Selenium toning underdeveloped negatives?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mfratt, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. mfratt

    mfratt Member

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    In trying to avoid overdeveloping a roll of PanF Plus, I wound up pretty badly under developing it. There's not much past a zone V or VI on any of the negs.

    Now I was really excited about these shots (leave it to me to experiment on such a roll), and I was wondering if it would be possible to use selenium toner to pull the highlights in and make them a bit more printable.

    I have a bottle of Kodak Rapid Selenium, I was thinking a low dilution (maybe 1+3), how long might be a good starting point (I'll just do it in the inversion tank).
     
  2. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    If it is severely underdeveloped you would be missing the shadows, zones I - IV wouldn't you?

    MB
     
  3. mfratt

    mfratt Member

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    The shadows are on the thinner side, and I'd imagine a few negatives will be gonners either way, but a few do have enough shadow detail to be printable if I can get some more density in the highlights.

    I'm trying to tone them now, using an inversion tank and 1 part selenium to 9 parts hypo clear. We'll see how this works out...
     
  4. mfratt

    mfratt Member

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    Well I started with 100ml+900ml for about twenty minutes, minimal effects. Added another 100ml of selenium for another 20 mins, which started to add density, then went to 1+3 selenium which pulled them down a bit more.

    Nothing like what I was hoping for though. Highlights are still maybe a Zone VI, touching on VII at best.

    But they should be printable no less. So we'll see what happens when they dry and I can get them in the enlarger.

    What would happen if I were to go with a high dilution and let it stand for a while, maybe giving it an inversion every half hour or so?
     
  5. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    I was under the impression that selenium toning for negatives only enhanced contrast. Does this process help with underdeveloped negs?
     
  6. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    It intensifies proportionately based on the amount of metalic silver that is already present. With a "normal" negative you can get the equivalent of about N+1 expansion depending on the film. But it does essentially nothing in very thin areas where there is little silver to begin with. As is always the case, you can't increase shadow detail where none exists in the first place.

    The Selenium should be used quite concentrated for negative intensification - usually 1+1 or 1+2. If there is enough density in the negative to begin with it works quite well for a moderate increase in contrast.
     
  7. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Will it work on pyro-stained negatives?
     
  8. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    I don't use tanning/staining developers so I have no first hand experience, but I would not recommend it. Selenium toner contains sodium sulfite, and sulfite reduces stain, meaning you'd actually lose printing contrast and density. Even if that were not the case, based on how Selenium works on metallic silver, I would assume it to have a more limited effect on a pyro negative anyway since a pyro negative derives some of its optical density from stain, not just silver.
     
  9. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    I have tried both selenium toning and bleach and redevelopment intensification, but results were always disappointing. There are some interesting intensification formulas in the Darkroom Cookbook. I am getting ready to move and all my books are packed or I'd look a few up for you. I've heard of folks using sepia toner. That real reddish brown color may help some. These days when I have a photo I like, but the negative has problems, I go the hybrid route. if you have decent shadow info, that may work. I've even gone so far as to make digital (sorry for the D word) masks for analogue negatives. This works for large format contact printing only.
     
  10. ChuckP

    ChuckP Subscriber

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    Have you tried to print them on a high contrast paper? If you have flat negatives with good shadow detail you might get some nice prints.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Agree with Mike. Selenium intensification can give you about one stop of contrast. It works to some extent, but don't expect miracles. It's to the degree of about half a grade of printing contrast, but with under-developed negatives (I assume properly exposed) every little bit helps.