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

I finally got around to doing a comparison test between Sandy King's Pyrocat-HD (phenidone and pyrocatechin) formula and PMK (metol and pyrogallol). Check out the results at You may remember that Mr. King claimed equal quality with PMK, less toxicity, slightly greater speed, and more consistent staining action with Pyrocat. The Pyrocat stain is definitely more brown than PMK, but the two negatives print almost identically. Pyrocat seems to render a tad more shadow detail. I'm sufficiently pleased with the results to try some other films with this developer.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, April 29, 2000


Hello Ed. To be honest,I wasn't impressed with either of the test photos(blown out skies and lack of shadow detail). I'm sure the actual pictures show more detail then my monitor, but looks like you could have gotten much better results with Tri-x and Xtol, or any other conventional B&W developer.

-- Don Sparks (, May 01, 2000.

I may not have chosen the best subject for my comparison test. The day was hazy bright, with no real detail in the sky. I made my 1-3/4 minute exposures with a pinhole. It is pretty much inevitable that the skies will be blown out in pinhole photographs. I have developed 8x10 pinhole photos in D-23, Rodinal, and Ansel's pyrocatechin compensating formula and have never gotten any detail in a bright sky. So I doubt that a conventional developer would have done better. The fence in the photos is black wrought-iron--you will have to take my word for it that there is good shadow detail, as the subtle blacks simply will not reproduce on the web.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, May 01, 2000.

Hi Ed. Have you tried a yellow filter on that pinhole? Mind you, 0.8mm filter fittings aren't that easy to come by! ;^)

-- Pete Andrews (, May 02, 2000.

I need to cut some threads on my pinhole. Actually, I have a Wratten gel filter I could have used, but considering how little detail there was in the sky on the day in question I doubt it would have done much good. The exposure would have been over 3 minutes, and the test for shadow detail would have been skewed. etc.

-- (, May 02, 2000.

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