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  1. #1
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Pyrocat HD working solution color

    Last night was my first experience with this developer. I mixed from the liquid concentrate purchased from Photographers Formulary. I believe it is fairly fresh as I only ordered it a month ago. The dilution used was 1:1:100 and the tap water temperature at time of mixing was 67 degrees.

    My clear glass beaker showed that the solution had no color which I though was a bit unusual. From what I've read here, it should have had a slight pinkish color? At any rate, I developed a 35mm roll of FP4+ for 10 minutes and moderate agitation in stainless steel reel/tank. The developer temperature at the time of development was 68 degrees. I'm aware that Mr. King recommends 70 degrees so I gave extra time above the 8.5 minutes normally used as a starting point for FP4.

    My film was under-developed. The images are all there but thin. The film notation on the side of the frame sprocket holes is very dim. I expected to see some sort of stain on the film and not the 'general stain' which I should see between frames but the 'image stain' which effects a frame based upon the density of the silver. After comparing negatives processed in XTOL to Pyrocat HD, I saw a very very subtle color difference with the HD negatives leaning toward the brown.

    Questions:

    1. is the strength of the stain dependent upon the dilution or the degree of development?

    2. Should I be concerned if my working solution has no color?

  2. #2

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    DOn't know about the rest but my working solution has no color when I mix it.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  3. #3
    Mongo's Avatar
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    Remember that the stain you're looking for only exists where there is silver in the image; clear areas of the film should not be stained. The negatives should look a little more brown than black when you look at the image area; that's the stain. Stain where there's no silver would be a general stain, and would serve no purpose other than slowing down your printing times.

    I use the Formulary liquid Pyrocat, and my developer is uncolored when I mix it.

    I'm guessing that your negatives are under developed; there could be a bunch of reasons for that. Are you sure your thermometer is accurate? If you were below 68 degrees your time might have been too short. Is your tap water good? You might want to try distilled water. Did you pre-soak the film? Sandy generally recommends a five minute pre-soak, and I follow this recommendation under the assumption that Sandy knows a whole lot more about these things than I do.

    I think it's worth burning a few rolls to find out what's going on. The first thing I'd try is doing exactly what you did before, but use a pre-soak of five minutes. If that doesn't change anything, try mixing the developer with distilled water. And so on... (You can actually do all of these tests with one roll of film...just cut it into a number of lengths and develop each length while changing only one variable in your development routine.)

    Best of luck to you. When you get the Pyrocat working well, it's simply amazing stuff.

    Dave
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  4. #4

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    I just processed some film (TMAX 400) in Pyrocat-HD tonight. I mixed the stock A solution (a liter) on 4/16/2004. I mixed my stock from scratch using Sandy's formula - except that I used ethylene glycol as the solvent instead of water. My B solution is Potassium Carbonate and water, mixed on 3/30/2004.

    The working solution (1+1+100) was a very pale yellow (almost clear) when mixed (as usual). The developed film looks great (also, as usual).
    Tom Hoskinson
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  5. #5
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Hoskinson
    I just processed some film (TMAX 400) in Pyrocat-HD tonight. I mixed the stock A solution (a liter) on 4/16/2004. I mixed my stock from scratch using Sandy's formula - except that I used ethylene glycol as the solvent instead of water. My B solution is Potassium Carbonate and water, mixed on 3/30/2004.

    The working solution (1+1+100) was a very pale yellow (almost clear) when mixed (as usual). The developed film looks great (also, as usual).
    Sounds like I don't need to worry too much about the color of the solution. It also appears that the negatives are very printable in spite of what I percieve to be under-development

    Ethylene glycol? Wow. I've never heard of using anything other than water as the well... water?

    Anyway, I just scanned a couple of these negatives and I'm going to print them as soon as I peel myself off the ceiling. I didn't expect to see what I'm seeing. Not that I give a negative scan much importance, but relative to what else I've scanned in the past (Tri-X in XTOL)... these are pretty exciting. Should I post one? OK, I will... nope, too big. I'll just post a scan of the print later

  6. #6

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    mine when mixed is a very very pale pink, only really noticeable if the beaker is on a white surface. There is certainly not the same clear pink that I got with Dixactol or Exactol from BT. When exhausted, they also do not have the same purple brown, but a very pale brown tinge. If I use an orbital and little solution, the discarded solution is clearly much more oxidised.

    Negs are very clearly brown with most emulsions, FP4, Acros and TMax 100 being poorer stainers than HP5, Pan F etc. BThornton said that Agfa films did not stain wekll in his devs, but APX100 stains reasonably well in P'Cat, better than FP4 plus to my eyes.

    BTW my solutions are now 9 months old and show no deterioration. They are in half full brown glass medical bottles with good seals.

  7. #7
    Will S's Avatar
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    I believe that you can tell that the pyrocat-hd is going bad by looking to see if it turns brown when you mix it. Too much brown = bad developer. I've never gotten to test that theory though as I use it all up pretty quickly. Just last night I did 10 ml in 500 ml of water (1:1:100) and as I was developing it I was wondering if you needed at least 15ml of developer or something like that.

    The negs turned out fine of course, but I tend to worry about all sorts of things while waiting for the time to elapse...

    Best,

    Will
    "I am an anarchist." - HCB
    "I wanna be anarchist." - JR

  8. #8

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    Actually, I once made 2 developing runs with the same batch of Pyrocat-HD working developer. The developer was brown after the first run and still worked perfectly for the second run.
    Tom Hoskinson
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  9. #9
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will S
    I believe that you can tell that the pyrocat-hd is going bad by looking to see if it turns brown when you mix it. Too much brown = bad developer. I've never gotten to test that theory though as I use it all up pretty quickly. Just last night I did 10 ml in 500 ml of water (1:1:100) and as I was developing it I was wondering if you needed at least 15ml of developer or something like that.

    The negs turned out fine of course, but I tend to worry about all sorts of things while waiting for the time to elapse...

    Best,

    Will
    And that is another thing I worried about. My graduated beaker has demarkations down to 10ml. If I'm doing 1:1:100 but only making 500ml of working solution, I have to do 5ml of A and 5ml of B. That means I pour water to 490 ml and then pour A until half way to the next mark, then B the rest of the way. Inexact at best. There's probably a significant difference between 4ml of A and 6ml of B vs. 5ml of each. That is assuming I'm only off by 1ml each direction.

  10. #10
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdef
    For these very small volumes of solution, a measuring syringe or pipette is indicated. I use syringes and have a selection of sizes from 1ml up to 50ml. I find the 5ml size gets most use in my darkroom, but my developers are more concentrated than Pyrocat HD. I just draw out the required volume of concentrate, squirt it into 3/4 the final volume of water, and top up to final volume. Quick, clean, and consistent.

    Jay
    did you hear that smack sound just now? That was my right palm coming in contact with my forehead at high velocity. Syringe! I should have thought of that.

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