Azo comments : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Well, I just tried some grade 2 Azo and I can't make up my mind if it's the greatest thing since sunlight or just another paper. My negs, which generally print well on grade 2 Portriga rapid, look as if they might be a tad flat on the Azo paper. They look OK, they're just not knock-your-socks-off wonderful. In my case, the negatives that printed best on it were the ones that I had mistakenly over-developed. With Azo, is it best to go for a fully-developed, dense negative? Also, Michael Smith has written that a 300 watt bulb works best with Azo. I tried that and fried the paper black. I wound up going with a 60 watt bulb, but my typical exposures were still around 3 to 5 seconds (each bulb was about 3 to 4 four feet from the paper). I plan to power down to a 25 watt bulb next time. I do like the look of the prints -- there is more shadow detail and highlight detail, but there is (to my eye) that touch of flatness. But, maybe my negs just aren't suited to Azo. Sorry to go on and on like this, but just wanted to share my Azo experiences. Thanks. Ben Calwell

-- Ben Calwell (, October 22, 2000


Ben, I use a 60watt indoor plant light which works quite well for me. I do expose my film for Azo which is usually a stop more than regular papers. You might also consider using Amidol developer when using Azo. I have a formula for Peckham's, if you want it contact me. Pat

-- pat krentz (, October 23, 2000.

Azo is definitely longer-scale than an average grade 2 paper. My tests (developing 1min in Dektol) printing a Stouffer step tablet suggest it is about equal to typical grade 0. This is contrary to the contrast range for the paper shown on Kodak's web site, which has it as a normal grade 2. So you need to make higher contrast negs.

When I print with a 150W flood light set into my darkroom ceiling with the paper on the floor (a little more than 7 ft. distance), I get print times around 8-10 seconds.

I've only printed about 50 sheet of it so far, but it has turned out some beautiful prints.

-- Chris Patti (, October 23, 2000.

ben - take a look in the archives in the darkroom:printing section and review the earlier discussions of azo paper, and the contact printing topics. for example - a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=001Vt3 - there is considerable difference of opinion on the use of azo. while it is the contact paper of choice for HABS/HAER, i have never liked the results i got from it compared to my standard dw papers. i would never abnormally expose or process my negs just to compensate for the vagaries of this paper.

-- jnorman (, October 23, 2000.

Sounds to me like your negatives might be on the thin side for Azo. I expose using a condenser enlarger (on the order of a 60W bulb--I haven't changed it for a long time) with a 6x6 negative carrier and the lens removed. I crank the bellows to the minimum extension and raise the head to the point where the light covers a bit more than the baseboard (enough to provide even illumination with an 8x10" negative). My exposure times are in the 30-55 sec. range (generally TMX at E.I. 80, processed in D-76 1:1). I process in Agfa Neutol WA 1:11, 2 minutes and tone in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1:15, 3 minutes to extend the blacks a bit and get better separation of tones.

-- David Goldfarb (, October 23, 2000.

I have done a fair amount of printing now with Azo/Amidol (and a few other developers). Regarding wattge-it doesnt really matter-whatever gives a maximum black in a reasonable time is fine. Comparing step wedges as well as actual negs with Galerie/Dektol:

1) Azo/2 corresponds to lower grade than galerie/2. It does have a longer scale-this is easy to see with the step wedge. Thus to get bright, full scale prints development time (of negative)would be longer than for galerie/2 (about 1 zone movement needed).

2) Separation in shadows seems a little better (Again less toe) than galerie (where mid-tones are more or less matched). Can achieve same result with water bath development or using slightly less contrasty developer than Dektol (eg Amidol).

3) whites are less brilliant (brighteners?) with Azo than galerie- giving a slightly old fashioned or warmer "feel".

In the end it depends on very subtle differences and what you like. Given the limited range of grades available with Azo and the fact that singleweight paper is less forgiving I'll be sticking with Galerie.


-- Alan Barton (, October 25, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