Perhaps I'm an idiot? More 510 Pyro Questions. Density funtime challenge.

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by sper, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. FIrst I'll give you my dev info.
    510 Pyro @ 21C diluted 1:100, 7 minutes (As suggested from Digital Truth). Dip and dunk
    development. Constant agitation for first 30 seconds then 10 seconds for every minute. My agitation
    style is normal, I lift the holders out of the liquid and rap them on the edge of the tank in one direction,
    dip, lift out,and then wrap them in the other direction (for full coverage). Water Stop and TF-4 Fix. 4x5
    sheets of FP-4+. I always develop 4 sheets at a time.

    I did a threshold test that indicated a clear ISO of 125. But upon exposing for the full ten zones, I
    found an inconsistency in that my fb+f was not .05-.1 away from my zone 1 density, as it was in my
    initial test. Upon reading the remaining zones, I found more or less normal gradiation until zones 8,9,
    and 10. These zones indicated a max density of 1.03. This is at my nominal development time from
    digital truth (digital guess...har har). Now I know this to be too low. I should be getting a max density
    of 1.5 or so, right?

    First of all I don't understand the rather large inconsistency between my initial threshold test and my N
    roll. (It's not a roll, I know, but that's what I call it. I'm referring to my ten zones exposed over two 4x5

    This inconsistency worries me, but I accept it within reason. Should I be agitating more vigorously?
    More time? Temp? Exposure? I just really don't know where to go here. I'm thinking do another 10
    zones over two sheets, expose at ISO 64 and maybe go up to 75F. What do you guys think of that?

    I can't figure why my initial threshold test would be so different. I am a very consistent in my
    development style. Should I perhaps be using a syringe to extract the 510 Pyro? That is some thick
    stuff and I fear my graduate measurements are less accurate due the developer sticking to the sides.
    This would be while measuring up to 10ml, not while pouring it out, as I keep filling and dumping until
    the cylinder appears clean. This could only add a few ml of developer though, and shouldn't explain
    less desnsity.

    Oh by the way, I'm taking densitometer readings from the blue channel.

    I gotta get to class so no time for spell check!

    Thanks guys!
  2. For a start; a sheet of film exposed with an overall minimal exposure will never give you the same results as a sheet exposed in a camera with higher densities on it. Why not? Because of camera and lens flare, that's why not. Light from the more exposed parts of the image will bounce around in the camera and add to the density of the less exposed areas.

    As for the lack of Dmax; I'm not familiar with 510 Pyro, but practically ANY developer diluted 1:100 will be in the realms of compensating. In other words there just won't be enough active developing agent in the solution to develop the highlights completely.

    OK. I'm looking at the formula for 510 pyro, and it seems to me that the developer strength is roughly 30 times that of D-76, undiluted. Now dilute that 100 times and you're looking at something equivalent to D-76 at about 1+3 dilution, and I'd say that 7 minutes is going to be nowhere near enough development time to get a full density.
  3. If your Zone I is not .08-.11 above your fb+f, you need more exposure. In other words a lower EI. When my students do their EI and development tests I ALWAYS advise them to let me see the first few exposures to confirm the test results. It is not unusual for them to be different although all are made in camera.

    As to development time with 510, your development time is short. After adjusting your EI, Make a series of about 3 exposures on Zone VIII. Develop two of these for 7 minutes and 10.5 minutes. Check the densities, and adjust the development time of the third sheet accordingly. If the VIII density is low, increase the development, if too high,adjust downward. It may be necessary to expose another sheet to finalize this time. I believe your development time is going to be around 12 minutes.

    THEN - use the new EI and development on some typical exposures, print them by your favorite means and adjust if needed.

    Good luck
  4. Mark,

    A 1:100 dilution of 510-Pyro will produce box speed or better with most films, including FP4+, with development times very similar to D-76 stock. Testing can be very confusing, and it is often more effective to simply expose at ISO speed, and develop for D-76 stock time. I've developed a LOT of FP4+ in 510-Pyro for 7:00/70F,with excellent results. For my own testing, I use a sensitometer for accurate, repeatable exposures, and a scanning color densitometer to read the step strips. The data collected is entered into the BTZS Plotter which generates the curves, charts and other data. 510-Pyro at 1:100 is a very active developer, and using D-76 1:3 times will result in extremely overdeveloped negatives.

