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Thread: Staining developers and scanning?

  1. #1
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Staining developers and scanning?

    Hi, all -

    Ken Lee's superlative shot of his dog, summarily processed in divided Pyrocat-HD, has me wondering about trying the developer. I've never used any staining developers, opting instead for HC-110 as a standard soup. My workflow is analog-to-digital; my negatives are always scanned. With this in mind, is a staining developer worth trying?

    Thanks,
    Scott

  2. #2
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    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    Yep!

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    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gem Singer View Post
    Yep!
    Thanks, Gem.

    Other than B&H, which claims a lead time of two to four weeks (!!!), where can you buy this stuff?

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    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    Let me preface my remarks by admitting I'm no scanning expert; I scan my negs for archiving only, not for printing, and I do so with a very low end scanner. That said, I use both staining and non-staining developers, and I can find no clear advantage to either over the other, as far as scanning is concerned. Ken is a scanning expert, and I'm sure he could produce similarly excellent results if he used a non-staining 2-bath developer, like Stoeckler's, or if he added a few grams of sulfite to his Pyrocat to eliminate the staining property. Ken might have something more substantial to add to the conversation.

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    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott -- View Post
    Thanks, Gem.

    Other than B&H, which claims a lead time of two to four weeks (!!!), where can you buy this stuff?
    In the US you can buy virtually all of the modern pyro staining developers in liquid kits at the Photographer's Formulary, and many of them at Bostick & Sullivan.


    Sandy King
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at Yahoo.
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    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    In the photo in question, the key is divided developer.

    See this thread for an excellent discussion among friends and fans.

    With a developer that accommodates scenes of extreme contrast, we can explore the world outside the narrow confines to which we have grown accustomed.

    For the photo in question, the fact that it's a staining developer too, is inconsequential in my humble opinion.

    Speaking of scanning, I am not much of an expert. Here are my thoughts on the subject.

  7. #7

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    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    In the photo in question, the key is divided developer.

    See this thread for an excellent discussion among friends and fans.

    With a developer that accommodates scenes of extreme contrast, we can explore the world outside the narrow confines to which we have grown accustomed.

    For the photo in question, the fact that it's a staining developer too, is inconsequential in my humble opinion.

    Speaking of scanning, I am not much of an expert. Here are my thoughts on the subject.
    I would argue that the stain is not entirely inconsequential because some of the tonal smoothness is due to grain masking.

    Also, the acutance that I observe in two-bath Pyrocat is unique in my experience and not an effect I was able to get with either Diafine or divided D23 so there is more going on here than just two-bath development. And in my opinion part of the acutance is due to tanning or hardening of the emulsion which enhances sharpness because there is very little migration of silver halides during development, giving a more precise reduction. Tanning is a by-product of staining. Or is it the other way around?

    Sandy
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    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    Sandy,

    I agree regarding acutance, which is why I didn't mention developers like DD23 or Diafine, both of which contain a lot of sulfite. Stoeckler's can be adjusted to resemble a two bath version of Beutler's metol acutance developer, and enough sulfite to eliminate the staining property of Pyrocat HD would not significantly impact its tanning/acutance effects. I won't comment on any grain masking effect, except to say it's very difficult to demonstrate.

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    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay DeFehr View Post
    Sandy,

    I agree regarding acutance, which is why I didn't mention developers like DD23 or Diafine, both of which contain a lot of sulfite. Stoeckler's can be adjusted to resemble a two bath version of Beutler's metol acutance developer, and enough sulfite to eliminate the staining property of Pyrocat HD would not significantly impact its tanning/acutance effects. I won't comment on any grain masking effect, except to say it's very difficult to demonstrate.
    Jay,

    But regarding Stoeckler's two bath formula, it is like divided D23 in that you have the sulfite in Solution A, which means there is some development going on before you transfer the film to the Solution B Borax bath.

    What creates the great acutance with two-bath Pyrocat is that virtually no development takes place in Solution A and when you drop it into Solution B the development just explodes, which results in very rapid local exhaustion of the developer at all of the lines between high and low density areas. There may be another explanation for this but the acutance with certain films is simply off the board and unlike anything I have ever seen, even with stand development.

    I would add that the acutance is much greater with some films than with others. It is especially great with Acros and when you look at the emulsion of an Acros negative developed in two-bath Pyrocat it is etched with relief lines rather like a carbon relief when it is still wet.

    Sandy
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at Yahoo.
    https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/...nTransfer/info

  10. #10

    Re: Staining developers and scanning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott -- View Post
    My workflow is analog-to-digital; my negatives are always scanned. With this in mind, is a staining developer worth trying?
    I recently had the pleasure of seeing some of Sandy King's carbon prints made from enlarged negatives. He scans his 6x7 cm negatives that he develops in two bath Pyrocat. While I haven't compared them side to side with contact prints made from unenlarged in camera negatives, I don't think I could tell the difference. They are that sharp and absolutely grainless. So yes, I think it's worth trying.

    One caveat: you need a very high resolution scanner.

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