Pyro kit in liquid form

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bmac

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I'm really itching to try some negs in pyro, but don't want powdered chemicals for several reasons including small children in my house, and being an asthmatic myself. It's just too much of a headache. I have been using Hc110, Formula 76 (generic D76 in liquid concentrate) and Rodinal up until now.

The only kit I have found is through Photographers Formulary http://www.photoformulary.com/Deskt...tabindex=2&categoryid=31&selection=0&langId=0

The problem is that I do my negs in a Unicolor drum, so the PMK isn't a good choice, right?

Do I have any other options? I'm really intrerested in trying Pyrocat after reading Sandy's article and posts on this board.
 

roy

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bmac said:
I'm really itching to try some negs in pyro, but don't want powdered chemicals

Yes, there are some suppliers out there who do the lot in liquid form. Some while ago I purchased from Linhof & Studio in UK a version of PMK in two bottles. They did not make it up themselves and I know are agents for Lotus and also Bergger. If you want I can try and find out details of their supplier but it will be in Europe. What about Bostick & Sullivan ?
 

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Brian,

Twice now I have purchased the liquid form kit for Pyrocat HD from Lotus View Camera (in Austria). The packaging is excellent - helps keep it all very fresh (the two solutions are in really quite attractive plastic bottles that have a lid that tightens up nicely). I processed over 100 8x10 sheets with this kit and have had no problems whatsoever. The convenience for me is worth the extra cost.
 

Tom Duffy

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You might want to try Rollo Pyro from Bostick and Sullivan. it comes in liquid. I got decent results from it in a JOBO, but occasional streaking caused me to switch to Pyrocat HD which seems to be the best in a rotary processor.
 

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try ArtCraft chemicals.
 
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bmac

bmac

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Thanks kids, I just got off the phone with B&S, ordered the liquid Pyro kit and Book of Pyro. The guy who took my order mentioned that HP5 might not be the best film to use due to fog. Anyone have problems with HP5 + pyro, and if so, what film would you suggest? I'll be using it in the 8x10 size.

Thanks!
 

David A. Goldfarb

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There are people using HP5+ and pyro. I really like Tri-x in pyro. I usually use PMK for 4x5" and smaller (negs to be enlarged) and ABC for 8x10" and larger (negs to be contact printed).

You might do best with Rollo Pyro or ABC+ for drum processing, since the drum agitation will oxidize the developer faster and there is going to be less solution per sheet that way, so you could run into capacity problems. If you want to use PMK in a drum and you find you are not getting enough density, one approach I've heard of is to use two developer baths, so one bath for half the total recommended development time, dump, and a second bath for the second half of the time.
 

Donald Miller

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bmac said:
I'm really itching to try some negs in pyro, but don't want powdered chemicals for several reasons including small children in my house, and being an asthmatic myself. It's just too much of a headache. I have been using Hc110, Formula 76 (generic D76 in liquid concentrate) and Rodinal up until now.

The only kit I have found is through Photographers Formulary http://www.photoformulary.com/Deskt...tabindex=2&categoryid=31&selection=0&langId=0

The problem is that I do my negs in a Unicolor drum, so the PMK isn't a good choice, right?

Do I have any other options? I'm really intrerested in trying Pyrocat after reading Sandy's article and posts on this board.

There have been conflicting reports on the use of PMK in a drum. Initially it was reported as being not recommended. The most recent information that I have is that it can be used...so who knows? It does carry the consideration of stain color as it affects variable contrast paper.

Insofar as a liquid version of Pyrocat, I don't know of anyone packaging it in that way. It would be a simple matter to take the dry chems and mix them upon arrival...that way you wouldn't have the dry chems around the house. The individual stock solutions have a sustained shelf life so that shouldn't be a problem.

I have used ABC in the past, although not in a drum. I have found that ABC has objectionable grain when one enlarges the negative. It enables excellent film resolution and works very well for contact printing. However it does have a rep of not providing even development.

Having tried all three of the mentioned developers the one that I have found to enable use as both a contact printing developer and an enlarging developer is Pyrocat. It can be used in a drum. The grain sure is a lot better then ABC when enlarging. It does not affect variable contrast materials in the same way that PMK can.
 

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bmac said:
I'm really itching to try some negs in pyro.

I encourage you to exercise your curiosity, as I did. After 9 years of ABC & PMK I have hundreds of olive green negatives. Then one day I exclaimed, "This is too much work!" I went back to HC110 and TXP. Now I have hundreds of non-olive green negatives as well. When I print them I cannot, and I would defy you to, tell which are which. In retrospect, it WAS too much work. But, knock yourself out and make your own decision.
 

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Deckled Edge said:
When I print them I cannot tell which are which. In retrospect, it WAS too much work.

