View Full Version : I'm going to try abc pyro but have two questions

Robert Skeoch
1-Aug-2005, 17:18
I've downloaded the Formulas for ABC Pyro from Michael and Paula's site. Now.... where exactly do I order the chemicals from?
Michael mentions that he starts looking at the negs after eight minutes.
I'm just processing in trays so wondered if you might have a time I could start with for tmax 400?

David A. Goldfarb
1-Aug-2005, 17:25
I haven't tried TMY in ABC, so I can't give you a starting time, but if you develop by inspection, then it's probably reasonable to start inspecting a test neg a little earlier than 8 minutes and judge from there until you've got a ballpark range.

You can order the chemicals from a number of places. I like artcraftchemicals.com and photoformulary.com.

N Dhananjay
1-Aug-2005, 18:11
Many folks have mentioned that DBI does not work with the TMax films. The sensitizing dye apparently mucks up something. There has been a fair bit of discussion about this at the Azo Forum - you should be able to track down the appropriate threads there. Re chemicals, I'm partial to Artcraft. Good luck, DJ

J Conrad
1-Aug-2005, 19:06
Two comments for ABC:

Always mix solution B fresh in the amount needed for your development session. This is very important for reliable results with ABC.

Dilute it greater than 1:1:1:7 more to 11-15 parts water, this will push your development times into the 10-12 minute range helping to eliminate uneven development.

Ok, three comments...

No less than 6 sheets at a time in the tray continous shuffle for the first minute, then once through the stack each minute, I have found less agitation to work just fine with ABC.


Brian C. Miller
1-Aug-2005, 19:22
Tmax doesn't pick up a stain very well at all. Tri-X stains quite well.

Michael Kadillak
1-Aug-2005, 19:52
I agree with the comment about T Max 400 not accepting stain very well.

T Max 400 is a marvelous film and can be just about developed in any developer with great results. Considering that ABC is a strong developer and requires mixing the B solution just before using it, I think that you would be far better served to purchase some mixed Pyrocat HD from the Formulary and get a taste for pyro developers. This film sings in pyrocat HD and builds density to the moon - that is IF you need it for your paper ES. The positives are that you do not have to purchase the raw materials to give pyro a go.

With Pyrocat 2:2:100 about 9 1/2 minutes at 70 degrees will get you a normal development. 16 minutes will get you N+1.


Robert Skeoch
1-Aug-2005, 20:32
So would I do better in the long run to switch to either tri-x or hp5?
Do I mix parts A and C ahead of time and keep it in a bottle or just mix what I need to fill the tray for today.

Michael Kadillak
1-Aug-2005, 20:52
ABC is a very course grain developer and is great if you are doing an alt process or contact printing on Azo. However if these are your objectives then forget about HP5. The density range you will need for these objectives (1.65 +) will simply not be attainable with this film as it "tops out" in the heal section fo the film curve. I have hear in the past that Tri X is a fine film, but from what I have seen (workshop negatives) is not in the same league as T Max 400.

Pyrocat HD on the other hand is a fine grained "universal" developer that is particularly suited for negatives that you may want to consider for silver enlargement or for photographs that might contain a sky as a background as it will not mottle the even densities in these areas as could be the case with ABC pyro. Having used each developer I would recommend that someone that is trying pyro for the first time start with the Pyrocat HD and then work their way to ABC. It is more cost effective and is not as labor intensive in the darkroom. Just my $0.02.


David A. Goldfarb
1-Aug-2005, 21:15
ABC is my main developer, and I shoot mainly Tri-X. You can keep the B solution on hand, but just don't keep it too long--a few weeks at the most. I regulate it just by using a smaller bottle to store the B solution, so I replace it more often than the A and C solutions. I even use ABC for negs to be enlarged (cold light) down to about 6x7cm, but for smaller negs, I use a more dilute solution and go for less density to keep the grain reasonable.

If you're interested in a developer that produces negs that look a lot like ABC but with considerably higher film speed, I've been experimenting with the RAF Pyro-Metol formula. EI 800-1000 with TXT, as opposed to EI 160 for ABC. Info at --


and be sure to read the linked thread.

Michael Dowdall
2-Aug-2005, 03:31
Hi Rob

I order chemicals from JD Fotochem, just outside of Montreal.


Prices are comparable to the Formulary or Artcraft. You will save on shipping and hazardous materials charges as well as import charges and PST.

If you would like to try Pyrocat HD, I will be mixing some this coming weekend and could give you some. I havn't used ABC but I perfer Pyrocat to PMK.


2-Aug-2005, 12:19
"I'm just processing in trays so wondered if you might have a time I could start with for tmax 400? -Rob"

400TMax in ABC is a wonderful combination. There is beautiful (albeit gentle), slightly brown image stain obtained with ABC when used to develop TMY. This combination is very clean working, so it's easy to confuse lack of fog with lack of stain.

I'm an odball in that I use a proprietary formulation of Harvey's 777 developer. But ABC is my second choice and is actually a lot more convenient to use than Harvey's. I may go back to it. Get your ABC kit from Mike Jacobson at Artcraft Chemicals.

For a normal TMY negative (Zones III-VIII or SBR 7) try 9 minutes at 70 degrees F. I have never been able to develop this film by inspection, because the magenta sensitization dye is directly complementary to the green safelight. Others on the Azo Forum have reported success in DBI of TMY using a deep red safelight. Other have tried night vision goggles with rewarding results.

I get great 400TMax negatives which print easily on Azo with time and temperature development using either Harvey's or ABC, so I haven't made much of an effort to pursue DBI. I'd rather spend the money for night vision goggles on film.

I'm not slamming it in any way, so please everyone, no shit storm, but my results with Pyrocat HD and TMY have not been as rewarding as those with ABC. With the more pronounced stain of Pyrocat, the negatives seem more difficult to print. I find the scale of a TMY/ABC negative closer to that of the paper I use (Azo) than the scale of a TMY/Pyrocat negative. It probably has to do with the higher ratio in the ABC neg of reduced silver density to that created by the stain. In any case, Pyrocat negatives seem too contrasty for my purposes. But, a lot of great pyrotechnicians use Pyrocat to develop TMY to great effect. It seems to be especially good for pt/pd and carbon printing.

Hope this helps. Try TMY in ABC. Even if you don't see any stain, the proof is in the printing!

2-Aug-2005, 12:22
Forgot one thing: I rate my 400TMax at 200.

Ken Lee
2-Aug-2005, 14:07
DBI may be possible using an InfraRed viewing device. As has been discussed here and elsewhere, you can watch the entire process of development, from beginning to end, in otherwise total darkness.

2-Aug-2005, 14:55
"Forgot one thing: I rate my 400TMax at 200."

How are you metering?

In my own experience I get full emulsion speed, i.e. EFS 400 with TMY and ABC Pyro when developing for the high average gradient needed for AZO #2 and alternative processes such as carbon and Pt./Pd. With Pyrocat-HD I use and EFS of 600. This is based on an average of two incident readings, one in the shadows, the other other in the brightest part of the scene.