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Thread: Problem with Pyrocat HD from PF

  1. #41

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Suwanee, GA

    Re: Problem with Pyrocat HD from PF

    I personally believe the problem lies with the bad batches of phenidone not the metibisulfate or bromide. Others have stated quality control issues with weights and measures. IF you use 500ml in less than 6 months then the kits are fine. If you want to expand your mind and possibilities - mixing chems is easy and can be found in a just a few sources. I too am lazy so have to force myself to get out and shoot, experiment, and enjoy the adventure of film and printing. But there is magic when it all comes together.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart

  2. #42

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    New Jersey

    Re: Problem with Pyrocat HD from PF

    Necessary update: While I still cannot explain the "milky" or "cloudy" appearance of the working dilution of pyrocat-hd, it is working correctly. When I first used my new batch, the appearance of the working solution put me off (I'm used to the working solution appearing clear) and my negatives looked flat. I decanted the solution "A" to see if I was getting the separation and appearance that the OP did at the start of this thread, but mine was perfectly clear and uniform (as it should be). So I went "back to the drawing board" and recalibrated my processing. I tried 4 different developing times and then made proper proofs to see what I was getting. I now have a shorter development time and a new proper proof time, and everything looks good.

    In hindsight I realize how easy it is to become "sloppy" as long as one can still make respectable prints. I had fallen into the habit of using my scanner to make "contact sheet like" prints from 4 negatives in a PrintFile sheet, which is almost the opposite of a "proper proof" since the scanner software readjusts density and contrast automatically; when I printed, the combination of a VC head and VC paper allowed me to compensate for over-development without thinking about it too much. Re-testing and proofing in the darkroom made it clear how much my times had drifted from where they should be. Lesson learned.

  3. #43

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Oregon now (formerly Austria)

    Re: Problem with Pyrocat HD from PF


    Don't be too hard on yourself. It's easy and comfortable to expect that your developer will work the same way every time. It's what we've come to expect from packaged developers from Kodak and Ilford. I learned the hard way, like you, that with developers mixed from scratch or in kits from PF and others, that one must keep an eye on the developer activity from batch to batch.

    I once had a whole batch of weak negatives (100+) due to my not noticing that some of the metabisulfite in the PMK solution B had precipitated out due to cold storage conditions in the winter, I have since begun to mix PMK part B in twice as much distilled water just to ensure that all of the metabisulfite goes into solution; I just use twice as much now when mixing from stock. Luckily, I can still print the weak batch on higher contrast settings.

    I find that I have to tweak development times slightly almost every time I mix up a new batch of PMK. It seems that small differences in the chemicals (age, purity, etc.) and dilution (it's hard sometimes to get all the metabisulfite into solution) result in changes in developer activity from batch to batch. I've also found that variations in water hardness has a noticeable effect on developer activity with PMK. Harder water results in more activity (I actually had two different developing times for the two different locations I used to work in; water hardness in Vienna required a 10% reduction in development time vis-à-vis my times in Oregon).



  4. #44

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    Re: Problem with Pyrocat HD from PF

    The chemists and researchers at Kodak (and the other big photo companies) put a great deal of time and effort, mostly decades ago, into making sure that their developers and other photo chemicals were both consistent and long-lived. The scale of their manufacturing helped that too.
    PF does a pretty good job given the size of their business and their resources.
    It's incumbent on all of us, though, to be careful and consistent in our own practice, in order to get the best results.
    A couple of anecdotes, not data points:
    1) last spring I processed a batch of film which came out extremely (unusably) thin. Was my developer going bad? I thought that might be the case... until after the next batch (which used up my Pyrocat part A) came out fine. But there was some Part B left... the unmistakable answer that previously, I'd left the part B out of the developer. Good way to get thin negs!
    2) despite the concerns stated in this thread, I bought more Pyrocat (in glycol) from PF. I've been shooting more lately, and so processing more, and the developer is working just as predicted. (Any faults in my negatives are all my own doing.) I'll buy more when I run out.

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