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  1. #1
    DanielStone's Avatar
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    PYRO, PYRO, PYRO!!!

    hey all,

    just got a nice firing up of information from M.A.S., and I'm now ready to jump into the world of pyro developers.

    right now I'm doing just 4x5, because that is what I have availablity to at the moment, but want to try 8x10 eventually(just need to get a few holders, and some cheapo arista film, maybe the efke 25). but I'm taking things slow.

    so, I'm looking to try and contact print mostly, but for some negs, possibly enlarge(4x5 only, 8x10 will be all-contact printing), with developing contact prints in AMIDOL.

    I've been reading up in M.A.S.'s "writings" about his version of Weston's Pyro, and I'd like to give it a try, eventually getting to the point of developing by inspection. I just wish I lived closer to some of you guys, I learn much better in person .

    so, any recommendations? I'm totally new to the pyro and contact printing scene, so call me SOAKED behind the ears . But I'm ready to learn, and get started. Just have to wait a bit though, cause my folks haven't given me the COMPLETE go-ahead to developing sheet-film in the tub in 4x5 hangers and rubber tanks(got 4 tanks and 8 hangers for $20 craigslist)

    suggestions/why you recommend what you do, etc... I don't have a huge budget by any means, its actually the other way around , but I've been looking at pyro dev's because of the low-cost, and overall quality boost that many claim they have gotten from them

    still trying to track down a copy of the pyro handbook by hutchings, if anyone's got an extra copy they could lend, or donate/sell cheap, I'd be forever in your debt! I'm just totally strapped for cash at the moment, got a few interviews though in the next 2 weeks for dead-end jobs, but gets some money to put towards retirement, gas in the tank, and film in my cameras !!!!

    thanks

    -Dan


  2. #2

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    Pyro was one of the first developing agents. It still works with modern films, but most of the traditional formulas can be somewhat difficult and unpredictable, as they were in the early days. Hutchings "The Book of Pyro" will give you a feel for some of the problems. (You might try Photographers' Formulary, Bostick and Sullivan, or Amazon.com to get a copy.) His modern PMK formula works well, however. King's Pyrocat-HD is another formula (using pyrocatechol instead of pyrogallol) which gives similar, predictable results. The most frequently cited traditional formula is Kodak D-1, ABC Pyro. Films developed in Pyro are somewhat self-masking due to the staining effect of the developer. They generally print very well, either by contact or projection. Film speed is somewhat slower in pyro developers than in MQ developers, like D-76.

    Azo was the last big name contact printing paper, but Kodak discontinued it a couple of years back. I understand a replacement has been introduced by michaelandpaula.com, but I don't know anything about it. Check the website. You can make contact prints on enlarging paper, using the enlarger as a light source. But the look and behavior of silver chloride based contact papers is somewhat unique. You can use amidol developers with either kind of paper. There are several kinds of amidol developers. All are short lived and have there quirks and problems, but they do produce nice results when handled carefully. Check michaelandpaula.com for formulas and ideas.

  3. #3
    DanielStone's Avatar
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    thanks nworth,

    actually, I've been in touch with Michael on and off the last few days. He is a terrific source of information!

    thanks for the tips on the book, I would really like to get a copy. I'm going down to the library tomorrow to check out their copy of the PHOTO LAB INDEX, which Michael recommends as a resource.

    I'd really like to mix my own developer, so I can tweak it, but I might just end up going with one of the kits(liquid) from Freestyle.

    over time though, does the stain go away from the negatives, or have any adverse affects on the archivability of the negatives themselves?

    thanks

    -Dan


  4. #4

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    There's Max Pyro created by Hutchings and available at Bostick & Sullivan.
    For Amidol, Moersch has a new Amidol formulae ; but apparently not yet available in USA.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  5. #5

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    I have been using PMK pyro in a jobo expert with adox 100 and it works perfectly I use 15mm of A and 20 of B , prewash for 3mins then process for 11 mins , wash fix and re use the dev for 2 mins then final wash , for contacts I use adox nuance warm tone in neutol WA , this combination gives me a very rich print quality and has a classic black and white feel. if you were in the UK Silverprint can supply all the above