    I use a measuring syringe to dispense my developer concentrates, and find it a very simple, accurate and convenient way to handle these kinds of developers. I suggest you go shoot some real images at ISO speed, and develop for 7:00/70F with standard intermittent agitation. Provided you shoot in near-normal conditions, your negs should print easily on G2 paper. Good luck!

  5. Thanks for all the help. You guys really know your stuff. I am particularly intrigued by
    some of the new test options.

    I ended up developing four new sheets. Two sets of all ten zones, 5 steps per sheet.
    These were exposed at 125. Actually, these were originally intended to be developed at
    1.5x and 2x in order to plot my density parameters.

    Contrary to what everyone who's been talking about 510-Pyro has been saying, I obtained
    more reasonable densities by increasing development from 7 to 12 minutes. All else
    remained 70C @ 1:100 w/ normal agitation. fb+fog is .16 and my zone 1 density is .26.
    This is a steep curve in the toe, but I anticipate that once I've plotted my parameters and
    apply paper density range, that my true nominal development time will decrease, thus
    providing a longer toe. My maximum density was 1.6. I am far more pleased with this
    result. I would be happier with an overall .1 decrease in my toe and shoulder, however as I
    said before, I am hoping my plotted densities will indicate a development time that will
    provide the lower densities.

    I do find it strange that my starting point was so far from the 5-7 minute
    recommendations. Perhaps I should check my thermometer calibration... Oh well.
  6. This is a very interesting discussion emphasizing sensitometry data rather
    than actual prints. I do not have sensitometery instruments, but my
    experience with printing 510 pyro negative at the times suggested by Jay is
    that that they appear a little too contasty with grade II paper and perhaps not
    enough contrast with variable contrast paper. I have always supsected that
    510 pyro, at these times, gives a very shallow curve in the shadows, a steep
    curve in the mid tones and a long, shallow curve in the upper mid tones and
    highlights. Prolonging development would exagerate the steep mid section
    perhaps making the mid tones appear over exposed.

    Jay, would it be possible for you to show some examples of curves with 510
    pyro compared to other developes such as D 76?
  7. Hello all!


    I'm glad you're testing is progressing, but I urge you to confirm your test results in the field before you finalize your development time. No densitometer is a perfect match for a printing paper's response to a stained neg, and fine tuning will almost always be required. I would be surprised to learn that developing FP4+/510-Pyro 1:100/12:00/70F/intermittent produced good negs under normal conditions for printing on graded papers, but less surprised that these negs print well on VC papers. I don't use hangers/tanks with 510-Pyro, but I'd still be surprised to see that much deviation from my results. Looking at your numbers, I see too much FB+fog for the corresponding high density. I would expect FB+fog in the .06-.11 range for fresh sheet film. Not that 1/3 stop density is going to cause problems in printing on silver papers, but it could reduce your useful density range and require extended development to recover. An accurate thermometer is very helpful for these kinds of comparative data discussions, but a reliable one will do for consistent results. Good luck, and keep us posted.


    I'm glad my suggested developmnent times get you in the ballpark between graded and VC papers. Imagining the shape of a film's curve based on the examination of prints is very tricky business, and actual sensitometry might provide some surprises, and visa-versa. The shapes of the curves produced by 510-Pyro do not change appreciably between Visual and Blue channel densitometry, nor do they differ greatly from the shapes of curves produced with D-76. A film's curve is only half the equation, and when a printing paper is introduced, all bets are off. Depending on the paper's curve and spectral sensitivity, the Visual or Blue channel curve might apply more directly, but neither can be expected to be an exact match. If one could buy a densitometer filter that exactly matched the spectral sensitivity of one's printing paper, sensitometry with stained negatives would be greatly simplified and far more reliable, but in practice, densitometry is only an approximation, and the only way to know exactly how a printing paper will respond to a stained negative is to print the negative on the paper, as you've done.

    I'm working on a new method for calibrating stained negatives to printing papers that completely eliminates the problem of densitometer spectral sensitivity, and will provide much more accurate and reliable data for staining developer users than current methods do. My main objectives are to make the system as user-friendly and apparatus-independent as possible, while improving accuracy and reliability for all users of staining developers, regardless of experience level. The system will be presented in article form on my still-in-development website, and perhaps published in print as well. It's a demanding project, and my time is divided, but I will post a notice here when it's complete.


    your work is exemplary, and I appreciate your expert opinion of this developer. Would it be possible to see some examples of your work with 510-Pyro?

