I have been scanning a large bunch of my sheet film negatives over the past few days. It has given me a chance to look at them carefully again. One of the things I noted was the quality of those developed in the original Pyrocat-HD. The negatives were developed at various times in the past 15 years in various developers, including (but probably not limited to) D-76, HC-110, Rodinal, and Pyrocat-HD. The visual appearance of the Pyrocat negatives (easily identified by the stain, as well, in most cases, by notes) is truly superior. They also scan extraordinarily well. There are a couple of things that I can not explain. Perhaps someone can. The first one the Pyrocat stain. It seems to increase with time. Does it stabilize after a few months? (It seems to, but I'm not sure.) Is there any problem with this? The other thing I notices is that the negatives developed in Pyrocat seem to be free from development irregularities. Some times, because of the different agitation characteristics of the tanks, I get small irregularities in the image due to different amounts of development in various areas. Not anything big or that can't be handled pretty easily, but irregularities anyway. Does this have something to do with the dynamic characteristics of the development process in Pyrocat? Or is there some other reason, or am I just imagining things? In any case, I will have to mix up some more Pyrocat-HD.
I have just finished my first litre of Pyrocat HD and have just made up a batch of Pyrocat HDC in glycol. I now use it as a divided developer for almost all my films (especially sheet films) and have trouble seeing past it to others as it is just so good.
My Pyrocat negs are the same now as when I first processed them, that's in over 7 years of using Pyrocat HD.
The negatives print very easily in the darkroom, and scans are better than from non staining developers like you say probably because the dye component of the negative image allows better scans of the highlight areas. than a comparable silver only negative. I now use it for all my films.
When it comes to staining developers , does anyone have experience on how Tanol and Tanol Speed ( Made by Wolfgang Moersch , Germany ) compares to Pyrocat HD and also to PMK .
Pyrocat HD and PMK are a bit difficult to get hold of here in Sweden, but Moersch products are fairly easy obtainable both through his own web-site and through Fotoimpex in Berlin. As an old D76/HC110/Xtol/DD-X - user I would like to try a staining developer in order to se what it can give. Any experince is appreciated .
Merry Christmas. Pyrocat HD is good stuff but not magic. I have 8x10 negatives with development irregularities because I didn't have enough liquid in the tray with pyrocat hd, so it's not magic. As with any developer, consistency is key in terms of volume used, temperature, agitation intervals and style, etc..
The visual appearance is unique and different but not superior. I have a hard time eyeballing the contrast unlike with non-staining developers. But it still makes good negatives to scan or enlarge or alt process. The tint of the stain is easily identifiable compared to PMK or non-staining developers.
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Can you not buy the dry chemicals and make the Pyrocat up for yourself, it is not difficult and all the chemicals required are listed on the Pyrocat website. All I would suggest is that you take your time, some of the chemicals take a while to go fully into solution. Made with glycol as a base the keeping attributes are fantastic and even made with water as a base the solution has long keeping qualities.
Originally Posted by K-G
Originally Posted by jp498
But I think you are being unfair to Pyrocat HD, if you fail to put enough liquid in your trays or not sufficient volumes of active developer to cover the square inches of negatives you are processing that is certainly down to user error and you can hardly blame the developer. Sandy King has given all the information required to get the best out of the Pyrocat series of developers and if you choose to use less amounts than suggested either in volume or in active developer then you can't expect to have good negatives everytime.
As you say, consistency is key and if you have had issues then it can only be down to inconsistencies in use.
Pyrocat HD Formula
Sodium Metabisulfite 10 g -------
Pyrocatechin 50 g ----------------
Phenidone 2.0 g ------------------
Potassium Bromide 1.0 g --------
➕ Distilled Water to make 1000 ml-
Distilled Water 750 ml ------------
Potassium Carbonate 750 g -----
➕ Distilled Water to make 1000ml--
corrections or suggestions?
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
Thank you , Ed Bray and Curt . Yes , I have thought of mixing my own magic brew , but finding a supplier of raw chemicals in small amounts and to private persons seems to be as difficult here as I have understood it is in most other countries. I will continue trying and see what I can succeed with.
I LOVE the negatives the Pyrocat HD can produce, but have a few standing issues.
1) Film speed - I seem to loose between 1/3 - 2/3 stops (depends on the film). OK, this is a minor point
2) Uneaven development. Often when developing 120 films in a Jobo tank I would get streaks running across the film (or along the axis of the drum) on a few frames (not all !) - even with agitation every minute. Scanning works great indeed, but if one needs stronger adjustments to contrast in PP (that forbidden digital part) - the uneven development really starts to show.
I am wondering whether my problem No. 2 is because the Pyrocat HD (in Glycol) I have is around 7 years old (yeah, I still did not finis those 0.5l bottles). I use it in 1:1:100 dilution and should definitely have enough developer for the film area.
I never get the above problems with Xtol.
Hi Karl - I haven't used the Tanol but I have used the Moersch Finol, (high-def dev). As far as the staining goes, the negs look very similar to Pyrocat-HD. Without looking up the formulas not sure how close they are. Finol requires almost constant agitation whereas, I use Sandy's rec times 50-65m semi-stand, so I do use them under different circumstances. I do love the look of the Finol so you might give it a try and see if it works for you. I have to admit though, since I started using Pyrocat-HD, it has become my developer of choice.
Originally Posted by K-G
Sourdough, salami and blue cheese... and 2 dogs drooling with such sad, sad eyes. ... they're working me... they know I'll cave!