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View Full Version : Uneven 8x10 Negs in Pyrocat-HD



mikew
14-Apr-2011, 22:11
Hi everyone,

For the past three months I've been testing Pyrocat-HD, M, and P with FP4 (8x10). While I do get even negs when using rotary development in BTZS tubes, I can't get even negs with any other kind of processing method and agitation cycle. The exposures that I use for testing are done the Ansel Adam's way using a non textured surface of even luminance (within 1/5 stop) exposed to Zone VII.

I understand what causes uneven development and I haven't had an issue with intermittent, minimal and semi-stand agitation in Rodinal, HC-110 and D-76. I've only encountered problems with Pyrocat.

So before I pack it in, I was wondering if there was anyone out there who actually gets even 8x10 negs processed in Pyrocat-HD, M, or P using intermittent and/or minimal agitation cycles; and by even I mean developing a neg with large areas of even tonality to within +/- log .03. And if so, how do you do it? How do you go about agitating?

I would really really appreciate any insight.

Thanks,

Mikew

Daniel Stone
14-Apr-2011, 23:28
what dilution are you mixing your Pyrocat at?

1:1:100, 2:2:100?

and WHERE are you getting un-evenness? Edges, all over, random? I found that when I first started tray processing 8x10 film that when I process TOO LITTLE amount of film, I would have a higher tendency to have edge build-up of density(hot edges). Now, I do 6 sheets/run, and I no longer have problems. Personally, it takes me about 30sec to rotate through the stack, and then I let the film rest in the tray for the remaining 30s(1min total).

I'm using Efke 100 btw, but have considered switching to FP4+, hence my interest in this thread.

You mention "logs". I've never measured the density of my negs, but I've determined my developing time for my film and developer dilution(I use 2:2:100) for
"normal" by looking at my prints(lodima in amidol). So I can't comment on that part.

agitation:
I lift up the stack on one edge, and feel the bottom sheet out slightly, bowing it down. I then "flick" the sheet, forcing developer to run over it, and between it and the sheet above it, thus causing it to slide out easily. I've ruined a few sheets at the beginning when I first started tray processing, but now that I have a method, it works for me. I take the sheet out from the bottom of the stack, and holding it on both sides(with both hands), lay it gently down on the top of the stack, then pat it down on all for corners. Then proceed to do the same for the rest of the stack until fully cycled. Then I let the film "rest" for the remaining 30s until the next agitation cycle.

-Dan

Philippe Grunchec
15-Apr-2011, 03:35
I develop my 8x10 in trays (1+1+100 or 2+2+100) and never had uneven negs: which amount of A+B stock are you using? I think 5ml+5ml is a minimum for one 135/120/8x10 film.

mikew
15-Apr-2011, 11:06
what dilution are you mixing your Pyrocat at?

1:1:100, 2:2:100?

and WHERE are you getting un-evenness? Edges, all over, random? I found that when I first started tray processing 8x10 film that when I process TOO LITTLE amount of film, I would have a higher tendency to have edge build-up of density(hot edges). Now, I do 6 sheets/run, and I no longer have problems. Personally, it takes me about 30sec to rotate through the stack, and then I let the film rest in the tray for the remaining 30s(1min total).

I'm using Efke 100 btw, but have considered switching to FP4+, hence my interest in this thread.

You mention "logs". I've never measured the density of my negs, but I've determined my developing time for my film and developer dilution(I use 2:2:100) for
"normal" by looking at my prints(lodima in amidol). So I can't comment on that part.

agitation:
I lift up the stack on one edge, and feel the bottom sheet out slightly, bowing it down. I then "flick" the sheet, forcing developer to run over it, and between it and the sheet above it, thus causing it to slide out easily. I've ruined a few sheets at the beginning when I first started tray processing, but now that I have a method, it works for me. I take the sheet out from the bottom of the stack, and holding it on both sides(with both hands), lay it gently down on the top of the stack, then pat it down on all for corners. Then proceed to do the same for the rest of the stack until fully cycled. Then I let the film "rest" for the remaining 30s until the next agitation cycle.

-Dan

Hi Dan,

I've used 1:1:100 dilution for rotary and intermittent development (in tanks with hangers) and 1:1:100, 1:1:150, and 1.5:1:200 for minimal agitation (in multiple kinds of tubes, in tanks with hangers, and in trays).

When using trays, I process one neg at a time in 11x14 trays with 3L of chemistry using a card shuffle-type method (which works with every other developer that I've used). When I first started using Pyrocat, finger prints were a big issue so I never moved on to processing multiple negs with the card shuffle technique; and edge density hasn't been a real big issue.

