Pyro for underexposed Film : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Rcently I got back from a trip where I shot a bunch of T-Max 100 4x5 film. I used a No. 25 red filter and forgot to open up the lens. I know, what a dummy.

As an experiement (I shot 2 sheets of each scene) I processed the film in PMK Pyro and in Ilford Ilfotec DDX. I processed both to account for the underexposure. My gut feeling was that the film would be lost.

The results were quite astonishing. The film processed in Ilfotec DDX was much to contrasty and looked terrible printed down even with a 00 filter. The sheets processed in PMK Pyro for 25 minutes printed easily and produced wonderful images using a Grade 2.5 filter. I was amazed.

Has anyone else experienced this type of result.

I am convinced that PMK PYRO is worth the effort.


-- Bill Smith (, September 17, 2000


Bill how was the shadow detail, did it show texture? And what ISO did you rate your T-Max 100? Sorry for the "20 Questions", Many thanks,

-- Trevor Crone (, September 17, 2000.


Yes, the shadow detail was fine, I rated the T-max-100 at EI-80.


-- Bill Smithe (, September 17, 2000.

Pyro is able to contain highlight detail amazingly well, better than any developer i have used. The increased development time needed for underexposed film while using pyro allows printable highlights.

-- Dave Anton (, September 17, 2000.


What you've encountered is the "magic effect" of pyro negatives printed on variable contrast paper. I wrote about this last year in a PT article describing how to use pyro to make negatives that print in either silver or Pt/Pd. The gist is that pyro negative highlights are the color of a soft VC filter and so even very dense highlights (like those intended for platinum printing, or your 'pushed' negatives) print with relatively low contrast on VC paper. It won't put back shadow detail, but the pyro/VC-paper combination does wonders to control harsh highlights in the negative.---Carl

-- Carl Weese (, September 18, 2000.

I believed that the mentioned effect takes place only if the pyro developed negative is printed on VC paper WITHOUT any filter. But Bill tells he used #2.5. Does it mean that if no filter was used the effect (the long tonal scale) is even more pronounced?

Thanks Andrey

-- Andrey Vorobyov (, November 15, 2000.

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