Adox Selenium Toner with Ilford MGIV RC Paper... anyone??

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by gamincurieux, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Hi all.... just wondering if anyone has specifically used Adox Selenium Toner to tone Ilford MGIV RC Paper?

    I'm talking about Adox Selenium Toner, as that's what I've got a bottle of here in my hand.

    Despite what it might say on the bottle, I'm looking to gain some ideas from anyone on a good starting point for dilution & time in order to achieve both some extra permanence and a nice increase in Dmax... not really looking to change color, though I reckon the introduction of an ever-so-slight purple hue wouldn't bother me too much, as long as the blacks end up nice & deep.

    I understand it's difficult to significantly change the hue on Ilford MGIV RC anyway, is that right?

    I know I can experiment, and that I will do, but I would really appreciate reading about anyone else's experience with this before mixing up a batch & having a go.

    Look forward to reading you, many thanks :wink:
     
  2. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Sorry, not experienced the Adox version - only the Kodak one. That said, I usually tone for the recommended 5mins at 1:19, and get a nice d-max. That probably isn't too helpful, but at least it gives you an idea of how the recommended dilution and time reacts.

    Another way would be to test personally for your taste and style of printing. :smile:
     
  3. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Thanks Nanette.... you know, I probably would've bought a bottle of Kodak only they'd run out, would try your recipe otherwise! Appreciate your input all the same :wink: (BTW, alternative to $20 Adox at the shop was $40 Ilford..... I bought the Adox!)
     
  4. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    $40 - ouch! (Although from memory the Kodak was $32.:blink:)
     
  5. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Also, I won't have time to both print AND tone in the same day, will have to get prints together to be toned the next day (being my first time toning I don't want to rush it, you know). So, considering that, can I please ask a couple more questions:
    Must prints be wet when put into the toner? I had thought to keep all these prints together in a nice clean tray of water til ready to tone...
    Obviously prints have to be washed again after toning, right?
     
  6. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    There was a thread here not long ago comparing the different brands of selenium toners. The consensus was that Kodak, Ilford and Adox behave very similarly if not identically.

    I would start with a rather weak dilution, like the 1+19 mentioned earlier, and see if you like the results. You can simply tone the print longer or increase the strength of the solutions (by adding a bit more concentrate) to get more change in image tone, although the MGIV doesn't seem to change that much anyway. Keep a wet, untoned print nearby in the same light to compare to.

    Since you are just starting with selenium toning, maybe my procedure will be of value. I keep two jugs of selenium toner, one strong, one weak and use the one needed for the type of paper and amount of image change I desire. Different papers tone more quickly than others and show more color change. I tone visually, i.e., I don't do time/dilution but rather watch the print till it reaches the desired amount of toning. This is different with different papers, subjects and even different amounts of contrast on VC paper.

    My work flow is as follows: I usually print and give the first fix, then wash and dry my prints. Do wash and dry; keeping prints wet for a day can cause the emulsion to separate from the base. I then choose those I wish to tone and do a toning session later. The toning session consists of: 1. water soak - minimum 2 minutes 2. fix two (I use rapid fix 1+9 for 2 minutes each bath) 3. toner; the print is transferred directly to the toner without intermediate wash or rinse. This only works if the fixer is not too acid, otherwise stains can result. Any alkaline fix or the "paper dilution" of Ilford Hypam or Rapid Fix will be fine. Don't do this with Kodak powdered fixer. I tone to desired image change. 4. wash aid, 10 minutes with agitation

    You could give both fixes, wash and dry, and then just soak your prints prior to toning. If you get discoloration this way, however, you may want to try going directly from the fix to the toner like I do, even if it means changing to a more appropriate fixer.

    Also, I strongly recommend not discarding your toner, but rather replenishing it with small amounts of concentrate when the toning times get too long. The working solutions can be stored almost indefinitely; I have two gallon jugs that have been going for at least 8 years now (more likely 10+ years) and tone just fine. The toning solution needs to be filtered before use, as a black precipitate often occurs, but this is easy; a coffee filter in the funnel and you're set.

