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Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by Dave Wooten, May 11, 2005.
Other than Azo-What is your choice for 8 x 10 silver contact paper and developer?
Warmtone = Ilford Warmtone glossy
Nuetral/Cool = Kodak Polymax Fine Art, Forte Poly V, sometimes Ilford Multi IV - all glossy
All prints developed in Ansco 130 @21c 2 min
for paper negatives:
kodak polyfiber or polymax fine art ( both single and double weight ) and
ilford single weight fb
developer: ansco 130 1:3 ( as black as coca cola ), water bath
photowarehouse's mgfb "made in england" ( alleged rebranded ilford fb )
developer: ansco 130 1:2 2-3 mins
Bergger VCNB / Dektol
Warmtone = Ilford Warmtone glossy
Nuetral/Cool = Ilford Multi IV glossy
Ilford MGIV fiber & dektol. Or....Any port in a storm.
Fortezo Museum, Bergger Art Contact, developed in Ansco 130 (me too)!
If your going to be contact printing...why NOT use AZO? What do you have against AZO? It is truly the finest silver paper you can get.
I have contact printed on Kodak Velox before, but nothing even comes CLOSE to the prints on AZO.
If your going to the effort, time and care to shoot an 8x10 camera and produce an 8x10 negative to contact print, then why would you not want to produce the finest prints possible? That just boggles my mind.
I have nothing against AZO. Except that it is only available from someone on another continent. And that the AZO prints I have seen have (with very few exceptions) failed to overwhelm me, especially with regards to tonality.
I have contact printed on a wide range of papers and processes, and I don't believe that AZO gives "the finest prints possible".
Gaevert Contactone / Ansco 135 / Selenium
Bergger Warm MGFB matte / 135 / Sel
David Lewis Bromoil paper in the "teaspoon" amidol developer. Can be toned beyond what I thought was possible.
Recently, I had a fellow photographer friend (noseoil) show me two 4x5 contact prints he had made. One was printed on AZO, while the other was printed on an enlarging paper (I believe Ilford). The first thing I notice was the SHARPNESS of the AZO prints. Even thought it was a contact print, the AZO print had alot sharper detail! Second, I noticed more tonality in the high values, which were present as only a flat gray tone in on the enlarger paper.
After seeing this, I tried the exact same experiment myself, and was truly amazed! Using the same 8x10 negative, I contact printed the correct exposure on AZO, then again on Oriental. Again...the sharpness of the print was amazingly different between the two, AZO being the better. Not to mention that the AZO print held detail in my highlights and shadows very well, when they blocked up and required dodging burning on the enlarging paper.
I do not know who showed you their AZO prints, but maybe you just got shown poor examples. The only way to truly see what AZO is capible of, is to try it yourself and SEE. I promise you that you will see a great improvement on your prints by using AZO.
So many people would not swear by the paper if it was not superior to enlarging paper.
Anyways, best of luck to whatever you decided to go with.
Personally I like the AZO prints but think it's over rated. I like Ilford FB Warmtone with Ilford's developer for my work.
I find it easier to work with and am happy with the results. I have a box of AZO in the fridge but since it's always a special order item I find the extra hassles of using it aren't justified by the results. Ilford's FIB is a stock item at my local store and I can buy it easier. Besides the ease factor I find it to be a great paper.
Whose Azo prints have you seen?
"I refuse to answer that question on grounds that it might incriminate me"
I have seen several, including some of Michael A. Smith's. I own several, though none of his. Some of those I have seen are very good indeed, but the "Azo magic" fails to stir me.
I know a guy that loves his Dodge truck so much that he is suprised any other brand can even start. When I pick him up to go fishing, pulling my boat behind my ratty '94 Toyota pick up with 230,000 miles, he always flinches. On a recent trip with almost a thousand miles of driving, he woke up to the fact that we spent about 1/3 of the money on gas that we would have in his big truck. The spell was broken.
Azo is good stuff, I printed on it exclusively for about 2 years, amidol, ABC pyro, the whole thing. It is easy to convince ourselves that there is no other way to get to a fine print if we keep repeating to our selves that there is no other way to get there.
About a year ago I was shooting some documentary stuff with fairly pedestrian stuff, HP5+ in 35mm, developed in D23, printed on Ilford RC paper in Dektol. The 8x10 enlargements just glowed, in a way that few of my best Azo prints did. In the end really great light trumped all the exotic materials.
The last time I showed Michael Smith any work, he liked the Bergger prints the best. And they were enlargements. Azo is no magic bullet, that's for sure.
