Kodak Sepia Toner

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by SuzanneR, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    I've been admiring the work of Hiroshi Watanabe who was featured in the Sept. '06 issue of Black and White Magazine (UK), and I love the tonal quality of his prints. (From what I can tell with reproduction, as I've never seen his prints in person.)

    Tha article mentioned that he prints on Kodak Fine Art paper, and tones them in Kodak Sepia toner. Now, I can't get the same paper, but the sepia toner is available and I decided to try it. I have some prints ready to go on Ilford MGIV. I also have a few on Oriental WT, as I would like to see how different papers react.

    My question for all you toning experts, Kodak recomends toning in safelight conditions. I wanted to set this up in the garage because, well... Peeeuwww! This stuff stinks! I've sepia toned in the past, and don't remember doing it under safelight conditions. So, do I really have to use safelights? Or will the garage (way better ventilated area!) be ok?

    Granted, the smell may be more than I can manage, and I may try another brand of toner, or make my own. But I wanted to start someplace!!

    Thanks!!
     
  2. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    I always thought this recommendation was overly conservative Suzanne. In the past, I toned many prints with Kodak Sepia and always obtained acceptable (in my opinion) results in normal room lighting.
     
  3. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I've been using Kodak Sepia Toner since I was in college, but I have never heard of using it under the safelight conditions. You mean, in the dark under the orange light? I've checked the label and read the insturction on the package, but it doesn't say anything about the safelight. For regular use, it has to be in a bright area with natural light to see the color shift.

    It's like any other stinky toner that you need to keep getting enough fresh air while working with the toner. I do my toning in an open area with the door and the window wide open.
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Suzzane

    Normal room lights ok,
    I mix this toner Bleach 1-3 Stinky stuff 1-1

    I have found that the new blech or Part A is too aggresive and at a 1-3 dilution it mimics the old times that I worked with for years before someone decided to reinvent the wheel and made the new sepia.
    Tim Rudmans book has formulas for a non stinky version from scratch.
    That or oxygen masks.
     
  5. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I use it in daylight (not direct, but outside) and I've never had any problems with it. It is important to be able to clearly see the bleaching as it can go too far very easily. As others have stated, dilute the bleach for slower action if needed.

    - Randy
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I would reccommend that you go to http://WWW.jackspcs.com/toner.htm.
    This site lists the directions for making and using a very wide variety of toners. Click on sepia. Then click on Thiourea. This is a sepia toner without the smell. Easily made. Easily used. Extremely cheap.
     
  7. catem

    catem Member

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    I think I'm right in saying that both Fotospeed and Speedibrews do the thiourea-based sepia toners, (I know Fotospeed does) if you don't want to make your own. I've never used the Kodak one, or only several years ago at a class, so not sure how it would compare tone-wise.
    Cate
     
  8. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Thiocarbamide is what you want. 2 parts and variable from yellow to purple (with brown somewhere in between.

    Daylight is fine. try bleaching only for a short time, like 15 seconds. just a touch of bleach is all you need. Wash the prints well after bleach.

    There are many bleach and dev games you can play with all this stuff. Get used to the smell. Like Dr. Bob said... :wink:
     
  9. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    Daylight or room light are fine, safelights are really unnecessary.
    Direct sunlight/UV could theoretically cause problems - but even that isn't too likely in my limited experience of toning outside in mediterranean sunshine on a workshop I gave in Spain where we ran out of room inside. Nobody saw any problem, (but we weren't using Kodak's smelly sepia, we used the odourless Thiorea type - more flexible and user friendly!)

    Re the bleach - if you want to replace all the tones with sepia - including the blacks - diluting the bleach isn't an issue as you are bleaching to an end point. If you want to preserve the blacks as black (not brown) you may need to dilute the bleach to slow the beaching down for more control. Warm tone papers bleach much faster as a rule than cool tone papers, so bear that in mind.
    Tim
     
  10. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks, every one, for the input. Toned in the garage today with a few workprints. Had a blast, but, boy that smell really is awful!! As soon as the prints are dry I will post them.

    I noticed that the neutral paper toned, to my eye, beautifully, but the warm tone print turned too orange for my taste. It may well have been the print as it was, perhaps, too light. And, yes, the warmtone paper bleached quite a bit faster than the neutral tone.

    Anyway, really just playing today. I didn't dilute anything because the storage bottles I have are too small, and I figure the toner may still be good for awhile. Once again... shopping list: a few more trays, a few more storage bottles, less smelly sepia toner, etc....etc... etc.... :tongue:
     
  11. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I seem to remember that safelight conditions were/are recommended. Never bothered tho' and never seemed to have any problems with the lights on.
     
  12. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    One more thing: If you plan to do this a lot, buying chemicals in bulk are --in my opinion-- really the way to go. They are really cheap and last a good long while. I would give the Artcraft or the formulary a call.

    When will you post some images?
     
  13. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    Just be sure to keep your unexposed paper away from those fumes as they can fog anything - film or paper - that is exposed to it.