    Reusing the toner instead of discarding it prevents the toxic selenium from being introduced into the environment. Even municipal water-treatment plants do not deal well with heavy metals. Plus, it is more economical and, as a desired side-effect, the solutions quickly lose the annoying ammonia smell and are more pleasant to deal with. I've been on my soapbox about this for some time here now, so a quick search on my name will turn up more info.

    As mentioned, I have been doing this for years now. My fiber-base prints all test excellent for residual hypo and residual silver after two-bath fixing, toning in replenished toner, a 10-minute wash-aid treatment (HCA or equivalent) and a minimum one-hour wash.

    Oh yes! Use gloves (nitrile are nice) or tongs to handle the prints while they are in the toner to minimize skin contact. Selenium is slightly toxic; no use taking chances. That said, I put my hands in the toner occasionally for one reason or another (to agitate a batch for example), but try not to do it too much.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2012
  7. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Bloody brilliant Doremus, thank you!!
     
  8. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Whilst MGIV does not exhibit much of a colour change in Selenenium I have found that Ilford Art 300 does change colour. I was slightly intruiged by this as I undrstood that Art 300 was Ilford MGIV emulsion coated on to Hannemule paper. Attached scans show what I mean. IlfordMGArtuntoned.jpg IlfordMGArtselenium.jpg IlfordMGArtgold.jpg
     
  9. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    On the Adox bottle it says:

    If diluted between 1+20 to 1+50 the toner changes the image tone to a reddish brown.
    If diluted 1+100 to 1+400 only the DMAX will be optimized and the image stabilized.
    Dilution:
    • for toning 1+20 bis 1+50
    • only for image stabilisation 1+100 bis 1+400


    Considering what many have written about the behavior of Ilford MGIV RC with Selenium (that it won't take on a color change so easily... which is fine, I don't want a full-on drastic color change!), I'm thinking my starting dilution should be 1+100.
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Keep in mind though, temperature affects speed of toning. Using time alone may not work very well for you.

    If you are using FB paper, saturating the print with water first is very important. Otherwise, selenium toner will be absorbed in paper. Not only is it wasteful, it will be hard to wash off completely. I am not sure about RC. I'd dip it in water first just in case.

    Yes, it is VERY important you wash WELL after selenium toning. It actually contains large amount of chemical that is also an active part of fixer.

    My experience is that MGIV of any kind is very resistant to toners. Using 1:20 of Kodak variety, I've got it to darken slightly but not that much. Take some junk print and cut it up into pieces. Try it at 1:20, then 1:40, then 1:120 by successively diluting with more and more water. With slow speed of "toning" you may want to use stronger solution even if your goal is to get Dmax change only.
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Nice effect, Adrian, with selenium toner. My favourite out of the three

    pentaxuser
     
  12. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    I thought Ilford Art 300 was coated with MGWT emulsion.

    Roger
     
  13. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    With Kodak selenium I use it 1:9 with Ilford MGIV RC for 3-4 minutes. This increases dmax and cools the greenish color to a nice neutral slightly cold look. very nice. I would assum the Adox selenium would behave much the same. Give it a shot! You won't be dissapointed.
     
  14. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    I'm not disappointed.... so far.....

     
  15. gamincurieux

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    Thank you very much for the advice everyone, it made me feel that much more confident before having a go. I just had to get myself & my trays/working space organized (trays in this order: fresh water soak -> Ilford Rapid fixer -> Adox Selenium -> water holding bath -> WASH). Armed with a gas mask & nitrile gloves, I mixed the Adox at 1+10. I only needed one print to establish that 4 minutes gave a pleasant result. The pukey 'oliveness' of Ilford MGIV RC was gone & the blacks turned out just as I'd hoped. That's exactly what I wanted!!! I washed each print for at the very least a solid 10 mins..... I simply cannot wash each print for more than that (like 1 hour!!), it's just not gonna happen, my landlord would have an absolute fit! After all, this is RC not FB, so if 10 mins is deemed really not enough then I'll have to look at some kind of chemical-wash aid.
    Afterwards I put the Selenium mixture in a concertina'd container for future use.... only thing is, I wouldn't have a clue how much concentrate to add to it for the next session.
    I'm a toning convert, so thanks again :wink:
     
  16. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Selenium is my absolute favourite toner - subtle, yet very effective with the right image. :smile:
     
  17. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    Great! Glad it worked out for you. As for washing, you do not need to wash RC paper for an hour even if you were able to. 5 minutes is fine for RC. You can re-use the selenium toner for quite a while, just keep it tightly bottled up. No need to replenish with new toner, just use it until it's exhausted (will tone poorly and develop silver flakes) and dump it properly and mix up a new batch.
     
