It was by no means a scientific test, however the fixer went in clear and came out with a brown tint. Proof is in the printing. I haven't been able to get the negatives under the enlarger yet.
In the eighties I used to change developer types a lot, looking for the magical elixir.I'm curious what starts you folks down the path of "funky" developers. is it cost, shelf life, fun with chemistry, getting the most out of a given film or specific to the final print? Do I need to sit down and actually read my Film Developers Cookbook ? I'm not trying to pick on anyone at all, I'm 100% curious.
For many years, my go-to developer of choice was Pyrocat-HD with almost all the films that I used. But over the years, I experienced unexpected "sudden death" of the developer which ruined my film. Had the same thing happen with Xtol many, many years ago. Of all the staining developers, I find 510-Pyro to be the simplest to use and I've had it turn nearly black and still produce fine negatives. It's not the easiest formula to mix from scratch, but my recent purchase of a heated magnetic stirrer sure helps!
I've never encountered sudden death for Pyrocat-HD or Xtol. Were you mixing Pyrocat-HD from scratch? I've heard of sudden death from purchased version, though. As far as mixing up from scratch goes, I would say they take about the same time.
I find 510-Pyro to be the simplest to use and I've had it turn nearly black and still produce fine negatives.
Both purchased and mixed from scratch. Yeah, most Pyrocat users never experience sudden death, but I know a few have because I've seen it reported on various forums. I always suspected it was the B component that was causing the problem so, in later years, I mixed B fresh for each use. Seemed to work out, but then I moved on to other formulas.
Well, when I initially tried 510 pyro I had a batch sit out for a couple of months and found its activity dropping slowly but surely over time. No sudden death, but in a way, this is worse, as it just makes it unpredictable.
Water in my TEA? Probably; water-free TEA isn't liquid at room temperature, so what do you do?
Oxidizing developer? Sure thing; otherwise it wouldn't be going black.
In my hands at least, Pyrocat made with glycol is a more reliable tool than 510 pyro.
This is an issue, while it doesn't solidify it becomes almost like a thick gelatinous mass
TEA as far as I know has a melting point of 21.6C. If the substance is gelatinous at room temperature, it means it is not pure TEA. The question then becomes what the contaminant(s) is/are and if they absorb aerial oxygen. I believe the most likely contaminant is water, meaning the mixture is capable of absorbing oxygen, which will in turn degrade the pyrogallol.
Note that the TEA I use is a thick syrup at room temperature, despite it being sold to me as 'pure' TEA. I think I've only once come across mention of room-temperature solid TEA being bought by a photographer - and I'm not even sure about that single instance.
As to the freshness of metabisulfite: if you mix it as a dry powder directly into glycol, it's not really an issue, is it? Of course, the same argument about water-free (or not) glycol would apply here. To circumvent this issue, I mix only small-ish batches of these concentrates. With pyrocat in glycol I haven't had any issues so far, but I haven't kept it around for more than a year or so. I did move from pyrocat in water to glycol because the water-based concentrate was less stable for obvious reasons.
In the case of Pyrocat HD you see a very slow change as a little of the Pyrocatchin oxidises towards the end of its storage life, then as the last of the Metabisulphite collapses sudden death of the developer, which turns black, almost overnight. I should add I deliberately left some Pyrocat HD to see what would happen.
As far as I know my Metabisulhite was fresh, and I store both parts in amber glass bottles. I use a squirt of Protectan with all my developers being stored. I've mixed part A in both glycol and distilled water to see if it changed the storage life. When I've experienced sudden death, the developer looked normal, slightly browner than the straw color of fresh mixed but no visual clue of concern
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