I learned a lot about pyro from this thread. If I were new to analog photography and read the post I would be tempted to believe pyro is the magic brew. I recommend the reader pick up The Film Developing Cookbook. There is much information not mentioned here about tanning developers. The authors write about low speed, high fog, poor grain, toxicity and unstable working solutions. This seems a developer suited to large format, rotary processing, and images featuring separation of high values. A class of developers for someone who knows specifically what they are trying to achieve and the limitations of other formulas.
When I look at web sites with portfolios featuring stained negatives, I often see images of moving water, surf, or fog. Some images look like the definition is unnatural. I'm on thin ground discussing pyro images. Never used the developer or viewed "in hand" an actual print. But I have a sense stained negatives favor certain images and may not be suitable as a general purpose (GP) developer.
Said another way, if you want something that looks different than the look of D-76, tanning developers may be one of several choices.
XTOL is the front line GP developer. Especially when you consider its sharpness at 1:3 and low toxicity. The speed gain is at least 1/3 gain. The shelf life is 8 months or a few months longer if properly stored. It can be used stock up to 1:3. XTOL 1:3 is arguably as sharp as Rodinal without edge effects. It's a great developer.
Last edited by Richard Jepsen; 04-08-2013 at 09:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.