MF: PMK/Pyrocat-HD versus Kodak76/ID-11
As there is many expertise on the Apug forum...
Maybe, someone can explain what advantages a PMK or Pyrocat-HD developer can give for a "Mediumformat (rollfilm) and Multigrade silverprinting"- user?
Comparing it with for example ID-11(Kodak D76), what will the "win and lost"?
What about toxiticity?
What about consistency?
What would I win?
"What about toxicity?"
Originally Posted by fred
As wet chemistry, they are all about the same. Meaning don't drink them, don't get them on your skin, on your mucous membranes, in or on your eyes. Always practice chemical safety!
As dry chemistry - don't breathe the dust associated with any of these!
"What about consistency?"
They are all capable of producing consistent results. It depends on how you use them.
I personally use Pyrocat-HD for the following reasons:
I make Azo contact prints of nature subjects, so I need a staining and tanning developer.
I like one-shot developing chemistry with a long shelf life.
Pyrocat-HD gives me very good results with Efke 100, J&C New Classic 400 and Kodak TMY 400.
Everything is analog - even digital :D
What you will gain by using a proportional stain generating developer is better highlight tonal separation. The reason for this is that the proportional stain density becomes greater in higher silver density regions.
Originally Posted by fred
I prefer Pyrocat over PMK since Pyrocat generates a tan or brown proportional stain which will tend to be neutral insofar as it's effects on filtration in variable contrast printing. PMK imparts a yellow-greenish stain which would tend to compress highlight separation since those colors are used to lower contrast.
I find that my results are quite consistant and I would not personally be concerned regarding toxicity when tank developing. In tray development (with direct hand exposure) I would use nitrile gloves.
Better highlight detail is the strongest attraction for me with PMK.
Other qualities ascribed to PMK are better sharpness compared to developers with a strong solvent component like D-76, and grain masking due to the stain--which to some degree offsets the usual tradeoff between sharpness and grain with non-staining developers. I would say that these qualities are present, but not as important for me. Grain masking is a reason to use PMK rather than, say, ABC pyro for smaller formats, but not necessarily a reason to use PMK rather than D-76.
There's a certain convenience with D-76 in that you can pick it up at a photo store just about anywhere, but the PMK stock solutions are long lasting and easy to mix up in any quantity you need, so they offer a different kind of convenience--the working solution is always fresh, which will give you potentially greater consistency than D-76, if you go for long periods between processing sessions.
Try it out. That will tell you more than the responses you can read in internet forums.
Having just returned from a trip to Florida with, heheh...solid gold...(I wish), I've just emerged from the darkroom having tray developed six 4x5 negatives in ID11. I can't describe how much I enjoy tray developing negatives. I never thought I'd be able to do it well let alone enjoy it, but after a score or more sessions, I'm not scratching negatives or fouling up the process at all any more. I really enjoy the tactile experience. So....I need to ask....what are nitrile gloves? Where can I get them and how will I know they're nitrile and not some lesser material? How much or little is lost of the tactile esperience viz a viz gloveless processing? I purchased a PMK kit several years ago (including Gordon Hutchings' book) and have just not gotten around to using it. I'm eager to give it a go, and like fred, am willing to be an eager accolyte (Jorge seems to have made that term ubiquitous here). No intent to hijack this thread, but merely amplify it a bit.
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I like the sharpness I get from PMK Pyro developed negs (HP5+ & FP4+) over what I used to get from D76. And like David said, better highlight detail.
As for toxicity, with MF film you will be tank developing so there is less chance of physical contact. But as with any chemical, a good dose of common sense goes a long way.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc
Nitrile gloves have a high resistance to high solvency liquids such as ethylene dichloride, chloroform, cellusolve and various perfluorinated solvents. In addition to the high solvency organics, the nitrile gloves are also highly resistant to strong acids such as hydrochloric acid (HCl), chromic acid and hydrofluoric acid (HF). They also offer good protection against sodium hydroxide. Nitrile glove are also used to prevent skin contact exposure to methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), nitrobenzene, benzene, toluene, styrene, or THF. This pretty much covers most photo chemicals. Most developer reducing agents are benzenes.
Forget the tactile experience. You'll be wearing gloves. This is about not playing "splash splash" in soup of benzene rings. Nitrile gloves are typically light to medium blue and the box will say Nitrile. Nitrile gloves tend to not cause the same allergic sensitivity, over extended use, that powdered latex gloves are known to cause to some folks. Nitrile gloves are available at drug stores, auto parts stores, chem stores, etc.
(Spent 4 winters, 3 years in Pittsford, NY! Miss Genessee Cream Ale!)
Thanks Geary. If one can adapt to condoms, I guess nitrile gloves can't even be part of the same conversation ;-)
You'd win 1) a longer, gentler scale that's much easier to match to the paper you're using and 2) an inherently compensating effect which is why you tend to get better highlight detail.
Originally Posted by fred
Of all the pyrogallol based developers I like PMK the least (because of the green stain - a brown stain gives me much better prints; I don't know why) but if you try it be sure to try it with Ilford Pan F+. If they made it in sheets that's all I would use. It's the only film I like anywhere nearly as much as 400TMax.
Better highlight detail...I'm wondering if pre-flashing the paper doesn't have the same result...
I'll give it a try.
And then I think about Pan F in the first place.
Many thanks for all the answers!