AZO Aging : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi fellows,

I just found two boxes of AZO on my father in law´s lab. They are probably outdated, but have no idea how old they are.

How old can they be before aging effects really show? (they are at room temp)

Where can I find advise on how to print properly on this paper, preferably using dektol or ilford paper developer and an enlarger?

Thanks in advance...


-- Enrique Vila (, November 26, 2001


Azo is contact printing paper - enlarging is impractical, although many people use an enlarger as a light source for the contact printing. Azo is great stuff - has a reputation for keeping extrememly well. So, even if it is outdated, it should work well. You might want to add some bromide if you find the highlights fogged. See for chapter and verse on this unique paper. Cheers, DJ.

-- N Dhananjay (, November 26, 2001.

The same reason that dis-allows enlarger use allows for VERY long storage life. I've heard of a 1949 batch tested well and used. Do the standard test. Tear a sheet in half, put half in dektol and finish as normal, the other half stright into fixer. After wash and dry, compare both. Any fogging will be apparent.

-- Jim Galli (, November 26, 2001.

Azo has extremely good keeping qualities, even when stored at room temperature. As was mentioned, it is a single weight silver chloride contact printing paper, well respected for its extended tonal range. It prints very well with amidol, as well as with other developers like dektol. For good information on Azo, check out this website: and follow the links to the articles.

-- George Huczek (, November 26, 2001.

Azo also looks nice in Agfa Neutol WA (I prefer it to Dektol).

-- David Goldfarb (, November 26, 2001.

As a generality, Azo will age gracefully. This means it may well be usable long after many enlarging papers are hopelessly fogged. You may need a bit of anti-fog added to the developer or a touch of bleachnig afterward. In a direct comparison of the two boxes of Azo, one fresh and one 1976 expiration date, same grade, surface & weight, the old stuff made a nice print. But when compared to the new paper it is pale & lacks the full tonal range. The older stuff can be made to work OK but takes more exposure time & some bleaching back. Much easier to use the new paper. Some Azo E surface expired in the mid 1960's has an overall yellow cast I can't get rid of & the contrast isn't up to snuff. Some deckled edge pebble surface Azo that expired in the early 1960's looks absolutely great, even when put side by side with my new paper. For specific subjects I wish they still made it. I have some older Velox and a few other contact printing papers & they have not fared as well as the Azo for some reason. Some came from the same batch that the deckled edge paper did.. a barn I helped clean out in exchange for old photo gear, chemicals & paper. I have used & sold prints on Azo that expired in the 60's and 70's, using the paper for a specific look the older paper gave me. In general though I would stick with the newer paper. There is also a difference in the image in different developers, more so with old paper than new. The differences are not linear; I can't judge what they will be by developing a new sheet & expect it to hold true with teh older paper. I have to experiment a bit with each box.

-- Dan Smith (, November 26, 2001.

As has been stated, Azo will keep for a long time. If the box has not been opened and the paper is still in its inner wrapper, we will trade you brand new Azo for what you have. We are Azo dealers now. See our web site: under "Writings" for articles on printing with Azo. And look under "Azo" for current availability and prices.

Michael A. Smith

-- Michael A. Smith (, November 28, 2001.

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