  18. gamincurieux

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    About keeping the solution I'm just going by what Doremus said... question is, how much replenishment?

     
  19. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Let me clarify. First, Brian's method: While not completely bad practice, there is still quite a bit of selenium left in a toning solution even after the times become uncomfortably long. Determining when selenium toner is "exhausted" is not all that easy. Even harder is knowing how to "dump it properly." As I mentioned, selenium, which is a toxic heavy metal, is not removed by municipal water treatment plants. I'm not sure what the hazmat people do with it either. The time or two I took used toner to the hazmat facility near me, the people there were flummoxed and just marked it "photographic waste," the same thing they marked the fixer (which should have gone to silver recovery, but likely did not...).

    If you wish to discard selenium toner, try to use it till the times become uncomfortably long, then toss a few scrap prints into the tray and let them sit overnight. This will scavenge even more of the selenium from the solution, leaving very little to discard. Then discard into the municipal sewer system if your city/community allows it. If not, then bottle it up and take it to the hazmat facility.

    Or, you can save yourself the trouble and inject even less of the selenium into to environment by replenishing.

    Yes, used toner develops "silver flakes" (I think they are really a silver selenite compound). These, however, are easily filtered out.

    And, someone here once maintained that selenium toner was exhausted when the ammonia smell was gone. This is absolutely not the case. My replenished toner solutions never smell of ammonia and they tone just fine and rapidly.

    As for how much toner concentrate to add when replenishing... well, this is a bit trickier. I judge the amount of toning I like visually, i.e., when the right amount of color change has taken place. When it starts getting too long to reach the desired color change (I think 8 minutes is too long for me, but sometimes 6 minutes is too long too...), I add a bit of the concentrate. I rarely measure, just pour a bit from the bottle, but if I had to estimate, it would be 50 ml per liter as a starting point. Add this; if times are too slow, do it again. If times speed up uncomfortably, dilute with some water to slow things down.

    I realize this sounds imprecise, but it really isn't. Toning "1+19 for five minutes to enhance D-max" is a myth. The first print you put through a weak solution of toner uses up a bit of the selenium. After a few prints, it is no longer "1+19" and, to be consistent, the time should be adjusted to compensate. But, how much? Who knows. Many don't bother and end up running prints through too weak toner for too little time and getting no benefit (or result) whatsoever.

    If you can't see a change, either in D-max or in image tone or both, you aren't getting any toning. Tone to a point you can see, pull the print when the desired change is reached and adjust the dilution of the toner to keep the time of doing this in a comfortable range. That is much more accurate.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus

    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  20. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    So, in that first session I mixed up 2.2 liters at 1+10 and actually only toned approx ten 30x40cm prints @ 4 mins each - that's not much toning really, is it? The solution was then poured into a concertina'd container for storage... given that I only did about ten prints, the solution in the bottle is probably still good to go for a few more prints yet at 4 mins, would you think? Will it be good to go right out of the bottle like that after a month or two, or three? Maybe I should just put in 100mls of concentrate to get it up to speed.... ? I mean, I don't want to put too much in..... when is too much?! :wink:
     
  21. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Your toner is good for many more prints. When you get around to toning again, filter the solution through a coffee filter in a funnel before using to remove any possible precipitate.

    If you are seeing a change in the image due to toning, and I assume you are, then that is your guide to toner exhaustion. When toning times get too long, simply add 25-30ml of concentrate to your toning solution to replenish.

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  22. gamincurieux

    gamincurieux Subscriber

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    Thank you Doremus :wink:

     
  23. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Thanks I think I overdid the gold toning somewhat.
     
  24. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    Roger, I may well be mistaken. It would explain the robust colour obtained with the gold toner. Ilford MGIV RC does practically nothing in gold toner even after 20 minutes.