Azo past & present : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Just spoke with a fellow concerning my desire to contact print 4X5 and 8X10 negatives using Azo paper. He told me to not bother with Azo because it's not nearly as "good" (?) as it was many years ago.

Any input as to the quality aspects of Azo "then" and "now"?

If it's not good, is there a FB contact-printing paper that would be considered good/better?

Thank you and Season's Greetings from snowy Montana

-- Barrie Smith (, December 20, 2000


I can't say whether it's as "good," but relate this story for what it's worth. Earlier in the year I bought a 25 sheet package of 8x10 grade 2. Two weeks ago, noticing that the recent update of Kodak's technical publication on Azo showed 8x10 grade 3 is now only available in 500 sheet boxes, and finding out that Freestyle still had 100 sheet grade 3 boxes in stock, I ordered one of the smaller boxes. Given Azo's reputation for lasting forever it seemed like a good idea to have some grade 3 around without needing to invest nearly $300.00 in 500 sheets.

Well, an insert in the grade 3 package carried a 1990 copyright date. I don't know how old that paper was, but it's image quality cannot be faulted. However, one aspect is different: weight. While both packages are called "single weight," the (I believe older) grade 3 feels significantly heavier than the grade 2. Not "double weight" heavy, but a more solid single weight. Anyone notice a thinning of single weight Azo over the years?

-- Sal Santamaura (, December 20, 2000.

They still seem to find "new" Azo good enough to print with. They will use nothing else. Whether it's as "good as old" Azo, I've noidea, but I'd be tickled pink if I could print on it as well as they do. Gordon Hutchings seems to have decided to use it too. Check out their articles on it in the "Writings" section.

Since switching to development by inspection and Azo I have been very very happy with my print quality. Haven't switched to PMK or Amidol yet, but ya never know.

-- Sean yates (, December 20, 2000.

Sal, I've noticed that all single weight papers are thinner that in years past. Long ago I printed enlarged 16x20s on single weight because it was cheaper, but I don't think one could do it with today's single weight papers. They would wad up like toilet paper.


-- Ron McElroy (, December 21, 2000.

Again, FWIW - Michael and Paula print 8 X 20 and 18" X 22" on Azo

-- Sean yates (, December 21, 2000.


I have heard the lament from someone that has used AZO for many years complain that the "old" stuff is no longer available, but I have never seen a comparison, so I really can't comment. I have used the new stuff and it does have some desirable chaacteristics, however I don't think any one paper is good for all situations.


-- Pete Caluori (, December 21, 2000.

Lotus indicates it will begin distributing a contact paper.

-- David Stein (, December 22, 2000.

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