do you tone RC prints?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by jgcull, May 8, 2009.

  1. jgcull

    jgcull Subscriber

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    When I use fiber paper I tone it with selenium, but I don't tone rc prints. Should I? I thought because of the coating, toning wouldn't affect the paper but it seems I read somewhere that even rc prints should be toned. Is that so? Do you see a color shift when you tone?

    Thanks.

    Janet
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's entirely up to you. The type of base FB or RC makes no real difference. The colour shift is entirely down to the emulsion so an essentailly Bromide paper like Ilfospeed with shift less than a warmtone RC print.

    Selenium toning is perhaps more important with archivally process FB prints few people intend RC prints to be archival.

    Ian
     
  3. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    There are 2 reasons to tone a print. 1. To extend the life of the image. 2. To change the "tone" and color of the image. Reason 2 applies to any type of paper.
     
  4. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Not to throw any nails into the concept of toning, but I believe I might have read on APUG that there is some information that states that Selenium toning does not add any meaningful longevity to a print ( work at RIP? ). The most important factor(s) might well be that all traces of fixer are removed, and the any mounting materials are completely archival and free of contaminants of any sort. There are obviously photographers who use a dilute solution of Selenium in order to influence the color of the finished print. Such "toning for color" is not at issue. As is the case with many "facts" about photography, it would be interesting to know of any scientific research that definitely proves that toning prevents degradation-or, has no affect at all on longevity. Selenium toning has become thought of as a "necessary step for longevity", and has been promulgated as "necessary" by experienced photographers who have had such information passed to them by other photographers and books. We have taken such information, perhaps, as being true because of our respect for our teachers and colleagues. However, are they correct? Simply asking for information of a scientific and unbiased nature....not starting any arguments here. Indeed, if it can be shown that Selenium toning is NOT needed for longevity, then another chemical step that can affect the environment, and uses additional water, MIGHT be avoided. Thanks.

    Ed
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2009
  5. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    Yes you can tone RC prints. I selenium tone my RC print not so much for longevity but for a subtle color shift and enhanced dmax. I general use 1:9 for 3 to 4 minutes. I have found Tim Rudman's book The Photographer's Toning Book to be very helpful.
    Roger Thoms
     
  6. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    This isn't a color topic, but...

    Re longevity, the picture is pretty complex. To oversimplify, the available evidence suggests that with current Kodak selenium toner, you really need to tone to completion to get full protection. The 1+20 or 1+40 for a couple of minutes that many B&W printers have traditionally included in their workflow has limited effect. The problem is that toning to completion with selenium generally produces results that, to my eye at least, look really ugly.

    Like FB, RC is subject to the same general vulnerability to having the image silver attacked by atmospheric pollutants. But RC has another mode of deterioration that doesn't affect FB paper: light-catalyzed reactions between the image silver, the titanium dioxide pigment used to whiten the paper, and the polyethylene coating. These can lead to cracking of the PE surface and/or gross silvering-out and discoloration of the image itself. For some years now, manufacturers have included antioxidant compounds in RC papers that suppress these reactions, though how long the protective effect will last is unclear.

    In addition, in an experiment a few years back, Ctein demonstrated convincingly that relatively modest toning with selenium can at least prevent the sort of very rapid deterioration that can sometimes be seen in RC prints that are framed and put on display just after printing. The degree of protection over the longer term remains unclear.

    In Ctein's tests, Agfa Sistan also showed a protective effect on RC prints. Sistan is a silver stabilizer that's used as a post-treatment for any silver images - RC, FB or film - and has no effect on the appearance of the image.

    It's also possible to use a combination of selenium and Sistan, the former mostly for appearance and the latter to protect the image silver that hasn't been converted by the partial selenium toning.

    My own practice at this point, most of the time, is to treat FB prints with Sistan for protection, and to tone RC prints for appearance and for some protection.

    FWIW, some RC papers react very strongly to selenium toning, just as some FB papers do. For example, Ilford MG RC Warmtone, with a minute or two in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1+9, produces very, very deep blacks. Further toning results in radical color change toward browns and reds.

    If you must have complete protection of the silver image, sulfide toners are more effective than selenium. But they're quite noxious and a nuisance to use, and substantially change the appearance of the image.
     
