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esearing
22-Jan-2017, 06:21
I have decided to give Pyro HD another try. I have been doing my research for processing times and am finding personal times all over the place. The pyro-HD site has start times of 8:30 for rotary systems, but then increases the actual time by suggesting adding 35% for VCpapers and 15% for tanks. Less Agitation seems to increase time. So I am looking for some guidance for a starting point, especially for this particular arrangement. I am guessing somewhere between 12 and 15 minutes based on what others seem to be publishing. I prefer slightly over developed rather than under developed thin negatives.

Film FP4+ (usually EI 80) 4x5
SBR 5-7 zones for my typical landscapes

Pyro HD 1:1:100
Tank SSP-445 (can be inverted) 475ML
Temp - 70 degrees
presoak ? traditionally none
Inversion/Agitation - With HC110 I typically do 30 seconds initially then 3 inversions each minute, For Pyro HD I am considering the 1minute initial + inversions at quarterly intervals of the total time (based on other users published suggestions)

Paper Ilford MGFB Classic and/or Warmtone.
enlarger Dicro head with glass Yellow/Magenta filters up to 195 (usually start around 40Y/20M for grade 2-ish)

My second question deals with extended development for low contrast scenes. With HC110 there is a noticeable effect on contrast when developing for 15% more time. Since Pyro is a compensating developer ,at what point does over development begin to increase contrast noticeably , or does the developer merely exhaust? My initial impression is 50% more time (assuming quarterly agitation methods and 1:1:100 dilution). In other words if my starting point is usually 12 minutes would there be noticeable difference at 13, 14, and 15 minutes?

Thanks in advance for your responses.

Richard Wasserman
22-Jan-2017, 08:26
I used FP-4 in Pyrocat extensively and found that about 15 minutes at 72 agitating every 2 minutes worked well for fairly normal scenes. I am not familiar with your tank, but am curious how many sheets it holds. Pyrocat likes a lot of solution, I believe 100ml/sheet is recommended. No one can give you a definitive answer, you really need to test for yourself, as everyone's equipment and taste is different. The tests can be simple trial and error—if a batch of negatives prints too contrasty knock off 10-15% percent of the developing time on your next try.

Good luck, FP-4 and Pyrocat are a beautiful combination.

koraks
22-Jan-2017, 11:56
Yes, the combination FP4+ & Pyrocat HD is great. I like 1+1+100 for 25 minutes @ 20C with 5 seconds of agitation per minute; 30 seconds initial agitation. EI 100 or box speed. This yields pretty nice dual-purpose negatives that print well on about grade 2 with normal outdoor lighting, while at the same time printing quite well as Van Dyke browns. Tonality and grain are beautiful.

jp
22-Jan-2017, 12:09
I use a combiplan tank which seems to be an older and slightly less efficient option than the ssp-445.

I presoak for 1-2 minutes while mixing up the pyro solution (1:1:100) from water+a+b
FP4+ I rate at iso100 and develop for 11 minutes at 70f.
1 minute of initial continuous, and 5-10 seconds once each minute by inverting the tank slowly.
Then 1-2 minutes of water.
Fix.
Rinse in tap water as needed
Rinse in distilled to get it clean
hang up to dry.

With Tmax 400, I develop for 14 minutes.

Mat5121
22-Jan-2017, 16:57
My experience/practice is very similar to JP's, though I normally rate FP4+ @ 64 and development usually runs 8-9 minutes for a normal contrast scene. Developing by inspection I've had times run between 6 and 20 minutes for -+ scene contrast. Semi stand at a higher dillution is a good way to build contrast while keeping general stain reasonable.

Just a word of caution: I've had a lot of trouble getting even sky development with this film/developer combo in the ssp-445 tank.

Mark Sampson
22-Jan-2017, 20:30
I shoot FP4+ in 4x5 and develop it in Pyrocat-HD, using an old Nikor tank that holds 12 sheets. I won't recommend a development time; my times will probably not be effective for you.
I will say "run your tests". Shoot a full-range scene at EI 125, 64, and 32. Four exposures each. Develop one set for 10 minutes, one for 8 minutes, one set for 13 minutes.Make contact proofs ("Proper Proofs") and evaluate. Develop the fourth set at time based on the results; that should give you your answer. Not hard to do and then you'll know how your whole setup functions. I know that it's a simple version of the zone system but it works... for you. Not me, and not anyone else. I learned that method from David Vestal in 1985, and it has always been effective. As he liked to say, "Do your work".

