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Thread: RC print permanence update

  1. #1

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    RC print permanence update

    Starting on page 160 of his book Post Exposure


    Ctein described a test begun during June 1995, wherein he divided three RC prints into quadrants, then treated them so that one quarter was washed only, the second quarter was very lightly selenium toned, the third quarter was treated with (then-current) Agfa Sistan and the fourth quarter received both selenium and Sistan. He then sealed them in frames and hung them where they received "ample" daylight (but no direct sunlight) and, at night, incandescent light. When the book's first edition was published in 1997, he reported all three untreated print quadrants had silvered out within a year, but the treated quadrants showed no change. At the second edition's release in 2000, he updated those results, saying "still no change." Note that the on-line PDF carries a 2011 copyright, but it's identical to the 2000 second edition.

    Since being sealed in a frame and exposed to light has long been thought likely the worst environment for RC prints, I was curious whether Ctein's test is ongoing more than 20 years after June 1995. Today I asked him that very question. His answer: Yes, the prints have been kept in the same environment the entire time since 1995. He said the quadrants treated with very light selenium toning and/or Sistan continue to look fine -- no silvering out or bronzing. He closed with "So, I guess it works."

    While the prints Ctein tested were made on Kodak Polycontrast and Agfa Multicontrast Premium papers, I think it's reasonable to extrapolate that today's RC papers ought to fare as well or better, especially since Agfa itself subsequently changed its paper formulation based on research prompted by Ctein's test. In light of our drought conditions, I'm planning to use a lot more Multicontrast Warmtone RC with greater confidence after hearing from Ctein today.

  2. #2
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: RC print permanence update

    Thanks for the update Sal.
    A "true, real world test" by a noted member of the photographic community(if you consider him such, I do, at least technically speaking), to me, is worth more than technical bulletins based on "forced environmental testing", IMO.

    I have long held the opinion that, for my own work at least(the little that I print, but equally important to not waste time, nonetheless), RC papers are simply for "sharing a print with a friend" or for contact sheets. Final prints have always been done on fiber-based papers, and preferably ones that do not include brightening agents. Emaks papers were my preferred paper until a few years ago, when the company went belly up. Alas, I didn't have the finances available at that time to stock up a nice supply to work from, so I missed the boat. Oh well, that's life.

    But after hearing about your response from Ctein, I believe I'll give RC papers another look, of course with proper care taken during the processing step to ensure that the longest possible print life is attained if the print is actually one to be cared about.

    thanks again,
    Dan

  3. #3
    Ginette's Avatar
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    Re: RC print permanence update

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    Starting on page 160 of his book Post Exposure


    Ctein described a test begun during June 1995, wherein he divided three RC prints into quadrants, then treated them so that one quarter was washed only, the second quarter was very lightly selenium toned, the third quarter was treated with (then-current) Agfa Sistan and the fourth quarter received both selenium and Sistan. He then sealed them in frames and hung them where they received "ample" daylight (but no direct sunlight) and, at night, incandescent light. When the book's first edition was published in 1997, he reported all three untreated print quadrants had silvered out within a year, but the treated quadrants showed no change. At the second edition's release in 2000, he updated those results, saying "still no change." Note that the on-line PDF carries a 2011 copyright, but it's identical to the 2000 second edition.

    Since being sealed in a frame and exposed to light has long been thought likely the worst environment for RC prints, I was curious whether Ctein's test is ongoing more than 20 years after June 1995. Today I asked him that very question. His answer: Yes, the prints have been kept in the same environment the entire time since 1995. He said the quadrants treated with very light selenium toning and/or Sistan continue to look fine -- no silvering out or bronzing. He closed with "So, I guess it works."

    While the prints Ctein tested were made on Kodak Polycontrast and Agfa Multicontrast Premium papers, I think it's reasonable to extrapolate that today's RC papers ought to fare as well or better, especially since Agfa itself subsequently changed its paper formulation based on research prompted by Ctein's test. In light of our drought conditions, I'm planning to use a lot more Multicontrast Warmtone RC with greater confidence after hearing from Ctein today.
    Nice to have feedback on the Agfa Sistan. I use this product on my lumen prints (fiber base paper) trying to maximise permanence of the colors.
    Here in Canada Sistan is now known as Adox Adostab. This product contain amonium thiocyanate and is used at the end of the treatment, after the washing with no rince.
    My Lumen project http://ginetteclement.com

