Baxter - I'm not dismissing Barry Thornton's work either - I was totally commited to exactol lux before the supplies ran out after Barry's untimely death. his books were invaluable to me when I was first getting into darkroom work etc.
With DiXactol, I did experience all the streaking, uneven development, high grain etc. The one bath was better, but still not really good - however, as you rightly point out, many people got amazing results (although i think this was more in the LF arena) I know that much of this was a result of the extremely hard tap water in my area, and as a hobbyist, i cant justify either buying water or having a filter system installed.
Exactol went a long way to resolving the problem for me, but I find the grain too smooth for me. Pyrcoat just seemed to be the best mix of the two - and judging by the amount of people using it now, I think it's going to be a bit more than recipe-of-the-week. I just wish the development times and film speeds I'm getting were respectively shorter and faster - but that's for a different thread!
Last edited by Leon; 01-14-2005 at 04:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I've got to agree with Les on this one. I shot some Tri X and developed it using the two bath method, flat as your hat and disappointingly grainy.
Tom and Leon
It seems we have all made similar progressions, from DiXactol to Exactol and then sought alternatives due to the length of time taken to market BT's products after his sad death. I too was surprised at how few photographers wanted to make the switch to using a compensating/staining developer from their trusted brews.
It seems that we photographers are a pretty polarised bunch, either those who stick with what they know and bury head in sand over possiblity higher performance for same/less effort or the other camp who are willing to experiment and may never settle.
I do not use much B+W dev and so have just about finished my first lot of PMK and still have some remnants of DiXactol to Exactol, although both must be quite stale now. I was given another set of PMK (too fiddly for some!) but retain an open eye, ear and mind for things that will offer even better performance, especially if easier to use!! I am happy to stay behind the leading edge,( seeking an easy life) to ensure all snags are ironed out.
I think we are all after something which works for us and offers both reliability as well as performance. Life is too short to try to reinvent the wheel. I fully accept that you have found limitations in the performance of DiXactol, I take this as read and would avoid using that combination!
If you feel that Pyrocat is better than PMK then I shall investigate this avenue especially potential savings, I am equally intrigued by Prescysol. I chose PMK as it was easy to order and seemed to have a good reputation. Cost is/was an issue and am prepared to accept that not just fish have scales!
When will someone produce a developer without an odd name?
Perhaps this could be a good topic for a thread in "the lounge".
A brew with good mid tones - "Earl Grey"
One for the Shadows - Cliff.
One for the Highlights - Beckham.
One for heavy compensation Sue-Mo
Something for the weekend Sir?
I reckon the issue with Dixactol is all about what film you use. You would never beleive that Acros (in Dixactol), (prob same for deltas and Tmax) and HP5 (same) had been thru the same dev (acros, smooth, creamy, glowing prints, exceedingly sharp for a fine grained film with no discernable base fog at all and ONLY image stain), (HP5 tarmac grain, base fog like a brown beer bottle that has been frosted, no sparkle or glow and in need of grade 9 paper). Now Les mentions the film he used for his disasterous test it makes sense........
I have stayed well clear of the PMK vs Pyrocat debate as I have never used PMK and am new to Pyrocat. I appreciate the issue relating to the contrast reducing effect of the yellower stain of PMK esp in relation to highlights on VC papers, so personally, I will stick to pyrocat. I agree with Leon about Pyrocat requiring dev times a little over what is comfortable (at 1:1:100) and about speed. I understand that Sandy has tested the dev 'properly' (unlike me) and found that it delivers packet speed. I have found so far that this does not appear to be the case, tho that is prob because I am underdevelping the negs somewhat. Correct development chould pick up the speed a little, as will less agitation. I am going to up the concentration to 2:2:100 and try this with shorter times aiming for a Normal scene to print on Grade 3 VC (which means Grade 2 graded is still viable), which should give maximum contrast/paper options with graded and VC. I may try 1.5:1.5:100 depending on what times I end up with. Baxter, when I next make up a batch, I could send you some if you want (let me know). I should have a better handle on speed/dev times for my purposes by then too! You can then have a play!
The other 'nice thing' about pyrocat is that it is flexible. I can easily use rotary develpment if I want, I can use VC without the contrast reduction/compensation in highlights of PMK. It has been shown to be great for building the density for alternative processes. It can be used as a stand developer or min agitation for great microcontrast/compensation. It has a lot going for it.........and it seems that whatever I want to do (even if I dont yet) I wont have to change dev (tho I may use a std dev for low contrast scenes). I have decided my films, now I need to be loyal to a dev (perhaps my first ever bottle of R*@n+al on my shelf ought to stay sealed....
Thank you everyone for all the information. On a side note, I used the search feature for "dixactol" and kept getting the response that nothing was found, the same for "acros". Maybe it was just a temporary glitch or something. But again, thank you all.
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I'm amazed that people don't want to pay for good water. Distilled water around here costs about a buck a gallon. With the exception of wash water and possibly stop, I use it for everything, including mixing Photo-Flo. Before I did that, I got constant hard water deposits on my negatives that I couldn't get rid of.
I think it depends on whether you need it or not. If you have no problems, why pay for water that is no better? For some, I realise, it is essential.
thought on dixactol
I had very good results with Dixactol using Delta 100 making almost grain free sharp prints on 12" x 16" FB glossy paper. using Delta 400 was a bit of a disaster but was much better with "new" Delta 400.
I changed to Dixactol Ultra when it came out and got even slightly better results.Following the death of Barry and the loss of supplies I bought some Presyscol but have not tried it yet, so I might abandon this and start straight in with the new Presyscol EF.
I also got amazing results with Fugi Acros 100 and Dixactol Ultra which is what I am now using along with distilled water, Alkaline fixer and close quality control over cleanliness.
regarding costs one pack of D.U. does 30 off 35 mm films at less than 50p a roll which is not bad.
Every person who has tried this combo (or Acros with PMK/pyrocat) is totally sold on it. It is the only modern film combo that would tempt me to use new tech film.
Originally Posted by baronfoxx
further to my earlier post has anyone any information on their experiences with CM Pyro as sold by Arem Publishing