I ask this in a sense of inquisitiveness, what made you carry on for all those years, did you not discern a difference in the first place ? I have often wondered whether sometimes we get carried along on a wave of trying to do something different or because others have tried it. I am not saying that all developers are the same, clearly they are not but if the benefits are not that great for the individual and finished results are not a 'revelation', as you say, why carry on. It all boils down to personal preference and whether the results are what suits your style of image making.
 

Francesco

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Roy I agree with you entirely. I rarely try something new and when I do I do intensively for a week or two. If the new procedure shows no discernible difference from my normal methods or if the differences do not justify the extra work involved (if any) I will have seen it by then. As you are aware I have been doing real-scene comparisons of Pyrocat HD using BTZS style tubes with gentle versus minimal agitation. I have exposed like a banshee the last two weeks and processed and printed them. Except in one or two cases I cannot see a difference in print quality. What the experiment taught me was that all I needed to achieve the same level of sharpness and ooomph as a minimally agitated negative was to expose my negatives a half stop more and agitate them a little less gently. In addition, whatever quality differences exist does not justify the extra use of solution nor the extra time involved for processing using minimal agitation. I refuse to get bogged down with experimentation so I try to do it intensively and for a limited short time period.
 

roy

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Francesco said:
I rarely try something new and... If the new procedure shows no discernible difference from my normal methods or if the differences do not justify the extra work involved (if any) I will have seen it by then.

You may guess what is coming next......
As a potential Pyrocat user, I have to ask if you consider the switch to that to be a step forward in your case and, if so, how ?
 

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The caveat Roy is that it involves a switch to AZO as well as the use of Efke PL100 film - switch to contact printing is really what it is. When I enlarged my 8x10 negatives the films I used were Tmax 100 developed in RS and Ilford FP4 and HP5 developed in a variety of devs. The decision for me was whether I was happy with the prints I was making and whether a revamp of my preferred method (enlarging) was necessary. And so I said to myself if I really wanted to see a difference between methods I should really go for it. By doing so I will definitely spot major differences. Pyrocat was chosen because it was available here in Europe in liquid form (Lotus View Camera) and because I was fascinated with the articles written about it. Efke because it was cheap (if it turned out wrong then the financial outlay was not that great). And AZO because I have seen a print made in AZO.

Results: my old enlarged prints are dull, flat and lifeless compared to my AZO contact prints. I still cannot believe what I have achieved using these materials.

You never know though. I might go back to enlarging again one day...if they ever get that AZO enlarger light source to market (hehe).
 

roy

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Francesco said:
.
Results: my old enlarged prints are dull, flat and lifeless compared to my AZO contact prints. I still cannot believe what I have achieved using these materials.

Reasons enough. That sums it up well, Francis. Thanks.
 

Tom Duffy

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I too, wanted to keep the film development technique to a simple process, minimizing time and effort. this would allow me to spend my limited available time taking pictures and printing. more rewarding activities then developing film.

my detailed testing of film/developer/paper combinations about a year and a half ago convinced me of the following:
1. that for a moderate enlargement (in my case 5x7 neg to 11x14 print) a pyro developer gave a sharper print than D76 or XTOL or HC110.
2. at this moderate degree of enlargement tri-x APPEARED sharper than a very fine grained film.
3. Pyrocat HD is the ONLY pyro type developer that I can rotary process in a JOBO without worrying about uneven development. Rollo pyro was second best and PMK was an abysmal failure.
4. Rotary development gives me more even development than I could ever achieve by tray processing.
 

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Deckled Edge said:
bmac said:
I'm really itching to try some negs in pyro.

I encourage you to exercise your curiosity, as I did. After 9 years of ABC & PMK I have hundreds of olive green negatives. Then one day I exclaimed, "This is too much work!" I went back to HC110 and TXP. Now I have hundreds of non-olive green negatives as well. When I print them I cannot, and I would defy you to, tell which are which. In retrospect, it WAS too much work. But, knock yourself out and make your own decision.


Apart fromt the question of image quality, which all of us would agree should be the major issue, I am curious to know exactly what you found to be too much work about the use of ABC and PMK. When I first began using PMK my first reaction was that it was a lot easier to use than the conventional developers that I had been using up to the time (D76, HC110, etc.), because of the stability of the stock solutions and the ease and consistent of the mixed working solutions. And I feel the same way today about PyrocatHD.

In other words, from my own perspective developers like PMK and PyrocatHD are no more trouble to use than conventional developers and are in fact in many ways easier to use. They are highly consistent, have very long shelf life, and are among the most economical of all developers.

But let me say this about developers, and it also applies to developing technique. All of the general purpose developers are about 97-99% alike. But it is that extra 1-3% difference that can distinguish beteween ordinary work and outstanding craftmanship. Therefore when comparing developers and methods of development expect subtle rather than major differences. People have been developing film a very long time. If major improvements in technique were possible they likely would have been discovered by now.