  8. For the purposes of this discussion I'll post my readings from both 7 minute trial and 12
    minute trial. Please note these readings are off the blue channel.

    7 Minutes: fb+Fog .11
    I 0.15
    II 0.22
    III 0.29
    IV 0.35
    V 0.40
    VI 0.57
    VII 0.74
    VIII 0.82
    IX 1.00
    X 1.02

    12 Minutes: fb+Fog 0.15
    I 0.23
    II 0.39
    III 0.52
    IV 0.61
    V 0.68
    VI 0.97
    VII 1.27
    VIII 1.42
    IX 1.51
    X 1.57

    On comparison, the 12 minute data is quite alarming in terms of highlight to mid-tone
    gradiation. However, the shadow densities in zones 8 and 9 are where I would like them
    to be. I am thinking my next move should be a print test using both graded and VC paper.
    I happen to have a new box of Ilfabrome Gallerie Grade 2, as I was planning on testing it
    out anyway (I've only ever used VC). Anyways, I have a negative developed at 7 minutes,
    but I'll have to make another one at an extended time. I don't think 12 minutes is right, so
    I'm thinking more in the 8-9 minute range.

    The reason I am doing tests like these is because I am a college student doing an
    independent study on advanced black and white techniques. The college has a course
    called Sensitometry, but I've already taken that and Sensitometry 2 is no longer offered
    (Thank you digital). Anyway, Acutol is no longer available (on which my system was based)
    and my plan has been to simply develop a new black and white system (camera-film-
    developer). In another thread, someone suggested 510 Pyro and I liked what I saw. I
    probably should have started with a print, but instead I just went straight into attempting
    to plot a density curve based on test data (which is why all my work in my Applied
    Photography class has been in color thus far...) The point is that I would like to establish a
    clear sensitometric system outlining my N, N-1, N+1, and N+2. I am starting to see that I
    should not expect what I thought of as normal results from this developer in terms of
    density readings.

    The prints should give me something of an idea of what types of densities are acceptable.

    I'll try to find time to post some print scans once I make them. However I may not have
    time to do this until next week, as I am attending the SPE photo conference in Nashville
    starting tomorrow.

    I have really enjoyed this process of testing. Thank you for the time you've put into
    answering my questions. I hope we can continue this disscusion on sensitometry with

  9. Here is an example
  10. Another example
  11. Both are scanned prints on Mulitgrade warmtone. The first picture was taken
    on a sunny day and the water which was in direct sunlight appeared
    completely white on initial prints. I was impressed at how much texture and
    detail could be brought out in the water after extensive burning. The scanned
    image does not do justice- the shadow detail extends into the darkest
    shadows in the actual print.

    The second picture was taken on a very cloudy day. i think this particular kind
    of lighting works well with 510 pyro. The negative is too contrasty on graded
    paper, but seems to do well on variable contrast paper.
  12. Thanks, John.

    I know how difficult it can be to make a scan representative of a print. Not many people have the confidence to try stand development with staining developers, myself included. I suspect you developed to exhaustion long before the hour was up, but I've never tested development times that long. I'm surprised and impressed to see such apparently even development.

    The waterfall looks like a demanding scene. How did you rate your HP5+ for those shots?

    Thanks again for posting.

  13. Both were rated af 400. The first picture placed zone II at the darkest shadow
    I could find- pehaps making it a little underexposed. The second placed the
    the street at zone V and a half.
  14. Hi Mark.

    I've taken the liberty of plotting your curves, and I think it's clear you're having some trouble with your exposures. FP4+/510-Pyro produces a straight line curve. This is a good example of why in-camera exposures are problematic for sensitometry. Have you made any test images yet?

  15. Here's the 12 min curve-
  16. I'll add to the confusity.... Here's a plot from a 5.5 minute time on FP4+, 120 film with 510. It shows a similar long toe. I kind of drifted off to some other projects and haven't taken the time to hammer this out yet Jay. The blue line shows the curve @50 EI.
  17. Hi Craig.

