Who is using pyro?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by ed_farmer, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. I am in the process of reopening my wet darkroom. When I was last doing a lot of work there, about 2003, I shooting Tri-X and processing in PMK. Looking into the various pyro developers available today, I am wondering if I should make another choice.

    I want to avoid mixing powers so I need a liquid developer. What are other using? With what film combinations? Positives? Negatives? (No pun intended) . . .
  2. What format are you considering using Ed? The diffused stain effect of pyro, or any such dye producing developer, has a different look on small formats than larger ones.

    I last experimented with a home brewed Phenidone-Ascorbate Borax developer. Very reliable and all ingredients but the Phenidone are easily obtainable from "high street" sources.

    Never been a fan of pyro after a bit of a disastrous first try, so I'll say nothing against it or in its favour.

    "I want to avoid mixing powers...." - That might be difficult unless you stick to commercial products. A bit limiting in formulary too, since Pyro developers oxidise readily.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017
  3. I use Pyro with good results for 120 or 4x5 film. If you don't like mixing powders I suggest using HC-110 it is concentrate, you just dilute, use and discard. Very economical too and still available on the market.
  4. Don't use Pyro much anymore, especially given some of the other developers out there. HC-110 mentioned; Rodinal (as Adonal) works well with a variety of films, and the Photographer Formulary (Developers - Film - Page 1 - Photographers Formulary) has a number of liquid options as well (like the Buetler developer they have particularly). I have even used PF equivalent for Dektol for standard "negative" processing, and as well used it as a developer for making B&W slides from negative film from Peter Carter's methodology. This is with 35mm, 120, and 4x5, with Tri-X, Double X (5222), Tmax (TMY-2 and TMY), HP5, Fomapan type films. Good luck!
  5. Yes . . . Well . . . There are plenty of liquid pyro options and most of those address the oxidation problem very well. I am not talking about mixing from scratch. I have been doing this, off and on, since about 1973 so I am very familiar with other options such as HC-110. My concern with mixing powders is specifically about pyro because of the toxicity and risk of inhalation.

    Photographer's Formulary is a great site and, in fact, it is the number pyro formulations in addition to PMK that drove my question in the first place..
  6. 2k17-042-002 ces5.jpg Hello everyone. Ed you picked a good time to jump back into film & use a pyro developer. Formulary sells the PMK Pyro material in either dry or liquid form. Also available is Pyrocat HD & MC formulas, again dry or wet. DIY and you have 510-Pyro or Obsidian Aqua, plus there are several other formulas that I have not tried.
    While any form of pyro chemical demands some attention to details while mixing, you are in greater danger next to a smoker than mixing a batch of pyro up.
    Venture over to the Classical Manual Camera forum and you will find a bunch of us there using the above pyro developers with a mix of films & formats. As a note, 99.99 % of my work since the late 90's has been with some form of pyro or staining developer. I go over to the "dark side" now & then with Rodinol, semi-stand. Example is from an Agfa Isolette 3 (Apotar), Ultrafine Xtreme 100 film (UFX100), Obsidian Aqua developer (Cathecol form of Pyro) & Epson V600 scan. Aloha, Bill
    Dave Luttmann likes this.
  7. The current Pyro developers allow me to use 400 asa materials in both 120 & 35mm formats with excellent results. 8x10 prints (digital) from scanned 35mm negs are EZ & every once in a while a full sized 11x14 makes it into a frame around the apartment. Here is Kentmere 400 in 35mm. Fed-3/Jupiter-8 combo, again with OA & a V600 scan. Aloha, Bill 2k17-037-006 ces13 bc 4x6.jpg

Share This Page