Sandy King
 

lee

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I agree with Sandy here. I use PMK for everything now and have for many years. It is no harder to use than any other developer and the results I get are better with this than most of the other developers.

lee\c
 

sanking

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Francesco said:
As you are aware I have been doing real-scene comparisons of Pyrocat HD using BTZS style tubes with gentle versus minimal agitation. I have exposed like a banshee the last two weeks and processed and printed them. Except in one or two cases I cannot see a difference in print quality. What the experiment taught me was that all I needed to achieve the same level of sharpness and ooomph as a minimally agitated negative was to expose my negatives a half stop more and agitate them a little less gently..


Francesco,

I gather from your comments that you are backing away from earlier conclusions in which you reported distinctive differences between negatives developed with minimal agitation in comparison to those developed with gentle rotary agitation?

Curiously I am coming to the other conclusion. In examining my negatives I can see a very significant difference in apparent sharpness in negatives developed with extreme minimal agitation when compared to those developed with gentle rotary agitation. More importantly, the difference is not one of overall contrast since I am normalizing CI of my comparison negatives. Rather, the difference results form micro-contrast that apparently results from adjacency effects.

Does the greater apparent sharpness of the negative carry over to the print? My initial answer to that question is yes, with the qualification that some types of subject will illustrate the difference more than others. Subjects in my experience that tend to benefit most from adjacency effects are those that contain a lot of adjacent highlight and shadow areas, especially when fine detail is involved.

Is the difference worth the extra trouble in processing? Hard to say. I think the only way to know for sure is make the comparisons and evaluate the results.

Sandy
 

Francesco

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Sandy,

My current conclusions are that the differences in negative apparent sharpness is very clear BUT DEPENDS on the film being used. I see more differences in apparent sharpness using Efke PL100 than Fortepan 200 for example.

You are right that it really depends on the type of scene being shot. I find that my negatives of high key scenes (where EVs are in the double digits, e.g. EV range 11-14 or 14-17 etc., as opposed to EV ranges 7-10 or 5-8) are better suited for minimal agitation. It is when printing these negatives that the apparent sharpness comes across on paper as well (and yes it is the micro contrast that kicks a#*¤ - recall that scene I posted with the bark detail and fallen branch in snow). Yes, your conclusion matches what I have observed about subjects with a lot of adjacent highlight and shadow areas. They print better.

The question about whether it is worth the trouble (more time, more solution) is hard to determine right now. The best advise I can give myself is to choose wisely which negatives should be given the minimal agitation treatment and even prior to that making the correct film choice for the particular scene being recorded. I believe that there was an article in the Unblinking Eye concerning film choices based on scene contrast. It certainly applies here.

Despite some disappointing prints, I am still continuing with the experiment and in fact I have been making slight modifications to the agitation procedures. At the very least I am learning more about the films I use and how they react to Pyrocat HD. So I guess it is worth it after all!

Francesco
 
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bmac

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My rollo Pyro kit got in tonight! I'll be reading Gordon's book along with repairing my leaky unicolor drums tonight. If Mother nature cooperates with me, I'll be out shooting 4x5 and 8x10 test shots tomorrow. 4 sheets per scene. 1) Rollo Pyro, 1) D76 1:1, 1) D76 1:0, and one safety in case something goes wrong. I'll post my results.

Brian
 

Deckled Edge

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Sandy King[/quote]
I am curious to know exactly what you found to be too much work about the use of ABC and PMK.

My first 8x10 negs were plagued by blotches, streaks and irregular development. I solved these (for the most part) with long pre-soaks in alkalinized distilled water and by cutting down the batch development to no more than 4 negs in a tray. Development times were usually 18 minutes with PMK, and I had to wear gloves.

With HC110, a short presoak in filtered water; batches of 8; and 7 minute development times without gloves makes my life easier. Face it, developing film is just not the best part of ULF photography.
 

gainer

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Just a general note about poisonous stuff. Have you read the fine print on the bottle of HC110 concentrate? Makes you wonder if pyro is so bad after all.
 

sanking

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Deckled Edge said:
Sandy King
I am curious to know exactly what you found to be too much work about the use of ABC and PMK.

"My first 8x10 negs were plagued by blotches, streaks and irregular development. I solved these (for the most part) with long pre-soaks in alkalinized distilled water and by cutting down the batch development to no more than 4 negs in a tray. Development times were usually 18 minutes with PMK, and I had to wear gloves.

With HC110, a short presoak in filtered water; batches of 8; and 7 minute development times without gloves makes my life easier. Face it, developing film is just not the best part of ULF photography."

I never got any streaks and such with PMK and tray development, but I did with rotary processing, which is one of the main reasons I developed the Pyrocat-HD formula. On the other hand PMK is definitely not an ideal developer for those printing with the alternative processes because of the very long develoment times required to get enough contrast. Rollo Pyro and Pyrocat-HD, on the other hand, are much more energetic and develoment times with these developers are less than half of PMK for a given CI.

BTW, you might want to think again about not using gloves with HC-110. I believe it contains hydroquinon and other reducers which are only slightly less toxic than pyrogallol.
 
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