    Hope this helps

  6. #6

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    See this:
    http://tinyurl.com/formulary-pyrocat-mc-glycol-50

    It's a kit that will make 50 liters of working solution, which doesn't go bad for at least 2.5-3 years, IME. (Actually should last well beyond this, theoretically...) It's a high speed / high acutance pyro developer especially suitable for semi-stand development. (I don't use semi-stand development myself since I use MF. In my understanding, that method is more suitable in context of contact printing from LF film...)

    See my test results from 35mm film (to evaluate detail / grain) here:

    1. Beached Boat: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loris-m...41084/sizes/o/
    (See tags @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/loris-medici/4150341084/ for info. This is from a cheap cubic grain ISO 100 B&W film not marketed in North America or Western Europe; Ilford Pan 100...)

    2. Beached Boat detail (~30x magnification): http://www.flickr.com/photos/loris-m...41092/sizes/o/

    Regards,
    Loris.

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    DAn, the Photo Lab Index's are rather full of inaccuracies and as such a very unreliable source.

    Ian

  8. #8

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    good luck with the pyro and amidol daniel.
    make sure you dispose of everything properly ...
    i wouldn't use the amidol in the tub,
    from what i understand it stains fingers, not sure what it would do to your tub...
    Last edited by jnanian; 12-17-2009 at 07:15 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
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    As a serious Pyro devotee, my recommendation would be to start off with Pyrocat HD or MC. Fewer vices than earlier pyro formulations, more virtues, and longer lasting. Regardless of which variant you use, you have to mix it up one-shot and use it within a few hours (say 2 hours or so) of mixing or it will oxidize beyond usefulness and you'll end up with blank film. After you've gotten the hang of Pyro from Pyrocat HD, then feel free to go off and experiment with other flavors. Another reason to start with Pyrocat- you have less film speed loss than you do with others. Pyrocat HD is perfectly happy with one additional stop of exposure. PMK wants 2 stops, ABC Pyro wants 2+, maybe 3 (you'll have to do film tests to find out what works for you). If you're going to go to the extreme of using Amidol as a developer for paper, you really need to be using Lodima/AZO as a paper to get maximum benefit. AZO is no longer made, so if you can find some on Ebay it is very expensive, and Lodima is still quite expensive and a relatively unknown quantity at this point (only one batch of it has been produced so far). If you want to play around with the effects of pyro development, I'd suggest getting in to other alternative processes like Cyanotype, Van Dyke Brown, or Kallitype to save money and have more artistic flexibility. Cyanotype would be an easy one to sell your folks on as it just requires water as a developer, and it doesn't stain things. What you'll find through this process is regardless of the medium you print on, you'll have to tailor your exposure and development to suit the intended medium - a negative made to print well on AZO will not produce the same results on Lodima, nor on a silver bromide paper, and it will be completely wrong for cyanotype and the other hand-coated emulsions.

    I'd suggest the Bostick & Sullivan pre-packaged Pyrocat HD kits - all chemicals are shipped dry, which saves weight and cost, and ready-mixed - just add water and you're good to go.
    Last edited by TheFlyingCamera; 12-17-2009 at 10:24 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10

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    Daniel, for a little more you can buy a kit which will make 100 liters of working solution... Don't bother in trying to mix yourself (I do so only because - being in the opposite part of the world - I can't order from PhotoFormulary w/o inhibiting shipment cost and PITA customs checks), just buy the ready made glycol versions. (= Long shelf life.)

    Regards,
    Loris.

    P.S. Transfer the solutions to amber glass bottles with quality caps - if you feel unsafe with the original plastic containers - and you'll be pretty set...

    P.S.2. If you intend to mix yourself mind that dry Pyrocatechol is pretty nasty, you can smell it as soon as you open the container; I really didn't like the experience...
    Last edited by Loris Medici; 12-17-2009 at 09:19 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Added P.S.

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