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    Re: RC print permanence update

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginette View Post
    Nice to have feedback on the Agfa Sistan. I use this product on my lumen prints (fiber base paper) trying to maximise permanence of the colors.
    Here in Canada Sistan is now known as Adox Adostab. This product contain amonium thiocyanate and is used at the end of the treatment, after the washing with no rince.
    This recent post


    reflects the fact that Agfa Sistan, which Ctein used 20 years ago, is no longer available, and current "replacement" products have proven problematic. I'd strongly suggest light selenium toning instead, which Ctein says has staved off deterioration just as well as original Sistan did.

  5. #5

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    Re: RC print permanence update

    Thanks Sal Santamaura,

    Appreciate the update, I'll continue with the selenium toning then, since it won't wash off.

  6. #6
    Ginette's Avatar
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    Re: RC print permanence update

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    This recent post


    reflects the fact that Agfa Sistan, which Ctein used 20 years ago, is no longer available, and current "replacement" products have proven problematic. I'd strongly suggest light selenium toning instead, which Ctein says has staved off deterioration just as well as original Sistan did.
    Thanks for your warning. Yes we never know when they said that they do a "better formulation!" I will do some research here and on APUG but the link you give me refer to problems in Jobo drum and I'm in tray.
    In fact I don't use this product at the end of the sequence as it supposed to be done but as first step as a stabilizer to try to keep the maximum original colors of the exposed lumen (colors bleach a lot when put in the fix). Wolfgang Moersch did some interesting testing on lumen prints using the ammonium thiocyanate as a stabilizer (and fixer) and often gold toning before the stabilizer step. I never try the gold toner neither the selenium toner on my lumen prints (in fact any toner). I use lightly the ammonium thiocyanate but don't trust it as a fixer. I fix completely my lumen with standard rapid fix (amonium thiosulfate) and wash fully and don't use the Sistan at the end of the sequence.
    But I will give a try to the selenium toner at the beginning or at the end to see what I got with my lumens.
    My Lumen project http://ginetteclement.com

  7. #7

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    Re: RC print permanence update

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginette View Post
    ...link you give me refer to problems in Jobo drum and I'm in tray...
    The problems it refers to exist with Sistan "replacements" regardless of where they're used. See this thread


    for more details.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginette View Post
    ...I don't use this product at the end of the sequence as it supposed to be done but as first step as a stabilizer to try to keep the maximum original colors of the exposed lumen (colors bleach a lot when put in the fix)...I fix completely my lumen with standard rapid fix (amonium thiosulfate) and wash fully and don't use the Sistan at the end of the sequence...
    I suspect (but don't know with certainty) your Adostab will have no deleterious effect, since it's not at the end of your process. In this thread


    it was noted that a wash after Sistan completely negated its benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginette View Post
    ...I will give a try to the selenium toner at the beginning or at the end to see what I got with my lumens.
    You'll only want to use selenium after the fix and a wash. You'll need to completely wash again after selenium.

  8. #8
    Ginette's Avatar
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    Re: RC print permanence update

    Thanks Sal. I read the APUG topic and the bad experience this member got may be caused by many factors, bad initial washing in tube, post treatment many years later, the prints was put in the product when dry, no full wipe as recommanded. And we did't know if he respect the suggested capacity 2 sqm per liter of working solution. In the 3 pages topic, no other members, some used this product, observed this problem. And the member don't follow up with the recommanded treatment by PE.

    Same comment for Christopher Gmuender's 1992 RIT master's thesis where manufacturer recommendations are not followed.

    I use this product for the amonium thiocyanate content instead of mixing dry product. According to the Safety sheet, it is mostly amonium thiocyanate, 2 others products are less than 2%. I use before fixing my lumens to try to keep delicates colours that bleach in the fix. I don't use it after the wash. Lumens printers report good results with amonium thiocyanate. Wolfgang Moersch post interesting colors comparaison on his Ipernity album. But I don't use it as fix replacement nor as for archival proprieties. I'm on fiber based papers, I fully fix and wash my lumens.

    I don't still try any toning because I like the colors I got actually and like the idea that the colors are not generated from any toning processes.
    And yes if I try some diluted selenium for "adding permanence", I will do before the final washing!
    My Lumen project http://ginetteclement.com

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