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Friday, 16 December 2011

The results of my first use of PMK Pyro


The results are not faultless. I will come to that later, first I have forgotten to mention that the films being processed are Ilford FP4+, used at ISO 125. 120 format producing a 6x6 negative. Now I'll outline the procedure used.
  1. The working solution was made up using filtered tap water at 21 degrees C and poured in straight away.
  2. Once the developer was in the tank I agitated it continuously for the first minute.
  3. The tank was inverted twice every 20 seconds and tapped to dislodge any bubbles.
  4. stopped, fixed and washed as normal.
I did not re-dip the film in the developer after fixing to intensify the staining. This is up to you but I was advised it did not make a noticeable difference.

Whenever I process a film I find that I'm a bit apprehensive as to what the outcome will be, even more so with a new developer! so just before I wash the film I have a little look to see if there is a negative, so far I have not been disappointed.

First impression, once the film was dry I noticed there weren't any water staining marks, that's a bonus. The film base has a slight mauve colour to it which increased in strength slightly with longer development times. The negatives overall were evenly processed. The contact prints revealed that there are dark spots on the neg's which I think may have been caused by air bubbles. I have just processed another film this time I gave it a two-minute pre-soak and there are no black spots on the negs.

To re-cap: Two minute pre-soak, pour developer in and agitate for first minute, then invert tank twice every twenty-seconds, stop,fix and wash as normal. You should get some very very fine grain negs.

I have printed four pictures so far. The first two on Foma 113 variant gloss, F11 grades 2.5 and 3 and they have a cool tone to them. The next two on Ilford multi-grade gloss, F11 grade 2 and 2.5, these have a warmish tone to them. Both papers were developed in Ilford -multi-grade print dev.

The pictures that appear in this post have been scanned from prints and do not convey how well they have printed. These are straight prints with no dodging or burning in. I wanted to show how well the negatives have printed and how evenly they have developed. I will be producing a final print set on FB paper at a later date using a mix of ordinary and warm tone developers.


Will I use Pyro again? Yes! it is likely to become my default film developer. The grain produced by this developer is minut to the point of making it difficult to see when focusing the negative for enlargement. I feel that the twenty-second double inversions of the tank is a bit fraught but I think it will get better the more I get used to it. Without Trevor's advice it may have taken a few more films to get it right. Thanks Trevor!

Drying the negatives.


Where to dry your film once they have been washed and you do not have a drying cabinet. It is not good practice to hang them near a vent or radiator. The turbulent air that these areas create can force hair, dust specs etc to land and stick to your damp film. One of the best places is in the bathroom where in most cases the room is at constant temperature and the level of dust is less because of the higher humidity.

You should attach a special film clip to the top end of the film and one to the bottom to add weight. This will also reduce curl once it has dried. The film is best hung wet and any excess water is removed with wiping tongs (double-sided squeegee). This also helps with the elimination of drying spots. I can tell you from experience that if these tongs are not spotlessly clean they will scratch your negatives. It is better to leave the film to air dry and remove the water with a well washed soft leather cloth, you keep especially for the job. You can wait till it is dry, use a film cleaner and soft lens cloth to remove the water marks. In both cases only wipe the shiney side of the film.