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Thread: Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

  1. #1

    Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

    I am wondering if any of you users of Pyrocat HD have experienced clear film or only just a couple of highlights when all that you recall indicates there should be a whole image there. I just did another batch where half my negs were fine and the second half were nearly clear, as in missing.

    I know it could just be operator error in either the exposure or in mixing the chemistry but either one seems so unlikely. Am I suffering CRS or just a quirk of this (new to me) developer?

  2. #2

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    Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

    This is what happens when you leave out one of the two stock solutions when mixing the working solution. Pyrocat-HD, and other two part staining develoeprs like PMK and Rollo Pyro for that matter, will not work unless you use bock Stock A and Stock B in mixing the working solution.

    You should not think that such an error is unlikely. I bet virtually everyone has done it once or twice.
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  3. #3

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    Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

    John,

    I've had the same thing happen, but Sandy's scenario wasn't it. The film was developed in the same solution. 2 clear, 1 faintest of image, 1 perfect. One set of two (one clear 1 perfect) was taken one after the other of the same scene, same lens, shutter, etc.

    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior for sure
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    Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

    Getting film reversed in the holder, loading in a hurry...?

  5. #5
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

    Steve and John, what was your developing process? Were the sheets developed in sequence, or were they developed together?

    The reason I ask is that Pyro, in all of its various formulas, is a one-shot developer. Use once, toss, remix, use once, toss.

    If the films were developed in a sequence (good sheet is first sheet, faint sheet is second sheet, clear sheet is third sheet, clear sheet is fourth sheet) then its because the Pyro was exhausted with the first sheet of film.

    If, on the other hand, all sheets were developed together using hangers, Jobo, shuffling in a tray, whatever, then I don't think that the problem is with the developer. All of the negatives would have the same stain, and the chemical action on each of them would be the same.

    This is how I develop with PMK Pyro:
    <ol>
    <li>Mix A, B, and water.
    <li>Immerse film, intermittent agitation, 12-15 minutes depending on film.
    <li>Water stop bath.
    <li>Non-hardening fixer for five minutes. (I use Clayton odorless fixer)
    <li>Back into the exhausted Pyro for two minutes to increase stain.
    <li>Move film back to water bath, and toss Pyro down the sink at this time.
    <li>Wash the film.
    </ol>
    When I develop multiple sheets I use Kodak 4A hangers and tanks, and when I develop one sheet of film I use a tray with a little plastic holder I built myself.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  6. #6

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    Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

    John's problem is more likely explained by a failure to use both A and B solutions in mixing the working solution. This is far more common that some might suspect. There are of course other explanations, i.e. no exposure on the film, the film was fixed before developing etc, but the most likley reason for the failure is mixing, IMO.

    Steve's scenario, on the other hand, is almost certainly related to the film not being exposed, or not being exposed enough. There is no way that the developer can be responsible when you develop two sheets of film in the same solution and one comes out well and the other not. This must be a mechanical error in loading or exposing the film.

    And, even though Pyrocat-HD is designed to be a one-shot and discard developer, you should get a slightly weaker image, with more general stain, if you were to re-use it. The only caveat to this would be when using a very small quantity of solution, as in processing in Jobo or in BTZS type tubes, where the developer may have been almost fully exhausted.

    BTW, I have never recommended, and I understand that Gordon Hutchins no longer does aeither, moving the film back into the exhausted developer to increase the stain. This method increases only general stain, not proportional stain, and as such merely adds extra density to the negative, with no beneficial result.
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  7. #7

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    Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

    As much as I hate to admit I've done just that--left out one part of the solution or doubled up on one of them. I now use two graduates, one for A and one for B and I find it is more difficult to make this error. The results I got was exactly as you described, a very faint image. Gordon no longer moves the film back into the developer after the fix, this is correct Sandy. I know if I want more stain I just mix 1.5- 2.0-40 instead of 2.0-2.0-40 and it's usually more stain than I want. That's Wimberly's formula but I'm sure this would hold true for pcatHD also. Hey we all make mistakes whether it's in mixing or loading film. If you do it long enough Murphy's Law will rear it's ugly head. I've seen novices pull the wrong dark slide, expose the film, replace the dark slide and never realize what they just did. It's all part of the learning curve I guess. Like I said, there's no nail scars on these hands and I have a couple of hundred negatives to prove it. Don't give up on the pcatHD, as the saying goes, it's " the cats ass" in pyro developers.

  8. #8
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Pyrocat HD makes no image at all?

    "... there's no nail scars on these hands ..."

    Robert, have you been spending all of your time in the studio?? Or maybe you live back east.

    I have nail scars on my hands, barbed wire scars, knife scars (OK, so it was from a surgeon's scalpel), an arrow wound, circular saw blade scar, a divot of missing skin which got sanded off crashing on soft grass, forehead scars from door being slammed into my head, broke an arm, and of course various encounters with insects that sting or bite.

    You gotta get out more!
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

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