    - Randy
     
  14. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes.. I know about the fumes. I will probably try one of the less smelly toners. I had to do this in the garage, and it will just get too cold to work out there in the coming months, so I will try the Fotospeed Sepia next, and if I want to keep pursuing this, then I will buy the chemistry in bulk. Seems like a good idea.

    With that said, I uploaded a sepia toned print, which, I think looks a little too purple. I have several more versions of this print to try, so I will experiment with different times and dilutions. And with a few other papers.

    I must say, that despite the stink, this was an absolute blast, and I can't wait to find that perfect sepia tone for my photographs.

    It was in the bleach for a fair bit, I would say about four or five minutes, and about the same in the toner. I will start with Bob Carnie's dilution suggestions, and any other comments for times or dilutions are always appreciated.

    Here is a scan of my print.
     
  15. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Well I don't know about the fumes. Very odd and I've no
    explanation. Sodium sulfide hydrate; that's what it says on
    my packet of Kodak Sepia Toner. Apparently it is sulfide
    with some retained H2O, no more no less.

    A few days ago I failed for a second time to detect any
    fumes upon mixing some 1.6% sodium sulfide ST-1 test
    solution. That's the test for residual silver. Scary, my
    nose may no longer know; be immune though I think
    not. A few added drops of vinegar may tell. Dan
     
  16. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    The fumes are hydrogen sulfide. It smells like rotten eggs and fogs photographic emulsions.
     
  17. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Indeed. Reminds me of a joke:
    "I say, I say, I say, I say: my dog's got no nose"

    "Your dog's got no nose? How does he smell?"

    "Bloody awful... - ... but he can still smell hydrogen sulphide"...
    If you can't smell H2S, check in the mirror that you still have a nose - it may have dropped off when you weren't looking :wink:

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  18. tim rudman

    tim rudman Member

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    OK. here's mine ...
    For bleach:
    I was doing bleach and 2nd pass Lith dev all day yesterday and for this I used a 50% bleach solution (on warmtone paper) as I wanted to bleach everything except the blacks, which i want to come through in the final images as black.
    For split sepia toning I prefer to tone just mid tones up and for a warmtone paper I will use a 20% solution and a timer. If I want to warm up just the highlights I use a 10% soln. Cold tone papers may need stronger solutions, certainly longer times.
    For toner:
    I see no point in using this at anything less than full strength. It can only tone what has been bleached and toning should always IMHO be taken to completion, with controls being applied at the bleach stage, otherwise you leave untoned/developed halides in the print. If unfixed, these are unstable. If fixed, the print will lighten and tones will be lost. The only exception here is for a partial redev and fixed effect, which has its own look but is not what most people want from their toning.
    Any 'beneficial' effects from diluting the toner can can acheived by other means that don't leave an unstable print.
    Tim
     
  19. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member

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    Tim, I have been reading your toning book, and you covered this subject so thoroughly, that all the information can be a bit daunting. Getting specific information here on APUG from you as I actually teach myself the process is enormously helpful, and I'm feeling slightly more knowledgeable as a result.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
     
  20. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Just a quick note about this, having experienced the joy of doing some work in paper mills. The nose can detect extremely low levels of H2S, however, as the concentration rises, it can disable your sense of smell. As the stuff is lethal at higher concentrations, caution and good ventilation is in order.

    A process manager at one of the mills put it in succinct terms related to being in the mill:

    "If you can't smell it, you're dead."

    They carried a little pager-sized sensor on the belt that would beep above some preset level. There were certain locations where you did not go without someone with a sensor.

    DaveT
     
  21. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I too, sepia tone outside in the bright noon sun. Not so noxious outside and I can see the bleaching effect much more easily.
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    That is true; H2S. The compound though is Na2S,
    sodium sulfide. It is alkaline. In order for H2S to form
    the solution would need be acidified.

    My packet of Kodak Sepia Toner shows NO cautions
    or warnings. Not a hint concerning odor, fumes, or
    allowance for ventilation. Dan
     
  23. Tea

    Tea Member

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    Hello! I have been using Kodak sepia toner for decades and now it's out of production. Would you happen to know where i can still buy some packets?

    Thanks so much! Terri
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Hello Terri, and welcome to APUG.

    Where abouts are you? I've seen this recently on some store shelves (old stock) but that won't help you if you are not local.
     
  25. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    Although Kodak Sepia Toner was discontinued about 2010, you can buy an equivalent Legacy Pro sepia toning kit from Freestyle in Los Angles. I’ve used them and have found that the Legacy Pro kits work the same as the previous Kodak kits.

    These are the same type of bleach-redevelopment sulfide sepia toning kits as the Kodak kits.


    Here’s the standard version.

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/746702-LegacyPro-Sepia-Toner-to-Make-1-Quart?cat_id=306


    and the warm tone version

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/745702-LegacyPro-Sepia-Toner-II-to-Make-1-Quart?cat_id=306