Originally Posted by Ole
The issue is not that Pyrocat-HD does not do well with graded papers. It is simply a matter of developing the negative to a DR that corresponds to the ES of the paper, as with all developers. The issue is the same as for PMK and all other pyro staining developers, i.e. a different density range is needed for printing with graded papers and VC papers.
What I would advise for people who want to print on both graded paper and VC papers is to develop for the ES requirements of the graded paper, and then adjust contrast by filtration for the VC paper. How much adjustment you will need to make will depend on the specific developer/film combination.
Your message suggests a printing difference of four grades, i.e. #1 for graded papers and #5 for VC papers. That does not sound right to me. I have never observed a difference of more than two grades with any of the pyre staining developers, and typically the difference has been less than a full grade.
I will say that I am very familiar with FX-2 and consider it one of the very best non-staining developers for silver printing. Unfortunately it lacks the energy to provide the needed contrast in my development for alternative printing so I have been using it less and less ovdr the years. But if I ever went back to silver printing (not going to happen) and wanted a non-staining developer (not likely) FX-2 would be first on my list.