problems with viradon : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

this message is a follow-up to one i posted on last week about orange stains on Ilford MGWTFB semi-matte toned in viradon. the stains showed up after an hour in the print washer. i'm cross-posting this here in hopes that more people--maybe someone from AGFA--will see it and i'll increase my chances of getting some answers. several people on suggested that i had residual fixer, but the stains are visible only in the image area of the prints, stopping abruptly at the beginning of the white borders. others suggested that perhaps 45 seconds was too short a time in viradon. based upon this suggestion, i re-toned some of the images. lo and behold, the rest of the image toned to match the reddish areas. so i decided that viradon works too slowly to achieve even toning in 45 seconds.


the same problem happened again tonight. same paper, Ilford MGWT semi-matte. i KNOW these prints were sufficiently fixed and washed. they spent 2 minutes in the toner (diluted 1:100) then were stopped in ilford universal wash-aid. they looked FINE when i put them in my print washer, evenly toned, just perfect. when i took them out an hour later, though, they were unevenly stained, exactly what happened last time. the stain is more prevalent on the end of the print closest to the water jets in the washer. could the direct jet of water be contributing to this problem? i read in ilford's literature that MGWT paper contains an optical brightener that can be washed out with very long wash times. could that be the problem--the optical brighteners are getting washed out in the areas of the print that experience more turbulence, thus creating warmer areas that could be described as stains? they only show up, though, in areas of the image, especially mid-dark tones. if optical brighteners getting washed out were the cause, there should be warmer-looking areas in the white borders too.

thanks for any input. i'm getting really frustrated with this. viradon gives me beautiful tones, but it's so dadgum hard to work with that i'm thinking of dropping it from my darkroom repertoire.

-- brad daly (, December 26, 2000


I have never used Viradon, so I wasn't going to respond to your question at all until you made mention of the stains being at the end where the water jets are. I recently read a 1993 post by Luis Nadeau on the mail-list of the Image Permanence Institute (I've been researching archival processing). He said:

"The results did not make any sense. Apparently, the amount of staining increased in proportion to the length of time the prints were washed! Suspecting an error by my assistant, I duplicated the tests myself and much to my dismay ended up with similar results. Careful examination of the wide margins revealed that certain areas of the prints (areas that received a *direct flow* of water from the feeding holes in close proximity to either side of the print at the bottom of the washer) showed a darker stain. I then remembered the Kodak instructions to the effect that water from a tap should never be allowed to hit *directly* the surface of a print that was to be toned."

Luis was testing an archival washer with prints toned in Kodak's Sepia Toner. He concludes that archival washers are a waste of money, and that with silver printing your best bet is to keep fixing and washing to a minimum. He ultimately suggests switching to platinum or carbon process!

You will find the entire post here:

-- Ed Buffaloe (, December 26, 2000.


Well, fwiw, I've used Viradon a few times with MGIVWT, 1:50 I think, giving my standard 10 minutes or so in sodium sulfite wash aid and an hour wash in a Versalab washer....and didn't get stains or streaks of any sort. This washer also directs water jets along the surface of the print.

So I think something else is going on...

-- John Hicks (, December 27, 2000.

Hi Brad,

I saw your earlier post, but didn't offer an opinion at that time, because I'm not sure where the problem lies. While I have never used Viradon, I find it interesting that your problem seemed to cure itself (at least for a while) when you increased the toning time to 2 minutes. As was previously suggested, 2 minutes is still a short time for toning unless you're running the toner at a high temperature. I've used Kodak brown toner (which I think is essentially the same thing as Viradon) at 68 degrees F (20 C) and come up with toning times that approach 10 minutes, or longer. Kodak also recommends using a hardening fixer after toning. Perhaps that would help with the problems in washing???

I just got some Viradon and plan on trying it soon. I'll let you know if experience a similar problem.


-- Pete Caluori (, December 29, 2000.

Viradon is funny stuff. I went through a love affair with it about two and half years ago. I printed 112 pictures for an exhibition in varying sizes from 10x8 to 16x20 on FB multigrade glossy all fixed in 2 bath straight sodium thiosulphite and toned for 1 minute in viradon 1:100. Beautiful tones, beautiful prints, no problems. All prints very thoroughly washed before toning.

Then I changed to ammonium thiosulphite for a one bath short fix. My problems have included: overall brown staining if the print is not properly washed; overall too great a shift to brown tones; surface "scum" marks on the print; orange "blotches". Ah ha! I thought, shift back to sodium. The first problem went away but I am still troubled by the blotches and the inabilty to get the slight shift I was getting before. What has changed? New darkroom (new water supply) and Zone VI washer.

Despite experiments, I have not been able to reproduce the effect I reproduced so effortlessly before.

Do you want to buy 3 bottles of unopened Viradon?

-- Mark Eban (, January 12, 2001.

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