being desireable) and ABC Pyro (active developer but prone to uneven development). I don't know anything about Wimberly's soup. I am satisfied with Pyrocat, why switch?
There has alway been a lot of discussion of PMK not working well in rotary processing, with oxidization being the culprit. But I have used PMK in a Jobo film tube for processing 120 and 4x5 negatives very successfully as well as a print tube for 5x7 and 8x10 negatives. I think I am successful as I use more developer than the minimum.
I can see that a quick shot of nitrogen or other inert gas would help as it would expel oxygen, but don't see how adding more metaborate would help as that is there already in the form of solution B (a heavily saturated solution at that).
Thanks to all who answered.
From what has been said above I will try Sandy's Pyrocat-HD as advised by many and give this shot. I trolled through Unblinkingeye with heavy blinking eyes late last night and it seems this developer will do what I want. I also ran through the Forum on Michael and Paulas site which also gave me a lot if info.
A problem that I might have is that my BTZS tubes are home made and the 'reservior' for developer only holds 65ml. Is this going to be enough for a 5x4 neg?
Any advice on where to buy in the UK will be greatly appreciated as well