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Thread: Pyrocat HD question

  1. #1

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    Pyrocat HD question

    I have been using t-max rs for many years and I am not happy with it.

    I am interested in trying Pyrocat-HD to develop t-max 100 4x5.

    Do you still benefit from a staining developer If you scan and print digitaly? Everything I have been reading refers to enlarging to silver vc paper.

    I am in search of richer tones in my landscape photography.

    Also I live in South Florida where the water is very warm in the summer months. Will this developer work well at 75f?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    I have not tried Pyrocat-HD yet (I will be running tests soon), but many of the posts I have read on this site mention that the stain masks grain and therefore is beneficial for negatives intended for scanning.

    Search for posts by Sandy King or Pyrocat-hd and scanning. There has been loads of discussion on this site on this subject in the past year.

  3. #3
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    One theory is that the difficulty in scanning metalic silver images is due at least in part to Callier Effect. If, for a given density, you take away some of the silver and replace that density with stain, it stands to reason that you'd deminish Callier Effect. The question is, is it enough to matter?

    I don't have an answer to that yet. I've been looking around, but not finding any comprehensive answer on the 'net or in the forums. So I'm resigned to doing the testing myself.

    I'm interested in Pyrocat-HD primarily because it creates a stain that is more neutral. I'm thinking it might scan more easily. I'm also interested because many people swear by it, particularly for rotary processing which I will be doing.

    I'm going to compare Pyrocat-HD to XTOL 1:3 for my tests. It'll be interesting to see how the negatives, and then the scans, compare. The thing I'm looking for, like you, is better tonality in my scans. Sadly, it's probably going to be several months before I get a chance to do the work. Sigh...

    Bruce Watson

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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson
    I'm going to compare Pyrocat-HD to XTOL 1:3 for my tests. It'll be interesting to see how the negatives, and then the scans, compare. The thing I'm looking for, like you, is better tonality in my scans. Sadly, it's probably going to be several months before I get a chance to do the work. Sigh...
    Bruce, I intend to do the same tests as you, with TMY (hopefully sooner than four months). What film(s) do you plan to run the tests with?

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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    The Callier effect is seen to the degree that light rays reach the film in parallel. In darkroom imaging, "Cold" light heads have been used (instead of Condenser heads) to deliver light through a highly diffused white filter, and tests have shown that such images resemble contact prints - in as much as the Callier effect is mitigated by a non-parallel light source.

    My Microtek 2500f scanner uses a diffused light source, and so do the Epsons, as far as I can tell. I have scanned lots of TMY developed in PyroCat HD, and have never seen anything attributable to the Caller effect.

    Perhaps dedicated film scanners and high-end analog scanners use point-source lighting. If that's the case, stained would probably fare better than non-stained negatives, but only an apples-to-apples test would prove it definitively.

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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    I can't help with the scanning question, but I can address the temperature. I'm in north Florida where I regularly use Pyrocat HD at 80F (other developers, too). I think its more important to keep all solutions at about the same temperature than it is to worry about what that temperature is. It seems, although I don't know how to test this, that the tanning properties of a staining developer help keep down problems with higher temperatures.

    To get a starting time, I just subtract 4% of the suggested time for each degree that I'm over.
    juan

  7. #7
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Marshall
    Bruce, I intend to do the same tests as you, with TMY (hopefully sooner than four months). What film(s) do you plan to run the tests with?
    Like you, TMY.

    Bruce Watson

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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Marshall
    Bruce, I intend to do the same tests as you, with TMY (hopefully sooner than four months). What film(s) do you plan to run the tests with?

    Great that you and Bruce will be running these tests. My intention is to do the same at some point in the near future. Although I have had very good success in the past in scanning stained negatives, both PMK and Pyrocat-HD, there is really nothing tangible I could put my arms about and say, see, this is better, or this is not as good. Hopefully, the results from two or three persons doing similar testing should clarify the issues a lot.

    I have decided to do the testing with TXP and TMY since both stain very well and have a fair amount of grain. This should make evaluation easier than with very fine grain films such as TMAX-100 or Delta 100. I will most likely run the tests with Pyrocat-HD and Xtol, but may also include PMK and D76 in the study.

    We can assume that if there is any advantage to the staining developers it would show up in negatives developed to fairly high approximate CI so I plan to use something on the order of .65, which is the figure that works well for me in printing Ilford Galerie FB Grade 2 paper.


    Sandy King

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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    Sandy, for my results to be meaningful I want to have a well controled test. I plan to process the TMY with both developers to the same CI, 0.55, using a Jobo Expert Drum.

    Having never used a staining developer before is there anything that I should be aware of or do differently than I would normally do with a non-staining developer?

  10. #10
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Pyrocat HD question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee
    The Callier effect is seen to the degree that light rays reach the film in parallel. In darkroom imaging, "Cold" light heads have been used (instead of Condenser heads) to deliver light through a highly diffused white filter, and tests have shown that such images resemble contact prints - in as much as the Callier effect is mitigated by a non-parallel light source.
    I suspect that the Callier Effect with a diffuse light source isn't zero. I think this because of the idea of conservation of energy. If light hits a surface that it can't penetrate, and that doesn't absorb it, it has to reflect off that surface. So I'm thinking that even with a diffuse light source, one still gets some amount of Callier Effect.

    I think (and it will take the research of better people than me to prove or disprove this idea) that this is one of the factors why some people ooh and ahh over contact prints. They show the least amount of Callier Effect. The light still scatters, but it can't travel very far when it does since the negative and the paper are held in tight contact. As a result, you get a bit (nearly negligible, but not quite) better sharpness, and a bit better local contrast - better tonality if you will.

    That said, diffuse lighting does show less Callier Effect than does collimated light. In that it's the metallic silver that is scattering the light, and one can replace some of the density of the metallic silver with stain, one should see some reduction of Callier Effect in a stained negative. This should be true with enlargers or scanners. The effectiveness of a stain in scanning should, as you point out, be less with a diffuse light source and more with a collimated light source.

    The reason I'm going to do some testing on my own is to find out if I can see it in my prints. Because I suspect that all this theoretical argument may have little practical importance, and the only way to find out if it matters to me, is for me to run the tests.

    Bruce Watson

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