My limited experience is that the pyro stain does not have much effect on print contrast, except, perhaps, when contact printing with UV light. Pyro developers get pretty fussy and are often unpredictable, but I think an modern formula, like Pyrocat HD, might give quite good results with 35mm. I've only tried it with larger formats. The usual masking technique relies on somewhat unsharp masks, with the mask separated from the emulsion by the film base. That will also hide a good deal of any grain. The Steary process is a definite possibility, although I haven't tried it. I have no reference for the "New Steary Process" (help, anyone), but an old formula is:

Steary Process

For use when the negative scale is too long for the paper and no softer grade is
available.

Water 750 ml
Potassium dichromate 100 g
Ammonia (0.880) 10 ml
WTM 1 l

For use, dilute 4 to 12 ml of the stock solution to 1 liter for contact papers, 12 to 20 ml per liter for enlarging papers. Exact dilution depends on the paper used and the effect desired. Expose the paper sufficiently to bring out the highlight detail, regardless of overexposure in the shadows. Immerse exposed paper in the above restraining bath for 2 to 3 minutes, rinse in running water, then develop normally. If the bath is too strong or is used for too long a time, the print color will be poor.

A related process from 1881 is Eder's harmonizing reducer. It was used directly on the (large) negative and, thus, may not be desirable.


Harsh negatives can be "harmonized" by reducing the higher densities and intensifying the lesser densities.

Hydrochloric acid 30 ml
Potassium dichromate 10 g
Potassium alum 50 g
WTM 1 l

Bleach the negative completely. Wash out the bleach stain. Redevelop in a slow acting developer, such as an M-Q developer diluted 1:4. Develop until shadows and midtones are correct. Fix and wash as usual. (DuPont recommended using D-25 diluted 1:5 as a redeveloper.)

Variations: these alternative bleaches have been proposed:

Chromic acid 5 g
Potassium bromide 10 g
WTM 1 l
Use as above.

Potassium bromide 5 g
Cupric sulfate 5 g
WTM 1 l

Redevelop in metol and wash (fixing not needed).