Brown Toner on Ilford Multigrade FB : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Previously I have used Kodak’s Brown Toner on Ilford’s Multigrade Warmtone FB paper. I was happy with the results.

I was curious to see what color that I could achieve on Ilford Multigrade IV FB paper. I mixed up a new batch and proceeded to follow the directions exactly. After 30 minutes there was no color change. I could tell that a chemical reaction was taking place because the normal precipitate formed.

I never achieved much color change with selenium toner on this paper, but I expected more from a sulfite toner. Does anyone have an explaination?

-- Joe Guay (, October 29, 2001


Joe, I use both papers (WT and IV) and two toners: Selenium and sulphide (not sulphiTe, a misprint, I guess). I don't know what is Kodak Brown toner, I mix the sulphide toner myself: usual bleach bath with Potassium ferricianide and potassium bromide and toning bath with Sodium/Potassium sulphides. I guess it is called "Sepia toner" in brand-name version.

My experience is the following.

WT paper (semi matte FB, pearl RC). ---------------------------------- In Selenium the black changes to brown (dark gingery). Maximum blacks therefore become visually less dark.

In my Sepia light tones become yellow, dark gray tones -- warm (yellowish) brown. VERY black remain almost black (but it is improbable that you have such deep tones on the print). How pleasant it is -- it depends; I feel it is ok for some portraits.

IV paper (matte FB, pearl RC) ---------------------------- In Selenium there is almost no change in color (it is just a property of the emulsion, no other explanation); long toning in strong solution causes finally very slight violet cast ("cool purple"). There is noticeable intensification in shadows.

In my Sepia the black changes to sepia. Again the maximum blacks appears slightly lighter due to the color, but this lightening is not so pronounces as with WT.

Only IV in Selenium darkens the shadows. All other combinations produce essentially lighter print (in the IV+sepia combo the lightening is slight), hence I recommend to use toner while you find the proper exposure (test strips) if you plan in advance that the image is to be toned.

-- Andrey Vorobyov (, October 30, 2001.

Joe, is it possible you changed fixer brand/type between your previously sucessful toning to the failed result? If a hardening fixer is used it will pretty much eliminate the effects of toning. You probably already know this, but it could explain the outcome.

-- Ted Kaufman (, October 30, 2001.

Joe, in my experience MG IV FB and RC do not tone well. Certainly not as well as the warmtone paper.

I have been toning my Ilford MG prints for years with Kodak's Poly Toner. I got just the slight amount of toning I liked. After many years, I finally ran out of my original toner. Bought a new one, and it won't tone. My assumption is that Kodak changed the formulation [it does not small as bad as it used to].


In your case, I think it is just the difference between warmtone and regular paper.


-- Christian Harkness (, October 30, 2001.

ILFORD Multigrade IV paper, both the RC and fiber versions, has never been responsive to most toners, including Kodak's Brown and Poly toners. This is what lead to Multigrade Warmtone, which was designed with the primary criteria of being responsive to all toners.

So if you want to get the dramatic color changes, stick with the Warmtone. OTOH, if you want to protect your prints with a minumum of color change, use the Multigrade IV.

David Carper ILFORD Technical Service

-- David Carper (, November 07, 2001.

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