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  1. #1

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    Staining development

    Hello,

    Please, can someone explain to me what staining development is, why and how is used and what (which) are staining developers.

    I read often here about it and would like to know what it is all about.

    Thanks.
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Some good articles about staining developers can be found on Unblinkingeye

    Ian

  3. #3

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    Thank you, Ian.
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

  4. #4

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    Dear Haris,

    A dye (stain) image is formed in direct proportion to the silver image. To put it very crudely, the dye is a product of the breakdown of the developing agent. The most popular staining developer is probably PMK, Pyro-Metol-Kodalk if I recall aright.

    In theory, you get 'something for nothing', density without grain.

    In practice, most staining developers deliver such coarse grain that even with the help from the stained image, they are not fine grain.

    They can however deliver exquisite tonality. Note 'can', though. Some photographers do much better with them than others, so (as usual) they are nearer to a useful tool than a magic bullet.

    Cheers,

    Roger
    Free Photography Information on My Website
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  5. #5
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    The stained negatives print differently with different printing media than unstained ones. The yellow stain of PMK has the least increase in contrast on VC papers, the greatest on graded blue sensitive papers. The VC papers show a greater increase in contrast than normal as printing light is biased toward blue, as with the usual magenta colored contrast increasing filters.

    As to grain, it is usually theorized that the low sulfite content necessary to produce the stain also increases grain size, but that the spreading of the stain tends to smooth that out. You could try adding enough sulfite to PMK, for example, to minimize the stain just to test the theory. I have not done so, but I have my doubts that the grain will be greatly affected.

    "The Book of Pyro" by Gordon Hutchings is a good investment, whether or not you decide to use a staining developer.
    Gadget Gainer

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Things have moved on from the early coarse grained Pyro staining developers.

    People like Gordon Hutchings, Barry Thornton, Sandy King and Gadjet gainer have all produced much more modern formulae which produce excellent fine grain with modern films.

    Ian

  7. #7

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    I've not had a lot of experience with staining developers yet. But I've been using Barry Thornton's DiXactol after reading his book 'Edge of Darkness'. This is another book you might want to read through to get info on staining developers. Based on this book, I started using DiXactol to help control my highlights, which out here in New Mexico can be extremely bright. The staining builds up density on these highlight areas and make it easier to print without excessive dodging and burning.

  8. #8
    wfe
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    I use Pyrocat HD (Sandy King's formula) with Ilford Delta 400 and absolutly love it. I don't endulge in the technical side of this so I'm not much help there but I would suggest some testing and experimenting with your favorite films and subjects.

    Cheers,
    Bill
    ~Bill
    "Real Art is a Thin Breath Exhaled Amidst a Struggle in the Mind"
    Fine Art and Portraits

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Things have moved on from the early coarse grained Pyro staining developers.

    People like Gordon Hutchings, Barry Thornton, Sandy King and Gadjet gainer have all produced much more modern formulae which produce excellent fine grain with modern films.

    Ian
    Dear Ian,

    I fully take your point about early Pyro developers, and how much better modern ones are; but even so, I was talking about such things as PMK, and I'd not call them remarkably fine grain. They're not bad, but they don't live up to the promise of 'something for nothing'; there are non-staining developers that deliver finer grain and sometimes more speed as well.

    Cheers,

    Roger
    Free Photography Information on My Website
    http://www.rogerandfrances.com

  10. #10

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    Thank you all.
    Bosnia... You don't have to be crazy to live here, but it helps...
    No things in life should be left unfinis

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