Azo toning : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I had a great day Sunday printing pyro negatives on Azo #2. I wasn't able to do any burning, and only a little dodging, because of my light setup, but I didn't need much anyway! This truly is a wonderful paper. No test strips were needed after I became accustomed to the bright lighting. I used Edwal ultra black and I really liked the cold bluish tint, but when I toned in 5:1 selenium that was replaced in 2 minutes by a purplish tint. How can I tone with selenium and keep the cold tones on Azo? If I went to 20:1 dilution would that keep most of the original appearance?

-- Bruce Schultz (, March 05, 2001


It can't be done--selenium will always make a chloride paper warm. However, you can restore the cold tone after selenium with a thiocyanate-based gold toner such as Ansco 231 or Dupont 6-T. I would recommend only using 5 or 10 ml of a 1% gold chloride solution (to save money on the gold chloride and to keep the toning from going too far). You will have to print a bit lighter, as the double toning will add a lot of density.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, March 05, 2001.

I develop Azo in Agfa Neutol WA 1:3 for 2 minutes and tone in Rapid Selenium Toner 1:15 for 3 minutes and get a neutral to warm black and extension of Dmax, but go 4 minutes and it turns purple-brown.

The key is to use a high dilution and make some tests to see when the turning point occurs with your particular developer/temperature/water. Make 3 prints. Keep one as a reference print while you tone, time the first one to see when it goes from black to purple, then tone the third one for just short of the time it takes to go purple.

-- David Goldfarb (, March 05, 2001.

First, did you really tone in 5:1 selenium or did you mean 1:5? If 5:1, that's a much higher concentration than you need or that I've ever heard of anyone using. Assuming that you meant 1:5, you have two choices, either increase the dilution or decrease the toning time. Michael Smith, who is something of an Azo guru, recommends an extremely dilute solution of 1:150 or something on that order with Azo. If you use that great a dilution you should be able to tone for four or five minutes without losing the bluish tint that you like.

When I first started using Azo I tried devloping in Ilford Universal and Dektol. Both gave me the bluish tint tint that you like but I didn't. As I recall, I diluted the selenium something like 1:10 (I didn't completely trust Michael's extreme dilution) and it took a minute or two before I started losing the bluish tint and getting the purplish warmer look so you might try something like 1:9 for two minutes. I ended up switching to Amidol, which doesn't give the bluish tint at all. Azo is indeed a great paper, too bad that Kodak seems bent on eliminating it.

-- Brian Ellis (, March 06, 2001.

I use Azo and Peckham's Amidol developed for 5:00 minutes with a brush, if I tone I use Sel. 1:12 x 1 minute @ 68-F, there is no tone change. Pat

-- pat krentz (, March 06, 2001.

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