In a previous article, http://www.searing.photography/testing-lpd-vs-pf106/ I explored the differences of two paper developers on 3 different papers and found there was little difference in the tonality based on developer. There were differences in exposure time required to achieve max black and some differences in shadow detail but I can not attribute all of that to the developer.
So this weeks experiment was to take those same 6 sheets and tone them completely in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner (KRST) to see if there were tonality differences. I used my 8 month old 1:6 mix of selenium but added 100ml after a couple of tests so it is more like 1:5 . The paper tone did change from neutral grey to a dark purple/chocolate on all three papers. The Ilford MGFB Warmtone and Bergger CB Warmtone are very close in tone to one another with Ilford MGFB classic being slightly more neutral. The amount of black in the image affects the brown/purple-ish cast. An over exposed dark image gave very deep chocolate tones vs a very under exposed test sheet gave a purple cast in the under developed shadows. I suspect that the age of the selenium created more purple tones than warmer chocolate tones but earlier experiments were nearly same tone.
So what about LPD vs PF106?
All tests were toned to completion for 5 minutes. Most of the papers had noticeable color shift around 2mins and 30 seconds with overall color shift occurring within 4 minutes. Color is very purple when wet but dries down to less of a purple cast. Prints were washed for 30 minutes after toning.
Ilford MGFB Classic – there is a very slight tonal shift to the purple side on PF106. Classic was a tad more neutral in tone in LPD. LPD is preferred tone.
Ilford MGFB WarmTone – No perceptible difference between the tonality of the two images. However I do feel that the LPD image had darker shadow detail tones than the PF106 image. This may also be due to subtle differences in printing initially. The PF106 wins in this case.
Bergger Variable CB – No real tonality difference. The prints were well matched and have equivalent shadow detail. This paper has a nice gloss finish similar to the Ilform MGFB WT glossy.
I toned the same image using Bergger VCB exposed with a #2.5 contrast filter (vs #2 for previous tests) developed in PF106 1:15 for 4 minutes. The image has more contrast than the #2 filter images but the color is also a bit more neutral. The difference is very subtle and there is no loss of detail in the darker shadow texture. Except for the darkness of the image this may be a better overall tone.
I used a lighter image (slightly under exposed in enlarger) on Bergger VCB, #2.5 filter, PF106 fully developed, and only ran it in the selenium toner for 2:30. That was enough to shift from the neutral grey to slightly warmer tone away from the greenish/flat grey when compared to another print properly exposed split grade and developed PF106 at 1:15. This gave a dark tone close to charcoal brown with no hint of purple in solid black areas.
Overall toning with selenium gives a nice rich deep brown on these papers regardless of developers tested. I did not find a magic tone that I like better than the rich brown of my sepia tests so far. I do like the slight color shift of the partial toning at 2:30 minutes which remains truer to black and white. Its not enough difference for me to switch developers since LPD is so economical to use.
All three images are Bergger CB Warm Tone paper developed with Photographers Formulary 106. Left Selenium 5:00 minutes, center 2:30, right untoned. Note my scanner tends to bring out the warm tone of the paper when scanned as a color image so I adjusted tint on the single combined image slightly, otherwise this is unaltered. The color shift can be most notably seen in the lower left corner.