  7. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I also tone my RC prints. Toning will not hurt RC paper. I use Ilford warmtone in RC pearl and fiber glossy. I find the fiber paper to tone to a more pleasing tone with selenium and brown toning and the RC seems to respond more pleasing in sepia in most cases.
     
  8. sage

    sage Member

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    Do you all agitate for toning, or just leave it to sit for the couple of minutes?
     
  9. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    You need to agitate constantly, just as you would in the developer.
     
  10. sage

    sage Member

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    Aye, just making sure. What about toning the negatives directly, does that have any impacts?
     
  11. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    You can tone negatives too. Of course that won't affect the color of the print, but it can affect the tonal scale of the print indirectly, by changing the density range of the negative.
     
  12. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Sage, you should never have to tone a negative unless its a last attempt at salvage, and if so it's usual in selenium toner as an intensification process for a thin negative. Other than that, don't worry about toning negs.
     
  13. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    I don't use RC very much but I do selenium tone and there is a noticeable change in tone and colour with the Ilford paper I use. In fact it is more pronounced than the effect I get with FB Agfa MCC (I still have a stockpile I'm working through). So tone away!
     
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  15. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I think you mean to say fixer, not developer, regarding constant agitation.
     
  16. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Agitation in the fixer isn't particularly critical, unlike during development & toning. You fix to completion so as long as you agitate well at the beginning it makes little difference after that. So Brian's comment is correct.

    Ian
     
  17. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    Yes, I understand that, I was thinking of film development for some strange reason. My mistake! It must have been one of those senior moments. Sorry Brian! ...I said sorry twice today, already.

    Paul
     
  18. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    A few points on the subject of archival toning:

    1. Some toning is better than none.
    2. Sulphide toning is more effective than selenium.
    3. Sistan is not toning but good protection if there is no other toning.
    4. You can combine sulphide and selenium sequentially with nice results.
    5. RC and FB, both, benefit from toning.
    6. RC needs Sistan more than FB does.

    Tone for longevity, but make sure it does not get in the way of an esthetic presentation. If the resulting print tone does not fit the image, you have extended the life of an ugly print!
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You agitate continuously during development? I must have missed something entirely. I agitate continuously for the first 30 seconds, or until the paper is self submerging. Then I agitate by lifting a corner of my tray every 15 seconds for a total of 3 minute development time (usually).

    To me it seems that I aggravate the development of black if I agitate too much, meaning some of the lower midtones get 'buried' in values that are too dark. Slowing down agitation seems to help preserve the mid-tones better.

    What's the official version here? :smile:

     
  20. DaveOttawa

    DaveOttawa Subscriber

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    "When dish/tray processing intermittent agitation is
    used. For a single sheet immerse the paper
    completely in the developer and gently rock the
    dish from side to side taking care to avoid any
    spillage. This method of agitation is used for all
    subsequent processing steps."

    Above is from the Ilford fact sheet on paper developers. The agitation is required to remove reaction products from the paper surface (like bromide)and bring fresh developer to the surface as development proceeds.

    Regarding toning negs I'm not sure that Se wil rescue a thin neg but you would expect it to increase the contrast of a low contrast neg by increasing the density in the highlight areas, there is an example in this months Photo Techniques magazine.
     
  21. WolfTales

    WolfTales Member

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    I love toning RC.

    RC is cheap to learn on, and I love shifting the colors substantially by keeping it long and hard in the selenium or rocking the paper hard in other toners. It takes a little bit longer but it will eventually aquire the toner and in my opinion, the look is sharp. If you have managed to capture depth in your photo pretty well by getting the shadows and highlights correct, you can make areas pop out even more by deepening D-Max and contrast through the selenium.
     
  22. Jojje

    Jojje Member

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    By all means tone your black&white negatives if you want them to last forever.
     
  23. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Scientific proof is hard to come by and silver-based photographic research has probably stopped altogether, but one thing is for certain. Some toning is better than none. I'm running a real life archival; test at the moment, and it already shows that a 1+19 selenium toned-print is doing better than its untoned counterpart. When this test is done, I will have more data to compare the effect of Sistan, selenium and sulfide toning.
     
  24. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I beg to differ. Toning has similar longevity effects to prints and negatives alike.
     
  25. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    AA said: 'The worst thing you can do to a print is not agitate it enough in the developer.' He was right, as almost always.
     
  26. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Hello Tony, could you please elaborate on that? I mean which toner, dilution, time, paper etc...

    Thanks in advance!