P.M.K. Pyro and Kodak Tri-X
Maybe one day, I’ll give some more explanations about this beautiful film developer called P.M.K. Pyro, according to Gordon Hutchin’s recipe. I warmly recommend reading « the book of pyro » that Gordon Hutchin wrote. But for now, I just wish to share a piece of experience with the developer.
I’ve developped altogher some 30 films of Kodak Tri-X in P.M.K and although the results were pretty stable throughout my few months of experience with this Tri-X and P.M.K., understanding what is going on is rather recent.
P.M.K. is a very particular developer in many aspects : loss of at least 1 stop of sensibility ; development at rather high temperatures ; as good as continuous development ; high toxicity (if you use your bathroom as dark room, then stop reading: you shouldn’t use P.M.K. at all if your children also take there showers in your dark-room).
I would typically:
- expose Tri-x at 200 Asa (when I do shoots at home, I even tend to over-expose 1 stop),
- pre-soak at the right temperature,
- develop at 25°C or 26°C,
- I invert continuously for the first minute and than 5 seconds per 15 seconds, that’s frequent enough,
- Development time is 11 minutes.
It is said that you should invert the paterson tank every 15 seconds in order to achieve even development, i.e. to avoid stains on the negative as this is a staining developer. And that is probably true. But as per any developer, the frequency of inversions also affects the overal contrast of the negatives. And in order to obtain those nice, right, contrasty and detailed negatives, the tank should be inverted continuously for the first minute ; and then 2 inversions every 15 seconds. That sounds a bit scary if you’re not used to P.M.K., but the negatives are undoubtedly beautiful !
And here’s an example of a scanned negative. There’s color, yes, that’s true. That’s because PMK tints the negative brownish and this is a scan as if it were a color photo.