David Schaller
23-Jan-2017, 13:35
My procedure for N is the same as JP's. I find this the best for scanning and printing on Ilford MG, although I aim for a grade 3 starting point. This way you can always add contrast in printing or PP; it's much harder to take it away if your negative has too much.

esearing
4-Feb-2017, 10:04
So I finally took the plunge. Thank you all for your advice.

I evaluated every possible combination written about, and read a ton about agitation, contrast, rotary vs stand, various film/paper issues and finally came up with an adjusted guesstimate of 4.5ml A+3ml B+470ml Water = 477.5ml (1.5:1:157) @ 20Mins, 70degrees, with 4 minute agitation intervals(first minute + 30 seconds of tank inversions at 4,8,12,and 16 minutes). I had rated FP4 at 80 vs 125, the tank volume had an influence (though I should have just mixed more than I needed and used 1.5:1:175 per Steve Sherman's advice), and used real images and did not want to over develop for contrast nor under develop.

My first impressions are that the negatives are thinner than I am used to but there is so much detail even in the scene's shadows captured on the film. Printing will tell. Overall a very enjoyable outcome , so far. The negatives do have a sparkle when wet which is a kind of magic all its own.

Greg Y
4-Feb-2017, 11:41
How many sheets are you developing in 500ml? Pyrocat HD in glycol has been my standard developer for the past 10 years or so. If I can suggest anything helpful, it would be to try normal processing to gain a real sense of what the developer/film combo looks like, before heading into stand developing which has its own challenges. There's lots of edge effect with FP4+ and Pyrocat. My guess is that your negatives are thin because you're exhausting the developer...

esearing
4-Feb-2017, 12:38
How many sheets are you developing in 500ml? Pyrocat HD in glycol has been my standard developer for the past 10 years or so. If I can suggest anything helpful, it would be to try normal processing to gain a real sense of what the developer/film combo looks like, before heading into stand developing which has its own challenges. There's lots of edge effect with FP4+ and Pyrocat. My guess is that your negatives are thin because you're exhausting the developer...

This time I used 2 sheets exposed + 1 unexposed (normally I would do 4 exposed in the tank) about 120ml per sheet. Next go-round I will try with just 2 sheets.
I stated my negatives were thinner than I am used to (compared with my usual bullet proof HC-110), not too thin .

In doing the research I found more people doing minimal agitation techniques than Stand or rotary. Some like 3 minute agitation, some 1/3 increments, some 1/4th increments. I found very few people excited about Pyro at the 1:1:100 with standard 1 minute agitation and short times.

I also found a bunch or gottaTest'ers and standDon'tWork'ers comments out there but they had little to offer. Some of us just like to enjoy learning from our mistakes and the history of others who are willing to share.

Some Pyrocat recurring themes
1:1:100, 1.5:1:150-200, 2:2:100, 2:2:400-500(stand) - problems above 1:1:250
BTZS tubes - single sheet control fast or slow
Rotary if in a hurry
Agitation Matters - especially if open sky.
FP4 and Acros are the P-cats meow
presoak, water stop, and TF4 Fixer
divided P-cat for roll film is as fun as Diafine
N-3, N-4 examples - Who does that?

koraks
4-Feb-2017, 15:27
I generally do 1+1+100 with standard agitation at one minute intervals with most films and that works just fine. Other people have different preferences. I wouldn't attach too much significance to what others say, as there's literally never an objective basis for comparison, so before you know it, you'll just be following the guy with the most appealing rhetoric. All of the approaches you mention can yield good results. Choose whatever route appeals to you.

Greg Y
4-Feb-2017, 17:08
Like koraks I use 1+1+100 with 15 sec/ minute agitation. I've also tried divided Pyrocat and min agitation...I like the results in 120 roll film and 5x7. I don't even have other developers kicking around the darkroom :). & I am excited about the results...otherwise i wouldn't have given up pyrogallol and Xtol, & given away my Rodinal.