Pyrocat-HD, wrong stain color? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I had a really strange thing happen on the way to a negative yesterday...

I had six negatives to develop - I use four tubes, so it takes two runs to do 6 negs. I use Pyrocat-HD (Sandy Kings formula) for most of my negatives, and in this case, I used it for all six.

After I finished the run, and let the negatives dry, I tossed them onto my light table, and was shocked to see that the first four negatives were not stained at all, but were silver-like - it almost looked like I had developed the negatives in XTOL, or something similar. The two negatives developed in the second run were fine - they had the characteristic brown color of a Pyrocat-HD developed negative.

I can't figure out how this happened - I mixed up both batches exactly the same, except the second batch was smaller in quantity (2 vs. 4 negs). Same tubes, same fixer, water stop, etc. *Nothing* was different.

The film I used was HP5+ - I've had very consistent results with this developer/film combination....

Can someone explain to me how these negatives have NO stain?



-- Ken Miller (, December 30, 2001


I'd be curious to know if the scenes photographed were in any way different--more or less contrast, etc. I've never had this happen. Was the quantity of solution the same? Do you use a minimum quantity per sheet of film?

-- Ed Buffaloe (, December 30, 2001.

Ed, the negatives that were 'properly' stained were taken later in the morning, and were of a longer range: say 6-7 stops. One of the negatives was processed as N-2 (very long exposure, needed to rein in the contrast), and the other as N. The first four (which showed no stain) were 3.5-4.5 stops, and were processed for 13 minutes at 70F (as listed in the article on your site, for HP5+).

Standard dilution was used: 1+1+100. Distilled water ('A' and 'B' included), 75ml in each tube. This is what I've been using since I started using Pyrocat-HD - it's worked perfectly every time. The only difference is when I mixed the chemicals - for the batch of 4, I mixed up 300ml of solution (+3ml A, and 3ml B), and for the second batch, I mixed up 200ml (+2ml A, 2ml B), and discarding the extra 50ml.

If anything, I'd expect that the N-2 negative would be the 'off' one, (since it's processing time was so short) but it turned out fine.

I'm going to do some prints this afternoon/evening, and see how they turn out.

Could this perhaps have something to do with the film?

-- Ken Miller (, December 30, 2001.

Any chance that there was an error in processing? Sulfite or acid in the stop/fixer present in only the first run in some way. That might have reduced stain induction. Good luck, DJ.

-- N Dhananjay (, December 30, 2001.

It may be that they were simply so low-contrast that the stain is not readily apparent. Printing them is a good choice. I've heard some other people complain of not getting good stain with HP-5 and PMK (though I usually do). Sometimes my T-Max 100 negs developed in PMK look as though they are un-stained (part of it is the perfectly clear film base--no fog), but they always print beautifully. Were these 4x5?

-- Ed Buffaloe (, December 30, 2001.

If you can repeat this effect with a negative you can sacrifice, you might try bleaching out the silver with Farmer's reducer. I don't know for sure if this will tell you anything with Pyrocat, but with PMK it will leave the stain image which you can actually print on grade 3 or 4 paper. It might be, I suppose, that the stain is there but not the usual color.

-- Patrick A. Gainer (, December 30, 2001.

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