    Your curve is a lot closer to what I'd expect from this combination/dilution/development time. It looks like a little more development would put you at normal contrast, and EI 125, which would agree with my own testing pretty closely. Thanks for posting.

  18. I just plotted my density perameters. Though I don't have time to upload the data right
    now. With a paper density of 1.0 (which I use for VC) my "N" time is 14 minutes 30
    seconds. I'm going to process a few sheets soon and make some prints. I am still getting
    that strange jump between zones V and VI, but my professor looked at my numbers and
    thought I was probably fine. I'm suspicious, but I'm looking forward to seeing my results.

    I am as perplexed by the difference in my data from everythign I have read as you guys
    are. But these are the results I'm getting and that's all I can really go by.

    I was thinking that perhaps 510-Pyro is just not well suited to dip and dunk development.
    Maybe it needs those full inversions in order to work at full strength.

    By the way, I made prints of my initial 7 minute negative. As I suspected it came out really
    flat on both VC and graded paper. So I'm not just missreading my negs.

    I'll post again when I have something for you.
  19. Hi Mark.

    14:30 is a long time, and more than 2X what I would consider normal. Your agitation scheme doesn't explain this discrepency. If your testing procedure is not the root of the problem, I think it's possible there's something wrong with your developer, or dilution. Your times seem closer to normal for a 1:200 dilution. It does seem clear, however, that there is a problem with your test exposures, based on the numbers you posted, and the resulting curves. I hope you work it out, and if there's anything I can do to help, please let me know. Good luck.

  20. "I am as perplexed by the difference in my data from everythign I have read as you guys are. But these are the results I'm getting and that's all I can really go by."

    You seem to be more of a scientist than a photographer. Photography is about getting results, not analyzing numbers. You don't need plots to pull a test print.
  21. Dan, while I too prefer a more casual approach to my photography, many folks value the pursuit of precision. Both are equally valid.
  22. Nothing wrong with precision, but plotting curves in order to decide whether to try to print or not is backwards.
  23. Once you develop a sense of the numbers and the relationship with your papers, it can take a great deal of puzzlement out of things to quantify what's going on with your film/developer combos. Tinkering with this aspect has rekindled my darkroom interests and validated or debunked many assumptions I had made in the past. It takes all kinds of us to fill the freeways, remember, and whatever keeps the film selling to a wide variety of interests is fine with me!
  24. Hi Mark. Here's a family of curves for 35mm FP4+/510-Pyro 1:100/70F/Rotary/ paper ES 1.3 (VC). If you're not familiar with BTZS data, the numbers from left to right represent development time, EFS (Effective Film Speed), Average Gradient (contrast), and SBR (Subject Brightness Range). SBR 7 represents normal contrast, and dev. time for SBR 7 is 5:25, EFS 125+. For graded papers with an Exposure Scale of 1.0, normal development time is 3:54. As you can see, my N/SBR 7 curve matches Craig's very closely. Is it possible you left the phenidone out of your developer? That might explain the huge discrepency in our results. I hope you sort it out and move on to making photographs. Good luck. Jay
  25. All ingredients were added. I remember adding the phenidone, and all the other
    chemistry. I had your write up from digital truth in front of me as I was mixing. I
    purchased the kit from Artcraft. He multiplied all ingredients x4. So I have, or had at the
    start, 400ml of total stock solution. In the order you indicated, I added 300ml of TEA,
    then 20g of ascorbic acid, 40g of Pyrogallol and 1g of Phenidone. I then topped off with
    tea to make 400ml. The temperature was not exactly at 105?F, however it did not deviate
    more then 10?F plus or minus throughout the mixing process.

    When I make my working solution, I extract the dev with a syringe, and extrude it into a
    10ml graduate. I then add it to 1000ml of distilled water. I make sure to pour back and
    fourth from the 10ml graduate to the total solution. This goes on for a while, as 510-Pyro
    is so viscous. I then stir the working solution. I temper to 21?C, and use dip and dunk.
    agitation for the first 30 seconds, and then 10 seconds or four lifts and tilts every minute
    for the remaining development. Water stop, TF-4 fix.

