Procedure for washing brown toned prints : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Does anyone know why Kodak recommends using hypo clearing agent, then hardener, prior to washing brown toned prints? What useful purpose does the hypo clearing agent serve? It seems to me that since there is no hypo in brown toner there should be no need to use hypo clearing agent. Maybe it has something to do with changing the pH?

Also, does anyone know what effect Sistan has on brown-toned prints?

-- Ed Buffaloe (, February 06, 2001


Greetings Ed,

I don't have access to my chemicals now (I'm not in the darkroom) but I seem to recall that brown toner does have thiosulfate listed in its contents. If it doesn't then I too would like to know why HCA is recommended after toning.

While I haven't tested this, I suspect the hardener has something to do with print tone. I've processed both FB & RC papers that have been brown toned, but I never use the hardener. The RC papers come out fine, but the FB papers loose quite a bit of tone in the washer. I'm not sure why, but my suspicion is the hardener. I don't tone that many prints, so haven't tested the theory yet.


-- Pete Caluori (, February 06, 2001.

Kodak recommends HCA after Polytoner also...which I just noticed. Haven't tried it yet, but hoping it might help "stop" the polytoner action. I'm experimenting with it and can't get it to quit once I've got it like I want it...

-- John Sarsgard (, February 07, 2001.

The HCA could be to stop the toning. Agfa recommends a 10% sodium sulfite bath to stop Viradon. Kodak Brown, Poly, and Agfa Viradon tone faster when highly diluted. So, when a freshly toned print goes into the wash, it turns the wash water into a very highly diluted toner, and the toning continues.

-- Chris Ellinger (, February 07, 2001.


Well, I checked the brown toner and was incorrect in thinking it contained thiosulfate; it does not. So I'm at a loss to understand why Kodak recommends fresh fixer after toning. Perhaps it is to stop the toning action.


-- Pete Caluori (, February 07, 2001.

I think the gentlemen are correct that hypo clearing agent plays some part in stopping the toning action of brown toner. The question arose because I discovered that I could tone Bergger Prestige grade 2 in selenium for 2 minutes, (then 3 minutes in hypo clearing agent and a 20 minute wash), then tone in brown toner for 1 to 2 minutes and get a beautiful split tone. BUT, the split slowly degraded as the prints remained in the wash for several hours. The test I had done, which I hung up with only a 10 minute wash did not degrade (i.e., it retained its split). So my next step is to try the hypo clearing agent just before the hardener, then limit washing to about 30 minutes.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, February 08, 2001.

Subsequent testing proved to me that the hypo clearing agent bath after brown toning stops the toning action from continuing in the wash. You can get a beautiful split tone effect if you tone Bergger Prestige grade 2 with selenium for 2 minutes, wash thoroughly, then tone in brown toner for 2 minutes. I plan to obtain some Portriga and see if I can get the same effect with it.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, February 13, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