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Thread: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Germany, Aalen

    Red face First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

    Hi all Pyrocats,

    After long warming up I finaly went and develped my firs negs in Pyrocat HD and as I am not overly too happy about the results - here comes my post - please read carefully and "enjoy" the scans...

    First how it was all done:

    - Film:TMAX400 4x5
    - Developer: Pyrocat HD in glycol (from PhotoFormulary), mixed just before the developement 1:1:100. One sheet at a time in 250 ml of solution in a small tray (~ 4.5 x 5,5 or a bit more)
    - Stop bath: Plain tap water
    - Fixer: Ilford Rapid Fixer 1:9
    - Wash: tap water
    - Final rins in some kind of PhotoFlo

    - Temperature: cca 20 deg Celsius

    - I was working in total darkness (tough)

    - Presoak: 2 min
    - Developement: 12 min with first 60sec agitation and then each minute for cca 10s (rocking and moving the tray)
    - Stop: cca 1.5 min
    - Fix: cca 4 min

    Air dried. The "scans" were made on a light table with a DSLR.

    Color of the solution A - slight orange
    Color of the solution B - nearly like a water

    Color of the used developer - blue
    Color of the used stop bath - blue

    Now to the pictures:
    1a) Direct scan with adjusted levels and contrast to make the message stronger - the color was unchanged - so (in real life - scans do not reproduce the real color of the negatives too well) magenta-pink-something. Is it supposed to look like this ??

    1a) inverted and desaturated. Without desaturation it is nice blue. It is quite flat (not so surprizing - the original scene was flat too)

    1b) Edge detail - not very even ...

    2a) Here I had tio screw up the exposure (sounds strange to me as this is on of the testing negative 5 times the same composition at different film EI - I have some more to be developed) I just show it becaue os the uneveness.

    2a) Inverted

    3a) Another testing neg - now you can see something there - but is - well - looks strange too.

    3a) Inverted and desaturated.

    3b) Detail from 3a


    Well - once inverted the (1a) look rather OK but not perfect. The rest is more like a disaster. Especially the (3a) looks like fogged or so ... NO reason for that.

    Please - any comments and advices will be more than appreciated....

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Germany, Aalen

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

    Rest of the scans.

  3. #3
    David Schaller
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Williamstown, MA

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

    My suggestion is to use more developer and to agitate every thirty seconds after the first minute of constant agitation. I just did two negatives in a 5x7 tray, and used 500cc of solution. I also use the alkaline fix from Photographers Formulary rather than regular fixer. I rinse the negatives in running water for 15-20 minutes.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Boulder, CO

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

    You should try to recreate something more like a film test.

    find a scene with a normal range of contrast (both whites and shadows). Also make sure it is not a close up, because you want to get everything in sharp focus. The side of a building will do. Expose 5-6 six identical negatives. I'm not sure if you should rate the TMAX a little lower than 400 , other people may chime in, but TMAX should be pretty linear so i bet it can hurt.

    If you dont want your solutions to end up blue, presoak the negative. I would shuffle process all six negatives at once.

    you might try 2:2:100 , but i don't know what your final output will be silver, alt, scanning?

    In the developer shuffle all negatives together , remove from the developer and into the water bath one at a time at 8 min, 12 min, 16 min ....

    then process normally

    do what ever you final output will be (print or scan) and then look at them to evaluate contrast. Determine which looks most "normal" then the other negatives will tell you how to adjust development for contrasty or flat scenes

  5. #5

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

    You stated: "in a small tray (~ 4.5 x 5,5 or a bit more)"

    The tray you are using is too small so that rocking the tray will not give even development. Use a larger tray with plenty of developer and agitate by lifting a single sheet of film out of the developer, draining for a few seconds, then placing it back in the developer. The tray should be large enough for you to easily grasp the film by a corner. Do this continuously every 15 seconds. Wear rubber gloves.

    Dan's idea about a test scene is good but first prove your developing technique. Expose one sheet of film by photographing the side of a building lit by open sky. Rate the film at 200-320. Develop using the new method outlined above. If that sheet looks good then do the test for film speed.

    Now use an even larger volume of developer and shuffle continuously with 4-6 sheets. (this will match one sheet lifted every 15 seconds) At this point you should have the method worked out, so keep doing it the same way from then on.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Germany, Aalen

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

    - Dan -

    the exposures (2) and (3) are such a film test. I have 3 more left to be developed - I just got stuck what I saw the first results.

    I did presoak the film.

    I did not wat to develope more than on at a time to minimize possible confusion.

    Final ouput is silver/scanning

    - Ken -

    I used rather small trays of size merly 5 x 6 inch. SO the depth of the developer was about 1 - 1.5 cm. I guess the film does not float so it would be at the bottom. I will try 500ml nex time.

    As I mentioned already - I did only one sheet at a time. It takes long but I found it easier for the beginning.

    How do you agigate ?

    Is the fixer soluition OK (1:9)?

    - Henry -

    OK - I will try a larger tray and more continuos agitation.

    When developing more sheets at a time - how to put the sheet back in the solution without scratching the bottom one? I gues I should avoid touching the emultion side ... ?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Calgary, AB Canada

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

    If you presoaked for at least 3 min's the developer would not have been blue when finished. I'm not familiar with tray development, but all that rocking and sloshing might be a problem. Maybe semi-stand would be better in a tray no less than 5x7 in size.

    Good luck, PyroCat-HD is an excellent developer. I've never had a problem with it in the several years I have been using it.
    Eric Rose

    I don't play the piano, I don't have a beard and I listen to AC/DC in the darkroom. I have no hope as a photographer.

  8. #8

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!


    The film goes in emulsion side up. Slide the bottom film out and then lay it down on top of the stack. Keep doing this until time is up. When you lay the film down, put the edge or corner down into the tray and off the stack, then let it lay flat. You won't scratch the other film this way. Touching the corners just enough to pick it up won't hurt the film.

  9. #9
    おせわに なります! Andrew O'Neill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Coquitlam, BC, Canada, eh!

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!

    Instead of more continuous agitation, try more vigorous. Your film can sit in a tray for about 15 minutes in pyrocat and shouldn't show any signs of uneveness or mottling as long as your agitation cycles are "vigorous". Trays are a wonderful way to develop sheet film.
    250ml of solution is very little. Bump it up to 500ml. Are you mixing 5ml A + 5ml B + 250ml water?
    Blue developer and blue stop are very strange and shouldn't happen if you are presoaking your spent developer always comes out a very deep reddish colour. If your film is coming out with a slight magenta cast, just let them soak for a bit in water or try fixing for a bit longer. Four minutes is too short even in rapid fix.
    Solution A when fresh should be a very very light peachy colour. When mine starts to look orange I mix up a fresh batch from scratch.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    South Carolina

    Re: First Pyrocat HD negs ... ??? !!!


    Lots of things going on that I don't understand and won't comment about. However, it is very clear that your development procedures are not completely removing the magenta anti-halation backing of the TMY film. This back is notoriously hard to remove and often requires extra time in a very strong and fresh fixer. In fact, I often have to place TMY film in a 1% sodium sulfite bath for up to ten minutes in order to completely remove the magenta color. Failure to completely remove this back will result in the uneven kind of mottling observed in some of your negatives. This is a TMY issue, not a Pyrocat-HD issue.

    There may be other issues as well.

    Sandy King

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