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  1. #1

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    Ok, so I've been reading a lot about Pyrocat-HD and wanted to give it a try.

    I have tried PMK and for me it was not an experience I ever want to repeat. This spring I tried Rollo Pyro, while I liked the results much better the the PMK. Still the prints did not show me anything to really make me want to convert from my standard HC110.

    I decided to give Pyrocat-HD a try, rather then order in the bulk chemicals and then not like the results, I thought I'd order the package from Photographers' Formulary. That made life simple and I could try it with little effort or expense.

    Last night, I started mixing the chemicals based on the instructions (which looked a lot like what I had been reading on the Blinking eye site). Just for kicks before I mixed in the chemicals I wanted to check the weights of the packages. I found that the was 28g of Pyrocatechin in the package instead of the 5g that the formula called for and that was marked on the label. I know I measured it in the plastic bag still but didn't think the bag weighed 23g (it turns out the bag weighed under 3g). That made me check all of the other packages to see if the proportions were greater them what was printed on the instruction sheet. Everything else measured out ok for the printed formula in the instructions.

    I weighed out the 5g needed and mixed up the solution. I processed 8x10 sheets in my Jobo using Clay Harmon's times posted on the Blinking Eye site as a starting point. My first reaction to the negatives is very good. I'll print them this weekend to find out more.

    I just wanted to pass along that sometimes the pre-measured packages are not always what they are marked. Had I not checked the weight and mixed the chemicals on good faith I might have a different feeling this morning about what is looking like a very nice developer.

    George Losse

  2. #2

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    I am sorry about the mistake in mixing amounts. The addition of that much extra pyrocatechin in the formula would have led to a disaster in development. Hope you will communicate this problem to Formulary.

    Just for the record, I have no involvement with the kit offered by Formulary.

    Also, if you are interested in mixing from scratch you should know tht the only two sites that carry my verified versions of the formula are the Unblinking Eye and the Azo Forum on Michael and Paula website.

    Sandy King

  3. #3
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    What's actually required to mix your own pyrocat-HD? I'm working in 4x5 now with the unicolor rollers and I'm very curious about pyro. At the moment I'm using diafine (the box says it's not recommended for roller use, but I find that it works quite well as the slightly increased grain from constant agitation is a boon when I'm enlarging), but would like to try a staining developer. After reading this posting about incorrect amounts in bags I'm hesitant about purchasing the kits to make my own w/o knowing the extra purchases I will need for verifying the accuracy of my concoctions before going in.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  4. #4

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    You'll need all the reagents of course, plus something to mix them in, amber glass storage bottles (preferably), distilled water, and a way to measure everything. I use some small graduated cylinders and a balance to measure everything out. You could probably get away with one of those small balancing scales for use in the kitchen, that weigh up to 10 grams or so, providing they are accurate enough. That would probably be good enough for solution A. As for solution B, I measure it out using tablespoons (using a conversion from the Darkroom Cookbook).
    Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

  5. #5

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    Jeremy,
    Other then the chemicals and a scale that will measure in grams not much more is required. Perhaps an extra storage bottle since the Pyrocat is mixed in two parts which are combined prior to processing film. It is extremely economical to use.
    For those who have not tried a pyro based formulation, I began using ABC Pyro when I started contact printing Azo. Since then I have switched to Pyrocat HD (for eveness of development and greater high value separation). Now, when I print an older 4X5 Tri X negative that has been developed in HC 110 I can visually tell the difference between it and a TriX negative developed in ABC Pyro...not in the negative, but rather in the print. I can tell the difference not only at a 16X20 enlargement but also at a 5X7 enlargement. I can tell the difference in sharpness and tonal separation. If it weren't better I wouldn't use it.
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  6. #6
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  7. #7
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanking
    Let me know what kind of printing you will be doing with the FP4+ negatives in Pyrocat-HD and I will provide a recommended development time and dilution.

    By kind of printing I mean process (silver, Pt/Pd, salted paper, kallitype,etc.). And if silver gelatin let me know whether you are using VC, graded papers, or AZO, and of course what kind of enlarger set-up you have.
    Sandy King
    I'm thinking I will definitely give this stuff a try as I'm finding I want to go pull out the 4x5 and shoot all of the time (now if I only had the time...). Sandy, are you still willing help out in this way? I'm shooting Arista 125 which is supposedly FP4 for silver prints on VC paper using an Omega Super Dichroic 2 color head and will probably split filter print using the color filters in the enlarger. I also greatly like the temperature they had on Ed's site as my house is kept at around 75 degrees F most of the time. On suggestions that I've had independent of this post and from Aggie's posting robot (I she has to sleep some time! ) I will probably order from art supply chemicals unless there are better (also read as cheaper) suggestions. Also, do you have any suggestions for good quality kitchen scales... will Wal-Mart/Target type stores carry this product? Thanks for all of the help, guys, I've always wondered about the mysteries of this pyro everyone speaks so highly of.
    jeremy

    side note for the dixactol post: it's now available at photographer's formulary

  8. #8
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Im sorry, I meant ArtCraft Chemicals... Aggie, is this who you're also talking about?
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  9. #9
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  10. #10
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    is there any reason to use a digital versus an analog scale? I picked up a digital scale with both oz or grams and a resettable zero at a local kitchen appliance store that is going out of business. After next Thursday (when I get paid) or when Sandy posts back to this topic--whichever is second-- I will place my order at ArtCraft Chemicals and give pyro a shot.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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