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  1. #1

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    Pyro for a beginner.

    I have been lurking on this forum for awhile, and it's time for me to ask a question. I'm coming back to film after a long hiatus. I've started shooting B and W again recently, and I have an interest in Pyro processing. After looking at a bunch of photos, I really like the look of Pyro. I thought I'd just jump in, but there are several formulations available. What would the best be for a beginner to pyro, but someone who has experience with standard developers, and has a background in chemistry? I've been leaning towards getting the PMK/Gordon Hutchings book combo from the Formulary, but I'd be interested in other folks experience in learning to work with it.

  2. #2
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    More info is needed.
    What format?
    Subject of images?
    What printing method,
    etc
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  3. #3

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    Medium format, and mostly landscapes with some architecture. Printing in a standard darkroom with a Beseler 23 enlarger. But, you'll have to explain why these things make a difference as to which formulation of Pyro would be best for someone new to it.

  4. #4

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    I really think I've come to the wrong place, and I really don't have enough experience to be posting here. If a moderator could please delete this thread I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug K View Post
    I really think I've come to the wrong place, and I really don't have enough experience to be posting here. If a moderator could please delete this thread I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
    I think your questions were reasonable ones. I believe that Jim's questions were aimed at finding out what your goals are in order to tailor his answers to your needs.

    We know that you are printing (or planning to print) with an enlarger. Do you plan to print on variable contrast paper?

    Please don't delete this thread. We'll be glad to help you.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  6. #6
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug K View Post
    I really think I've come to the wrong place, and I really don't have enough experience to be posting here. If a moderator could please delete this thread I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
    Doug,
    I doubt very seriously if you've come to the wrong place especially if you feel experience is a critical factor. Experience is not a criteria. Nor is knowledge of the subject for that matter.

    APUG is made up of a lot of well wishing people who are very eager to share their experiences with you. And their knowledge.

    As to which Pyro formula is better for the beginner, the Hutchings book is invaluable in terms of source material but it will not answer your question of which is best...

    The Formulary offers a number of Pyro pre mixed developers that you might select from and give it a try. There are many threads here that discuss some variations on Sandy Kings' PYROCAT-HD but they presume a knowledge base of Pyro development.

    Rather than deleting a thread I would hope you jump in with both feet. Then maybe you will tell us what is the best...

  7. #7

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    I got into Pyro developing by reading the original Article in Peterson Photographic in the 1970's, where Wd2d developer was introduced. I just read the info, ordered the component chemicals and mixed some up. Processed some film at the times published in the magazine, then adjusted the time to reflect my shooting style, and it has been good ever since.

  8. #8

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    This is probably the best place around to learn regardless of experience. I started using PMK Pyro from the Formulary, the liquid version. I used this with 35mm Agfa APX100 all the way up to 120 Tri-X. I print using a condenser enlarger with variable grade papers. I like PMK, it lasts forever. It's sharp. Once you figure out how to print it, they print very easily (for me atleast).
    I develope one to two rolls in a stainless steel tank. For rotary/continous development, rollo pyro or pycrocat hd work better as the PMK Pyro exhausts must quicker (though there are ways around it).

  9. #9

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    Doug I've used PMK pyro for some years now and like many others it has served me well both for 4x5 sheet film and 120 roll. The only time its let me down is with 35mm and this is more a problem with 'streaking' caused by inproper agitation. So for 35mm I've started to use Pyrocat-HD and this certainly has improved matters with this format. However for sheet and 120 roll film I'll be staying with pyro for the time being.

    I print only on VC papers and with split grade printing these pyro negs. print so easily.

    All the best,
    Trevor.

  10. #10

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    Hi Doug,

    I was in your shoes about two years ago. I had just gotten back to photography after a decade long absence. I acquired an 8x10 camera, so I knew I would be doing contact printing. Somehow I discovered the Azo forum over at www.Michaelandpaula.com Many of the threads there discussed using Tmax-400 and Pyrocat HD. I ordered some Pyrocat HD from the Formulary and haven't looked back. There is a lot of info out there on this combination and Sandy King is a wonderful resource for anyone who has issues associated with Pyrocat HD. On a personal level, I didn't want to spend my life testing film/developer combinations so once I tried Pyrocat HD, I stuck with it. I would much rather spend my time getting to know my materials very well, then jumping from film to film, paper to paper, developer to developer. Is it the "Best"? Don't know and don't care, because the Tmax400/Pyrocat HD/Azo combination works wonderfully for me.

    You mentioned that you had seen some photographs using pyro that you really liked. Try and find out what materials those photographers used...

    Good luck in your quest...
    John Bowen

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