the next best thing to pyro

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Joe, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. Joe

    Joe Guest

    what is it? if you pyros run out of pyro, what do you use in its place?
    Joe, Oct 21, 2005
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  2. A fine soup made from boiled oak tree galls.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Oct 21, 2005
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  3. Joe

    Joe Guest

    you've got a lot of gall
    Joe, Oct 21, 2005
  4. Joe

    ujazz32 Guest

    There are other tanning/staining agents besides pyrogallol. Catechol,
    hydroquinone and coffee are a few. I don't think there is any scarcity
    of pyrogallol.

    ujazz32, Oct 21, 2005
  5. Joe

    Frank Pittel Guest

    : what is it? if you pyros run out of pyro, what do you use in its place?

    I just got into using TFX-2. I use semi-stand development and aggitate 5secs
    every 3min.
    Frank Pittel, Oct 22, 2005
  6. Joe

    UC Guest

    Urinol. It's a piss-poor developer.
    UC, Oct 22, 2005
  7. Joe

    Joe Guest

    so you would use coffee or hydroquinone if you were out of pyro and
    wanted the next best thing? Can I see some of your prints anywhere? ;)

    I'm not out of pyro, I just dont want to get any.
    Joe, Oct 22, 2005
  8. Joe

    Joe Guest

    and does this give you next-best-thing-to-pyro results?
    Joe, Oct 22, 2005
  9. Joe

    John Guest

    LOL ! There is a world of difference between any pyro-based formula
    and TFX-2 ! Grain for starters. I've yet to see a fine-grained pyro
    formula and most have granularity coparable to Rodinal with a
    comparable speed loss.

    John, Oct 22, 2005
  10. Joe

    Frank Pittel Guest

    : Frank Pittel wrote:
    : > : what is it? if you pyros run out of pyro, what do you use in its place?
    : >
    : > I just got into using TFX-2. I use semi-stand development and aggitate 5secs
    : > every 3min.

    : and does this give you next-best-thing-to-pyro results?

    In my never humble opinion it gives me better then pyro results. Then again I
    never cared for pyro
    Frank Pittel, Oct 22, 2005
  11. Joe

    ujazz32 Guest


    if I was out of Pyro, my next choice would be catechol. Actually, I
    have no real preferrence between the two. Hydroquinone would be next on
    my list of preferred staining developers, and coffee would be last.
    Coffee is the most expensive, and least effective of the staining
    developers, with many drawbacks in the darkroom. If stain is not
    important, I would use an ascorbate developer.


    it's not true that all pyro developers produce grain similar to
    Rodinal. 510-Pyro produces very fine grain and full film speed, or

    Pyro developers offer many useful characteristics, which taken in
    aggregate make them unique. If one is interested in one or two specific
    characteristics, there are non-pyro developers that might be excellent
    alternatives. If you don't want to use pyro, but want to try a
    non-toxic staining developer, coffee is your best bet, despite its poor
    comparison to pyro, or the other staining agents such as catechol and
    hydroquinone. If you're really interested, I can post a coffee-based
    formula for a staining developer that produces results similar to PMK.
    ujazz32, Oct 22, 2005
  12. Joe

    Rod Smith Guest

    I've been curious about staining developers but I'm reluctant to mess with
    pyrogallol or catechol, so I'd be interested in seeing this. Is it just
    regular caffeinol, or some specific variant of it? (I've seen several
    variants of caffeinol.)

    (FWIW, I am aware of hydroquinone's ability to stain, and have the formula
    for Q-P-TEA on hand, but I don't have any hydroquinone at the moment. I'll
    buy some if and when the urge to experiment strikes, but coffee's easier
    to get than hydroquinone.)
    Rod Smith, Oct 23, 2005
  13. Joe

    ujazz32 Guest

    Hi Rod.

    I get instant coffee from the dollar store and pay about a penny/gram
    for it, but it's still the most expensive staining developer I know
    because it takes so much of it to do the work. Here's a formula that
    will produce results similar to PMK at similar development times:

    water 750ml

    NaOH (sodium hydroxide) 1.66g

    sodium ascorbate .35g

    instant coffee 27g

    phenidone .1g

    water to 1 liter

    You can make whatever adjustments are necessary to use what you have on
    hand, ie, sub carbonate, or TSP for NaOH, ascorbic acid for sodium
    ascorbate, metol for phenidone, etc., with the appropriate substitution

    It is by nature a sloppy kind of developer, since I have no idea what
    the active ingredient in coffee that tans/stains the emulsion actually
    is, or how much of it there is in a gram of coffee, etc. Based on my
    experience with other staining developers I assumed that adding
    phenidone would increase activity, and ascorbate would control general
    stain, and increase activity, and that increasing the pH would increase
    activity and stain formation. My assumptions seem to hold up, but the
    developer is still dark brown, and smells terrible. Don't try to keep
    it, just use it and lose it.

    ujazz32, Oct 23, 2005
  14. A "sloppy kind of developer"? Yeah, I bet it is, because I'd be very,
    very surprised to see that the 27 grams of instant coffee actually had
    any effect at all except to create massive base fog. You can "tone"
    prints with cold black coffee if you run out of sepia toner, but the
    results are pretty awful: the coffee stains the emulsion, stains the
    support, and *does not do so proportionally* -- it's like dipping your
    prints in brown dye, and I see little reason to think the results would
    magically be better for film.

    The formula you listed contained phenidone and ascorbate. I bet if you
    omitted the instant coffee and adjusted the pH appropriately, if you
    actually did sensiometry you'd discover that the only difference with
    the coffee was an overall increase in density -- in other words, an
    increase in fog regardless of level of exposure.

    Of course since the fog will be dark brown you may need a color
    densitometer -- and a well-calibrated one -- to read this. Similar
    effects have helped people convince themselves that they were getting
    magic special results from various staining developers for years, but
    though I was a sucker for it myself once, today I am pretty much

    A compensating developer can have its uses (particularly if one is
    habitually sloppy about proper exposure in the camera) but voodoo
    belongs in the swamp or in the kitchen, if you ask me -- not in the
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Oct 23, 2005
  15. Joe

    Joe Guest

    Joe, Oct 23, 2005
  16. Joe

    ujazz32 Guest


    Coffee will develop film without the phenidone or ascorbate, it just
    takes longer, and produces more general stain. I test my developers
    using a sensitometer for exposures, and a color densitometer to read
    the resulting stepwedges. I am very familiar with staining developers,
    and know general stain from proportional stain. The formula I posted
    works as described. You can try it, or not, I really don't care which.
    You make many assumptions in your post, but in the end, you have no
    experience with this developer, and I do. It's no voodoo, but there are
    many staining developers I prefer to this one.
    ujazz32, Oct 24, 2005
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Oct 24, 2005
  18. Joe

    ujazz32 Guest


    you obviously know all you want to know about staining developers. Best
    of luck to you.
    ujazz32, Oct 25, 2005
  19. The staining abilities of pyrogallol are only part of its value. If you
    add enough sulfite to get rid of or at leaast minimize the stain, you
    still have the tanning of the gelatine which causes the well known
    relief image and an increase in subjective sharpness. True, other
    developers tan the image, but not to the same extent as pyrogallol.

    Stain proportional to the image density is what is sought. It increases
    contrast, even on VC papers, but more on graded papers and most
    "alternative" printing processes. Even if you bleach the silver out of a
    pyro-developed negative, you can still print it with high contrast
    paper. I do not know if you can get this much proportional stain with
    coffee, but I would not be rash enough to say no without a trial.
    PATRICK GAINER, Oct 31, 2005
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