There have been many thousands of great prints done on regular enlarging paper. This in no way deters from AZO. It's always going to be the print itself-not what its printed on. I enjoy using graded and VC papers and hopefully Forte is going to come back on line. And if you haven't tried Forte you should.
Just as an aside I just tried some Bergger NB in Ian Grant's IT-8 toner(in the chemistry recipes) and I'm a little overwhelmed at the results. Deep rich dark black to knock your socks off. Looks like some papers from 30 years ago. Still in the wash so my final assumption is yet made but it looks real good!!
I just love that paper. The VCCB (warm tone) is good, too. I think a lot of large format photographers are put off by Bergger's lousy film and summarily scratch the paper off their lists through "guilt by association" without having tried it. I hate the film, love the paper. I will try some Forte soon.
Graded Forte Fortezo and (eeeegads) Dektol.
But Brook, great light and Azo are not mutually exclusive. They can be used together as elements leading to something more than either individually. Great light with details held in both shadow and highlight is better than great light with shadows blocked and highlights either non-existent or over-burned.
In the same vein if you had needed to tow a much larger boat, which would be better, your Toyota or his Dodge?
There are, of course, many other silver papers out there besides Azo. But I have never seen in any enlarging paper the number of mid-tones that a silver chloride paper is capable of.
I, too, have seen some lousy Azo prints. I have even made some myself. But all things being equal, I would bet that the same negative printed by someone who knows how to make great prints, on Azo and also on any of the other silver papers, would reveal that the print on Azo was "better."
Now, "better" is a subjective thing. Azo is a smoother-toned paper than any enlarging paper. If you like, punchy red-filtered skies and the Ansel Adams enlargement look to your prints you will probably not prefer Azo. It will not appear better to you. But if you prefer prints more like those contact prints Adams made in the 30s and early 40s, or prints by Weston, then you will prefer silver chloride paper. The only silver chloride paper remaining today is Azo.
Of course, you do have to have the right negatives for it.
If any of you who will be at the large-format conference in Massachusetts in about 10 days, Paula and I will have hundreds of prints with us. We'll try to make time for anyone who wants to look at all of them.
I will say that I have seen some bad Azo prints too and I have made some myself...I will go on to say that I have seen good Azo prints too (Michael and Paula's among them)...
Be that as it may, the sensitometric characteristics of the material take this assessment out of the subjective arena and bring it into objective reality...there is no...I repeat no silver paper that has the exposure scale of Azo grade two...
Think of it this way...Ansel suggest having a density range of appr. 1.0 - 1.15(subtacting low density value from high density value...not subtracting fb=fog) for silver enlarging...
By comparison grade two Azo has an exposure scale of 1.65-1.75. That is the equivalent of two more complete stops of density contained on the camera negative that Azo grade two can contain when compared to conventional silver paper.
I hope that you won't mind me responding to your post...you have been on my ignore list for awhile..I think that you understand why...Once again, you are using your own venacular based in who knows what means of testing.
To wit...paper is not normally expressed in density range among those who choose to communicate in an open and honest manner. The term that is most often used is "exposure scale". But be that as it may..please send me representative samples of the papers you mentioned and I will conduct evaluations based on known scientific models and using known and accepted terminology. I will be happy to reimburse you for your actual cost of materials and shipping. I will conduct these tests and post the results for all to see here on Apug. My tests will involve testing the papers you mentioned at grade two and comparing the ES of the papers that you mentioned against the ES of Azo grade two. A couple of 8X10 sheets should be adequate.
My address should you care to respond is Donald Miller 3355 E. Hampton Ln. Gilbert, Az. 85297. I am a man of my word and will reimburse you for your actual cost of materials. I hope that you understand that my opinion engenders a great deal of skepticism about your methods.
Should that not be of interest to you...then I will arrange for Sandy King or some other person who works at this level to do the testing as an impartial third party. If you would prefer that Sandy to do it, then I will still pay for the materials and shipping at your actual cost. So you have nothing to lose Jay.
No other comments are required or asked for. The only thing that you need do is put the paper in the mail along with a bill for the actual cost of the samples and the cost of shipping. I don't want another pissing match with you...I will test the papers or have Sandy test the papers that you ship at the same grade as Azo and we will see if your testing results are what you represent them to be.
Should you choose to not respond then I will simply post on this site and in this thread that you chose to not conduct an honest appraisal apart from just flatulant verbalization. You might say that your reputation is now on the line. Are you a man of your word?