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  1. #1
    destroya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    san jose
    Multi Format

    developer in a workflow question

    i just spent another borring easter weekend and a relatives house and was kindly saved by reading the very inforative thread of Pyro vs Xtol. I use Xtol and really know nothing about Pyro. learned quite a bit fromt it and it made me think hard about giving pyro a try. but it also made me think of something.

    one thing that strcuk me from the thread was someone mentioned that (assuming i read it right) what developer you use is going to have a direct effect on how you print and how your print will turn out. several back and forths went on about staining developers and how they could change your development procedure. and this got me thinking. (I'm gonna use a curse word now but this is still on topic) So for someone like me who no longer does wet printing (ex took my enlarger just to piss me off), I've gone to a develop and scan platform, is there be a developer that would produce easier to scan negatives? or is it really not going to make a difference? after reading that xtol pyro thread and how they effect printing differently, it really has me thinkg that a certain type of developer could yield negs that scan easier that others.

    this is not a thread about scanning so lets not talk about scanning. lets talk about the process that leads up to scanning, ending with the development. I just trying to find a way to make the whole process more efficient and if a certain type of developer can make scanning easier or more efficient (less PP needed) that I would like to hear from those of you who use scanning and then printing in your workflow and if you have any observations from using different developers.

    right now i'm using 35mm tri-x, pan-F and some untra extreme 100 in Xtol.


  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    35mm RF
    I have read that pyro negs lend themselves to scanning in preference to others, but having never used pyro (although all those stained negs sound quite interesting and nice to look at), I have no practical proof.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Montreal, Canada
    Multi Format
    Not sure why Pyro and XTOL would be compared as they are really quite different. Also depends on the specifics of the Pyro developer. I can help you with Pyro and I can help you with XTOL, and yes everything should ultimately be driven by printing characteristics (or scanning characteristics). I know little about scanning though. If you could list the characteristics of a negative that would make it easier to scan, that would help point you in the right direction.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Peak District, Derbyshire, UK
    Multi Format
    The perfect negative to lead up to the 's' is to have a rich selection of mid-tones, but with relatively flat but detailed highlights and shadows. This is on the principle that you can expand the tones by adding contrast, but it is difficult going in the other direction. Essentially you have to work within the dynamic range of the 's' device.

    So a Pyro or staining developer works very well in this respect. My preference is for either 510 Pyro or DiXactol, and both can be used in pretty much the same way with a very similar dev time for all films at most speeds. The stain and working of the developer adds a tone to the highlights and shadows that stops them clipping. This can be made even better by using a semi-stand technique for developing where you only agitate every other minute, or longer. Some developers in this class are better than others with stand development, the two mentioned are very good, others can be prone to streaking.

    But, it can be a case of 'swings and roundabouts' (meaning you can gain here and lose there) if you are using Pyro and staining developers with 35mm. Not all are as sharp as a 'normal' developer, and those that are sharp may give more grain. This isn't really a big a problem with medium and large format film, but can lead to disappointment with 35mm. You would have to test with your own film and developer combinations to find out if it will work. So with the two I have mentioned 510 Pyro seems OK to me for 35mm, if a little soft in detail, possibly favouring a slower film, while DiXactol is sharp but very grainy, and in small format not very nice grain (IMO).


    wood, water, rock,
    landscape photographs in and around the Peak District National Park, UK.



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