Phenidone vs. Metol developers: grain and sharpness : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I posted the following question as a follow up, but I'm afraid it's buried, so I'm posting it again as new:

Is there an appreciable difference, with respect to grain, between properly formulated developers using metol or phenidone. I don't mean, necessarily, MQ or PQ. In fact, specifically, I'm thinking in terms of developers that do not have hydroquinone at all.

For example, let's take the Pyrocat-HD formula. As I understand it, the original formula called for 1g sod. bisulfite, 5g catechol, 0.2g pot. bromide and 0.2g phenidone / 100ml water to form the "A" solution. I have seen metol suggested as substitution for phenidone. I believe I read 1g of metol instead of 0.2g phenidone. (From my own experience, however, I think it would take 2-3g of metol to achieve the same activity, but let's assume for the sake of discussion that 1g of metol = 0.2g of phenidone.)

So my question is: Has anyone used Pyrocat-HD, or any other developer where phenidone or metol has been replaced by the other (assuming a substitution that amount yields an equally balanced formula). Then, comparing those two formulas, what differences--if any--were observed in terms of grain and/or sharpness. Also, did phenidone provide enhanced shadow detail over metol, as is commonly believed?

-- Ted Kaufman (, July 27, 2001


There is only slight differences between the two. Kodak's Metol essentially is the same and most people think that Phenidone is more expensive... it's not really when you consider the amounts. My findings are that there is a SLIGHT shadow inhancement and I feel that Phenidone is a bit sharper but there again slightly... Hope this helps.

-- Scott Walton (, October 23, 2001.

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