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Thread: Glycin and staining developers

  1. #1

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    Glycin and staining developers

    Hello :

    I am revisiting the world of formulating my own developers after some time, akin to cooking for myself as opposed to eating out for every meal, because I like to know what's going in my body. Anyway, as a current user of prescysol, I'm interested in staining developers capable of delicate highlight retention and have a couple questions. I find Prescysol to have unusually fine grain, great sharpness and incredible highlight retention. One area where it lacks, subjectively, is toward the bottom of the scale where it becomes flat and lacks local contrast. Until now I have used Delta films but will probably move toward conventional films.

    I use partial stand agitation for the usual reasons: compensation of the highlights and edge enhancement. My questions are:

    Is it possible to use a relatively dilute pyrogallol developer with minimal agitation, or does this necessarily cause streaking? For example, PMK looks very appealing but it seems to require almost constant agitation. Would adding glycin to a pyrogallol formula help with streaking, or would this agent combination lessen the stain and/or act subadditively? Would glycin enhance gradation in any way? Obviously I would love to keep the sulfite very low in order to maximize stain and acutance.

    If I stay with catechin, what can I expect from the addition of some glycin? I'm interested in formulating a staining version of FX2 or similar, with compensation, very high sharpness, some grain masking and appealing tonality across the scale. Or does highlight compensation necessarily sacrifice separation elsewhere on the scale?

  2. #2
    Octogenarian
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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    Have you tried Sandy King's Pyrocat-HD formulation?

    It will probably meet your expectations without the need for Glycin.

  3. #3

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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    Jarin,

    I've tried pyro/glycin, and it works, but not as well as pyro/phenidone. 510-Pyro produces very fine grain, and works very well in dilute solutions for low frequency agitation.

    IF you want to stay with catechol (catechin, pyrocatechol), I've found it isn't necessary to use a secondary developing agent to meet your goals. Catechol simply doesn't need the help of a secondary agent to do what it does so well. Hypercat is a very simple catechol developer that produces extremely sharp, fine grained negatives with excellent gradation. I don't recommend stand development with Hypercat, or agitation less frequent than 10 seconds/ 3 minutes, but Hypercat is an aggressively tanning developer, producing pronounced edge effects even with normal intermittent agitation.

  4. #4

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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    Interesting. I'm not so aware of propylene glycol. Is it a substance that preserves developer in place of sulfite, but without solvent action? Is TEA a substitute for sulfite and an accelerator? Do you need to heat TEA?

    What are people's subjective impressions of tonality when generally comparing pyrogallol and catechin? I prefer a longer scale negative with detail throughout the range, to be printed on around grade 3 paper. Is PMK a disaster with minimal agitation?

    Jarin

  5. #5

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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    Jarin,

    Propylene glycol is a solvent, which replaces water in a standard formula. Without water, the developer won't oxidize, so preservative levels can be adjusted to preserve only the working solution, and not the stock. Ascorbic acid acts as the preservative in both 510-Pyro and Hypercat, though it plays other roles as well. TEA is also a solvent, but does double duty as the alkali when mixed with water to make a working solution.

    It's hard to generalize about tonality. Pyro is historically renowned for its tonality, and catechol is famously used in many highly compensating developers, but each formula should be judged on its own merits, I think. A catechol+ developer (catechol+ another developing agent) will behave differently than a catechol-only developer, and the same goes for Pyro. PMK is not my favorite developer, and I would never consider it for minimal agitation, but perhaps others who use it feel differently.

  6. #6

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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    Are TEA and glycol solvent on grain like sulfite is solvent on grain?

    Does anyone anticipate what could be expected if phenidone was substituted with glycin in pyrocat or Jay's formulas? Would glycol or sulfite be necessary if developer was mixed just before each use, as opposed to making stock solutions?

    Lastly, don't pyrogallol and catechin need oxidation (water) to provide it's beneficial stain and tanning?

    Thanks, all.

  7. #7

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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    I've used Pyrocat-HD, Pyrocat PC, and 510 Pyro with minimal agitation and get good results. I prefer the Pyrocat PC and the 510 Pyro because they are stock solutions without water and will last for years if need be.
    juan

  8. #8
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    I use propylene glycol as a solvent in my film developer. It's necessary to get the glycin to disolve in the concentrated stock solution. I'm not aware of it having any photographic effects. It indirectly helps with preservation by allowing high developing agent concentrations.

    (the linked formula is just an example of glycin / glycol ... it's not likely to be a contender for what you're looking for)

  9. #9

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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    Paul,

    How does glycol make glycin more soluble? Glycin is all but insoluble in glycol. I would have never thought to try using glycol to increase the solubility.

  10. #10

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    Re: Glycin and staining developers

    Does anyone know if commercial Rodinal concentrate is glycol based? It would seem to make sense, as it's syrupy and lasts forever, and especially remarkable considering the hydroxide.

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