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Pyro Plus Paper Developer
by Donald Miller

Pyro Plus Paper Developer

Solution A

Water at 125 F

750 ml

Phenidone

0.35 g

Sodium sulfite

30 g

Pyrocatechol

10 g

Pyrogallol

10 g

Potassium Bromide

3.5 g

Water to make

1 liter

Solution B

Water at 125 F

750 ml

Sodium Carbonate

50 g

Water to make

1 liter

Mix 1 part A with 1 part B for use.  Once mixed it does not keep.  Wear gloves or use tongs with this developer.

Seagull VCFB printed at grade two. The film is Tri X developed in HC 110.

Printed on Seagull VCFB at grade two. The film is Bergger BPF 200 developed in ABC Pyro.

This developer originated in a discussion with Jorge G. some months ago. Jorge indicated that he thought a good paper developer could be based on pyro. He gave me some idea of what to try and I took the formulation from that point. It arose out of the realization that while Amidol was an excellent developer the cost was excessive.

I have found that, in this formulation, the developer is quite active, with emergence times on the order of 14 seconds, compared to 45 seconds in Dektol on Seagull VCFB.  The emergence time when compared to Amidol (Michael A. Smith formula) is very nearly the same and possibly slightly less with the pyro formulation.  The papers I have tested this developer with (Seagull VCFB, Azo, and J&C Polywarmtone Classic) have all shown about a one stop gain in paper speed compared to development in Dektol.

The formula provides flexibility in the ratio of pyrogallol to catechol, which may be of some importance for those who work with graded materials such as Azo.  For instance I have mixed it with 11 gm of pyrogallol and no catechol and observed an increase in dmax as measured by my Xrite 310 TR. With the straight pyrogallol formulation the paper takes more of a set (probably due to hardening of the emulsion caused by pyro tanning). By going to catechol at 16 gm and no pyrogallol the formulation becomes very soft. The formulation I have provided here gives nice convincing blacks, overall good tonal separation, and very clean highlights. Additionally, the formula as published allows for good toning with Seagull VCFB. I will attach three images that I have developed in this formula which at this time I am naming Pyro Plus Paper Developer.

Grade two Azo. The film is J&C Classic 200 developed in Pyrocat 1-1-150 with minimal agitation.

 

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