Trying to pull ei800 out of hp5 w/Pyrocat
I've got some HP5 that I shot at ei800 that I'm trying, roll by roll, to get decent results out of with Pyrocat. This is 35mm, btw.
Basic workflow is one short, constant agitation waterbath to get the antihallation layer off. (with hp5, I don't see anything in the water afterward, so this may be superfluous). Next, I presoak in a second waterbath for 10 minutes to fill the emulsion with water. Lately, in development, I've been trying minimal agitation. I'll put the film into Pyrocat HD that I've mixed just before I went dark, agitate for 30 seconds, then let it sit for 10 minutes. I start inspection before each agitation, starting with the second agitation (20 mins). I'm coming up with what seems to me to be some huge developing times, though.
The first roll of this ei800 batch, I mixed Pyrocat at 1:1:200. After an 90 minutes, I gave up trying to get more density and ended up with thin and marginably useable negs.
The second roll, I mixed at 1:1:100. I got somewhat more density after "only" 50 minutes of minimal agitation, but still.
Also, in my research tonight, I've run across posts that longer development in Pyrocat results in more grain -- something I'd like to avoid.
Another thing that occurs to me is that maybe things like stand, semi-stand and minimal agitation require larger volumes of developer. Each time, I was processing one roll on a stainless reel in a 2-reel tank with 400ml of solution. My solution temperature ran about 80 deg/f. each time.
I'll continue to search around, but I sure would like to find a way to make these ei8i00 rolls work with Pyrocat.
Alternatively, if I don't get good results with the next roll, I'll try doing a DBI / minimal agitation run using xtol.
Another thing that occurs to me is that the stain (even the (more visible) stain with Pyrocat) is providing necessary density that I can't see and that before I process another roll, I should print a few frames and draw conclusions from that.
Other factors I neglected to mention above:
- I'm using Kodak rapid fix, film strength, for 2-3 minutes. (no hardener)
- I'm using HCA for ten minutes.
- On the second, somewhat more pleasing roll, I re-soaked the roll in the used Pyrocat while I was cleaning my tanks and such. I did this after the HCA but before the wash. I'd remembered that a developer re-soak can restore some of the stain removed by the fix.
- What I'm wanting to see that I'm not seeing what I look at the finished negs is more detail in the darker (lighter on the neg) tones, like the shadows, hair, etc.
I've got some Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner, but I've got reservations about toning a stained neg before I read more on whether it's advisable.
Any thoughts before my next run would be helpful.
Quite possibly the problem is HP5+ and not the Pyrocat-HD. It is a known medium to low contrast film that has a difficult time responding to increase in development that translates into increased density. There are other films out there that do a better job of "pushing" the exposure range. EFKE is one that I would recommend. It is available from J&C Photography. Maybe Sandy King will weigh in on this.
I just re-read your post and if I understand you what you are not seeing is in the shadow areas. In the clear areas? If that is true then more EXPOSURE is needed and not more DEVELOPMENT. HP5+ is marginally a EI200 film. Exposing at EI 800 and developing in any developer will probably not give you the results you need.
Im by no means an expert and my experience is minimal when it comes to darkroom work.
But I shoot almost exclusively ilford film in 35mm and a majority of it is HP5. Ive found that HP5 gives me marginal negatives when pushing to 800 and developing in TMAX, Ilfotec DD-X, and D-76. honestly Ive never gotten "great" results from any attempt at it.
Although Ive gotten fairly good results with delta 400 pushed to 800.
not sure if that will help but I just thought I would share my experience so you know you arent completely alone.
Originally Posted by lee
Hrm... not the answer I was hoping for but it rings true. Looks like I might have to re-classify HP5 as my medium-speed film, or hell.. maybe after checking out EFKE, I'll end up moving wholesale to that. I've never used it before.
I've used Delta3200 and I remember not being wild about it, but I don't remember why. Also, I've never processed it myself -- so I'm always open to blaming the lab.
I've never used Delta400 before. I have this dim memory that normal processing of Delta3200 in Pyrocat yields an ei of 800.
Hopefully Sandy King will chime in as the final word on things Pyrocat WRT the best way to pull maximum speed out of the rolls of HP5 I've already exposed.
