If you're anything like me, you'll find advantages and disadvantages to any developer. I have been using Pyrocat for about 5 years now, mainly because I can actually see an increased acutance in my images vs D76. That being said, I also use Xtol to accomplish a different look. Ultimately, it's best to do some side by side comparisons and see the strengths/weaknesses of each. For how much the chemistry costs, it's a no brainer when it comes to overall expense vs what can gained.
You see all these claims as to how poisonous it is, but at one time it was used as a hair dye (pyrogallol). The same article I read also says metol and hydroquinone are poisonous. I wonder if pyro is really all that dangerous, or is it dangerous by today's standards, where EVERYTHING is poisonous. I'm thinking of switching to it after everything I've read on this site.
If you eat smoked meats you are ingesting little doses of pyrogallol. Not good if that's all you eat.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Just what I thought. Pyro is no more dangerous than anything else I get all over my hands every day. Thanks. I'm going to get some.
You're concluding things about the toxicity of these compounds based on smoked meat??? PLEASE read some proper documentation regarding the safe handling of Pyrogallol and Catechol (not to mention other compounds used in darkroom chemistry).
Pyrocat is preferred by many current workers over pyrogagallol (pyrogallic acid) for several reasons.
A lot of these are not advantages over pyrogallol in some formulations:
3. The stain masks the grain of the film.
5. Both forms of pyro tan the emulsion providing more protection from scratches.
6. Separation in the highlights is superb when compared to MQ or PQ developers
7. It is probably the cheapest developer around when diluted to working dilutions.
8. if mixed in polyethylene glycol, which it should be, it lasts for an extreme length of time. I have never had any go bad.
9. the scale of the negative is enhanced because the film curves don't have unusual fluctations.
10. since the concentrates are liquids, it is quick to get ready for use.
6. Similar. Virtually a tie; it just depends on your preferences.
7. I'd have to crunch the numbers, but most pyrogallol developers like PMK are very inexpensive to use.
8. PMK lasts for years mixed in distilled water. It does not require propylene glycol when mixed.
I don't mean to badmouth pyrocatechin developers, merely to point out that PMK has few disadvantages compared to them.
Incidentally, and not related to the original poster, "pyrocat" is the name of a series of formulations using pyrocatechin aka catechol aka catechin (which are all the same developer). I'm not sure, OP, if you were talking about one of these formulas or if you were talking about pyrocatechin.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.