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  1. #1

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    There have been comments bouncing around the internet about pyro developers not working for vc papers. This is a fallacy. I and many others have been printing PMK negs on vc papers for 20 years. Just increase the developing time.

    Good films for PMK include FP4+, Tri-X, Acros, HP5+.

    steve simmons

  2. #2
    noseoil's Avatar
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    Steve, I suspect that one issue with this "problem" stems from the fact that many people get their development numbers from a chart. With this approach, I'm not surprised that there are comments about pyro being difficult to print with. With the selection of films, papers and variables involved, it stands to reason that not testing materials is a possible cause of these comments.

    I had this type of comment about Efke 25 and ABC pyro, and ended up corresponding about it off list last year. It turns out that the film development figures being used to print were given by a friend and were intended for the Van Dyke process.

    I think a bit of time spent in testing would have helped to prevent the problem. It would be curious to see how many of these comments stem from a lack of thorough testing.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve simmons
    There have been comments bouncing around the internet about pyro developers not working for vc papers. This is a fallacy. I and many others have been printing PMK negs on vc papers for 20 years. Just increase the developing time.

    Good films for PMK include FP4+, Tri-X, Acros, HP5+.

    steve simmons
    Steve,

    I think that the comments that you have taken issue with have to do with the stain color of certain developers. It appears to make sense to me that if green is a color that is used to reduce contrast on VC materials then a greenish stain would seem to do that as well. If you want to pay me for an article that covers this aspect of certain staining developers then I would be happy to write it. The article I have in mind would be supported by densitometric testing of not only the negative but also the VC paper.

  4. #4

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    Steve,

    I think that the comments that you have taken issue with have to do with the stain color of certain developers. It appears to make sense to me that if green is a color that is used to reduce contrast on VC materials then a greenish stain would seem to do that as well. If you want to pay me for an article that covers this aspect of certain staining developers then I would be happy to write it. The article I have in mind would be supported by densitometric testing of not only the negative but also the VC paper.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Again, I, Gordon Hutchings, and many others have been printing stained negs on vc papers for 20+ year w/o a problem. The poster just above you probably has the answer - that too many people rely on a chart to get a dev time w/o doing their own testing. I satnd by my first post.

    steve simmons

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    O.K. Steve...I understand. I may do some research along those lines anyway. Maybe someone else will pick up the article...good luck to you.

    Donald Miller

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller
    O.K. Steve...I understand. I may do some research along those lines anyway. Maybe someone else will pick up the article...good luck to you.

    Donald Miller
    For a very comprehensive discussion of the issue of PMK with VC papers (with illustrations) see Barry Thornton's Edge of Darkness, pp. 95-100. Thornton's reasoning, and empirical testing, clearly show that the issue is much more complicated than previous comments on this thread suggest.


    Sandy King



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  7. #7
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    Agree, its a totally fallacious argument. My experience with pyro developers only spans a year, but I've printed negs developed in ABC, PMK, and Pyrocat-HD on several major brand VC papers from several of the popular films in formats from 35mm to 8x10. In several cases, I've done comparisons between a Pyro neg and the exact same shot developed in Rodinal or HC110. The pyro neg exposes and prints differently but what else is to be expected?

    Taking print exposure and development times from a chart? Who's touting that method? Sounds like a misapplication of something intended for an automated processing line.

  8. #8
    lee
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    I have been using and still use PMK for nearly all my film developing for going on 6 or 7 years and I almost always use VC paper. I found G Hutchins times would produce a slightly flat negative. I simply increased the time in the developer and viola. Really nice easy to print negs. What is the problem?

    lee\c

  9. #9
    Ole
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    The only "problem" I've had eith Pyrocat-HD and VC paper is that it doesn't really translate well to graded paper. I find myself printing og grade 1 graded and grade 5 VC - which makes it more troublesome for burning and dodging. I now use mostly FX-2 for negatives intended for enlargement.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lee
    I have been using and still use PMK for nearly all my film developing for going on 6 or 7 years and I almost always use VC paper. I found G Hutchins times would produce a slightly flat negative. I simply increased the time in the developer and viola. Really nice easy to print negs. What is the problem?

    lee\c
    Lee,

    Let me first observe that Thornton was primarily a 35mm and roll film user and did not work much in large format. Therefore some of the issues he raises may or may not be relevant to your work.

    First he writes that he likes PMK with graded papers but not with VC papers. There are prints in the book made from the same PMK negative, one on Ilford grade # 2 paper, the other on Ilford variable contrast , filtered to grade two. Neither print was toned or manipulated in either way. The print on VC papers clearly has less contrast than the one on graded paper. Thornton estimates the difference to be about one full paper grade.

    Then he makes three points.

    1. He observes that in order to get the same contrast on VC #2 paper that was obtained on the grade #2 paper it would have been necessary to lengthen time of development. But there is a downside to extending development time: grain will be more noticeable, especially in the highlight, because there will be less grain masking. This seems logical because the extra yellow density that is created by extending development time provides very little if any printing density to the green low contrast layer so the extra printing density you add to the highlights by extending development time is primarily silver density.

    2. The highlights have much greater yellow/green stain than other tonal areas and for this reason are softened more than shadow areas. Again, the reason is that the yellow/grain stain does not provide any printing density for the low contrast green layer of the paper.

    3. The second feature is a two-edge sword. It works well in some circumstances by allowing us to retain highlight detail in very high contrast situations, but in others situations it results in muddy highlights. And extending development time does not improve highlight separation.

    Thornton’s observations make perfect sense to me and they are absolutely consistent with my own observations. When I first started to print with PMK using VC papers the most immediate and obvious difference between it and other developers was the fact that it was easier to print certain high contrast scenes. However, with time I began to notice that there was a certain loss of separation in the highlights. Perhaps they were not muddy, as Thornton suggest, but they simply lacked the kind of clarity and snap I was used to. Eventually I quit printing with all silver papers and the question became somewhat mute for me, as it is now I guess.

    In my opinion there is no argument but that PMK (and Rollo Pyro), both of which produce a yellow/green stain, render tonal values in the highlights and upper mid-tones differently than both non-staining developers and staining developers such as Diaxactol and Pyrocat-HD that give brown staining. Depending on the lighting conditions and contrast of the scene phographed this difference could be an advantage or disadvantage in making the final print.

    Sandy King

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