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Thread: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

  1. #61

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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan 617 View Post
    It's not a cross-lid contamination, Sandy. I'm careful to only have one lid off at any time.
    Your working procedures sound fine, but the developer is not working now, even though it worked fine the first time you used it. I am not able to figure out what happened, but I know for a fact that the stock solutions of this developer, if mixed correctly, do not spontaneously go bad. For one of them to go bad, it must have been somehow contaminated. Perhaps that was done by PF, perhaps by you, or perhaps there is some other way it was contaminated. But if it is not working now it must have somehow been contaminated. I have on hand at this time more than eight different Pyrocat-MC kits, all at least two years old, and two dating from 2006. Two were mixed by PF (the oldest ones) and six by me. All have been used to develop film, and all still work.

    It should be noted that one of the reasons Pyrocat-MC (and HD) give such good accutance is because the formula is finely formulated to use as little reducer as possible, and the pH of the working solution is also carefully balanced. For this reason even small quantities of another chemical can easily contaminate the working solution. Even left over fixer in a Jobo drum has been known to ruin a working solution. It is harder to contaminate the stock solutions, but many people have managed to do that also.

    I hope you figure out what is going on but from where I stand it looks to me like your stock solutions are contaminated. One thing you might do, if you have either a pH meter or pH strips, is measure the pH of a working solution. It should be around pH 11.0, ranging from 10.8-11.4. If you are way out of that range you would not get full development.

    Sandy King
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at groups.io
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  2. #62
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by sanking View Post
    Your working procedures sound fine, but the developer is not working now, even though it worked fine the first time you used it. I am not able to figure out what happened, but I know for a fact that the stock solutions of this developer, if mixed correctly, do not spontaneously go bad. For one of them to go bad, it must have been somehow contaminated. Perhaps that was done by PF, perhaps by you, or perhaps there is some other way it was contaminated. But if it is not working now it must have somehow been contaminated. I have on hand at this time more than eight different Pyrocat-MC kits, all at least two years old, and two dating from 2006. Two were mixed by PF (the oldest ones) and six by me. All have been used to develop film, and all still work.

    It should be noted that one of the reasons Pyrocat-MC (and HD) give such good accutance is because the formula is finely formulated to use as little reducer as possible, and the pH of the working solution is also carefully balanced. For this reason even small quantities of another chemical can easily contaminate the working solution. Even left over fixer in a Jobo drum has been known to ruin a working solution. It is harder to contaminate the stock solutions, but many people have managed to do that also.

    I hope you figure out what is going on but from where I stand it looks to me like your stock solutions are contaminated. One thing you might do, if you have either a pH meter or pH strips, is measure the pH of a working solution. It should be around pH 11.0, ranging from 10.8-11.4. If you are way out of that range you would not get full development.

    Sandy King
    Thanks, Sandy.

    My next tests will be a) extending dev time further b) refreshing the development with a fresh developer half way through a development and c) 1:1:50 mix. Seperately, of course. If the double strength mix doesn't fix this (disregarding contrast; I just want an image!!), then I think it's the product.

    I'm not sure what to make of the suggested dev time from PF if this requires 15+ minutes given the suggested starting point is 9 minutes. But if that's what's required, so be it! I'm hoping that this is the case. Just seems a 66% increase is a massive amount to get to N.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  3. #63

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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    "My next tests will be a)..."

    With all due respect: If you were the first person to ever test this developer, it would be one thing - but there's little chance at this point, that further adjustments to your methodology will reap any discoveries or breakthroughs.

    As Sandy said: "Your working procedures sound fine, but the developer is not working now, even though it worked fine the first time you used it".

    You'd save yourself a lot of time, and a minor expense, if you simply order another kit from PP, or mix some up yourself.

  4. #64

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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan 617 View Post
    Thanks, Sandy.

    My next tests will be a) extending dev time further b) refreshing the development with a fresh developer half way through a development and c) 1:1:50 mix. Seperately, of course. If the double strength mix doesn't fix this (disregarding contrast; I just want an image!!), then I think it's the product.

    I'm not sure what to make of the suggested dev time from PF if this requires 15+ minutes given the suggested starting point is 9 minutes. But if that's what's required, so be it! I'm hoping that this is the case. Just seems a 66% increase is a massive amount to get to N.
    If you need a 1+1+50 dilution to get acceptable density and contrast something is very wrong with the solutions. But actually, contrast is what you should be most interested in. Density is provided primarily by exposure, contrast by the energy of the developer and time of development.

