View Full Version : Need More Stain!

Andrew O'Neill
17-Jun-2004, 09:16
Hi! Me again! Thought I'd try out efke 25 4x5 in Pyrocat-HD. Developed it in 10+10+500 but came out with very little stain. Will try 5+5+500. Do you think that'll help? Anyone who uses this combination know how to get more stain? I'll go and try...

Michael Mutmansky
17-Jun-2004, 09:39

The beat way to increase stain is to increase Part B relative to Part A. So, instead of 10-10-500, you could try 10-20-500, or some other variation on that.

If you cut the developer and increase the development time (5-5-500), you will get more stain, but you have to becareful that you don't start getting increased general stain, whic is of no inherent value, other than possibly masking some grain in the shadow zones.

One note, some films show very little stain, but there actually is a staining action happening. I understand that TMX and Acros are this way, and the Efke may be also. Even though the negatives don't have a real strong brownish stain, the staining is still happening.

Is there a problem with the negatives that makes you think they need more stain? How do they print?


Michael Kadillak
17-Jun-2004, 10:11
How dense are the negatives? Efke 25 has unlimited ability to build density. If you read Sandy's article on Pyrocat HD, the stain is not as visual as one would get with other popular "staining" developers, but that is not a problem. You still get the positive effects in your prints.


Ken Lee
17-Jun-2004, 10:22
Sandy King has pointed out that there is general stain, and then there is image stain. Ideally, we want very low general stain, since it is akin to fog. On the other hand, we want nice image stain, which is less obvious.

Under Ultraviolet light (if you are doing Platinum processes) the stain might appear more prominently.

17-Jun-2004, 13:15
Andrew, How long are you leaving the negative in the spent developer after fixing? This is where you would get the most stain for the buck, per say. I'm leaving my negatives in for 1 minute and getting a very nice stain effect. Others may have other times and densities but that works for me. Good luck,

Michael Mutmansky
17-Jun-2004, 13:28

Post staining is definately not recommended with Pyrocat, although you can certainly do what you wish. Post staining was originally recommended based on a misunderstanding of how the stain is applied to an image, and the belief that substantial amounts of stain was the reason that the staining developers work so well for some people.

Only the proportional stain caused by the oxidation of the developer at the point of the reduction reaction is useful for image-forming information. The rest is merely fog, which generally does not help, but may hurt the quality of the image you are making, especially if you print alt. process images. Post-stainning has not been shown to be proportional, and it appears to be a linear application of density on the entire negative, which ultimately is exactly what Pyrocat HD was designed to minimize; the non-proportional stain.



Andrew O'Neill
17-Jun-2004, 18:11
Well, I tried increasing the dilution and there appears to be a bit more stain. Image stain that is. I guess I'm just used to seeing strong image stain with HP5+ which is the film that I normally use. Doug, I'm a bit weary about leaving the negative in the spent developer as that has only increased general stain. At least it has with HP5+. Thanks Micheal M. I'll try increasing part B. Hi Micheal K. My negatives are not so dense. Zone VIII is about 1.35 which is slightly more than when I use Xtol.

Tim Curry
17-Jun-2004, 18:13
Andrew, if you are looking for a stain similar to PMK, don't bother. See how it prints and go from there for development times. Hopefully, Sandy can explain what is actually happening with this difference in stain.

You might try reading his article on unblinkingeye.com to see what is happening within the gelatin.

Christian Olivet
17-Jun-2004, 21:00
Andrew, I have developed both Efke 25 and HP5+. Let me tell you! this films are very different. HP5 has a lot more base fog. I don't own a densitometer but my eyes tell me so, especially when compared with the Efke 25 which has such a low base fog. Because this very difference in my opinion Efke 25 would be better suited to alternative processes and HP5 for silver gelatin papers.

To get better results with the efke 25 use 10-10-1000 concentration. 20-20-1000 is explosively fast to control.

17-Jun-2004, 21:11
The percentage of stain to silver density for a given negative density range with Efke 25 is somewhat less than what you would expect with films like Efke PL 100 and Ilford FP4+ . However, I recently did some tests with Efke 25 and Pyrocat-HD, using the 1:1:100 dilution, and got quite a bit of image stain.

As others have mentioned the visual appearance of PMK and Pyrocat-HD negatives is quite difference. PMK negatives have a very distinctive greenish or yellow/green look. By comparison the brown stain of Pyrocat-HD looks almost neutral in tone. But what counts is not what the negative looks like visually, but how it prints.

The actual printing impact of the stain of both PMK and Pyrocat-HD is quite different depending on whether you are using graded papers of VC papers. I try to explain this in my article at http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/PCat/pcat.html. And of course if you are using a UV sensitive process there are other differences.

The main thing you achieve with the stain is grain masking. Both pyrogallol and pyrocatechin give negatives of rather pronounced grain if they are used as non-staining developers (with the addition of lots of sulfite in the formula). I was quite surprised by Richard Knoppow's comments on this in the "article" in View Camera on pyro toxicity (the one that has been so widely discussed on this forum in the last day or so). Knoppow wrote, "The idea that the stain image masks grain is probably not true although widely believed." I have a great deal of respect for Richard Knoppow but in my opinion he is just dead wrong on this subject. Anyone who has experimented with pyrogallol and pyrocatechin developers in non-staining formulas knows for fact certain that the appearance of grain is much less in staining developers than when these reducers are used in non-staining formulas.

17-Jun-2004, 21:49
I will echo the comments of Christian Olivet about Efke 25. This film is a very high contrast film with very little latitude in either exposure or development. It has a hair-trigger response to the 2:2:100 dilution of Pyrocat-HD and I would not even considering this for normal processing as it will result in development times of less than four minutes for scens of normal contrast. Even 1:1:100 might be too energetic for scenes of normal contrast. In fact, although I have rather limited experince with Efke 25 my initial tests suggest that a dilution of 1:1:150 might actually be better than the 1:1:100 dilution. This is based on the premise that development times of 8-10 minutes will result in more even development with most types of processing.

Andrew O'Neill
17-Jun-2004, 23:21
I have extensive experience with HP5+ in many many developers including PMK and Rollo Pyro. I didn't like either of these pyro developers. I know what the stain looked like. HP5+ in Pyrocat has a great image stain and very little overall stain compared to PMK or Rollo negative. I didn't like how my negatives printed on VC paper. I love the look with Pyrocat-HD. My experience with efke 25 is limited. I started with it this week. Sandy, the 1+1+100 I tried this morning actually looks good. Much better than 2+2+100. N time was just under 4 minutes. With the 1+1+100 dilution, N development is 9.5 minutes with very gentle rotations in BTZS tubes. EI is 12. I'll give the 1+1+150 dilution a shot tomorrow. I'll also be looking how this film stands up to stand development. HP5+ is beautiful under the right conditions with stand developement and pyrocat. Finally, I'm also working out the films reciprocity characteristics. Perhaps I'll let you know how everything went. Thanks all for your input!

Tim Curry
18-Jun-2004, 06:55
Andrew, if you get decent numbers on reciprocity with Efke 25, I'd be very interested in your findings. With money and time very tight this year, I haven't wanted to invest in enough film to do a series of tests. I do bracket on some shots, but haven't had enough time to do a really good series ranging from 2 seconds out to 10 minutes or more.

Could you post results if you have an opportunity to do these tests?