To Tone or not to Tone

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thefizz

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I will be selling some B&W prints soon and wish to know if other people sell their prints toned or untoned. I have not toned any prints before but don't mind starting. I don't want to change colour and understand selenium would be best to keep as close to B&W as possible.

Would I be pulling a fast one on someone if I sold them an untoned print. I once asked a professional photographer friend of mine if he toned his prints and he laughed "not many of my customers will be still around in 60 odd years".

So what is the norm? Is it acceptable to sell untoned prints?

Peter
 

Nick Zentena

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Look at Sistan from Agfa. Not exactly expensive or time consuming.

You never know how something is going to be treated. You also don't know how many people the buyer will bitch to before even mentioning it to you. Do the best you can or sooner or later it'll come back to bite you.
 

titrisol

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Toning for permanence you mean? I would do it just for the sake of it.

is your customer willing to accept the tone-shift? Depending on which paper/developer combo you used you may see some tone shift. Ilford papers appear to be very resistant to changing tones in selenium though.
If you use AGFA or FORTE papers, the tone shift maybe work for or agaisnt you. If I were you I'd try before hand.
 
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thefizz

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Yes for permanence. My photographer friend who does not tone, uses a plastic heat seal instead. Is this any good for preserving prints.
 

FrankB

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Ilford MGIV FB works well in selenium if you don't want to shift the tones. The mid-tones cool slightly and the shadows deepen without losing detail, but that's all.

It's worth reading Tim Rudman's book on toning, especially if you're toning for archival permanence. Personally I'd think twice about any statements to the effect that the print is "archival"; if they go and hang it in direct light above a photocopier and next to a radiator, you can bet that they'll be blaming you when they can't leave it in their wills to their great grandchildren!
 

Tom Duffy

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I print on Bergger VCCB and I think the tone of the paper is perfect right out of the box. It can only be negatively impacted by use of toner. I use sistan, so as not to alter the tone of the paper.

Two issues with this. Sistan has the potential to cause stains if too much is left on the print and two, there is no proof that Sistan actually works.

If you don't mind the tone, I would recommend that you use selenium. It easy, definitely helps permanence and improves the dmax of your prints.

Take care,
Tom
 

psvensson

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I think any B&W pictures that will be on display should be toned or at least treated with Sistan. Untreated prints can be attacked by gases in surprisingly short times, like months. If you don't want to use Sistan, try a direct sulfide toner like Viradon or Kodak Brown Toner. Papers like MGIV RC have hardly any color shift in KBT, but protection should be very good.
 

dancqu

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For archival results nothing tops sulfur. The IPI, has showen that
microfilm treated with sodium sulfide at a dilution of 1:9,999 provides
complete protection.

Hypo-Alum types including Nelson's Gold Toner may be of interest.
From my reading I've the impression that sulfur is way ahead of any
other 'toner' for archival purposes. Dan
 

Konical

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Good Evening, Peter,

Ditto to the comments above by FrankB and psvensson regarding Ilford FB and selenium. I find the lack of significant tonal change to be an advantage, since I tone only for permanence.

Konical
 

photobackpacker

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I guess my take is a bit different. I would say - it depends on the rest of your process. Are you using archival mat board and other high-end acid free mounting materials. If so, you will be forced to pass the cost of these materials along to your customers and since they are paying for archival materials, I would tone.

Toning is another step in the process but be aware that different papers tone at different speeds and the same chemicals give slightly different hues. I work with Kodak Polymax Fineart paper and tone all prints with selenium toner diluted 1:9. With my water supply, I get the desired color shift (from black to purple black) in around 5 minutes.

You will also find that you will get a slight pop in contrast from the toner and so if you are flirting with dry-down - you can get too much of a good thing.

Practice with your pre-production prints and make sure you dry one with all steps before going into production and printing 50.

What you use for a toner is driven by your subject and your eye. If it pleases you and enhances your subject - use it. If not - move on. This is one area where you are the boss and your opinion is more valid than others.

If you use selenium - use good thick rubber gloves. It is easily absorbed through your skin As John Sexton points out - "There aren't any chemicals in your darkroon that will extend your life."
 
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thefizz

thefizz

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I feel that toning for longevity is a good selling point but I would like to keep colour shifts to a minimum. I will have to try some different papers with selemiun to see which changes the least.

I am also interested in trying Sistan due to it not changing the tone of the paper but some people are saying that its not known for sure if it works. Has anyone else got views on Sistan?

Also, is heat sealing prints a good alternative to toning?

Thanks for your help so far.
Peter
 

Ian Grant

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titrisol said:
Toning for permanence you mean? I would do it just for the sake of it.

is your customer willing to accept the tone-shift?

Toning for permanence in Selenium will be barely noticeable, toning for effect of course will, the differance is the dilution and times involved.

Most manufacturers will give instructions for both.
 

FrankB

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Bear in mind that Tim Rudman claims that a selenium tone only improves the permanence of the parts of the print that it affects i.e. in order for all the print to have its permanence improved the print must be fully toned.

Others state (with just as much certainty!) that a partial tone in dilute selenium will improve the permanence of the whole print. According to Tim Rudman, this will only affect the areas the toner reaches, i.e. the shadows.

I'm not qualified to speak with any authority on this subject, but it is worth knowing that there are two schools of thought.
 

ann

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It is not just Tim Rudman stating this opinon, it is the IPI that has published the facts with regard to types of toners and the archival properties.
 

psvensson

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I've only used Sistan for about a year, so I'm not sure how well it works. Most authorities says it makes sense that it would work on theoretical grounds. One thing I have found is that Agfa's warning not to let large drops of the stuff dry in is to be taken seriously. When I dried treated prints flat after squeegeeing, I was getting bleached spots on prints that didn't dry fast enough. Now I dry the prints at an angle.
 

ann

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Frank, no problem, my reply was to add additional information.

There are a lot of papers out, but not easy to find. Thanks, for providing this link for others.
 

titrisol

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I think it depends on the paper/dev combo used as well. A cold-tone developer should help in restraining the tone shift, even when toning is complete.
I tone using Paterson selenium 1+4 to completion (about 10-15 minutes)

ILFORD MG neutral and cold show almost no changes IMHO. The "greenish tone" is gone, and the cold tone becomes a tad bluish. Shadows deepen a little.

AGFA MCC/MCP paper shows more tone shift when developed in Ethol LPD 1+3 than 1+12. The tone is deep-purple and "creeps" from the shadows up. (see attachment)

ILFORD MG-WT shows a very similar behavior to the AGFAs

Ian Grant said:
Toning for permanence in Selenium will be barely noticeable, toning for effect of course will, the differance is the dilution and times involved.

Most manufacturers will give instructions for both.
 

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