View Full Version : Pryrocat HD vs. Max Pyro

23-Sep-2009, 20:42

I'm getting ready to take the plunge into Pyro. I currently use T-Max 400 with T-Max RS dev in my JOBO processor for my 4x5 and 12x20 negs. I print PT/PD as well as scanning the 4x5 negs for digital output.
For those Pyro heads out there is there any pluses or minuses to either one of these formulas? I would be buying either one from B&S. It also looks like I may need to use another type of fix. I currently use Kodak standard fix.

Any suggestions/opinions would be appreciated.

Take Care,


Peter De Smidt
23-Sep-2009, 20:50
Hi Doug,

Very few people use Max Pyro compared to, say, PMK or Pyrocat-HD (or it's variants), as you can tell by looking at threads on APUG. It's also quite expensive. If you're starting Pyro, you'll get more feedback and help if you use a more widely used formula. Sandy King, the formulator of Pyrocat, regularly answers people's questions about it here and at APUG. That's a big advantage.

This isn't to knock PMK, which I've used, or Max Pyro, which I haven't.

23-Sep-2009, 22:44
The huge disadvantage of Max Pyro is that it's a commercial developer formulae and not in the public domain.

It may well be an excellent developer but it's not widely available and postage costs etc mean it's not even practical to think about testing it.

The huge davatages of both PMK or Pyrocat are that you can make them up for yourself and at a very much lower cost.

Then take into consideration that most people using staining developers etc are often already making up many other formulae, fixers, toners etc.

In the US the Photographers Formulary offers an alternative for those that don't but at a cost.


John Bowen
24-Sep-2009, 05:24

I print on Azo, but the TMax 400/Pyrocat HD combination is hard to beat. I've used it exclusively for the past 4 years. And yes, you should look at TF-4 (or another alkaline ie rapid fix) from the Formulary or B&H for your fix.


Gem Singer
24-Sep-2009, 06:03
Whichever pyro developer you decide to try, use a plain water stop bath and an alkaline fixer in order to preserve the pyro stain.

The Photographer's Formulary now sells an improved version of their TF-4 alkaline fixer. They are calling it TF-5.

Unlike TF-4, TF-5 is not prepared in a super-saturated solution. Does not need to be stirred and diluted in order to clear.

24-Sep-2009, 14:04
Thanks everyone for the info. Looks like I will be giving Pyrocat HD a go. Also thanks for the tips on the fix.

Take Care,