PMK Pyro developer and how to use it

How to use PMK Pyro

The PMK formula was developed by Gordon Hutchings, to create a universal developer, adapted to a wide variety of modern films, and a wide range of shooting conditions.

The PMK Pyro formula allows us to achieve the following characteristics :

  • sharpness of contours

  • yellow staining of the negative. Staining intensity depends on the reduced silver quantity

  • very low fog

  • stability of the stock solutions

  • Process repeatability

I find PMK Pyro to be one of the best developers I have used. I find that I get the best results from it if I ‘pull’ the film, in particular using the old style of film ie, Ilford FP4 and Ilford HP5. In my opinion, it's one of the best developers for scanning due to the brownish-yellow staining it produces. It scans beautifully, it also prints beautifully in the darkroom and it is incredibly economical too.

Here is my formula and how I use it.

It comes in two bottles Part 1 and Part 2.

Start by adding 10 ml of Part one to 1L of water. The temperature of the water is crucial, it must be 24 degrees centigrade.

Then add 20 ml of Part 2 into the same litre of water and mix thoroughly. You will notice that the mixture will turn brown, this is normal just keep mixing thoroughly for a minute.

I put the mixture to one side while I do a 2-minute pre-wash of the exposed film using clean water at 24 degrees centigrade, this allows the gelatin to open up and stop any marks from bromide drag.

Once the 2-minute pre-wash is over empty the water away and put in your pre-mixed PMK developer and agitate for the first 30 seconds, then continue to agitate twice every 15 seconds from then on until developing time is completed, this is really important.

Once development time is up, empty the developer.

Next use water as a stop bath, just plain water again at 24 degrees centigrade. You will need to swish around and empty the developing tank around three times making sure to get all of the staining developer out.

Once this has been achieved you can then move on to fixing, you must use an alkaline fix something like Moersch. Fix at 24 Degrees centigrade dilute as instructed on the bottle.

Summary of Timings.

These are the developing timings I use.

9 minutes for HP5 rated at 250 ISO, and 7 minutes for Ilford FP4 rated at 80 ISO.

Enjoy and let me know how you get on and maybe share some of your images with me...

Why not treat yourself and book one of my one to one COVID safe workshops in my darkroom to learn more.

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