View Full Version : Pyrocat-HD and tray development

24-Jun-2011, 12:06
I have some bad experiences with Neopan Acros and Pyrocat-HD tray development. The Pyrocat-HD seemed to made emulsion really soft and fragile.

Now I am going to try Pyrocat-HD again, this time with TMX and TMY 4x5 sheets.

Anyone had bad experiences with this combination?

The temperature will be bit high, around 75-78 deg Fahrenheit (24 - 26 deg Celcius) because of hot aparthment.

matthew klos
24-Jun-2011, 12:32
Never tried that combination, i only use ilford film but it never has given me that problem. And i always develop at 75, not really a high temp for Pyro.

24-Jun-2011, 14:12
Sandy works with that film/developer combination. I suspect the temperature of the water and room is a lot higher than 80 or something is wrong with the developer/procedure. Search the forum for "two bath" and take a look at pyrocat-hd.com for ideas. Also, Sandy is very helpful and nobody knows pyrocat-hd better than him :)

Greg Y
24-Jun-2011, 14:24
I tray process 5x7 TriX, TMY, and FP4 in Pyrocat HD at 20-22C and have never had the problem you are describing. Perhaps the emulsion softening is due to the higher temps you are dealing with?...

24-Jun-2011, 23:35
Perhaps it's really only the Acros 100 which seems to have problem.
I have processed it at 20C and 24C with a really bad scratch and marks.

The interesting part is that when I did calibration run for Acros 100, the negatives were fine. But when developing real pictures, everything was badly ruined.
Perhaps developing with emulsion side upward is the thing that gives better opportunity for scratch and other marks from the stack of negatives?

Haven't really study the causes after that. Simply went to D-76 which works flawless. But as I have to deal with a much warmer developing environment, D-76 is not a very good option as the developing times tend to be too short.

Here's the sample (quarter of a negative):

Jim Noel
25-Jun-2011, 08:10
Pyro developers harden, not soften, emulsions. Those marks look like flow marks rather than scratches and they could be caused by films attempting to stick together in the stack. Do you pre-soak each sheet prior to placing the next one in the developer?

25-Jun-2011, 08:43
I'd look at how you're tray processing, are you allowing sheets to move freely over each other ?

When I've used Acros in Pyrocat I've had perfect negatives, no issues, but I don't allow negatives to come into contact when I tray process and I use softer emulsions than Acros.

Some emulsions are softer than others TMY and Neopan 400 can reticulate slightly if temperatures aren't kept tight, this micro reticulation affects the surface causing more apparent graininess on printing or scanning.

The pH of some developers and higher Hydroxide or Carbonate levels will soften film more, so Rodinal is often blamed for grain when in fact it's just micro/surface reticulation, and this surface will mark easily.

Pyrocat uses Carbonate and while it's a tanning developer the negatives will be more prone to scratching if shuffling negatives in a dish during the early stages, or letting them float freely.


25-Jun-2011, 09:21
I use traditional stack shuffling, where negatives may be in contact with each other. There is a thin layer of developer (I suppose) as the negatives won't stick to each other.

This has happen so far only with Acros 100 and I found one mention of similar issue but I cannot really be sure whether it's Acros and Pyrocat or some other reason.

TMX, TMY, FP4+, HP5+ and Fomapan 100 works flawless (or survives from my processing). The Efke films do not :(

When using stack method, how do you prevent negatives from touching each other?

One thing could be two tray method, but I haven't tried it as I feel that when I move the negative from tray 'A' to tray 'B', they will move freely around tray 'B' and the order of negatives may change.

ps. I presoak

25-Jun-2011, 12:18
I use traditional stack shuffling, where negatives may be in contact with each other. There is a thin layer of developer (I suppose) as the negatives won't stick to each other.

I quit using that kind of shuffle/stack development more than two decades ago because of scratches and uneven development. That was before I use Pyro at all. Some people make this method work, but it was not in the cards for me so I moved on and now develop sheet film separated, as in tubes and/or trays with partitions that separate the film.

Now, with Pyrocat-HD the working solution is at about pH 10.9, so this allows the gelatin to expand a lot, which can contribute to scratches with tray development where the negatives are rubbing against one another.

Pyrocat-HD and Fuji Acros is my favorite combination for medium format film. I develop on reels with either minimal or two-bath development.


25-Jun-2011, 12:25
Thanks, it seems that slosher like solution is the way to go.

I have to say that I used Acros and Efke PL100 with Pyrocat-HD as my main film couple of years, developing with Paterson orbital. Until my orbital's motorized base went bad.
That was the time of easy and flawless development.

25-Jun-2011, 14:42
I've only used an Orbital a few times and that was hand agitation no motor base, perfect results and ever so easy. It was someone else's darkroom I just took film & Pyrocat HD.

So go back to the Orbital :D


26-Jun-2011, 05:13
Ian, was the orbital on "manual agitation base" or on the water bath?

I have used my Orbital tank as a kind of slosher by placing it on the water bath and doing agitation by raising each edge (left, back, right, front) twice at each minute.

As for tray development, I just come across something that describes whole process differently than I have read:

"Tray Processing: A means of processing usually sheet films in which after manually immersing, wetting, and interleaving the film for 15 to 30 seconds, the tray is lifted and lowered from each side, continuously.

About once per minute, the technician manually interleaves the film one or two cycles.

When done properly, the quality is excellent and the immersion time is reduced by 15% to 25%. Development eveness is at best +/- .03 to .06 for 4X5 and +/- .08 to .10 for 8X10 (target density 1.00). "

Is it common practice to just interleave film sheets on developer and do initial agitation by rocking the tray?

26-Jun-2011, 05:25
The Orbital I used was just place on the work top, no water bath or base and rocked by hand every 30 seconds.


26-Jun-2011, 10:42
Brush sounds considerable option for 8x10 work, but I guess that it will take lot of work to develop pile of 10 or more 4x5 sheets which is usual result after walking with a Speed.

Carefully composed and exposed sheets with a field/monorail camera - they are different thing.
Have to do some searching about brush development.

I just developed a batch of 8 sheets with Orbital. So far negatives seems to be nice (but they usually do so when they still wet).

4-Jul-2011, 03:44
Orbital gave a quite good results. Althought it seems that I have problem with too much agitation (lenghtwise).
The negatives had too much edge density on the short edge that is against the end wall of the tank.

I guess that it's due the curved bottom of the tank. Towards the end of the tank, the room for developer decreases and that possible creates a faster flow of the developer.

I have to test with very gently longwise agitation with normal sideway rocking.