From Pyro back to normal developers : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Please don't start defending Pyro developers, this isn't to start a war. I know a number of folks who have used Pyro developers through the years and most have gone back to standard developers. If you are one of these, my question is "why"? There is a lot of hype surrounding Pyro just as there is with HC110 and Tri-x. If you have changed, either by going to Pyro or going back to the normal developers, why did you do so? What actual measurable differences did you find, one way or the other? And, if you have been doing Pyro for years, does the stain start fading?

-- Dan Smith (, March 28, 2000


A exclusive PMK user for the past couple of years, I'm thinking of experimenting with other developers for my 35mm fashion work because, well, the stuff just has *too long* a tonal scale. But I shoot a lot in high contrast, mixed lighting, and PMK has been wonderful for keeping the highlights from becoming blocked, especially if I overexpose 2 stops and undevelop about 30%.

-- Peter Hughes (, March 28, 2000.

As far as the stain fading, I have some glass plate negs that are over 100 years old that were obviously developed in pyro. If they have faded any, then they must have had one heck of a stain to start with!

-- Chauncey Walden (, March 28, 2000.


Here's a very specific reason for moving from pyro back to standard developers. I've found that I can't use rotary processing in either PMK or ABC+ (also called Rollo) pyro with large films in print drums, though it works in smaller meant-for-film Expert drums. I've found that a number of films can be processed in print drums using D-76 (or one of its clones like ID-11) but not pyro or HC110, TMax, etc. So the option is to process in PMK in trays, or in D-76 in drums and sometimes that second option is perferrable. For me the main trade off is that in D76 I have to choose to develop for either platinum or silver while in pyro I can have negatives that work either way.---Carl

-- Carl Weese (, April 02, 2000.

I prefer to look at it as using the right tool for the right job. If I shoot Ilford films, I use Pyro. I did not care for what Pyro did to my PlusX negs so I use HC-110 for that film and I am quite happy with the results.

-- David N. VanMeter (, April 05, 2000.

O.K. I will not throw gas onto the fire, I promise. I have been an avid user of Pyro or PMK for 12 years. I have not noticed a difference on the stain. No fade, crack, run, nothing. The negatives are as beautiful green now as they were when I first started. Why do I stay? I think it has more to do with the quality of the highlights and the edge accuatance (sp?) than anything. I shoot mostly Ilford films but I have developed all the film I have shot in Pyro or PMK. I have contracted development up to n-3 and expanded to n+5 with consistent quality results. I also like the benefit of not having to stain the negative. One more variable to control. For me its the process, the control and the fact that I can go into the darkroom while my kids are listening to the latest head banging body slamming music and get a bit of piece and quiet. Besides when I process someone elses b+w in PMK or Pyro i can charge more.

-- jacque staskon (, April 06, 2000.

I asked a similar question on the pure-silver list, and nobody volunteered that they had ever deserted pyro. I've never used it. My question is, why have your friends gone back to normal developers?

-- Wayne (, April 09, 2000.

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