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Jac@stafford.net
4-Jul-2015, 17:14
What exactly is AZO paper?

A few years ago I got from an estate sale a few 100 sheet boxes of very long expired 8x10 of 'Azo' paper. I put it on the big auction site describing it it as Azo and it was taken down by someone claiming ownership of 'Azo". Very strange. I put it back on and it sold for a modest price.

To this day I do not understand what Azo paper is, its virtues considering it expired in the 1950s. I have more (and will not sell it) so I would appreciate the net wisdom from here.

Thank you

Michael Kadillak
4-Jul-2015, 17:46
Azo is a silver chloride photographic printing paper that was manufactured by Eastman Kodak in one name or another from 1898 through about 2008 when Kodak pulled the plug on it. It is a contact printed paper that is extremely slow and does not exhibit the degradation issues that a silver bromide photography printing paper experiences. It lasts indefinitely. I contact print with Azo in a vacuum frame three feet about a 300W light bulb and expose the paper from 15 seconds to well over a minute at times. Azo in the last 10 years + of its existence was consolidated in an offering fixed paper grades grades #2 and #3. That said I still have a box of grade 1 Azo from 1952 that prints marvelously when called upon. Azo invariably needs a long scale (dense) negative to reach its full potential and Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee have spearheaded an effort to promote its replacement which they call Lodima (Amidol the developing agent they use backwards). Hope this helps.

Wayne
4-Jul-2015, 21:07
Azo is the silver bullet that will take you and your Chinese amidol to soaring new heights. I'm scared of heights so I sold mine.

Jac@stafford.net
5-Jul-2015, 06:12
Thank you very much, Michael Kadillak. That is perfectly helpful, exactly what I needed to begin.

I will look further into the efforts of Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee.

Paul Metcalf
5-Jul-2015, 06:30
Well this flyer should be in every box of Azo. http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/g10/g10.pdf

What do you mean someone took it down? Not all Azo flowed through M&P in the later years, there were stocks around that were available to the public from which I acquired my limited stock.

Jac@stafford.net
5-Jul-2015, 06:40
Well this flyer should be in every box of Azo. http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/g10/g10.pdf

What do you mean someone took it down? Not all Azo flowed through M&P in the later years, there were stocks around that were available to the public from which I acquired my limited stock.

That's great info, Paul. Very much appreciated.

By taken down, I mean I put it on the 'Bay something like 12 years ago and they removed the auction because someone claimed to own the name, or something like that. I've never experienced such a thing again.

My supply came from the estate of a local, old school portrait photographer who worked until about 94 years-old. He used a Century studio camera, Century stand, tungsten and daylight, three lenses, all acquired when he began his business as a young man. He retouched all his work on an old retouching stand with pencils and etching blades. I am sorry that I never knew him personally.

Willie
5-Jul-2015, 07:18
Well this flyer should be in every box of Azo. http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/g10/g10.pdf

What do you mean someone took it down? Not all Azo flowed through M&P in the later years, there were stocks around that were available to the public from which I acquired my limited stock.

Michael and Paula were the biggest sellers of Azo over its last few years. Once Kodak announced it would stop production Michael asked about the remaining supply and was assured "we have 5 years of it on hand". He and Paula went to Europe to oversee a book on press and when they returned Kodak was "sold out". A speculator had bought all the remaining stock. Kodak did not even have the courtesy of calling or contacting Michael to let him have a chance to purchase it.

Now we have Lodima, a paper in the tradition of Azo. A labor of love and necessityi by Michael and Paula - they get it made and sell batche to help pay for what it costs them. "Privat label" paper that is excellent.

Randy Moe
5-Jul-2015, 07:57
I'm a believer in AZO, and I got a large amount for the right price.

It does seem to last forever and mine was found in an abandoned Midwest darkroom open to the elements.

No dates on yellow boxes, Grade 2 and 3 single weight, 8x10" almost full 500 sheet boxes.

I expect the supply to last my lifetime.

bob carnie
5-Jul-2015, 08:33
When I first started after school I worked for a wedding/portrait photographer..

He and others use Azo for proof prints only , but switched to Cycora for final prints.. there was a huge difference in image quality.. I am talking about the 60's version of Azo and not sure if this is the same emulsion as Lodima.

Randy Moe
5-Jul-2015, 08:44
When I first started after school I worked for a wedding/portrait photographer..

He and others use Azo for proof prints only , but switched to Cycora for final prints.. there was a huge difference in image quality.. I am talking about the 60's version of Azo and not sure if this is the same emulsion as Lodima.

Google did not help find out what Cycora was/is.

And was it better?

Merg Ross
5-Jul-2015, 10:02
Google did not help find out what Cycora was/is.

And was it better?

Randy, look for "Cykora by GAF"

It was a pretty nice projection paper, popular in the 1960's.

bob carnie
5-Jul-2015, 10:15
Not sure.. the prints that I saw in the wedding albums and on the walls that he used Cykora were beautiful. I do not think Azo was marketed as a primo paper back then, I believe it was single weight, cheap and popular for proof prints.

Jac@stafford.net
5-Jul-2015, 10:44
Not sure.. the prints that I saw in the wedding albums and on the walls that he used Cykora were beautiful. I do not think Azo was marketed as a primo paper back then, I believe it was single weight, cheap and popular for proof prints.

In the Fifties and Sixties POP was often used for proofs to give to clients. I wish I could find some today.
.

Randy Moe
5-Jul-2015, 11:01
Randy, look for "Cykora by GAF"

It was a pretty nice projection paper, popular in the 1960's.

