To stain, or not to stain – Acid and pyro developers

There is a very controversial topic on the Internet. It’s in fact so controversial that I almost don’t dare post about it. It’s that thing about pyro developers and the dye image (‘stain’) they produce. This is seen as a desirable trait, as it apparently helps to mask film grain, and it adds substantial UV density, which is great for processes like carbon printing. Now, the question is – is it OK to use an acid stop and fixer with a staining pyro developer, or will this obliterate this precious dye image? Come in and find out!

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Corn print

Yesterday I made a print that I’m very pleased with. The negative just about perfectly suited my current carbon transfer skillset and as a result, the very first print of the negative is about as good as it’s going to get. Alright, there’s a few minor issues that need ironing out, but the image is quite presentable, I think. Here it is:

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PVC development tubes for sheet film

Warning: again a total lack of originality on my part. The upshot is that apparently I don’t suffer too badly from the not invented here syndrome because I proudly stole reproduced this idea from Tim Layton whom in turn was inspired by Phil Davis and his “Beyond The Zone System” approach. The whole idea is essentially just a hollow tube with two end caps in which you put a single sheet of film, fill ‘er up with developer and agitate in whichever way you fancy. This could be a fancy water bath agitator like in the official BTZS approach, or, as in my case, simply turning the tube over and over like a regular daylight tank, or rolling it on a counter top.

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