The search for Azo : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

After reading several posts on Azo, I decided to give it a try. I just got off the phone with Freestyle. They only have Azo in grade 2 for 8x10 , unless I want to buy 500 sheets of grade 3, and they don't know when they'll be getting more. And it will take about 10 days to get here. Who has it in stock NOW? I ordered 50 sheets of grade 2 and maybe with Edwal ultra black developer this will give me the results I need. Most of my negatives are more suited for higher grades of contrast.

-- Bruce Schultz (, February 20, 2001


Alas, I think Kodak is only selling grade 3 8x10 in 500 sheet boxes now. Grade 2 8x10 is still available in 100 sheet boxes. I think grades 1 and 4 are no longer available at all in any size. Freestyle is most likely to have it in stock, but I've bought it off the shelf from B&H occasionally. Call to see if they have it. It might not be on the website.

You might find that the long tonal scale of Azo changes your expectations about the grade of contrast you need.

-- David Goldfarb (, February 20, 2001.

I also tried Calumet and all they have is grade 2 in 100 sheets and grade 3 in 500 sheets. I'll try the grade 2.

-- bruce schultz (, February 20, 2001.

I know Kodak changes things almost daily and could care less what its customers want or think, but are you sure the saleperson at Freestyle knew what he/she was talking about? I just took delivery of a 100 sheet box of grade 3 from Freestyle no more than three weeks ago. B & H has for some time been limiting sales of grade 3 to 500 sheet boxes but if Freestyle is now doing that it's only been within the last few weeks.

-- Brian Ellis (, February 20, 2001.

If there is some interest among two or three people in buying a box of 500 sheets of Azo grade 3 in 8x10 and splitting it, I'd be willing to organize it. I quite like grade 2, but I'd like to have some grade 3 on hand, and would like to try it first before committing to purchasing a 500-sheet box myself. I'm in New York, so I could pick it up directly from B&H (saving shipping but incurring sales tax), though they say on the website there is at least a 2-week wait. A 500-sheet box is a bit under $300, so the cost would be about $60/hundred sheets plus whatever it costs to box and ship it. In any case, we could see who wants to do this, and then figure out what the most cost-effective method is.

My email is

Meanwhile, Bruce, have you considered trying for contrastier negatives? I find that 8 minutes in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner, 68-degrees F., 1:3, gives me about a one-stop expansion with TMX.

-- David Goldfarb (, February 20, 2001.

I also ordered a 100 sheet box of grade 3 Azo on the 9th from Freestyle and it is suppose to arrive tomorrow. The stock # was 142- 0983. Now I am eager to see what shows up at the front door.

-- Dan Kowalsky (, February 21, 2001.

I may be interested in going in on a share of 500 sheets of No. 3. But first I want to try the No. 2 and see if it even comes close to the glowing reports. My hope is that I can eliminate most of the burning and dodging, procedures that I detest. After all, I spent oodles of time choosing a scene for an image, composing, approving of the light as I saw it and then I have to intervene and try to manipulate a life back into an image. Gadzooks, I might as well go digital! So yes, if my Azo experience is good, I would like to get some No. 3 paper. I should know in a few days.

-- Bruce Schultz (, February 21, 2001.

My combo for Azo is Agfa Neutol WA 1:11 for 2 minutes and 3 minutes in Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1:15 to enhance DMax while keeping a warm-neutral tone. Go over 3 minutes in selenium and it turns an attractive shade of purple brown, if you like that sort of thing (I do only occasionally).

-- David Goldfarb (, February 21, 2001.

I hope all of you are planning on making contact prints with this Azo paper since the speed of it is extremely slow. The only time I have ever used this type of paper was with a very old contact printer that was almost as bright as the sun. Don't expect to make enlargements on this paper unless you have an enlarger that uses an arc lamp. The paper I used (some 15 yrs. ago) had the most beautiful tonality to it and a beatiful black. Only problem was, I could only use it to make contact prints (from 4x5"). Of course if you are shooting bigger film, and just want to contact print it, you should be o.k. with it. Also, I just heard from a fellow photographer that Kodak is going to discontinue Azo soon. This may just be a rumor, not sure. Good Luck

-- Eric Blevins (, February 21, 2001.

For my two cents worth of opinion, I think 4X5 contact prints are beautiful, especially if mounted on 11X14 boards with lots of white space around them.

-- Ben Calwell (, February 21, 2001.

Azo and Amidol gives one a link to the legacy of Edward Weston. And it is one combination that still works well today. Some excellent photographers use it still as one good combination that works for them. It is not the only way to do things, but if it works, it is worth using. Bergger is supposed to be coming out with a contact printing paper soon. I know they had one but found it was as fast as a normal enlarging paper, too fast for most contact printers so they are back to reformulating it to slow it down a bit. I hope they get it on the market. If it is as good as Azo it will be a welcome addition to my darkroom.

-- Dan Smith (, February 21, 2001.

Dan, another paper that was extremely slow, although it was an enlarging paper, was the old Oriental Portrait. I don't know if they have plans to reintroduce that now that they're back, but that was a rich warmtone paper that worked great on a contact printer. I really miss that one, and used it more than Azo when I was using my contact printer alot, it wasn't as slow as Azo, but it sure seemed like it under an enlarger.

-- DK Thompson (, February 22, 2001.

Just for the record, I found two people willing to split a 500-sheet box of Azo Grade 3 and actually found a box in stock at B&H. I have the good fortune of living in New York, and have frequently observed that items listed as out-of-stock on the B&H website are actually there, if someone goes down to the stockroom and checks, so it pays to give them a call by phone, just in case.

If anyone else is considering this, it is worth knowing in advance that a 500-sheet box comes in two bags of 250 sheets, and a normal 100-sheet paper box with a black bag can hold about 150 sheets of single-weight Azo. (In our case, one person took 150 sheets, another took 100, and I'm keeping 250 for myself).

-- David Goldfarb (, March 30, 2001.

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