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Thread: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

  1. #11

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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    Jay: Because I'm looking for magic bullets here! In seriousness I made this post basically to make sure I'm not missing something important about Pyrocat. E.g. if everyone responded "Um yeah that's what TMX in Pyrocat looks like" or conversely "Dear lord you've read the directions wrong the actual dilution is '...'!" then I didn't want to throw good materials after bad chasing down what would be an obvious problem to someone more experienced. Re: contrast, this is a totally appropriate question but I lack a densitometer and don't have a good way to quantify.

    I'm definitely interested in continuing to experiment after all I think I have about 470ml remaining of both my pyrocat solutions and a few more exposures of this magnificently composed still-life. I agree that overdevelopment is a possibility, perhaps trimming back to 12 minutes and trying again? I generally have been (many years ago now) happy with results from HC-110, but always looking for some little improvement where I can get it!

    Andrew: good suggestions, I'll muck with these a bit on the digital side.

    Ken: Thanks for the link, reading up now. And agreed on complexity, I was nervous making this post since as I wrote it up I was forced to reckon with all the glaring holes in my scientific method. I should spring for a densitomoter but it's a tough thing to spend money on. Of course I'll probably end up spending the cost in film and chemistry testing this to death....Reading!

  2. #12

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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    Intellectual curiosity is not a bad thing, in my book. learning about chemistry and sensitometry is fun, and sometimes it can even be put to practical use! Good luck, and have fun!

  3. #13

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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    It's the best thing! Thanks for all the suggestions, gang, I'll update if I come up with something worthwhile.

  4. #14
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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by sgutterman View Post
    I should spring for a densitomoter but it's a tough thing to spend money on. Of course I'll probably end up spending the cost in film and chemistry testing this to death....Reading!
    You don't have to buy one, unless you plan to test a lot of film or digital negatives.

    One thing I've learned by looking over the data which accompanies the purchase of the BTZS "Plotter" program (a number of films, in a number of developers, at various dilutions, for various times) is that they all look fairly similar. One gets the same impression looking through Ansel Adams' books, where it becomes evident that over the decades he used a wide variety of films.

    Some film/developer combinations are better than others of course - they have more linear response to light and changes development time - or better effective film speed. Some are easier to mix, have longer shelf-life, or are cheaper, but those are secondary features. Where they really differ most (in my humble opinion) is in terms of grain, spectral response, apparent sharpness, acutance, reciprocity, etc. When it comes to Large Format, many of those are irrelevant, and we can often make good use of just about anything... once we've tested it.

    You might find it very helpful to choose one film/developer combination and do a film test with Fred Newman at the View Camera Store. Then you'll know what you've got: independent of scanner, monitor, software, calibration tools, photo editors, Gamma settings, color spaces, ink sets, room color, etc. Hey, the digital world is supposed to make things easy

  5. #15
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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    I'd try to make the best prints from each and then compare. That is how Loyd Jones did it.

  6. #16

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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    Just stick with what you know, you dont have to drink the cool aid.
    David

  7. #17

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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by mdm View Post
    Just stick with what you know, you dont have to drink the cool aid.
    An absolutely meaningless statement, considering none of us is born "knowing" any developers, and not much of anything else, either. Those of us with some modicum of intellectual curiosity actively go about seeking that we don't know so we might. But the small minded are always suspicious of the more generously endowed, and I suppose it makes you feel better to equate inquisitiveness with an irrational surrender of free will, even if it's more like the exact opposite.

  8. #18

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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakotah Jackson View Post
    Pyrocat HD is known for being very good for highlight separation without blowing them out.
    Yeah I suppose that's at the heart of why this has me so puzzled, I expected the exact opposite of my results. Everyone waxes on about PCHD's highlight rendering so seeing blocked highlights was a surprise. I'll consider finding a printer although it might be a tall order. If only I was still a teenager with a basement darkroom... In the meantime I'll try cutting back on development time and see what happens.

    And re: sticking with what I know... I understand what you mean, but experimentation is fun and enriching! And besides which what I know is 15 years old and these days possibly up for cancellation. My favorite film used to be tech pan, after all.

  9. #19
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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    Just stick with what you know, you dont have to drink the cool aid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay DeFehr View Post
    ... the small minded are always suspicious of the more generously endowed, and I suppose it makes you feel better to equate inquisitiveness with an irrational surrender of free will, even if it's more like the exact opposite.
    Perhaps MDM meant that sometimes it's helpful to work within a set of limitations, that running off in too many directions at once can be counter-productive. By analogy, some people experiment by shooting with only one lens, or photographing only one subject.

    Sticking with a single film/developer combination - and doing what it takes to get it to work - can amount to a form testing in its own right.

  10. #20
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    Re: Pyrocat Tests and Some Disappointment?

    Tmax film is very sensitive to changes in development, so you may not have to cut back as far as you'd expect. I'd cut back till it started affecting shadow detail slightly, then increase agitation to 5s/30s. I'm not a zone system expert; I do use pyrocat-hd, pmk, and tmax 400.

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