Ok, now we are getting to the details of some of my questions:

Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
I keep hearing conflicting answers on staining.
One camp with Per, staining is proportional to exposure, use it.
The other camp with Sandy King [correct me if I am wrong], staining is uniform like a fog, do not use it.
Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
Stain is proportional to the amount of silver halide reduced, meaning in highlight areas a fair amount of density when printing is coming from the stain. So what I'm saying is that if you look at the negative, the highlight areas might look comparitively thin (ie overall contrast looks low) while in printing the combined optical/spectral density of the silver and stain might be normal. So all we're talking about here is the fact with a pyro negative the density is a combination of silver and stain.
So stain is not a uniformly dense fog across the film. If it were then people would not have been using pyro for decades. This is inline with my analysis of the anecdotal evidence that I have come across.

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
The issue of printing contrast, what filters to use is less straight forward and really just takes experimentation. The reason is that filters increase or decrease contrast by the same amount everywhere, while stain works proportionately. That's why many people say pyro negatives are easier to print when there is delicate highlight detail to render. Vs printing a non-stained negative, the stain reduces local contrast (ie compresses tonality) increasingly as density increases, so the stain acts like a built in variable compensating contrast reduction filter. It's like having a yellow-type filter that acts more on areas of higher density than in thin shadow areas.

The situation is further complicated by the type of paper. Typically pyro negatives will print with higher contrast on graded paper than VC paper since VC papers have a broader spectral sensitivity.
Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
I have the same results as you, regarding the filters or contrast needed to print pyro negs, I have found a whole grade increase starting point.
Translation: The pyro stained negative has an innate higher contrast than the same exposure, same film, same equipment developed with a non-staining developer. Therefore, I would start with a lower grade filter. Right?

  1. The pyro staining is non-uniform and therefore useful.
  2. The result of the staining is that the contrast of the negative is effectively higher, although not visually higher to the eye, and therefore one can start with a lower grade filter and have a greater range of increased contrast available if needed.
I am I interpreting all of this correctly?

Notice: No XTOL was injured nor killed in this post or in this thread.