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I keep hearing about Azo paper with Amidol being superior for contacts. I've kno wn about this stuff for years but never tried it, thinking that regular hi-quali ty paper is good for contacts. Why is it better than regular paper? If it has more latitude, I certainly would like to try it. I find it difficult t o judge the darkroom exposure time for different negatives for contact prints, u nlike enlarged negatives. Where can I get Azo, and Amidol developer? Isn't this the developer that stains your fingernails?
I know of no propritetary source for pre-mixed Amidol..(it's very unstable, anyway) but the bulk chemicals are available from the Photographer's Formulary in Montana...http://www.photoformulary.com/. Try Edward Westons's Amidol formula; reproduced in "THE PRINT", by Ansel Adams. Azo is still being produced by Eastman Kodak...http://www.kodak.com/cgi-bin/global/en/professional/webCatalog .pl?product=KODAK+AZO+Paper. I haven't bought it for a while ..but I believe Calumet Photographic or B&H Photo in NY still stock it. Azo is a graded paper with a very high silver content. It is very slow, so therefore generally used primarily for contact prints. I know of people who do enlarge with it using very high output Xenon pulse light sources..and I have exposed it in the past (with relatively dense, full negs) by putting loaded printing frames in direct sunlight.
Sean Billy Bob Boy yates
Azo can be had from Calumet Photographic 1-800-calumet, and at one point Abbey Camera in Philadelphia, 1-800-252-2239. If you've got the $ you can order it directly from Kodak, but of course they expect you to buy enough to choke an army of horses. It comes in grades 1-3 although currently I've only seen it in grades 2 & 3 in 100 sheet boxes.
There is an article on the use of Azo and Amidol by Michael A. Smith in the July/August '96 issue of View Camera. I have not adequate experience with the multitude of papers out there, but Azo is supposed to have a very stright line and is ideal when combined with a film like Super XX or the new equivalent by Berger/Lotus.
You will need a light source other than your enlarger as Azo is quite slow. I've seen older (i.e. mid 60's) articles describing the use of a common desk lamp with a 15 watt bulb. I use a 300 watt reflector flood about 4 -4.5 feet from the print. I'm not sure about judging the times with enlarging papers, but with Azo, most of my prints are running 15 - 20 seconds.
Amidol can be had from The Photographers Formulary 1-800-922-5255. Yes, Amidol stains your fingernails.
Here's Wynn Bullock's Amidol formula I came accross in "DARKROOM" (Lustrum Press, NY,1977)
Water, 1/2 gal Sodium Sulfite, 3 tablespoons Amidol, 2 teaspoons Potassium Bromide (10%sol.) 10cc BB Compound, 10cc Citric Acid, 1/2 teaspoon
Note...Although it dosen't say so, I presume that the BB Compound is a 1% solution..as this is how it is commonly used. If you are surprised @ 'tablespoons ans teaspoons'..not to worry. As long as you are consistent in your measurements (i.e. level measures), this will work fine..and eliminate the need to purchase a triple beam balance.
pat j. krentz
I have used Azo and love its tonal scale, I used Peckham's Amidol found in Dignan Photographic 150 B/W Formula's on pp.31, as far as I am concerned it is an unbeatable combination. I have used the 15 watt houseplant light for exposure and it works very well. Also I use a soft natural fiber 3" paint brush with constant brushing for 3 minutes when developing. Hope this will help you.
BB solution is reported to be a "10%" solution of Benzotriazole, not 1%, at least thats what the darkroom cookbook says. Ive used AZO only a very little, but I've gotten prints with the lens removed from a Beseler 45, with a 150 watt bulb, in as little as 12-25 seconds. I think the need for a spotlight is overstated.
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