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Thread: Finally done with PMK. What next?

  1. #1

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    Finally done with PMK. What next?

    I've been threatening to do this for a few years, but I've finally decided to stop using PMK Pyro. I've had too many negatives ruined. I want to switch to another developer as my mainstay. I've used 510 Pyro, Pyrocat HD, Xtol, D76, F76+, HC-110, Ilfotec HC, Rodinal, Formulary 777, and Edwal 12 (plus a few others) in the past. Xtol has tended to give me flat negatives. HC-110 is versitile, but the contrast isn't always thrilling. I was told that Edwal 12 makes HP5+ "sparkle." It does, but it leaves a shiny film on the negative that has to be removed before drying. I missed a small strip of this film on a stunning 8x10 negative of Three Creeks Lake in Oregon, and it left a strip of higher density in the sky portion of the negative.

    What i'm looking for is sharpness, versitility, good for Zone System, and good for varying contrast through development (i.e. stand, minimal agitation, or 2 bath).

    I've narrowed down the list.

    Xtol: Maybe I can get better contrast out of it. Plus: not as toxic. Minus: flat.
    HC-110: Plus: versitile. Minus: flat.
    F76+: Plus: Can be diluted for contrast, but I haven't tried.
    D76 (or Divided D76): The standard.
    DK-50: I haven't tried it yet, but some folks swear by it.

    I'll also take suggestions. Any ideas?

  2. #2

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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    If I ever decide to not use Pyrocat (not too likely) I would use replenished Xtol. If your negatives are flat extend your development time.

  3. #3
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    No offense but when you describe a developer like Xtol or HC110 as flat, I have to say you simply have not done the testing to arrive at proper times that will give you the contrast you want.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  4. #4
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    All those developers you listed (I wouldn't know about formulary and edwal 12 cuz I've never used them), and many more will work nicely with HP5 (which has been my main film). Pyrocat-HD is wonderful, and recently I've been likely Obsidian Aqua. Xtol diluted 1:1 is very nice.
    Have you ever considered that maybe the film's not doing it for you? Time to change?

  5. #5

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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Gittings View Post
    No offense but when you describe a developer like Xtol or HC110 as flat, I have to say you simply have not done the testing to arrive at proper times that will give you the contrast you want.
    Agree, test and test again until you get it right.

  6. #6
    Analog Photographer Kimberly Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    I love PMK. I've tried all the others and landed here. PMK and me have processed hundreds of negatives...if I've had problems it was never the chems. It is interesting that each persons route is slightly different. I've arrived at PMK and am very happy and you are looking at finding something new. I guess it might help to know how you intend to use the negatives you will shoot. Knowing the processes you like and intend to use will help make your selection of developer easier.

  7. #7
    I live in Connecticut now.
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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    If you don't care about money, use DD-X, it would be my only developer if Rodinal weren't so cheap it's amazing in every way.

    If you care a little about money, give Ilfsol 3 a try, it will give you a sharper and only slightly more contrasty image than HC-11(B) with similar times.

  8. #8

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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    I also use pmk for almost everything and never have any issues associated with the developer. Sounds like operator error. Care to explain how exactly pmk is ruining your negs?

  9. #9

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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    You might try a divided developer like Diafine. I use typically 3 to 4 min. in part A and part B with continuous small drum agitation. Very forgiving, particularly for high subject brightness range. Very useful when I forget (or just don't bother) to record the SBR during image formation.

    Also if you are an intermittant developer like me the separate Parts A and B will last at least 2 years (probably longer) after mix in a tight container and yield a consistent negative density range over that time.

    BTW don't use an H2O presoak before the Part A - it defeats the purpose of the divided technique by saturating the emulsion with water instead of the Part A.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  10. #10

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    Re: Finally done with PMK. What next?

    Quote Originally Posted by vinny View Post
    I also use pmk for almost everything and never have any issues associated with the developer. Sounds like operator error. Care to explain how exactly pmk is ruining your negs?
    Uneven, blotchy areas. I get this with no other developer. I have "The Book of Pyro," and I've read it cover to cover.

    --Gary

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