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  1. #1

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    Choosing a staining developer

    Which staining developer would you recommend, and why? That is, what benefits do you think a certain staining developer have over other ones?

    It will be used on 35, MF roll films and 4x5 LF. All negatives will be scanned first, in most cases only scanned and of course, printed. Possibly different developer will be recommended for different format, which is okay with me.

  2. #2
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    PMK?

    I'm not big on scanning, but I really like how PMK performs on traditional full silver films. Plus it is simple to mix, and use, and the stock solutions for me so far seem very stable.

    5mL of my PM stock A, 10mL of my K stock B, 1L distilled water, microwave to get to 70F, since my distilled water jug is almost always around 65 or colder, and away we go.

    It is longer to do than HC, or D76, etc, but it is worth it the way that the highlights don't get blocked up with this stuff.

  3. #3
    craigclu's Avatar
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    There are a lot of PyroCat users in this group (for good reason). It is very versatile, stable, predictable and it seems especially suited where negative scanning will be done (at least with my equipment). A good reason to try it as a choice is the great support that you are apt to get with APUG as there are many experienced, helpful users in here. I've found that if I start an untested film at 1/2 of its ISO rating, I tend to be in the ballpark for easily printed negatives that show good shadow detail without blowing the highlights. I'm needing to do much less manipulation when printing PyroCat negatives and it seems to work well on all formats. I've had best luck with more dilute, longer timed, less agitated routines which takes some advantage of the subtle edge effects capable with the developer.
    Craig Schroeder

  4. #4
    Dan Henderson's Avatar
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    I've had good luck with the late Barry Thornton's DiXactol catechol-based developer. It is the only staining developer that I have used extensively, so I cannot recommend it over others. All I can say is that it works well for me. It is available through the Formulary.


    web site: Dan Henderson, Photographer.com

    blog: https://danhendersonphotographer.wordpress.com/

    I am not anti-digital. I am pro-film.

  5. #5
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    I'm a big Pyrocat advocate. Like Craig, I shoot my film at 1/2 box speed, for the same reasons. It produces very richly toned negatives that are easy to print, and is wonderful for alt-process printing (my specialty). It produces very fine-grain, very sharp negatives. It is also equally suited to manual or rotary processing development, whereas PMK oxidizes too fast in rotary processing. You'll find on looking at your first negs made with a staining developer that they look flat and thin; you'll get over it and learn to read the negatives for quality the same way you've learned to deal with non-staining developed negatives.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    I'm a big Pyrocat advocate. Like Craig, I shoot my film at 1/2 box speed, for the same reasons. It produces very richly toned negatives that are easy to print, and is wonderful for alt-process printing (my specialty). It produces very fine-grain, very sharp negatives. It is also equally suited to manual or rotary processing development, whereas PMK oxidizes too fast in rotary processing. You'll find on looking at your first negs made with a staining developer that they look flat and thin; you'll get over it and learn to read the negatives for quality the same way you've learned to deal with non-staining developed negatives.
    I'm another Pyrocat advocate and echo most of what's said here. I think the combination is excellent with Tri-X, HP5+, APX400, etc. and results in very sharp and easily printable negatives, particularly when the light is contrasty.

    You will, however, lose close to 1 stop of film speed vs., say, XTOL. Also, unlike some, I do not consider this developer to be paricularly fine-grained when printing, though it is not objectionably grainy.
    Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..

  7. #7
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    In comparison to say, Rodinal, it is fine-grained. But then about the only thing I can think of that is coarser would be running Dektol at paper strength. Super-sharp, but grain like baseballs.

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    In the last 2½ years I've been using Pyrocat HD for 120 and LF and get excellent fine grain, no discernible difference to Xtol. I've recently started using it for 35mm as well. It does give amazing tonality.

    Ian

  9. #9
    rwyoung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    I'm a big Pyrocat advocate.
    --snip--
    It is also equally suited to manual or rotary processing development, whereas PMK oxidizes too fast in rotary processing.
    Scott -

    Any change to the "standard" Pyrocat formula to run it in a Jobo? Thanks.
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things! http://rwyoung.wordpress.com

  10. #10
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    No- I run Pyrocat HD stock. It was formulated for use in rotary processing. I have not yet tried it but Pyrocat MC is supposed to be even better with rotary processing. I've been happy enough with Pyrocat HD in my Jobo that I haven't needed to switch, and not only that, I've got about three years' supply of it I'd need to go through before buying more.

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