I see Cykora is highly valued, 80-11x14 sheets sold in February for $250.

sun of sand
5-Jul-2015, 11:31
Cykora
Warm chlorobromide developing paper

Unblinkingeye has a large page of vintage papers


Not many will say any paper was/is better than azo
except for another contact paper

Some have said azo was the lesser of the available contact papers but it survived the longest
Haloid Industro seems to have been the favorite
Edward Weston's paper

I think the warm tone contact papers must have been amazing when there were more to choose from


Azo wouldnt always be developed in am idol
Other developers would give greenish blue tones and many did not like this

Mark Sampson
5-Jul-2015, 12:21
Those searching for Azo should keep an eye out for Kodak Velox paper. Similar but discontinued long before Azo, probably mid-70s.

Wayne
5-Jul-2015, 12:26
Azo has a mystique of being a superior paper, but I've never seen visual evidence of that being the case. Edward Weston used it a few times, perhaps, and it responds well to amidol which Weston also used. I think those 2 connections are 99% of the hyperbole surrounding it. Now I'm not saying that just to be a curmudgeon, I hope someone will retort by providing that visual evidence. Alas, none of the people using Azo today are Edward Westons, and even with Azo-amidol the majority aren't turning out work half as impressive as Weston's. Most of it is work that would arguably be just as good with more conventional materials. However I laud anyone for helping keep old photographic techniques and technologies alive for whatever unique qualities they possess or are perceived to possess. More choices are better than fewer.

Randy Moe
5-Jul-2015, 13:17
Those searching for Azo should keep an eye out for Kodak Velox paper. Similar but discontinued long before Azo, probably mid-70s.

At lunch just now I was reading a 100 year old Kodak book, 'How to Take Good Pictures', Velox paper was primarily discussed and promoted as best. AZO had no mention.

koraks
5-Jul-2015, 13:37
This question certainly piqued my interest. I'm aware of what Kodak AZO is/was from a functional perspective: a contact printing paper with a long, straight curve and a pleasant tone and apparently beautiful tonality when developed in amidol. I know about (but have never used) Lodima, which seems to be a modern-day equivalent that is for all intents and purposes nearly identical to the original, or perhaps even slightly better.

But my interest is more about the chemical nature of the paper. Yes, it's a silver chloride, graded paper. But I haven't been able to find any more details. I understand the 'AZO' moniker doesn't have anything to do with azo dyes, or so I've read. Yet, it would have made sense if azo dyes had been used to control contrast. What sets this paper apart, in chemical terms, from other silver chloride papers?

Bruce Barlow
5-Jul-2015, 14:03
Azo has a mystique of being a superior paper, but I've never seen visual evidence of that being the case. Edward Weston used it a few times, perhaps, and it responds well to amidol which Weston also used. I think those 2 connections are 99% of the hyperbole surrounding it. Now I'm not saying that just to be a curmudgeon, I hope someone will retort by providing that visual evidence. Alas, none of the people using Azo today are Edward Westons, and even with Azo-amidol the majority aren't turning out work half as impressive as Weston's. Most of it is work that would arguably be just as good with more conventional materials. However I laud anyone for helping keep old photographic techniques and technologies alive for whatever unique qualities they possess or are perceived to possess. More choices are better than fewer.

I have the evidence from when I tested papers and developers way back. Azo, enlarged from my 4x5 negative to 8x10 at Michael Smith's and Paula Chamlee's, blew every other paper away - Galerie, Forte, Seagull, Ilford Multigrade, Bergger, and more. It wasn't even close.

The articles I wrote for "View Camera" are at bwbarlow.wordpress.com. Part 4 deals with Azo.

Since I don't scan, I can't put up the prints here. Come visit. Maine's nice.

Fred Picker liked DuPont Varigam a lot.

Randy Moe
5-Jul-2015, 16:22
I have the evidence from when I tested papers and developers way back. Azo, enlarged from my 4x5 negative to 8x10 at Michael Smith's and Paula Chamlee's, blew every other paper away - Galerie, Forte, Seagull, Ilford Multigrade, Bergger, and more. It wasn't even close.

The articles I wrote for "View Camera" are at bwbarlow.wordpress.com. Part 4 deals with Azo.

Since I don't scan, I can't put up the prints here. Come visit. Maine's nice.

Fred Picker liked DuPont Varigam a lot.

Thanks for the article, testing and link.

I really enjoyed the conclusions.

N Dhananjay
5-Jul-2015, 19:15
Azo has a mystique of being a superior paper, but I've never seen visual evidence of that being the case. Edward Weston used it a few times, perhaps, and it responds well to amidol which Weston also used. I think those 2 connections are 99% of the hyperbole surrounding it. Now I'm not saying that just to be a curmudgeon, I hope someone will retort by providing that visual evidence. Alas, none of the people using Azo today are Edward Westons, and even with Azo-amidol the majority aren't turning out work half as impressive as Weston's. Most of it is work that would arguably be just as good with more conventional materials. However I laud anyone for helping keep old photographic techniques and technologies alive for whatever unique qualities they possess or are perceived to possess. More choices are better than fewer.

For what it is worth - if you go to teh Azo section of Michael and Paula's website, you will see some sensitometric testing I reported that compares Azo to some (obviously not all) enlarging papers and another piece dealing with toning response. This does not mean there are no other good papers or that good prints cannot be made in other ways. But for a particular way of working, Azo (and silver chloride papers, in general, I suspect) do seem to offer a beguilingly simple approach.

Cheers, DJ

Randy Moe
5-Jul-2015, 20:15
That's me, simple.

:)

Bruce Barlow
6-Jul-2015, 04:23
That's me, simple.

:)

+1

Drew Wiley
7-Jul-2015, 12:39
I accidentally dropped a little 8x10 paper safe, which shattered and ruined the last of my azo. I won't miss it. And I'm damn tempted to drop my jar of Chinese
amidol too. I got some good Euro amidol again which doesn't stain the paper.