Anyone know about using KRST with Pyrocat negs? Does it negatively affect the stain or just add more density in the visual range?
Barring further insights, I'm sorta inclined to just press forward doing minimal agitation DBI at 1:1:100, re-soaking in the used developer after I go light, then toning in KRST 1:10 or so for 10-15 minutes. I think the major pitfalls of doing that would be increased grain and chemical fog.
I'm also thinking that soaking in the used developer should probably go after a brief post-fix rinse, but before the Hypo Clearing Agent, right?
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Lee is right, IMO. If you haven't enough exposure in the shadows to record the detail there, tweaking the development is not going to help much.
Soaking in the used pyrocat to increase overall stain is probably not going to work well - and why would you want to? What you need is shadow detail - not overall stain.
You might try semi-stand development for 16 to 20 minutes at 70F with a 2:2:100 dilution of Pyrocat (I do this with Kodak TMY 400). That should raise your maximum densities a bit.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
Why not try pyrocat-hd in 2:2:100? This is what Sandy recommends for alt processess that need extra density. (Azo Platinum and the like) I have never heard of soaking pyrocat-hd negs in spent developer. It was a part of the process for PMK pyro but has since been not recommended for PMK. PMK and Pyrocat-HD are not remotely the same formula. In the old PMK processess one was told to remove the film from the fixer and place directly into the spent developer. After 2-3 minutes remove and wash without KHCA. I don't know what would happen to the film if that is done to the Pyrocat-HD neg most likely nothing.
<<Kevin said, "I have this dim memory that normal processing of Delta3200 in Pyrocat yields an ei of 800.">>
This is my understanding also. I read in another forum that someone had good luck with D-76 at 68f for 14 minutes with HP5+ shot at EI 800. You might try this and see if it meets your requirements. YMMV.
I agree with previous comments by both Lee and Tom. I think you are under-exposing the film and in the best of curcumstances HP5+ is a poor candidate for push developing. A better film for this would be TMY (Tmax 400), but to hope for a real gain of one stop in effective film speed is probably expecting too much.
Originally Posted by Tom Hoskinson
Finally, semi-stand development will produce maximum effective emulsion speed but don't expect a real increase in effective film speed of much over 1/4 stop. Unfortunately most of the film speed is built into the emulsion and developers and type of development play a relatively minor role in increasing EFS.
Don't believe everything you hear about film speeds.
Yes, HP5+ is a low contrast film compared to some. In 35 mm, it has no antihalation dye in the emulsion. The base has a neutral density of aout 0.2 which has no grain, cannot be removed, but causes only a little more printing exposure. I would not hesitate to use it at 400 with proper metering.
Why saturate the emulsion with water? I don't remember Sandy King recommending that. Try printing with graded paper rather than VC, and use grade 3. If there is any detail in the shadows, it will show. If there is some detail, you can use a technique of bleaching and redeveloping to add more dye image. Use a rehalogenating bleach. A teaspoon of potassium ferricyanide and a teaspoon of potassium bromide in a pint of water will do the trick. You will know when bleaching is complete. Rinse well and redevelop in a rather strong pyrocat solution in room light to completion. In fact, you can use a teaspoon of catechol and a teaspoon of sodium carbonate in a pint of water as a redeveloper if you wish.
Thanks Sandy and everyone who posted on this. I'll look forward to any more posts that come into this thread, but I think I'll work through the rest of the rolls on this job by doing minimal agitation with 2:2:100, HCA and lose the soak in the spent developer.
The 10-minute presoak is just because I'm paranoid about bubbles sticking to the emulsion during long periods without agitation, and about streaking from jets of developer flowing through the sprocket holes. I figure if the emulsion is nice and saturated, I might reduce the liklihood of both. Also, during agitation, my reel doesn't leave the solution. I just stick a couple of fingers in the core of the reel and move it up and down beneath the surface of the developer for thirty seconds, then rap the bottom edge of the tank to dislodge any bubbles. Of course, the reel does come out during inspection, but I agitate afterward, so hopefully that does its part to reduce bubbles on the film surface.