    How much time you might need to develop your film to a high enough contrast depends on the dilution of the developer, temperature, method and frequency of agitation, and film type, as well as the process the negative is intended for. If you are using the 1+1+100 dilution development times might vary from as few as five or six minutes to as many as twenty to forty minutes depending on all of the factors above. The time of nine minutes for TXP was determined by the time needed to develop the film (rotary agitation, 72 degrees F) to a density range of log 1.05 (or CI of about .55) for printing with silver graded papers using a condenser light source. If developing for pt/pd printing the same negative would need from fifteen to twenty minutes of development time with the same type of agitation, and twice as much if you used minimal agitation.

    Over the years I have tried to trouble shoot situations for people who have for one reason or another not been successful with Pyrocat-HD or Pyrocat-MC. However, for one reason or another there are a few out there who could just never get it right, and they moved on to other developers. I am sure that some of these persons still sincerely believe that the reason for the failure was the product. I wish you luck, but in the end there is no reason to fight against a product that is not working for you as there are literally hundreds of formulas that you can buy or mix that should give decent results.

    Sandy King
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at groups.io
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  5. #65
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    Sandy,

    Thanks for the information. When I mentioned the contrast thing, I was referring to not needing to get a perfect image. I meant that I am more concerned with getting an image that is usable/normal/scannable.

    I'm not fighting against it, nor do I want to move on.

    I want to both understand what is going on, and I want to work out a way to get this product to do its stuff.

    As for not being able to "get it right", I have yet to have someone give me a reason for it not working based on my methodology. I have detailed my work flow and not had any criticism on it. So, unless you can direct me on any erroneous processes, I am left with the developer being the probable issue. And, as you mentioned in one of your first responses here, the fact that I was able to get a good image in the first batch implies that I can get it right; here lies the issue!

    You will read that I still want to get this to work. I don't want to go back to Tetenal, nor resort to buying some D-76. There's no "romance" in these chemicals!!

    If you have any suggestions on where to go with this (I'm thankful for the pH test advice, and I will do some lengthened developments in line with your suggested times as well), I would appreciate hearing them.

    One final question: Do you think that it's worth trying some sheets of a different film? I have some HP4 and some Efke 25 that I can try…


    Thanks again for all the feedback on this.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  6. #66

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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lachlan 617 View Post
    If you have any suggestions on where to go with this (I'm thankful for the pH test advice, and I will do some lengthened developments in line with your suggested times as well), I would appreciate hearing them.

    One final question: Do you think that it's worth trying some sheets of a different film? I have some HP4 and some Efke 25 that I can try…
    The pH test is the most important thing you can verify easily, assuming you have either the test strips or a meter. The pH of a working Pyrocat-MC solution must be above about 10.8 for there to be enough energy for the developer to perform as it should. If the pH is below this number the energy of the developer would be much lower, meaning that development times for the same contrast would take much longer. BTW, it is always a good idea to shake the B solution before mixing the working as some of the carbonate may have fallen out of solution. The pH test will let you know if the B solution is OK.

    If the working solution is 10.8 or higher and you still don't get enough contrast then you know that the problem is with Solution A. Unless Solution A is very, very dark (which would suggest it might have oxidized) it should be ok. However, a very dark solution does not necessarily mean that the A solution is bad as the color may result from dyes that are not harmful. So there is really no easy test for Solution A rather than the final result.

    Sandy King
    http://www.sandykingphotography.com/
    For discussion and information about carbon transfer please visit the carbon group at groups.io
    [url]https://groups.io/g/carbon

  7. #67

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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    Lachlan,

    Take a sheet of 4x5 film and cut it into 1" squares( I don't think it matters which film you use).then make up a working solution and in the daylight pop the exposed film in the dev(you could actually use three pieces and remove them at 9,15 20 min's)and agitate it as you would in development.If they don't darken in the developer,then it's obviously not working. I use this test every time I process film you get to see visually if the developer is working,you don't lose hard won pics or waste film and it's a great use for the 25th sheet in the box . Good luck with the outcome and I can highly recommend mixing your own(I particularly enjoy using the M version).
    regards
    Andy
    Last edited by Andrew Tymon; 31-Jul-2010 at 07:42. Reason: wrong word

  8. #68

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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Tymon View Post
    Take a sheet of 4x5 film and cut it into 1" squares( I don't think it matters which film you use).then make up a working solution and in the daylight pop the exposed film in the dev(you could actually use three pieces and remove them at 9,15 20 min's)and agitate it as you would in development.If they don't darken in the developer,then it's obviously not working. I use this test every time I process film you get to see visually if the developer is working,you don't lose hard won pics or waste film and it's a great use for the 25th sheet in the box . Good luck with the outcome and I can highly recommend mixing your own(I particularly enjoy using the M version).
    Brilliant !

    ... and thanks for the explanation: I've been wondering what to do with that 25th sheet now for a while

  9. #69
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: Issues with Pyrocat-MC… Any suggestions?

    Again, thanks to all who have provided input.

    Hopefully, I'll get time to do these tests today!
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

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