And I always agitate vigorously for the first 1.5min; it's entirely possible that I might be over agitating in fear of under agitating.

The unevenness that I'm getting is relative to the processing method. So with tray development, I get a slight mottling where the density will bounce around +/- log .05. A photograph of a blue sky comes out a little blotchy. With PVC tube development in a 11x14 beseler drum, the unevenness is more streaky. I use tubes slighting longer than the film (10.5-11 inches) and streaks run across the width of film.

I really appreciate all the info Dan. Thanks a lot.

Mikew

mikew
15-Apr-2011, 11:09
I develop my 8x10 in trays (1+1+100 or 2+2+100) and never had uneven negs: which amount of A+B stock are you using? I think 5ml+5ml is a minimum for one 135/120/8x10 film.

Philippe - I don't think I'm any where near the minimum amount of chemistry, though I might be wrong as this developer seems to operate differently than others. The dilutions that I use are in my previous post. Thanks.

Hugo Zhang
15-Apr-2011, 11:29
Hi Mikew,

I sometimes had uneven negatives developed in Pyrocat with my handrolled Jobo drum. More with 810 and bigger negatives. Vertical streaks about 1.5" wide. I think my problem was caused mainly by the fact that I poured the developer with the drum standing still not rolling horizontally.

This happened to 10-20% of my negatives and it was so frustrating that I switched to D-76 a few months ago. Now my negatives are beautiful and no streaks at all.

Hugo

Daniel Stone
15-Apr-2011, 11:44
Hugo,

what process are you shooting/developing your negatives for by chance? I'm working with Lodima(azo), but have considered moving back to D-76. Just wondering if you're working alt process, or with traditional papers(ilford, foma, efke,etc...)

no to take this thread off topic of course ;).

cheers

-Dan


OP: you mention doing 1 neg at a time. I know that people have reported ABC Pyro to cause "mottling" or streaking of negatives when processed only one at a time. I remember reading that Sandy King designed P-HD to eliminate problems with streaking. Working in an 11x14 tray sounds like a good idea though, I couldn't get it to work for me, my negs kept swimming away and the corners would gouge other negs :(.

Hugo Zhang
15-Apr-2011, 11:49
Daniel,

I like Azo, but lack a darkroom. So I use mostly traditional paper for contact print and will try Fomalux contact print paper soon. I might try pt/pd later on.

Hugo

mikew
15-Apr-2011, 12:54
Daniel - With the exception of rotary development, I've found that it isn't easy to get an even neg - as I've described it - with Pyrocat especially with minimal agitation and longer periods of stand. And that's with testing over 80 test sheets of 8x10 film. I know...

Hugo - I'm at the point of going back to my other developers; though I do get very even development when processing Pyrocat in BTZS tubes. My issue with those results is the emulsion speed decrease relative to that of minimal agitation. I can adjust my exposure to mitigate that but then I forgo adjacency effects and added shadow detail. Pyrocat doesn't seem to be all that flexible, which is the reason why I wanted to hear about other people's experiences beyond "agitating more vigorously" and stuff like that.

Thanks guys.

Mikew

John Bowen
16-Apr-2011, 14:30
Mikes,

You might want to contact Steve Sherman. I understand he is a minimal agitation guy and I'm pretty sure he uses pyrocat.

Personally, I develop 6-8 sheets at a time and use DBI to determine times in 2:2:100 pyrocat.

Good luck

mikew
17-Apr-2011, 12:03
Thanks John,

I sent Steve a PM.

Cor
19-Apr-2011, 02:26
Mike,

Last January I had serious problems with 8*10 and Pyrocat-HD ina print drum. I eventually solved it by switching to a Paterson Orbital. I do not know if that is an option for you, but you might want to read about it here:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=71624&highlight=cor+orbital

Best,

Cor

mikew
19-Apr-2011, 18:41
Hi Cor,

Have you used the Paterson Orbital with other agitation schemes like minimal agitation? I'd be really curious to hear the results. Thanks for that info.

Mike

Cor
20-Apr-2011, 05:50
Hi Mike,

I am not sure if an Orbital is the right device for semi-stand since it's bottom is curved, I think it is meant for continuous agitation. I use a lab shaker (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=73206&highlight=cor+orbital) for that.

I have only varied the rotation speed, and I have used a relative large volume (300 ml) of developer.

good luck,

cor

Diane Maher
20-Apr-2011, 11:02
Hi Mikew,

I sometimes had uneven negatives developed in Pyrocat with my handrolled Jobo drum. More with 810 and bigger negatives. Vertical streaks about 1.5" wide. I think my problem was caused mainly by the fact that I poured the developer with the drum standing still not rolling horizontally.

