View Full Version : 7x17 Film Developed in Pyrocat HD for Dummies

Jeff Sylvia
14-Jul-2006, 09:00
I'm a rank amateur just starting to figure out how to shoot/develop/print 7x17 using Pyrocat HD and then print the negs using Pt/Pd printing methods. I've read a lot of posts here and a few books (i.e., Book of Pyro, Dick Arentz's book, Sandy Kings articles, etc...) but I am wondering if someone has a simplified step-by-step for a beginner like me who just wants to shoot some film, develop it and then make some Pt/Pd prints. Once I get the process down I can fine tune for film speed adjustment, developing times etc...

So, does someone have the "Powerpoint bullet list" with answers for the following questions?

1) Do I set my meter to the rated film speed? (e.g., I'm using Ilford HP5 Plus so do I set my meter for a film speed of 400?)
2) If #1 is true then what is my development time using Pyrocat HD? I'll develop sheets in 16x20 trays.
3) How much developer will I need per sheet of 7x17?

As I said, I just want to get out and shoot, develop, print so I can see results then fine tune the process as needed. I just need ballpark "settings" to get started. I can get more sophisticated as I learn.

Any tips would be appreciated.


Ken Lee
14-Jul-2006, 10:19
Do you want to learn only about exposing and developing the film, or also about making Pt/Pd prints ? The two are not unrelated, but they are 2 different subjects.

You might find it helpful to schedule a one-on-one "workshop" with someone in your area, or attend a workshop it the timing is right.

For example, Carl Weese (http://www.carlweese.com) teaches at his facility in Connecticut, but is also willing to teach you at your own place. I studied Platinum printing with him this way, and he's very very good. He gives excellent advice on what you will need, and where to get it.

Jeff Sylvia
16-Jul-2006, 03:20
Thanks for the suggestions Ken. I have actually been through the whole process a while back with smaller format film but was hoping for some tips from the 7x17 crowd so I wouldn't be wasting a lot of film and paper while figuring out my baseline settings.

Love the images on your web site too. Very nice.


16-Jul-2006, 06:59
Jeff, I shoot 7 x 17 and find it much easier to develop in seed trays a 22 x 11 seed tray that is reusable, inexpensive and perfect for the size. - and I develop by inspection. I have also used a jobo with good results, but I can only do two images at a time and you can't obviously inspect the image...but I do have less issues with scratches. I have also had zero streaking issues using a jobo at the lowest rotation.

Here is the link for seed trays.


I use pyrocat HD - both in trays and processors. I don't use hp-5, so I may not be of particular help here on that film. BUT, on JandC photo website they publish development times for HP 5, which they say is the same as the CHM 400 - see developing information on the site for more detail. This should be a good place to start. I am not sure what others rate the film at.

I use J and C film - (400 rated at 320; pyro hd at 1.5;1.5 to 100 or 2:2:100 for 8-10 minutes, tray developed, normal agitation - temperatures around 72 degrees - tough in the desert in summer....) The 200 speed I shot at 100 and used roughly the same developement....

You can learn more about the development by inspection at www.michaelandpaula.com website.

I develop emulsion side UP, and very carefully shuffle the negs....

I also pre-soak for about 5 minutes.

Also, with some films they recommend a water stop bath. I am not sure what HP 5 recommends.

Unfortunately, I have found that trial and error, with your 'technique' and getting to know your developer, film, exposure methods, and prinitng (paper, developer, etc) is the best, but not necessarily the least expensive way to learn :).

Good luck!

18-Jul-2006, 00:39
I shoot 7x17 film. I process it in a unicolor drum on a roller base. The drum is for 16x20 prints but will fit 2 sheets of 7x17 very nicely. It has slots that were designed for multiple 5x7 prints. The only drawback is that you can only process two sheets at a time. I have two drums, to speed things up a bit. The Unicolor roller base has only one speed, and it seems to work fine. Processing is very even. I do have to watch for strings of "jelly" on the film. I occaisionally see one of these after the film is all processed, and I have no idea where they come from. As long as they are removed before the film dries, it is not a problem. They are like thin clear rubbery strings.

Pyrocat-M works very well. I made this up at home, using sodium metabisulfite, pyrocatechol, metol, and potassium bromide for restrainer. I can't seem to locate the formula, but its on the web. Solution B is easily made from adding sodium carbonate directly to water before processing. I simply add 1 slightly heaping tablespoon of sodium carbonate to 1 litre of water, then add 20ml Pyrocat-M solution A.

I use a pre-wet of water (time doesn't matter as long as it is longer than 2 minutes), process for 12 minutes at 2:2:100, at 70 deg. Use at least a liter of developer. For stop I use water with just a very tiny amount of indicator stop added. For fix, any fix will do. Don't re-use your fix. Then wash and photo-flo as normal. I do the wash in a tray.

Jeff Sylvia
18-Jul-2006, 04:24
scott_6029 and photocurio thanks for sharing your processes. Times and volume information is very helpful. The cost of film and chemcials isn't cheap so this will give me some starting times.

scott_6029 - That's pretty clever about using seed trays. I wouldn't have thought to try that but I guess it works.