Pyrocat-HD - New Film Developer : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

The latest issue of Post-Factory Photography has a very interesting article on a developer formulated by Sandy King as a substitute for PMK. It is based on pyrocatechin and phenidone. Mr. King claims that Pyrocat-HD provides increased film speed, reduced development times, reduced toxicity, more consistent staining action, and no mottling or streaking with reduced agitation. I have contacted Mr. King and he has given me permission to reproduce his formula on my web site. You can find it at If you test this developer and would care to share your results, I will be happy to publish them.

Meanwhile, if you haven't heard of Post-Factory Photography, you owe it to yourself to get a subscription--it contains obscure information you won't find anywhere else. Post-Factory Photography is edited by Judy Seigel and published by Post-Factory Press, 61 Morton Street, New York, NY 10014. A four-issue subscription is $24. (Please add $6 for overseas airmail and $10 airmail to the Pacific and Asia.) I don't regard this as a commercial endorsement, as I doubt she has made a cent on the magazine or is even worried about it turning a profit. Post-Factory Photography is a labor of love.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, January 18, 2000


Response to New Film Developer Pyrocat-HD

Hi Ed,

First of all, thanks for maintaining such a nice site, I've found a real help when I needed a time for a new film and PMK.

I've seen Mr. King's posts on regarding the original formula (no Phenidone or Potassiume Bromide, but with Metol) in the past, and have been considering trying the formula. Have you printed any of the negatives yet? I'm especially interested in how the highlights come out. Could I trouble you to post your resuting comments here as well?

I've gone back to the original USENET thread on, and I see that phenidone is the recommendation to perhaps gain film speed (as well as shorten development times). Interesting stuff. I've still got quite a bit of PMK left, but I'm leaning heavily to trying Pyrocat simply because of the decreased toxicity.

Paul Paul

-- Paul D. Robertson (, January 21, 2000.

Response to New Film Developer Pyrocat-HD

Regarding the toxicity of pyrogallol and pyrocatechin: Both of these substances are extremely toxic. Using either chemical requires safety precautions (See Gordon Hutchings' Book of Pyro.) Therefore it, is not pertinent to choose an inferior formula because of 'reduced' toxicity.

-- Michael D Fraser (, March 01, 2000.

Response to New Film Developer Pyrocat-HD

Michael: Your comments are well taken. I have yet to determine that Pyrocat-HD is inferior in any way. Certainly it's stain is a different color, but I'm going to continue to experiment with it. I particularly like its ability to handle reduced agitation for compensation--this worked beautifully with my 8x10 pinhole negatives, where the 115 second exposure gave way too much exposure in the high values. I'm waiting to develop and print the rest of my 8x10's before I update my article on Pyrocat.

-- (, March 02, 2000.

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