DEKTOL WITH AZO : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have tried using Azo recently with Dektol (1:2/68F or 1:4) on negs developed in PMK (or HC110). The prints have a blue tone to them. has anybody else observed this? Doesn't occur with Amidol or Edwal Platinum. Thanks

-- Alan Barton (, September 08, 2000


Alan - both Bill Johnson and I noticed this with our prints at the workshop. Bill also had an Amidol print which was more neutral to just slightly warm. He also thinks that the fixer plays a part in the image tone. I've got his e-mail address if you need it.

-- Sean yates (, September 08, 2000.

If you play around with the dilution of Dektol you can modify the coloration a bit. I have had better luck with Agfa Neutol WA than with most anything other than Amidol. I think the amidol formula from Michael A. Smith works very well, but for a bit of creative control you may find using some others is a good experience.

-- Dan Smith (, September 09, 2000.

Yes, Agfa Neutol WA will give a rich, neutral silver tone. TRY IT.

-- David Stein (, September 09, 2000.

Alan- Sean Yates and I have both experienced the "blues" with Dektol and Azo, but evidently it is possible to alter the blue cast if you experiment with the Dektol. You may also recall at the workshop that Michael Smith said he occasionally uses Dektol with Azo to get just a bit more contrast, but somehow manages to avoid the blue color. Others seem to get a more neutral color with the Agfa developers, but I am so pleased with the Amidol I haven't tried anything else yet. Let us know your results if you have a chance to experiment.

-- Bill Johnson (, September 09, 2000.

Although I've also experienced a blue-green tone in my limited work with Azo and Dektol, I've found that the tone is quite acceptable after selenium toning. I'll definitely try the Agfa developer though.

-- Chris Patti (, September 10, 2000.


FWIW, I too have noticed a blue black tone in AZO, but as the previous poster mentioned, selenium toning cured it. At the time, I was using Polymax-T as the developer.


-- Pete Caluori (, September 11, 2000.

I asked kodak the same question-they have no idea. Tried again last night using 1:1 Dektol made up with distilled water-same result. Se toning did remove blue tone effectively (1:12 2 min) as per previous responses. Tone with Dektol, after Se toning, is warmer than with Edwal developers but still very nice.

Thanks for the suggestions,


-- Alan Barton (, September 11, 2000.

I get the blue tone and I like it. No point rockin' that boat. :-) Besides I could never get amidol to work for me. I am sure it was something I was doing wrong but I didn't really want to take the time to figure it out.

-- David N. VanMeter (, September 12, 2000.

I tried Azo for the first time last night, and indeed, the tonal scale was great, but I got the blue-green tone in Dektol. I picked up some Neutol WA, as recommended above and will try that next, but out of curiosity, has anyone here tried Azo in Formulary BW-65 (phenidone-glycin developer), which claims to produce results similar to Amidol without the staining, cost, and short tray life?

-- David Goldfarb (, October 06, 2000.

So after some testing, I've settled on this combo for Azo (all at 68 degrees F.): Agfa Neutol WA, 1:11, 2 minutes; Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1:15, 3 minutes--just enough to make the blacks pop out and get a nice separation of intermediate tones.

-- David Goldfarb (, October 21, 2000.

David, in the course of your testing between October 6 and 21, did you try the Formulary BW-65? If so, what kind of results did you get? Thanks in advance.

-- Sal Santamaura (, November 28, 2000.

No I didn't, in the end. I was happy with Neutol WA and accounts of BW-65 over in the B&W Printing and Finishing list suggested that it wasn't too different from Dektol in practice, at least with other papers (though that still doesn't tell what it does with Azo), so I haven't felt the urgency to try it. If you do, please report back.

-- David Goldfarb (, November 28, 2000.

You can get a free sample of BW-65 from PF, so what do you have to lose? I've been playing with glycin, Neutol WA and Azo tonight, will report back if I see anything interesting. I have a sample of BW-65 standing by, if needed, but I suspect it will only give the dreaded green.

-- Wayne (, April 20, 2001.

If you use the Michael A. Smith formulation of Amidol developer the short tray life is a thing of the past. I have run some tests and printed successfully from a batch left open in a tray for 18 hours. It still worked fine. If I filter & bottle it overnight I can use it for 3-4 days without problems. I tried mixing the Edward Weston formulation I found in books & it didn't last more than 4 1/2 hours at the longest. Not long enough for me so maybe Weston was a much faster or more efficient printer than I am, not hard to do. If you develop in Amidol for most of the time and finish up in Dektol, Neutol or another developer you can vary print tone a bit as well.

-- Dan Smith (, April 20, 2001.

Dan, I expect that Michael's developer might be so long lasting because of the 80+ year old Amidol that he uses, rather than the formula he uses to mix it.

-- Bill (, April 20, 2001.

Sorry, Dan. Open mouth and insert foot -- the story of my life.

-- Bill (, April 21, 2001.

well there must be some reason. the only significant difference I see between MAS's formula and many others is the reduced quantity of bromide.

Does Michael have an explanation for why his formula lasts longer?

-- Wayne (, April 21, 2001.

I have been told by others that the citric acid addition in Michaels formula is what helps keep it active for such a long time. All I really know is that it works very well for my prints and I have been able to get 92 8x10's out of one litre of developer over a three day period.

-- Dan Smith (, April 21, 2001.

But there's citric acid in other amidol formulas too-Brett and Cole Weston's, Wynn Bullock's. I dont doubt that Michaels formula lasts, just curious why that hasnt been reported by anyone else who used similar formulas

-- Wayne (, April 21, 2001.

I'll answer my own question. Apparently the use of acid to prolong amidol working solution life has been known for a long time. The 1975 edition of _Photographic Facts and Formulas_ mentions that acid will prolong the life of amidol solutions for a couple days. I have no idea how many of the earlier editions also mention this fact, but since Wynn Bullock died in 1973 it was certainly known long before that. Apparently its not very widely known though.

-- Wayne (, April 22, 2001.

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