    My testing indicates that, as you said, 14min. 30seconds development is far too long.
    Although my negs were not bullet proof by any stretch of the imagination, they printed
    quite contrasty. I had suspected this would be the case. As you can see from my curves,
    there is a jump in between zone V and VI. This is also where I switch from one 4x5 sheet
    to the next (as I have 5 zones per sheet w/ fb+Fog.) I am now plotting all densities per
    dev time on 1 sheet by masking one half of the carrier. I marked my darkslide with 2cm
    increments. I take a spot meter reading and stop down to zone one. Then like a test
    strip, I simply expose each section according to my markings on the darkslide. I then
    mask off half the carrier, and make another 5 exposures. I haven't yet processed these
    four sheets, but I hope to today.

    Considering the many differences in our techniques, a development time that is simply
    100-150% longer is not unreasonable. I am very interested in seeing what will happen
    when I start running 510-Pyro in tanks with 120 film. Due to the full inversion, I suspect
    much shorter development times. I think it is crucial for me to make sure to fully mix my
    working solution when using dip and dunk development, as I do not want any of the heavy
    concentrate sitting on the bottom.

    I am really busy with my midterm portfolio right now, so these tests are something of a
    side project. When I have time to scan results, I will post them. Until then I'll continue
    posting my numbers.

    As for the comments about sensitometric testing in general, I am simply attempting to
    grasp a greater understanding of my materials and how to most effectively use them. The
    way in which I am doing this is well suited to this purpose.

  26. You might find it easier to first place your water in the beaker, then use a baby medicine/vitamin syringe to measure and dispense the concentrate. It almost mixes itself that way. My pharmacist gave me a handful for nothing and each one lasts many uses.
  27. Hi again, Mark.

    I hope your midterms are going well. I have a few suggestions, and comments. I see no reason to draw out the concentrate with a syringe, and then transfer it to a graduate before adding it ot the mixing container; instead, just go from the syringe to the mixing container.

    One potential problem with your testing method is the phenomenon known as the Intermittency Effect, in which several short exposures do not equal one long exposure. If you're committed to testing, you might consider purchasing a stepwedge from Stoufers for your test exposures. This method requires less film, less chemicals, and less time, while delivering more accurate results.I think once you get your testing procedure ironed out, you'll find your times very close to those reported by other users. Good luck.

  28. Wow. Intermittency Effect would explain quite a lot actually. The last two tests I've run
    (10 zones per sheet) have been maxing out around a density of 1.40...and this is at a total
    time of 24 minutes! My 5 zone sheets aquired much higher densities, this could indeed
    explain my longer development times.

    However, if you remember from earlier in our discussion, my test images at 7 minutes
    were still quite thin and printed, as I thought they would, flat and muddy.

    Aside from the density jump between sheets (zones V and VI), which is probably due
    human error, my tests using two sheets with exposure over 5 zones was consitent with the
    test images I was making. The density jump on my curve was throwing off my
    determination of development time, but otherwise the data seemed to be good. I
    processed four images at the 14:30seconds dev time and the negatives were nearly where
    they should be. They were contrasty, but not so much that I could tell from the light table.
    I still suspect my development time will be around 12 minutes.

    I already know that my testing using two sheets was done incorrectly, but what puzzles
    me was that my mistake seemed to register in the opposite way that it should have. I
    stopped down to zone 1 from my meter indicated, made five exposures like a test strip. I
    then flipped the carrier and stopped back to my meter indicated, or zone V. This is wrong
    because I already exposed for zone V on the first side. So I should have opened up to one
    stop above my meter indicated, right? This error should have simply given me a straight
    line between V and what I thought should be VI, but I got a jump that looks as if I opened
    up one zone to many, not one to little. Is my thinking right on this?

    These tests are way easier with a hasselblad.

    Jay, can you tell me the capacity for 510 Pyro with 4x5 sheets? I've been doing four per

    Thank you for all your help. You guys have been very patient with me, particularly Jay.

    I'm late to class, no time for spell check, sorry.

  29. According to my testing, the intermittency effect appears to be causing failure in the
    fourth exposure. This is where it first appears most noticably. Although to be safe, two
    exposures is probably as far as I'd push it.

    So I've got that out of the way! With my new testing methods my results should be quite a
    bit more uniform. I plan on taking an empty paper bag and making masks I can tape on
    my carriers. They'll each have a hole in a different place through which I can make
    exposures. I'll plot my numbers as I get them.

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