This happened to 10-20% of my negatives and it was so frustrating that I switched to D-76 a few months ago. Now my negatives are beautiful and no streaks at all.

Hugo
Hugo,
I have also seen this phenomenon with Jobo tanks. I only fill 3 of the 5 slots in my 3005 tank and 3 of 4 in my Jobo 3004 tanks and have not had any issues as long as I pour the developer in on the side where there is no film loaded. I use pyrocat-hd all the time and do pt/pd printing. I also have no darkroom.

Diane

Philippe Grunchec
20-Apr-2011, 11:17
Diane, BTW which dilution do you use to develop your films in Pyrocat HD for pt/pd? 2+2+100?

Hugo Zhang
20-Apr-2011, 11:37
Hugo,
I have also seen this phenomenon with Jobo tanks. I only fill 3 of the 5 slots in my 3005 tank and 3 of 4 in my Jobo 3004 tanks and have not had any issues as long as I pour the developer in on the side where there is no film loaded. I use pyrocat-hd all the time and do pt/pd printing. I also have no darkroom.

Diane


Diane,

So you just skip the water soak? Load three sheets of film and pour the developer into the twoempty slots ans cover the cap and roll?

That's an interesting idea, but won't solve my 16x20 problem with Pyrocat.

Thanks.
Hugo

henrysamson
20-Apr-2011, 11:53
Hi Mikew,

I had some problems with evenness processing 8x10 (FP4) in a tray using pyrocat-HD, 1:1:100. I finally went to 3 liters of working solution in an 11x14 tray and have had no problems. I don't think it was a matter of exhausting the developer when I was using 1.5 or 2 liters but that the film was just spending too much time tipped out of the developer when I was pulling a sheet out from the bottom to agitate. With 3 liters the top sheet in the stack is still well under the solution. I do 4-8 sheets (DBI) at a time. Presoak in water for two shuffles, transfer the entire stack to the developer, do two shuffles then wait 30 seconds between shuffles. Start looking at 7 minutes. No problems now, even with open skies. I do not rotate the stack. Times are 7 to 20 minutes at 70 degrees. Print on Azo or Lodima.

Henry

mikew
23-Apr-2011, 11:26
Hi Mike,

I am not sure if an Orbital is the right device for semi-stand since it's bottom is curved, I think it is meant for continuous agitation. I use a lab shaker (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=73206&highlight=cor+orbital) for that.

I have only varied the rotation speed, and I have used a relative large volume (300 ml) of developer.

good luck,

cor

That was my initial thought. But it looks great for continuous agitation. I never even knew that those existed. Thanks Cor.

mikew
23-Apr-2011, 11:38
Hi Henry. I had the same issue with using too little developer. But the real problem that I've had with tray development - other than unevenness with minimal agitation - is how sensitive the emulsion is before it's hardened "enough." It seems like my film (FP4) is really easily marked during that first 2min of development -- in particular from any pressing down of the film motions. It's not so much a big deal with 4x5 because the format is easier to handle but I've found that it's a challenge with 8x10. I think I may be handling the film too much however.

Thanks Henry.

Jay DeFehr
24-Apr-2011, 10:55
For the absolute ultimate in even development, I recommend brush development of one sheet at a time. This method doesn't require an excess of development solution, or even oversized trays. You can even process in a single tray, using the developer one shot. The downsides are the tedium of working in the dark, and the time required to develop one sheet at a time. For me, this method is best suited to large sheets of ortho film, but it works with any size and sensitivity. I think the method was introduced by astrophotographers who used glass plates, and require absolutely even development. Brush development works very well with intermittent agitation.

mikew
25-Apr-2011, 10:55
For the absolute ultimate in even development, I recommend brush development of one sheet at a time. This method doesn't require an excess of development solution, or even oversized trays. You can even process in a single tray, using the developer one shot. The downsides are the tedium of working in the dark, and the time required to develop one sheet at a time. For me, this method is best suited to large sheets of ortho film, but it works with any size and sensitivity. I think the method was introduced by astrophotographers who used glass plates, and require absolutely even development. Brush development works very well with intermittent agitation.

Jay - I actually considered experimenting with brush development but figured that it might be difficult to be consistent in developing to a specific CI. It's a great idea though, and would warrant a brush width wider than a few inches I imagine. Thanks!

Jay DeFehr
25-Apr-2011, 11:39
Good luck, Mike!