No, Michael. Please don't turn it into that. I am not trying to destroy this thread about what developers are best and why.

I find it important to understand the materials we use, and I'm not stopping you from exploring it. My goal is to try to present people, like the original poster of this thread, with a balanced approach of how to use and apply our materials. I'm trying to illustrate that technique and hard work will conquer materials every time, and that the original poster shouldn't be fooled into believing that using pyro will somehow magically transform his pictures from good to brilliant. I'm trying to keep that balance to a thread where someone is trying to find out what developer to use, and I'm illustrating how important it is to be consistent.

So go on and discuss how pyrocatechin or pyrogallol and their respective types of stain will benefit your prints and how it happens, in this thread that was originally about finding out picking one developer over another, and I will sit here and be quiet about having a balanced approach to any materials we use.

- Thomas

Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
...and yet another technical thread veers into speechmaking about learning to use our tools. Yes, yes, we all know this obvious truth regarding virtually any endeavor. It does not mean it is a waste of time to talk about the differences in materials when a question is posed. I especially think it is important since much of what is said is either incorrect or misleading.

Yes it is true some of the differences between materials are immaterial, and should pobably be ignored. And yes how we refine our technique and work with our materials is extremely important. But there are sometimes characteristics which are quite different, not good or bad, but different, and there are implications when printing. Again, not good or bad, just characteristics worth understanding.

For example, everybody talks about grain masking in Pyro negatives, how the stain makes grain less apparent. True, but the context is usually wrong. The grain masking effect reduces the prominence of grain relative to non-staining high acutance developers. Even with stain and less silver in them, Pyro and Cat negatives are still noticeably grainier, sometimes a lot grainier (depending on the formula) than a negative developed in XTOL. Sandy King himself has written about how if fine grain is important to someone using small or medium format they would probably be happier using XTOL than PMK or Pyrocat. The tiny differences, if any, in highlight tonality are outweighed, and can be compensated for with skill in printing.

Just one example.