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Thread: Taming PMK Pyro

  1. #1

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    Taming PMK Pyro

    I am finding Gordon Hutching's research and development (I made a pun) suggestions to be way too aggressive. Is anyone else finding the same thing for PMK?

    With his suggestions, my negatives come out with too much contrast.

    What I have done to compensate was really scale back on his suggestions. So for example - he suggests agitation every 15 seconds. I agitate for 10 seconds once every minute. That's a huge difference!

    He suggests staining for 2 minutes in the after bath. I have found 15 to 30 seconds of stain to be more then enough. That's also huge!

    The only saving grace of these ueber negatives is that they seem to scan more easily, ie a thick stain sort of acts as a built in contrast filter that the scanner picks up in my experience.

    Is it just me? Or is it an error?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by WolfTales; 08-04-2009 at 09:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Skip the afterbath. Even Hutchings no longer recommends it.

    I wouldn't recommend reducing agitation with PMK. Eventually you'll have a negative with a big open sky in it, and you'll see why agitation every 15 seconds is important with PMK.

    I would reduce development time, if you're getting more contrast than you need. Also, in the summer particularly, pay close attention to development temperature, since it may be over 68 deg F coming out of the tap in some areas, and if the ambient temperature is really high where you are working, you might even use a water jacket to keep the temperature from climbing during development.
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    Yes - I recently started cutting development time as well, shaving about 10-15% off recently and finally getting some good results with that.

    In the summer I have been using his 80 degree recommendation but I will try some ice cubes in there next time.

    Thanks
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  4. #4
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Development times are on the long side in general for PMK, so you've got plenty of room to cut even more if necessary for your print process.

    Be sure to print them before adjusting development times, and don't just go by what the negs look like, since pyro negs will often be contrastier than they look, and there are differences in the way they print, depending on whether you print on graded paper, multigrade paper, or by some non-traditional method.
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  5. #5
    wildbill's Avatar
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    As David said, don't reduce agitation. I'm currently using continous agitation on a beseler rotary motor with everything from 120 to 8x10 and my times are very close to his. You'd think I'd need to reduce times but I'm also using a dichroic head on my enlarger so it needs a bit more contrast. The negs are printing better than anything I've ever done. Scanning on the other hand sucks with my epson.
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    JBrunner's Avatar
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    It was said before, but I'll say it again for posterity. Skip the afterbath. It only adds to B+F.

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    Thanks all,

    And I have an epson scanner too. Think it works fine but you gotta futz with the histograms to get it to read right....

    Just using an old Omega 4x5 condenser enlarger here.

    Thanks!
    I brake for fixer!

  8. #8

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    It's best to follow Hutching's agitation directions. I found that two tank inversions on the 15-sec. marks worked well for most films. I find Delta 100 in roll formats has a pretty short normal development time compared to other films, around 6.5 minutes compared to 8-10 minutes for most others I've tried. If I was to test Delta 100 again, I would reduce agitation to 1 inversion on the 15-sec marks or 2 inversions on the 20-sec marks or something similar. I have seen bad results from under-agitation, nasty, swirly uneven areas, especially in skies or other areas of unmodulated tone.

    Peter Gomena

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    Development times are on the long side in general for PMK, so you've got plenty of room to cut even more if necessary for your print process.
    That is true, but my understanding is that Gordon aims for a Zone VIII reading of approximately log 1.50, with blue mode densitometer. I think this is a good approach for printing with VC silver papers because it allows one to take full advantage of the highlight compression effect one gets with stained developers.

    I recommend the same approach for most staining developers, including Pyrocat-HD and -MC. Developing to a lowr contrast effectively obviates the compression effect.

    So basically, what you want to do with staining developers and VC papers is develop the negative to a fairly high contrast and then adjust the print with low contrast filters. If you do the opposite, you lose the highlight compresson that is one of the great features when printing with stained negatives and VC papers.

    Sandy King

  10. #10
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    I haven't experimented to see if agitation every 30 seconds works for me, but every 15 seconds does. I agitate violently for about 2-3 seconds each time. If it ain't broke, as the expression says...

    If your contrast is too high, less development is indeed likely your solution.

    Bear in mind that PMK negatives look different from traditional negatives. The proof is in the printing.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

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