PMK - Question about format : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I've gone through this board and other sites and read everything I can on PMK without getting the book. My question is a simple one aimed at those who like using PMK. Is this worth it to use for 35mm film? I kind of get the idea that people that really like this formula are view camera people. I've read some insinuations on some posts that the benefits to 35mm film are slight to non-existent. I'm coming back into darkroom work after a long time. I just got an old B-8 with a cold light. I've pretty much settled on Tri-X or HP5 to start out. I want to settle on one developer for awhile, also. I'm reading some stuff about two stage D-76 that sounds good, also. Anyway, I'll concentrate on this one area for this post. In summary, PMK for 35mm worthwhile and does it do better with a cold light or condenser? I've been lurking here for a few weeks, and I do appreciate all the info I've absorbed just by reading all the old posts. Thanks M.R. for a great board.

John Kilmer

-- John Kilmer (, May 03, 2000


I have used Kodak's SD-1 (pyro) for 35mm and like it very well and there is a noticible differnce in the neg's between standard (non-pyro) and pyro neg's, anyone who tells you otherwise has never used pyro or did not know what they were doing with it. I gave up condenser light about 6 years ago for a Zone VI cold light head for my Omega D2V along with a compensating timer and have never regretted it. Welcome back to B/W. Regards, Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, May 04, 2000.


PMK is an extraordinary developer with any format. It is a little more work than standard developers but its worth it. Pyro developers such as PMK guard highlights better than any standard developer. The tonal range is much longer and negatives are easier to print. You will see the difference more dramatically with high contrast scenes and films in the lower ASA range. If you insist on a standard developer, Use Kodak X-tol for high speed films like tri x and hp5. Even Kodak rates X-tol superior to all of it's other developers in every catagory. Even the author of the Book of Pyro, Hutchings, writes about using PMK with 35mm format.

Good Luck

-- Greg Rust (, May 04, 2000.

I have used PMK for the past 5 years for all my work, 35mm, medium format, and large format. I don't see a compelling reason to use anything else at this time, though my early tests of Sandy King's Pyrocat-HD formula (phenidone and catechol) indicate that it may be a useful substitute for PMK.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, May 04, 2000.

It's strange this should be posted today, as I was about to post a nearly identical question! I've got some PMK on the way and I'll be using it exclusively with 35mm.

I'm tempted to try DiXactol (Photographer's Formulary has it - it's a pyrocatechin-based developer) once I get the hang of PMK.

I'll post my results once I have some. I'm hoping my kit gets here by the weekend so I can process some Tri-X I have awaiting development (I don't mind the grain with the subjects I used it for).

-- Jim MacKenzie (, May 04, 2000.

Kepe in mind that I don't use pyro but one would imagine that it should be quite attractive for smaller formats. This is because the density is a result of the silver grain as well as the stain. So for your required density range, you would be developing for a shorter time i.e., the silver part of the image should be to a lower CI, which should mean less grain clumping. Also since the stain is over the entire area (but proportional to silver density), one would imagine that gradation and apparent granularity (two things smaller formats need to be particularly cognizant of) should improve. DJ

-- N Dhananjay (, May 04, 2000.

I just developed my first roll (35mm) of TMAX today -- in DiXactol. Up till now I've been usually using HP5+ with Accufine (usually pushed to about 800). I rated the TMAX at 320. Most of the shots were in bright sunlight, some with loads of shadow, a recipe for contrast problems. Anyway, I followed the directions for developing in one shot, and I'm very impressed with the results. The negatives look very sharp, with good detail in both highlights and shadows. Tommorow I'll print some up and see if my enthusiasm is justified.

-- Christopher Hargens (, May 04, 2000.

One of the things people don't mention as often about PMK is that it is VERY SHARP, sharper than Rodinal. It's a High Definition developer that ranks right up there with FX2 for sharpness. But you don't have to pay as big a grain penalty as you do with the other HD developers; the stain PMK produces helps mask the grain of the film. It's rather like having your cake and eating it, too, and perfect for 35mm.

-- Brian Hinther (, May 09, 2000.

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