Pyrocat HD is a black-and-white film developer that was developed by Sandy King. It is known for producing high-quality negatives with excellent sharpness and tonality. Pyrocat HD is a staining developer, which means that it works by staining the silver grains in the film rather than completely removing them. This can lead to smoother tonal transitions and better shadow detail.
Pyrocat HD is also relatively versatile, as it can be used with a variety of different types of black and white films. The developer comes in liquid form and should be diluted before use. Dilution ratios can vary depending on the specific type of film being used and the desired results. It is also important to note that Pyrocat HD can be more difficult to work with than some other developers, as it requires precise temperature control and can produce significant stains on equipment if not handled carefully.
The shelf life of Pyrocat HD depends on a variety of factors, including how the developer is stored and how frequently it is used. According to what people say, Pyrocat HD has a shelf life of at least six months when stored in a cool, dry place and kept tightly sealed to prevent air and moisture from degrading the chemicals.
However, some photographers have reported that they have been able to use Pyrocat HD successfully for up to a year or more past its expiration date with no noticeable loss of quality. Others have reported that the developer can begin to lose its effectiveness after just a few months.
To maximize the shelf life of Pyrocat HD, it’s important to store it properly. This means keeping it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat, and ensuring that the container is tightly sealed to prevent air and moisture from entering. If possible, storing the developer in an airtight container or using a nitrogen purge system can help prolong its shelf life. Additionally, it’s important to avoid contamination by only using clean measuring equipment and avoiding contact with other chemicals or materials that could react with the developer.
Having had my developer since 2018, I wanted to see if it was still active so I decided to develop a single sheet of Ilford FP4 5×4 film.