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  1. #1

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    Which sepia toner to order

    I'm trying to decide which sepia toner to order. The look I'm gong for is nice sepia warm shadows with cool shadows. From everything I've read here it seems like a quick bleach followed by a little time in sepia then Selenium will do the trick.

    The problem being I can't figure out which Sepia to order!

    From what I've read sodium sulfite toners stink and are more likely to fog papers and thioreau toners are probably what I would want. Seems simple enough, except that none of the product description of the toners available online list if they are thioreau or not. The sodium sulfite ones state that they are sodium sulfite but I dnt want to assume the non sodium sulfite ones are the thiorea.

    Any clarification would be greatly appreciated. I'm leaning towards photographers formulary products.

  2. #2

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    You mean sodium sulfide not sodium sulfite. The two chemicals are very different! The sulfide toners produce a warm brown tone (think chocolate) whereas selenium toner produces a colder tone sometimes even purplish. A thiocarbamide (thiourea) toner is also a sulfide toner but does not have as strong a smell.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 01-14-2014 at 12:32 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  3. #3
    dasBlute's Avatar
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    thiourea is a suspected carcinogen and should be labeled very clearly.
    Be careful especially when mixing, wear gloves, mask, and goggles. Seriously.

    http://stores.photoformulary.com/-st...ner/Detail.bok

    I use a bleach / polysulfide toner / selenium method. All outside, works great.

    Get Rudman's book, ease into it.

    The main secret for me, is to really dilute the bleach to give me time
    to keep the sepia from taking dmax away from the shadows. Experiment and
    keep notes, each type of paper is different. Cut a print up into strips and differ
    the times for each strip. This will explore the relationship between the brown
    sepia and the purple selenium.

    toner | sel
    -----------------------
    30 sec | 180 sec
    60 sec | 120 sec
    90 sec | 90 sec
    120 sec | 60 sec

    btw - according to "Photo Engineer", thiourea can fog film [not sure about paper].
    Last edited by dasBlute; 01-14-2014 at 02:12 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4

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    Which sepia toner to order

    Thanks for all the tips!

    Unfortunately lots of threads on toning end with:get Rudman's book. This gets me nowhere since the book is out of print and is not easy to get! (Though I may have tracked one down at a university library an hour from here.)

    i do have his Master Printing Course book and that is where I got the info about sodium sulfide vs what he calls Thiocarbamide and variable sepia toners. I'm not sure which currently available toners are Thiocarbamide or variable?

  5. #5
    VaryaV's Avatar
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    I recommend Moersch's MT3. And, as dasBlute said, it's extremely toxic... I'd also recommend toning outside if you can. It appears to be a very heavy non-odorless vapor, that hangs in the air even after the fan has been turned off and you don't realize it until you get symptoms. Keep your unexposed film and papers out of the vicinity as well, as I have noticed chemical fogging on both, from toning inside the d/r (with fan on). There are threads here on that.

    I really enjoy MT3 sepia toning but do take precautions. Even suited up and masked I got a serious sore throat from vapors lingering even after a week. I have seen really beautiful prints made from it though so don't let it stop you.

    Good luck! You'll really enjoy the results.
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  6. #6
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Mix your own thiocarbamide sepia toner. You only need 4 chemicals: potassium ferricyanide, potassium bromide, thiocarbamide, and sodium hydroxide.

    It's easy and cheap and consistent.

  7. #7
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Moersch MT3. It's wonderful stuff, easy to use, and gives a plethora of different tones based on how you mix it.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  8. #8

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    What advantages would I get using Moersch over mixing my own? Mixing my own definitely seems attractive as it's more economical. Also is the bleach in Moersch a standard Potassium Ferricyanide bleach?

    Like I mentioned in my original post my main goal is to have very slightly sepia toned highlights with nice selenium blacks.

    Thanks to everyone.

  9. #9
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    I have never used the Moersch sepia toner specifically but most if not all of the boxed sepia toners are in liquid form. It just saves you having to mix them yourself. Not all the boxes toners are the same and I'm sure you can achieve deferent looks with different brands but they are expensive compared to mixing your own. I recommend going to photographers formulary and order up those chemicals. Then Get yourself a digital scale off eBay or Amazon and some cupcake papers and you're good to go!

  10. #10
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mexipike View Post
    What advantages would I get using Moersch over mixing my own? Mixing my own definitely seems attractive as it's more economical. Also is the bleach in Moersch a standard Potassium Ferricyanide bleach?

    Like I mentioned in my original post my main goal is to have very slightly sepia toned highlights with nice selenium blacks.

    Thanks to everyone.
    The Moersch MT-3 toner is convenient, of course, with listed ratios for different colors. All of the testing has been done for you, and is listed clearly in the literature.
    Of course it's more expensive. You pay for the convenience.

    The bleach is standard pot ferri. I use the bleach very dilute, and bleach for a very brief period of time, and then use the 'yellow' mix to get those golden highlights. Just this treatment alone is quite beautiful and adds real depth to a photograph. Then I usually follow up with Harman selenium toner, and sometimes I start from the beginning again with the bleach and bleach again, and repeat until I have what I want.

    You can do all of that with a toner you mix yourself, and the results will be just as good. But as Brian says, you will have to mix it yourself, which assumes you have an accurate scale, and the rest of the equipment (and knowledge) to do that safely.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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