View Full Version : AZO report in"View Camera"

Michael Pry
17-Jan-2002, 18:09
Has anyone seen the report Steve Simmons did on AZO in the recent View Camera? I wonder what it would have looked like if he used Amidol? Frankly I did not like the image at all. Very drab.

Brian Ellis
17-Jan-2002, 19:16
You really can't judge an image by how it looks in a publication. Some magazines do better than others in the reproduction process but I don't think any can duplicate the look of an original print. I recently had the opportunity to see the Steiglitz exhibit at the National Gallery in Washington. It included a lot of the famous photographs by Strand, Steiglitz, Steichen, and others that I've seen many times in books and magazines. The originals just floored me, they looked so much better than the reproductions I've seen. FWIW, I use Azo and I think it's terrific for contact printing.

Larry Sandt
18-Jan-2002, 08:21
My initial reaction was the same Michael. However I am tempted to try it. But, I was told that they do not make AZO paper anymore... is this true?

David A. Goldfarb
18-Jan-2002, 11:01
They've eliminated a number of sizes and grades, but they still seem to be making it. You can still get it at B&H or www.michaelandpaula.com.

David R Munson
18-Jan-2002, 20:13
I was also disappointed by the photo in the article. However, I know just how superb Azo can be through personal use of the product. Nothing else I've ever tried even comes close when I'm contact printing. I develop it in Ansco 130 and the results are so good I don't feel any overwhelming need to give it a shot in Amidol. Azo is definitely being made, albeit in fewer grades and sizes than in past years. Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee are the big users and proponents of the paper, and it can be bought directly from them, as well as B&H and Badger Graphic. Azo is great stuff to be sure, and I encourage anyone to try it.

N Dhananjay
18-Jan-2002, 20:31
Keep in mind that the negative was probably not scaled for Azo. I think the point being made was that Azo was a 'longer scale paper', and provided results quite different from typical enlarging papers. Azo does look very good in Ansco 130 but one shouldn't fear Amidol as being ruinously expensive - there are economical Amidol formulae (something like Peckham's Amidol may actually be cheaper than Ansco 130). Cheers, DJ.

19-Jan-2002, 08:28
Isn't longer scale the same as lower contrast? Or does AZO have a longer toe and shoulder while still retaining a high contrast midtone area. This would let it show more detail (but with lower contrast) in highlights and shadows.

Sal Santamaura
19-Jan-2002, 11:22
In the context of grade 2 Azo paper, "longer scale" means that a much greater range of negative densities are recorded while retaiing detail in the print. This results both from a low slope in the curve's straight line section and an exceptionally long shoulder. My approach to using Azo has been standardizing on grade 3. Its slope (contrast) is higher and it has a shoulder more typical of enlarging papers. Targeting negatives to grade 3 Azo means they will also be easily compatible with enlarging papers if/when I manage to set up an 8x10 enlarger. You can still obtain grade 3 in 100 sheet boxes, but only, as far as I know, from Michael Smith www.michaelandpaula.com). Elsewhere it's a 500 sheet purchase.

Sal Santamaura
19-Jan-2002, 11:24
I shouldn't post so early in the morning. My last post should have read "...an exceptionally long toe."

Sal Santamaura
19-Jan-2002, 11:28
And "...a toe more typical of enlarging papers,"


Sal Santamaura
19-Jan-2002, 17:11
Dan Smith adivses that he sells 8x10 grades 2 and 3 Azo in 50 sheet boxes. He also cuts and packages in 5x8 (or 5x7 if you want it cut that way) in 50s and 4x5 in 50s or 100s. Dan's email address is shooter@brigham.net. Sorry for the oversight Dan.

Andre Noble
20-Jan-2002, 09:29
Both Michael Smith and Dan Smith are supplying AZO paper?

Just curious.

Alan Barton
20-Jan-2002, 18:05
I was disappointed by the article in VC on Azo as well. For all film/developer/paper combinations the negative must be scaled (ie film speed/development time)appropriately. It was clear Steve did not do this and so his prints appeared a little "flat" on Azo. Once your system is calibrated (I use HP5, 250ASA, PMK, Azo/Amidol)grades two and three can cover anything you could be confronted with. Having tried several combinations since returning to LF a few years ago there is nothing that can compare with this or similiar combinations. The effect of PMK development and the very long range of Azo/Amidol (Im sure a few other developers work as well) is stunning. I have done several side by side tests to compare PMK/non-PMK as well as Azo/galerie (where negatives were developed differently)-it is easy to pick out Azo/Amidol prints. I encourage everyone to do the same- once you do you'll be a convert.


Andre Noble
20-Jan-2002, 21:05
Just how differently do negs bound for AZO have to be scaled? If it's very different, isn't this a big disadvantage for someone wanting to both enlarge onto conventional paper, and contact print AZO using the same negative?

Jorge Gasteazoro
21-Jan-2002, 01:18
Very good Andre, now you are getting an idea. As you can see, many photographers plan their negatives according to the medium they plan to use, and they search for the type of images that suit best their vision, I guess this is called developing a "style". Please don't misinterpret my commentI don't mean to be condescending,I am just point this out because to me I feel it was the time when I became a photgrapher and not just another guy taking pictures. The time when I saw the entire print in my mind, and all I needed to do was to set the camera and depress the shutter. So to ansewer your question, yes it would be a disadvantage if you plan to use the negative for all kinds of printing.

Jim Galli
21-Jan-2002, 23:28
A lot of folks feel you can have your cake and eat it too to an extent with Pyro. You plan for that loooong scale that platinum needs, and usually they work well with AZO also, but then when enlarging on VCFB papers the color of the stain acts like a brake up in the highlights where you need it most.

Freestyle Sales used to have a generic #2 paper they called Europes Finest Warmtone. Those same long negs would fall onto that paper with Ansco 135 and are some of the finest I've ever done. But then it went away and I've been heartbroken ever since! Well I'm off the AZO topic. Anybody know what that stuff was. Forte Fortezo graded? Agfa Insignia? I should start another thread and ask.