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it has been suggested to me that i use Azo POP (or maybe centennial?) for contac t printing 4x5 b/w negs, rather than my normal multi-grade fiber base enlarging paper. what is POP, and why should it work better for contacts? if it is bette r for contacts, is it also better for enlargements? why dont i see azo or cente nnial papers in the B&H ad, or in the calumet catalog? does POP come in double- weight? thanks.
POP is printing-out-paper. It originated shortly after albumen paper as a way for portraitists (mainly) to quickly produce prints, since no developer was/is needed to see the resulting image and all processing may be carried out in normal room lighting. Usually the emulsion is a silver chloride on gelatin. Personally I love Chicago Albumen Works Centennial, which is available from Bostick & Sullivan (http://www.bostick-sullivan.com). The tonal range is UNBELIEVABLE, and if you are interested in alternative print processes (e.g. platinum/palladium), I highly recommend trying POP first. Some things to consider first: 1. your negatives must have an extended density range to exploit the paper's ability to reveal extremely high values. Negatives with a range of only two to three zones in the middle-grey area print like mud; 2. you'll need to pick up gold toner, which will allow you to vary print tone across a range from a warm orangey-brown to an ice-cold blue- black. I like the two-part gold thiocyanate toner available from Photographer's Formulary (http://www.photoformulary.com).
Is it better for contacts than enlargements? Isn't EVERY paper? My point here is that if you are trying to produce fine art and want the sharpest prints possible, why wouldn't you make a contact? And Centennial is double-weight. It has a lovely lustre about it - kind of a semi-matte/semi-gloss finish - slightly textured, and it dry mounts very well.
I guess I should point out that the paper can also produce extremely LOW values - thus the phrase tonal RANGE.
Kodak AZO is not a printing out paper. You still must develope the paper in a developer such as dektol, stoping and fixing are also required. AZO is a very slow paper, best suited to contact printing. AZO is a beautiful paper, especially suited for toning. I contact print my 4x10 panoramic images on AZO most of the time. The "feel" of the finished prints is quite different than say Kodak Elite or Zone VI Brilliant papers, both of which are high in silver content. The scale of tones available with AZO seems to be much longer, the whites don't block up, and there is incredible shadow detail, and rich deep blacks. You will need to get the hang of contact printing to use AZO effectively. AZO is only available in single weight, which is a problem sometimes, but the finished work, when matted and displayed is worth the extra hassle.
pat j. krentz
I agree with Britt, Azo is a great contact printing paper and when it is used with Amidol developer I have never seen anything that can beat it. Pat
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