Pryo developers for portraits?

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m_liddell

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Is there any advantage to using pryo developers for portraits? They usually have a shorter tonal range compared with high contrast landscapes, where pyro does a great job of keeping detail and tonal range in clouds and fog.

Since pyro devs seem to dislike low contrast scenes, would there be a problems with muddy midtones etc?
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I like Tri-X, Classic/ClassicPan/Fortepan/Arista.EDU 400, and Efke 100 in ABC pyro for portraits. Here's one in the APUG gallery--

(there was a url link here which no longer exists)

Historically, of course, many portraits have been done in pyro of various flavors.

I like the tonality of ABC, but if you are shooting medium or small format, particularly with a condenser enlarger, you might prefer PMK, which has a better grain masking effect. I contact print or use a cold light head and tend not to make huge prints, so I feel comfortable with ABC down to 6x7, but I use PMK for 6x6 (and I shoot very little B&W smaller than that).
 

ian_greant

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It all depends on the light you shoot in, type of enlarger you use, what look you like..

Personally I like pyro but I tend to shoot in contrasty light, use a condensor enlarger and use old lenses.
 

noblebeast

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I use WD2D+ in 120 with PanF+ for indoor portraits with strobes and the skin tones are smooth and beautiful, contrast is right for me (condenser enlarger) and the details - like the eyes for example - really show up fine and direct the viewer's attention there, which is predominantly where it belongs. Outdoors in existing light like open shade, with maybe a white reflector to add some eye catches, I use the same developer with J&C Pro 100, Foma 100, Ilford FP4 and HP5, and Tri-X 400 and get very complimentary results with all of those films, though I will admit I give the Foma, Ilford and Kodak film about a twenty to twentyfive percent increase in development time - but I am using them at "box speed" and as such have to increase times even with HC-110 and the other non-pyro soups to get the contrast up where I like it (looks right at grade 3). I haven't tried lowering the EI yet, but that's definitely in my future. Try it out - whichever Pyro formula you're using - I don't think you'll find the results too muddy.

Joe
 
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When I worked in commercial lab. I got to print from glass negs that were processed in pyro and boy it was sweet! The skin tones were smooth and These negs were quite old and the photographer is unknown but he new his lighting and process. I remember that there was no dodging or burning. I just had to fine the right exposure.
I contacted John Wimberley afterwards and told him my experience and he said that Pyro is a wonderful developer for portraits. I say do some exploring for yourself.
 
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