Safely mixing Pyro developer
Old 09-03-2018   #1
stevierose
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Safely mixing Pyro developer

Hello
I would like to try using 510 Pyro. I am ordering the chemicals and will mix them with due caution regarding ventilation, mask, gloves and eye protection. My question is about how to heat the TEA. The recipe calls for heating it in a microwave oven. It seems unwise to heat a poisonous substance in the kitchen microwave oven, but where else do you get access to a microwave? Do people who mix this stuff buy a separate microwave for this purpose? Seems like an expensive solution. Suggestions?

Thanks!
Steve Rosenblum
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Old 09-03-2018   #2
Chriscrawfordphoto
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Steve, that's a really obscure developer. Why are you choosing it instead of a more mainstream Pyro developer like PMK or Pyrocat?

Is the TEA a powder or does it come as a liquid you need to heat? If it is a powder that needs to be dissolved in hot water, then heat the water in the microwave in a microwave-safe glass container, then add the powder after the water is heated. That eliminates any safety issue with the microwave. A pyrex glass measuring cup works great for heating in the microwave. I use a one quart size I bought at Walmart. They're cheap, maybe $6.00.

I would not heat any chemical in a microwave you'll use for food.
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Old 09-03-2018   #3
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I want to add, too, that I strongly recommend against working with powdered pyro, ever. Unless you use an industrial respirator, there is just too much chance of inhaling some of it. Pyro is one of the most dangerous chemicals used in the darkroom.

Inevitably, someone is going to chime in here claiming that it is not that dangerous and they work with powdered pyro all the time with no issues. IGNORE THEM. If some fool wants to kill himself, that's his choice, but don't let them influence you.

Also, I never mix any powdered chemicals indoors. D-76 is the only powdered chemical I use, and it is much less toxic than Pyro, but l still go outdoors to pour it into the water.
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Old 09-03-2018   #4
Freakscene
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I bought a cheap microwave and put it in my darkroom. My darkroom isn't heated, so it's also useful for warming solutions when I work in winter (it gets cold but doesn't freeze here).

Pyro is dangerous, but hydroquinone is equivalently toxic, and, in the absence of sulphate can also be used to formulate a staining developer. The problem with a MDS is that they don't rank risks (read the MDS for sodium chloride some time).

It is always prudent to use proper respiratory protection and extraction for handling all powder chemistry. There is a false sense of security about other powders engendered by exaggerating the toxicity of pyro. All developers are toxic, and all have the capacity to be allergens.

Good (but now somewhat outdated) references:
Health Hazards for Photographers: Siegfried Rempel, Wolfgang Rempel ISBN: 1558211810

Overexposure: Health Hazards in Photography/Everything You Need to Know About Photographic Materials and Processes to Make Your workplace Safe.
Susan D. Shaw, Monona Rossol. ISBN: 0960711864

Marty
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Old 09-03-2018   #5
Steve M.
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I found this on your developer (and it looks to be an excellent, low grain developer).

http://www.pictorialplanet.com/advan.../510_pyro.html

Like Chris, I too go outside to mix my D76 powder into the water. It just makes sense to do this. the procedure above also calls for using a microwave, and I would bring the microwave outside if I was making this developer up from scratch.

In the future, try buying it from ebay.uk pre-mixed and avoid the very real dangers of mixing this up at home.
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Old 09-03-2018   #6
stevierose
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Thanks to everyone for your replies, especially Chris. I would prefer to avoid mixing Pyro powder. The 510 Pyro has some characteristics that appeal to me. Unfortunately it’s not available premixed in the US and I don’t think the UK eBay vendors ship to the US or are allowed to.

I am going to try Pyrocat instead which I can get in mixed liquid form.

Steve
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Old 09-04-2018   #7
Freakscene
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All the Pyrocat developers are much more flexible than 510pyro, which produces very low shadow contrast. If you can get pre-mixed Pyrocat-MC, give it a try.

Marty
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Old 09-04-2018   #8
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freakscene View Post
All the Pyrocat developers are much more flexible than 510pyro, which produces very low shadow contrast. If you can get pre-mixed Pyrocat-MC, give it a try.

Marty
Dear Marty,

Seconded.

Also, Chris's "If some fool wants to kill himself, that's his choice, but don't let them influence you" is something of an overreaction. There is always someone to tell you about the things that will kill you immediately and horribly, including alcohol, unprotected sex, preserved meats... I've tried quite a lot of them. Yes, pay attention to the risks (and I wouldn't mix pyro from scratch either), but try to avoid hysteria.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 09-04-2018   #9
stevierose
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I have read that Pyro developers produce negatives that scan “better” or easier. Your experiences?
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Old 09-04-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevierose View Post
I have read that Pyro developers produce negatives that scan “better” or easier. Your experiences?



Not really, but I have not seen any film/developer combination that scans easier or worse than others. I'm using a good scanner AND I am giving the scans the proper post-scanning adjustments in Photoshop.


A lot of people have this silly idea that you should use the image right from the scanner, and adjusting it is somehow 'dishonest' or 'cheating.' That's wrong. Scanners give you a flat, lifeless scan with horrid tonality. They absolutely MUST be adjusted in Photoshop (or whatever editing software you prefer) to give them the proper tonality.
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Old 09-04-2018   #11
GoodOldNorm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevierose View Post
I have read that Pyro developers produce negatives that scan “better” or easier. Your experiences?
Ilford XP2 super shot at ei250, developed in C41 chemicals, it scans really well. https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/f...roduct_id/703/

Last edited by GoodOldNorm : 09-04-2018 at 10:26. Reason: added text
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Old 09-04-2018   #12
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Ilford XP2 super shot at ei250, developed in C41 chemicals, it scans really well. https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/f...roduct_id/703/
Yes, XP2 scans beautifully. Far better than most 35mm films.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 09-04-2018   #13
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I never found pyro developed (stained) negatives easier to scan. The only thing commonly said about pyro-developed (stained) negatives that I found to be true is that you can make them dual use for silver printing and UV sensitive processes such as platinum/ziatype. With regular developers if you develop to a contrast for silver printing, the negatives are too flat / low contrast for UV processes, and vice versa if you develop for UV processes. The stain has a large effect on UV transmission and pyro developed negs work for both.

Marty
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Old 09-04-2018   #14
stevierose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freakscene View Post
I never found pyro developed (stained) negatives easier to scan. The only thing commonly said about pyro-developed (stained) negatives that I found to be true is that you can make them dual use for silver printing and UV sensitive processes such as platinum/ziatype. With regular developers if you develop to a contrast for silver printing, the negatives are too flat / low contrast for UV processes, and vice versa if you develop for UV processes. The stain has a large effect on UV transmission and pyro developed negs work for both.

Marty
Thanks, Marty.
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