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  1. #1
    pierods's Avatar
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    Barry Thornton's Perceptol 1+2, 1+3

    What do you guys make of Barry Thornton's suggestion that Perceptol 1+2, 1+3 is the silver bullet of developers?

    I also cannot understand from the his Edge of Darkness book why the pyros he developed (dixactol, exactol etc) are better.

    They're better for landscapes? They give more acutance?

    If grain doesn't matter, as he explains, then why the Perceptol and not just his pyros, or the other pyros?

    I personally think that he stopped short of explaining the difference when he realized he should have published the formula of dixactol.

    But maybe I did not understand well.

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I've been reading Edge of Darkness and you're right he really doesn't quite explain himself properly. My conclusion is that despite the books cult status there's little of importance. After all Sandy King's Pyrocat is just as good as Dixactol and the formula published.

    BTW there is a DiXactol Ultra "type" formulae published.

    Ian

  3. #3

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    I would say silver bullet if the stock solution had the shelf life of pyro. I guess if you homebrew, that's not an issue.

  4. #4

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    He liked metol without hydroquinone. I have stand developed film in dilute hydroquinone based lith developer,it has very low sharpness. He could be right.
    I believe one reason he liked the pyros was their longer tonal range.

  5. #5

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    It is some time since i read Edge of Darkness, but i think the advantage of
    his pyro over perceptol was not grain, or other such factors but rather
    that you use the same dev-time for all films.

    Other than that i think that i can not remember him mentioning any other advantage
    over perceptol. however, over other non cathecol-based pyro-devs the colour of
    the stain is the advantage.

    -J

  6. #6
    pierods's Avatar
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    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Leon's Avatar
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    and I seem to remember him saying that, actually, grain does matter - it's been a while since I read it, but I'm sure he compared a very fine grain film with a less fine (FP4+ or similar) and concluded that the grainier film gave a better impression of sharpness .. no surprises there though.

    My impression of him from his books were initially good and helpful, Elements has some great advice to those getting into the art of fine print making, but seemed to eventually become a salesman, and the majority of Edge of Darkness was just an advert for DiXactol - that's not to say it didnt have some good points also though. I guess that, as with Peter Hogans Precyscol, if he wanted to make money from his formula (which I think was pretty much a pyrocat type with glycin added somewhere in the mix) he was well in his rights not release the formula. That said, I am convinced that his Exactol Lux was in fact a Metol version of Pyrocat - although that is just my opinion of course.

  8. #8
    Muihlinn's Avatar
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    He did his statement about what he thought a fine print was very early in the book and he kept going *his process* to achieve it, indeed he talked about his developer, but IIRC he did it as his own way of getting good acutance, flexibility, sharpness and stain to avoid most dodging and burning, that was the advantage over perceptol for him, of course you can take it as an ad, but I never saw it that way, more like honestity, if I were writting a book I wouldn't talk about what I'm not using to follow a process.

    IMHO, that book is more a travel about what it could be an endless process is if you're looking for the ultimate anything what you're looking for out of your photography, and little more. It didn't much technically to me, but I learned a whole lot about my own photography after reading it.
    Luis Miguel Castañeda Navas
    http://imaginarymagnitude.net/

  9. #9
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    I found Barry's book very interesting. While I am still a bit baffled by the different ideas of developers not having time to try them all myself, I remember the book was filled with a lot of commonsense ideas about making sure you know your equipment is in good working order such as focusing correctly to the steadiness of your tripod.


    Eric
    Dad, is the lens cap suppose to be on?.

  10. #10
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    I did an experiment once to compare Perceptol 1+3 with DD-23 and XTOL 1+1, on 35mm tri-x, after reading Edge of Darkness.

    Dilute Perceptol and divided D-23 gave nearly identical results; after all they are essentially metol developers, giving fine and sharp grain. XTOL gives smoother grain, and a slightly different tonality.

    In the end, I would say that metol devs gave a "dry grain" look, and XTOL a "wet grain" look. But it did not make me swoon in ecstasy. Different devs, different results.

    I'm a fan of the XTOL look in 35mm, so I stick with it. If you're a fan of the "drier" grain, I would say go with D-23, divided or not. It will give you the same results without the ludicrously long developing times of dilute Perceptol.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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