Difference in Pyro...?
I'm pretty sure that this has been asked before, but I couldn't find it. I'm very new to developing with any sort of pyro and was wondering what the difference between all the different "types" is. When I go to look at buying some it's so overwhelming in the choices, there's pyrocat, wd2d, pyro-T, PMK, ... What is the difference in all these? I can tell you that right now my favorite developer/film combo is Rodinal 1:50 with APX100. Which one of these pyro developers would "best fit" my film choice? or does it matter? Thanks for the help as always, I don't know what I would do without APUG -Grant
A good place to start is Sandy King's article on Pyro Staining Developers.
My choice for APX100 would probably be Pyrocat-HD (at least, that's where I would start).
An important factor is what format you are shooting, not to mention what film you are using. I've contact printed a couple of Pyrocat-HD negs (not my own negs) in 8x10" and 5x7", and they look great, but I'm not sure I'd like the results if I were enlarging them on a condensor enlarger from 35mm. I think the biggest attraction of Pyrocat-HD is the versatility of the negative. I took a dense HP5+/Pyrocat-HD negative made by another photographer targeted for pt/pd, and it printed beautifully on Azo and even scanned well on my old Agfa Duoscan, which doesn't usually tolerate dense negs.
Since I switched to cold light for all formats that I enlarge, and because I don't make very big prints usually, I've found I like ABC pyro with Tri-X and J&C Classic 400 down to around 6x7 or 6x9, but PMK does a better job of masking grain, so with smaller formats, I lean toward PMK.
Most of these formulas use at least a few of the same components, so your best bet is probably to figure out the developers you would like to try, acquire the components for all of them (instead of purchasing pre-weighed kits), make some small batches and compare the results.
I'm not "switching developers", I'm more trying out to see what I'm missing. Rodinal has really never let me down, I love the stuff. I'll mostly be shooting 6x7 format, then enlarging with a condenser. Thanks everyone. -Grant
Thanks, that all makes sense. That article that Tom pointed out helped a lot. I'm not really trying to improve upon Rodinal (if that makes sense, I just figure how do I know if Rodinal is the "best" if I haven't tried the others) I got to reading and to me it sounded as if wd2d+ is a good choice (actually it seems as if all of them have their strong points, but...). But I don't see a lot of people talking about it, nor do I see a lot of people using it (in comparison to pyrocat and PMK) How come? One last question, are most pyro developers one-shot or reuseable (whatever the fancy name is for that)? Once again, thanks for everyone's help, I really appreciate it. -Grant